Saturday 1 August 2015

Exaltation of Spirit

Today is the 100th anniversary of the funeral of Jeremia O'Donovan Rossa, a Fenian leader, one of the most famous revolutionaries of his day, and a tireless enemy of the British occupation of Ireland. But nowadays it is his funeral that is best remembered, because of the speech Padraig Mac Piarais gave at O'Donovan Rossa's graveside in Glasnevin Cemetery, closing with
They think that they have pacified Ireland. They think that they have purchased half of us and intimidated the other half. They think that they have foreseen everything, think that they have provided against everything; but the fools, the fools, the fools! — they have left us our Fenian dead, and while Ireland holds these graves, Ireland unfree shall never be at peace
 It was an explosive oration that lit the spark of the 1916 uprising (in which Mac Piarais himself died) and the War of Independence. It was a speech that changed the world.

Contemporary silent film of O'Donovan Rossa's funeral, with a musical soundtrack added.


  1. I didn't know anything about this bit of Irish history. Thanks for sharing!