An Claiomh Solais
The Sword of Light

Distinctive Culture

First published on Sunday 11th June 1922

Ancient Irish Civilization

Glories of the Past

It was not only by the British armed occupation that Ireland was subdued. It was by means of the destruction, after great effort, of our Gaelic civilization. This destruction brought upon us the loss almost of nationality itself.

For the last 100 years or more Ireland has been a nation in little more than in name. Britain wanted us for her own economic ends, as well as to satisfy her love of conquest. It was found, however, that Ireland was not an easy country to conquer, nor to use for the purposes for which conquests are made.

We had a native culture. We had a social system of our own. We had an economic organisation. We had a code of laws which fitted us. These were such in their beauty, their honesty, their recognition of right and justice, and in their strength, that foreigners coming to our island brought with them nothing of like attractiveness to replace them. These foreigners accepted Irish civilization, forgot their own, and eagerly became absorbed into the Irish race.

Ireland, unlike Britain, had never become a part of the Roman Empire. Even if th

The Fighting Race

First published on Saturday 13th August 1898

We gather from the American newspapers that our countrymen in the United States army and navy have been highly distinguishing themselves in the cause of the war with Spain. This is as it should be and in consonance with all our Irish traditions. We are a fighting race, we are told, and every Irishman is always proud to hear our politicians and journalists tell of our exploits in the fighting line – in other countries, in other climes and in other times.

Yes, we are a fighting race. Whether it is under the Stars and Stripes or under the Union Jack; planting the flag of America over the walls of Santiago or helping our own oppressors to extend their hated rule over other unfortunate nations our brave Irish boys are ever to the front.

When the Boer has to be robbed of his freedom, the Egyptian has to be hurled back under the heel of his taskmaster, the Zulu to be dynamited in his caves, the Matabele slaughtered beside the ruins of his smoking village or Afridi to be hunted from his desolated homestead, wheresoever, in short, the bloody standard of the oppressors of Ireland is to be found over some unusually atrocious piece of scoundrelism, look then for th

Final Dispatch From The GPO

First published on Friday 28th April 1916

ARMY OF THE IRISH REPUBLIC, Headquarters (Dublin Command), 28th April, 1916.

To Soldiers.

This is the fifth day of the establishment of the Irish Republic, and the flag of our country still floats from the most important buildings in Dublin, and is gallantly protected by the Officers and Irish Soldiers in arms throughout the country. Not a day passes without seeing fresh postings of Irish Soldiers eager to do battle for the old cause. Despite the utmost vigilance of the enemy we have been able to get in information telling us how the manhood of Ireland, inspired by our splendid action, are gathering to offer up their lives if necessary in the same holy cause. We are here hemmed in because the enemy feels that in this building is to be found the heart and inspiration of our great movement.

Let us remind you what you have done. For the first time in 700 years the flag of a free Ireland floats triumphantly in Dublin City. The British Army, whose exploits we are for ever having dinned into our ears, which boasts of having stormed the Dardanelles and the German lines on the Marne, behind their Artillery and Machine Guns are afraid to advance to the attac

Thomas Clarke Luby’s Speech From The Dock

First published on Wednesday 1st November 1865

Well, my lords and gentlemen, I don’t think any person present here is surprised at the verdict found against me. I have been prepared for this verdict ever since I was arrested, although I thought it my duty to fight the British government inch by inch. I felt I was sure to be found guilty, since the advisers of the Crown took what the Attorney-General was pleased the other day to call the ‘merciful course.’

I thought I might have a fair chance of escaping, so long as the capital charge was impending over me; but when they resolved on trying me under the Treason-Felony Act, I felt that I had not the smallest chance. I am somewhat embarrassed at the present moment as to what I should say under the circumstances. There are a great many things that I would wish to say; but knowing that there are other persons in the same situation with myself, and that I might allow myself to say something injudicious, which would peril their cases, I feel that my tongue is to a great degree tied.

Notwithstanding, there are two or three points upon which I would say a few words. I have nothing to say to Judge Keogh’s charge to the jury. He did not take u

Pangur Bán

First published on Thursday 9th October 1913

I and Pangur Bán, my cat,
'Tis a like task we are at;
Hunting mice is his delight,
Hunting words I sit all night.

Better far than praise of men
'Tis to sit with book and pen;
Pangur bears me no ill-will,
He, too, plies his simple skill.

'Tis a merry thing to see
At our tasks how glad are we,
When at home we sit and find
Entertainment to our mind.

Oftentimes a mouse will stray
In the hero Pangur's way;
Oftentimes my keen thought set
Takes a meaning in its net.

[Pg 133] 'Gainst the wall he sets his eye
Full and fierce and sharp and sly;
'Gainst the wall of knowledge I
All my little wisdom try.

When a mouse darts from its den,
O! how glad is Pangur then;
O! what gladness do I prove
When I solve the doubts I love.

So in peace our task we ply,
Pangur Bán, my cat, and I;
In our arts we find our bliss,
I have mine, and he has his.

Practice every day has made
Pangur perfect in his trade;
I get wisdom day and night,


’82 and ’29

First published on Saturday 28th November 1863

Since the 12th century, England has been the unsleeping enemy of Ireland.

Generally her tyranny has shown itself, in the form of undisguised oppression.

Sometimes, however, she has affected to conciliate and make great concessions to Ireland.

Whenever this has been the case, the apparent concession has invariably had the effect of extending her unjust authority. England’s open and avowed hostility has never proved so effectual a method of rivetting on Ireland the fetters of alien rule, as her occasional insidious adoption of the fatal seeming of friendship.

There have been too very remarkable illustrations of this, within the last hundred years. The first was the acknowledgement of the independence of the Irish Parliament in 1782; the second was the concession of Catholic Emancipation in 1829.

These concessions have generally been looked upon as unalloyed benefits. Yet we assert, that, owing to the manner in which they were gained, they have really proved curses, rather than blessings, to our country.

In ’82, Ireland was on the point of achieving a glorious revolution. Had England not conceded at once, an ap

The Future of Irish Art

First published on Saturday 25th January 1908

We make no apology for devoting both our Irish and our English editorials this week to an event the bearing of which on our own immediate work in the language movement will be obvious to all except the superficial. We mean the inauguration of a Municipal Gallery of Modern Art in Baile Átha Cliath.

Such an event is in kind as real a manifestation of the new life which is commencing to surge through the veins of Ireland as is a Feis in an Irish-speaking countryside or a new novel from the pen of An tAthair Peadar Ua Laoghaire; whilst in importance this dream come true is entitled in rank with such still unrealised aspirations as a National Academy or a National University. Ireland in our day is putting herself into communion with her own past on the one hand and with the world of contemporary imagination and endeavour on the other.

The establishment of the Dublin Gallery of Modern Art marks a definite stage in the process.

‘Not by bread alone doth man live.’ Every human life has an almost physical need of a little of the sunshine which gilds the tops of the hills in Tír na nOg. So it is with a nation. The nation which casts b

To James Clarence Mangan

First published on Thursday 9th December 1909

Poor splendid Poet of the burning eyes
And withered hair and godly pallid brow,
Low-voiced and shrinking and apart wert thou,
And little men thy dreaming could despise.
How vain, how vain the laughter of the wise!
Before thy Folly’s throne their children bow—
For lo ! thy deathless spirit triumphs now,
And mortal wrongs and envious Time defies,

And all their prate of frailty: thou didst stand
The barren virtue of their lives above,
And above lures of fame though to thy hand
All strings of music throbbed, thy single love
Was, in high trust, to hymn thy Gaelic land
And passionate proud woes of Roisin Dubh.

Thomas MacDonagh, originally published in An Macaomh


Hungary and Ireland

First published on Saturday 26th November 1904

We do not know that there has been published in Ireland in our time any book in English more important than “The Resurrection of Hungary.” It may look absurd to write thus of a penny pamphlet, but we are weighing our words. “The Resurrection of Hungary” marks an epoch, because it crystalises into a national policy the doctrines which during the past ten years have been preached in Ireland by the apostles of the Irish Ireland movement.

That movement originated with the foundation of the Gaelic League; the Gaelic League continues, and must always continue, to be the soul and nerve-centre of the movement; but the movement is wider than the Gaelic League. There are departments of national life with which the League voluntarily precludes itself from dealing. Now, the pamphlet before us concerns itself with the whole national life, and more especially with political nationality.

It enunciates with regard to political nationality the truth which the Gaelic League enunciates with regard to spiritual nationality; that the centre of gravity of a nation must be within the nation itself. Its main argument is thus not one which can legitimately be

An Claíomh Solais means "The Sword of Light", and is named after an Irish newspaper originally published around the beginning of the twentieth century. This project is opening a window to that time, not so long ago, and sharing the hopes, dreams and visions of the men and women who founded the modern Irish Republic.

The project will follow in their footsteps along the path laid down by Hyde, O'Conaire, MacNeill, Cusack and many others through sharing news, ideas, articles of Irish cultural interest and more, as well as helping to support Irish language and cultural initiatives. You can find out more about An Claíomh Solais by clicking on the buttons below, or join our team as we begin the great Gaelic restoration!

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