The Fighting Race

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 the sons of our Emerald Isle, and under the red coats of the hired assassin army you will find them.

Yes, we are a fighting race. In Africa, India or America, wherever blood is to be spilt, there you will find Irishmen, eager and anxious for a fight, under any flag, in anybody’s quarrel, in any cause – except their own. In that cause, for our own freedom and own land, we have for the last century consistently refused to fight. On any other part of the earth’s surface we can shed our blood with the blessing of Mother Church and the prayers of the faithful to strengthen our arms, but in Ireland and for the freedom of the Irish people. Anathema.

It is an impious thought and we must avoid it. Whatever we do let us keep on the safe side of the road and not quarrel with the Church – which denounced the United Irishmen and excommunicated the Fenians. Faith and Fatherland. Oh, yes. But don’t forget that when the Englishman was a Catholic and worshipped at the same altar as the Irishman, he plundered, robbed and murdered the Irishman as relentlessly as he did when, with sword in one hand and Bible in the other, he came snuffily chanting his psalms in the train of Oliver Cromwell.

The question of religious faith has precious little bearing upon the question of freedom. Witness Catholic Spain devastating Catholic Cuba, the Catholic capitalists of Italy running down with cannon the unarmed Catholic workmen, the Irish Catholic landlord rackrenting and evicting the Catholic tenant, the wealthy Catholic feasting inside the mansion while the Catholic beggar dies of hunger on the doorstep.

And as a companion picture witness the Protestant workmen of Belfast so often out on strike against their Protestant employers and their Protestant ancestors of 100 years ago in active rebellion against the English Protestant Government. ‘Our institutions in Church and State’ is the catchword with which the wealthy Irish Unionist endeavours to arouse religious bigotry among the Protestant working-class of Ulster and so prevent them coalescing with the working-class Catholic in a united effort for their common emancipation.

And ‘Faith and Fatherland’ by linking the national demands with a specific religious belief serves the same purpose in the mouth of the Home Rule trickster. For what other purpose than that herein specified are either rallying cries used? To keep the people of Ireland, and especially the workers, divided is the great object of all our politicians, Home Ruler or Unionist.

And our great object in this journal will be to unite the workers and to bury, in one common grave, the religious hatreds, the provincial jealousies and mutual distrusts upon which oppression has so long depended for security. The man whose forefathers manned the walls of Derry is as dear to us as he who traces his descent from the women who stood in the breaches of Limerick. Neither fought for Ireland, but only to decide which English king should rule Ireland. What have we to do with their quarrels? In the words of the United Irishmen – “Let us bury our animosities with the bones of our ancestors.”

In the near future when kings and the classes who are makers of kings no longer encumber the earth with their foul presence, how our Irish youth will smile when they read that 200 years ago Irishmen slaughtered each other to decide which English king should have the right to rob the Irish people. And that for 200 years after the descendants of the respective parties conclusively proved to their own satisfaction that the leader of the other side had been a scoundrel.

And the impartial world looking on examined the evidence and came to the conclusion that on that point, at least, both parties were right. Both kings were scoundrels, ergo the followers of both were –

Well, never mind.

James Connolly, originally published in Worker’s Republic

Article originally published on: Saturday 13th August 1898

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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!

The Outlook

ROBERT EMMET’s last will and testament providing that no monument shall be erected to his memory until Ireland takes her place among the nations of the earth is the true key to the national aspirations of the Irish people. When Ireland achieves full nationhood, then, and then only, will the epitaph of Robert Emmet be written. It will not be written while Ireland is a province, and if she should choose to accept the status of a province within the British Empire as a full settlement of her difficulty with England, then the epitaph of Robert Emmet will never be written.

I am a

A Spinning-Wheel Ditty

These verses, improvised to the hum of the wheel, are flung from girl to girl as they sit spinning. The references are purely personal, and the refrain, which is sung by all the spinners, has no special meaning.

First Girl.
Mallo lero, and eambo nero,
I crossed the wood as the day was dawning;
Mallo lero, and eambo nero.

Second Girl.
Mallo lero, and eambo nero,
No doubt John O'Connell had had good warning!
Mallo lero, and eambo nero.

First Girl.
Mallo lero, and eambo nero,
Oh! John may go hang

A Plea For Prose

As our professed intent is the revival of the Irish Language, we need a definite appointment of methods towards that consummation for immediate and persistent practice. A ready and earnest striving must be set afoot to tide over the present time, because everyone giving thought to the business must know that the decade now running is charged with a crisis which shall decide for all men of practical sense the question of its weal or its failure as a living tongue. Consider the conditions that hold to-day.

Around the coast, on the side remotest from British influence, there is a dai


The peaceful night that round me flows,
Breaks through your iron prison doors,
Free through the world your spirit goes,
Forbidden hands are clasping yours.
The wind is our confederate.
The night has left her doors ajar,
We meet beyond earth’s barred gate.
Where all the world’s wild Rebels are.

Eva Gore-Booth


An interview with election candidates Sophie Roker and Jessica McLoughlin

Today we are delighted to interview two of Ireland's up-and-coming political generation, Sophie Roker and Jessica McLoughlin!

Congratulations on helping to set up the "Kildare Says No" protest group, now closing in on three months active! What made you decide to get involved with the group to begin with?

Sophie: It sparked an interest with me as I’m very local to this particular site at Newhall and I have two young children so I’m fully aware of what families in the area are going through. I know myself the pre existing

The Song of the Fairies

When they made the road across the bog of Lamrach for Mider, their King.

Pile on the soil; thrust on the soil:
Red are the oxen around who toil:
Heavy the troops that my words obey;
Heavy they seem, and yet men are they.
Strongly, as piles, are the tree-trunks placed:
Red are the wattles above them laced:
Tired are your hands, and your glances slant;
One woman's winning this toil may grant!

Oxen ye are, but revenge shall see;
Men who are white shall your servants be;
Rushes from Teffa are cleared

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