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 aware that many think this is an idle dream, that the task of making Ireland a nation is beyond the strength and resources of the Irish race, and that it would be the part of wisdom to accept a compromise. I am not among those who think so. It is a fact beyond all question that England never offers Ireland a compromise until she is in danger, and that it is the Irishmen who believe in no compromise that always puts England in the compromising mood.

It is safe to say that if there were no irreconcilable Irishmen – no Irishmen who believe in and work for Complete Separation – there would be no talk of and no chance for Home Rule in any shape or form.

The question the Irish people have to solve is how to live and prosper in their own country. It is really not a question of sentiment, but one of practical business. To live and prosper in their own country the Irish people must have complete and absolute control of their own business. The management of a nation’s affairs is a business proposition.

With that management in the hands of another people, a people actuated much more by trade jealousy and commercial greed than by either race hatred or religious bigotry – determined that there shall not be a rival shop across the way – Ireland has been kept in poverty and industrial stagnation for several hundred years. Until that management is entirely changed and the Irish people themselves assume it, that condition of perennial poverty and industrial stagnation will continue.

That statement is beyond contradiction, and it means that nothing short of full Nationhood will ever make the Irish people prosperous or happy in their own country or properly promote that country’s material interests.

This is proved by the action of even the most enlightened English statesmen. During its short-lived independence the Grattan Parliament, with all its shortcomings, made Ireland a thriving hive of industry. No country ever advanced so rapidly in all human history as Ireland did in those eighteen years, although the Parliament represented only the foreign colony, and the majority of the people were deprived of their natural rights.

That was the reason why England destroyed Grattan’s Parliament. Ireland was becoming a competitor of England in the markets of the world, and the competition was stopped. From the day the Act of Union was passed to the present England has never granted one concession to Ireland because of the justice of Ireland’s demand. In dealing with Ireland English statesmen have no sense of justice, and are governed only by England’s material interests.

From Catholic Emancipation and the abolition of the Tithes to the Disestablishment of the Protestant Church and all the Land Acts that have since been passed, every concession has been wrung from England’s fears and no Irish question has ever been fully or completely settled.


Gladstone’s confession that he was led to see the necessity of doing justice to Ireland by “the intensity of Fenianism,” is the key to English policy in Ireland. England professes to be governed by public opinion, yet the greatest peaceful manifestation of public opinion the world has ever seen – O’Connell’s monster meetings – ended in complete failure. And this most enlightened English statesman of the last century confessed that it had no effect whatever on him, and that where O’Connell failed the Manchester Rescue and the Clerkenwell Explosion pricked his sluggish conscience.

English statesmen of today are actuated by the same spirit, though they lack Gladstone’s ability and his splendid gift of presenting a very small concession through a powerful magnifying glass. Gladstone only yielded on the Home Rule question when Parnell had “beaten him to his knees” and made the government of England impossible. They drove Parnell to an untimely grave, and Ireland has been waiting for Home Rule ever since. But until England got the shivers over the prospects of war with Germany and wanted an alliance with the United States, Home Rule was side-tracked.

Now they tell us we are going to get it – when the Veto of the House of Lords is killed. There are differences of opinion as to when that will happen. John Bull “dearly loves a Lord” today as much as his father or his grandfather did, and when they do reform the House of Lords it will be a stronger Second Chamber than it is now, and just as anti-Irish. The House of Lords is no more anti-Irish than the House of Commons, but the Upper Chamber is a Tory body, and it is a question of Party.

If Lord Salisbury had secured a majority in 1885, when he made a deal with Parnell, the Lords would have passed a Home Rule Bill better than the one Gladstone introduced in 1886. The most anti-Irish people in England are the Nonconformists – the descendants of Cromwell’s Puritans – and they are the backbone of the Liberal Party.


But Home Rule is coming and they expect us to throw up our hats before we know what kind of Home Rule it is to be. They don’t call it Home Rule in England – it is only in Ireland and in the cables to the American Press that it gets that name. Mr. Asquith calls it “local self-government,” and his very description is explicit only in regard to the things which the Dublin body is not to be permitted to do. The list includes practically all the vital interests of Ireland.

It is to be “subject to the supreme, indefeasible authority of the Imperial Parliament,” which means that its action shall be subject to review, revision, or annulment by the Parliament in London – that the control of Ireland’s business shall still remain in the hands of Englishmen, and that the little bantam in Dublin shall only have the power of crowing and strutting around in England’s back yard.

No Irishman worthy of the name will accept the creation of such a shackled and dependent body as a final settlement of the Irish Question, or even as a step in that direction. It would have no power over the things which most concern the Irish people, and under it the country would continue to languish, and the people to emigrate.

Granted that even a legalized debating society could be utilised to focus Irish opinion and to ventilate Ireland’s grievances, the only body that can save Ireland is one having power to undo the havoc wrought by centuries of hostile English legislation. That power England will never willingly grant to Ireland.

All Irish history proves this; all our experience with England proves it, and the man who thinks otherwise is blind, and reasoning is thrown away on him. England will only yield that settlement – the only real settlement – of the Irish question to force, and the necessary force is within the reach of the Irish people. And the cost would be just as small as that of appealing to England’s reason for a settlement which she will never consent to until she is beaten to the ground.


When she is beaten to the ground she will concede anything – and then take it back when she gets the chance, as she destroyed the Irish Parliament in 1800. Ireland has waited twenty-five years for this promise of attenuated Home Rule, and spent enormous sums of money in the effort to get it. The same amount of money and half the energy expended in organising the Irish race throughout the world for an effort to shake off the English yoke entirely would not probably have freed Ireland by this time, but it would certainly have put England in the mood to offer a much larger settlement.

England never gives anything to a quiet and peaceful Ireland. It is only when Ireland becomes a menace that England is willing to make concessions.  A suppliant Ireland – an Ireland anxious only to convince England that a very small concession will satisfy her – will be treated with contempt. That is the present public attitude of the Irish people, and that is why Mr. Asquith thinks a beggar’s pittance is quite enough to give them.

Whether Ireland gets any kind of Home Rule or not, she will have the opportunity to win complete Nationhood very soon. It will depend on whether her people are capable of the necessary organisation and sacrifice, whether they will win it or not. In a war with Germany, or with any other great Power, England would have to resort to conscription. She cannot get an army in any other way, and an army hastily recruited after the war begins is doomed to defeat by an army already trained.

The men of Ireland will have to fight either for England or against her. Ireland will have to make the same sacrifices in blood and treasure, no matter on which side she fights, and if she fights on England’s side she will be crushed down with a load of debt for generations to come. If she fights against England she has a chance – almost a certainty – of winning her independence, and even if she loses she will be in a position to exact better terms than if she had fought on England’s side.


But we are told that Ireland could not maintain an army and a navy capable of defending her independence. She pays more now to maintain the English army and navy than it would cost to maintain her own, and an independent Ireland would have to cope only with a weakened and crippled England, instead of with the resources of the whole British Empire. Ireland has all the essential attributes of Nationhood, and an Irish nation would be strong and powerful and able to defend itself. And the Irish race can make Ireland a nation if they have the will.

The next great war will remake the map of Europe, and it is coming soon. It will upset governments and change boundaries. Ireland’s boundaries were fixed by the Almighty – let us insist that they shall be the boundaries of a Sovereign State.

In all human history the only men who have achieved success are those who aimed high and pursued an unflinching purpose boldly and resolutely. There are twenty millions of us in the world, and if we stand firmly on our inalienable rights and make proper use of the opportunity that will soon be within our grasp we shall certainly make Ireland a nation. If we are unequal to the opportunity Ireland will go down in the wreck and ruin of the British Empire. Our only choice is between Nationhood and extinction.

John Devoy, originally published in Irish Freedom, April 1911

Article originally published on: Saturday 15th April 1911

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Who fears to speak of Easter Week

That week of famed renown,
When the boys in green went out to fight
The forces of the Crown.
With Mausers bold and hearts of gold
And the Countess dressed in green
And high above the G.P.O.
The rebel flag was seen.

Then came ten thousand khaki coats
Our rebel boys to kill,
Before they reached O’Connell Street,
Of fight they got their fill.
They’d Maxim guns and cavalry
And cannon in galore;
But it’s not our fault that e’er a one
Got back to England’s shore.


Irish-German Treaty of 1914

The following text is an extract from John Devoy’s autobiography Recollections of an Irish Rebel.

Casement’s mission to Germany had three main objects:

First, to secure German military help for Ireland when the opportunity offered.

Second, to educate German public opinion on the Irish situation, so that the people would stand behind the Government when it took action in favour of Ireland.

Third, to organise, if possible, Irish prisoners of war into a military unit to take part in the fight for Irish freedom.

Casement did his best

A Faery Song

We who are old,
Old and grey,
O so old!
Thousands of years,
Thousands of years,
If all were told:
Give to these children,
New from the world,
Silence and love
And the long
Dew-dropping hours
Of the night,
And the stars above.

William Butler Yeats


The Dying Rebel

The night was dark, and the fight was ended,
The moon shone down O’Connell Street,
I stood alone, where brave men perished
Those men have gone, their God to meet.

My only son was shot in Dublin,
Fighting for his country bold,
He fought for Ireland and Ireland only,
The Harp and Shamrock, Green, White and Gold.

The first I met was a grey haired father
Searching for his only son,
I said “Old man, there’s no use searching
For up to heaven, your son has gone”.

The old man cried o

From Clontarf to Berlin: National Status in Sport

In the following article Sir Roger Casement, late Consul-General, Rio de Janeiro, who was amongst the first to see the necessity of a National Volunteer movement, refers to the Battle of Clontarf, and pleads for a Volunteer Review on the approaching Centenary. He also points out the necessity of having a National status for Ireland at the Olympic Games.

There are two things the Irish Volunteers might do, one almost at once, the other within the next two years, that should have an uplifting and enlarging influence on our National life.

The first is to organise a Volunteer

Trees of Liberty

[A friend with a surly, satirical face flings in our way this banter upon “Irish indolence.” Very well friend; we shame the devil and print your libel. Fas et ab hoste doceri. If there be any seeds of truth in it they will grow, when the chaff and wrappage only make manure for them.]

(From Mr. Bramble’s unpublished Arboretum Hibernicum.)

Many Irishmen talk of dying, &c., for Ireland, and I really believe almost every Irishman now alive longs in his way for an opportunity to do the dear old country some good. Opportunities of at once usefully and con

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