The Gobshites – Somebody Put Something In My Drink
The Gobshites – Trouble With Women
Ceili Family – Band of Bowsies
The Rumjacks – Les Darcy
Sisters of Murphy – L.O.V.E
The Led Farmers – Share The Wealth
The Gobshites – Cheers
The Mahones – Girl With Galway Eyes (dedicated to Anne McConnell)
Gerard Smith – The Parting Glass
The Rumjacks – Fact’ry Jack
The Popes – Storming Heaven
The Wild Irish Roses – Brennan On The Moore
James Vincent McMorrow – Rising Water
The Whisky Priests – The Hard Men
Mischief Brew – Every Town Will Celebrate
Bodh’aktan – Grazie Mille
Alternative Ulster – Riot in the Rondout
Rovers Ahead – Ghost Of Anne Reily
The Real McKenzies – Skye Boat Song
Jamie Clarke’s Perfect – Thru Sid Vicious Eyes
BibleCodeSundays – The Lords of Winter Hill
The Go Set – Bones
The Black Tartan Clan – Standing Strong
Tom O’Reilly & The Swaggers – Country Boy Blues
Happy St. Patrick’s Day – Up the Republic and none of that St. Patty’s shite here.
Kilkenny Knights – Dance
Neck – Come Out Fighting
Shambolics – Pogue Mahone (Kiss My Arse)
Drunken Dolly – Drunken Man’s Curse
The Mahones – Shakespeare Road
The Popes – Drunken Lazy Bastard
The Pubcrawlers – I’ll Tell Me Ma
The Rumjacks – An Irish Pub song
The BibleCodeSundays – Going On The Lash in the USA
The Tossers – The Rocky Road To Dublin
Fiddler’s Green – Sporting Day
Bill Grogans Goat – The Galway Races
Causeway Giants – Rothseao
The Mahones – Riot Tonight
The Mighty Regis – Brothers Rafferty (2010)
The BibleCodeSundays – The Lords of Winter hill
The Peelers – Plastic Paddy
The Bucks – The Bucks Set
The Gobshites – Dicey Riley
Neck – The Fields Of Athenry
Blood or Whiskey – Galway Town
The Skels – Waxie’s Dargle
The Tossers – Goodmornin’ Da
The Gobshites – Guinness Boys
The Mahones – The Whiskey Devils
The Skels – Whiskey You’re the Devil
Big Bad Bollocks – Guinness
The Porters – Lady Whiskey
The Indulgers – Whiskey Tonight
The Fighting Jamesons – One More Drink
Sir Reg – Drink Up Yah Sinners
The Gobshites – Beer Song
Kilmaine Saints – The Whiskey’s Calling
Lexington Field – Whiskey
Ceann – Whiskey Hurts My Tummy
The Bastard Bearded Irishmen – Drinkin, Drankem, Drunkem
The Fenians – Token Whiskey Song
Ceann – Green Beer
Muirsheen Durkin and Friends – The Pogues & Whiskey
The Mahones – St. Patrick’s Day Irish Punk Song
Hit The Bottle Boys – Whiskey in the Jar
Jackdaw – Where is Claire?
Alternative Ulster – Jenny Metals
The Tossers – Johnny McGuire’s Wake
Neck – The Foggy Dew
The Narrowbacks – Rising Of The Moon
The Langer’s Ball – Cork Dry Gin
The Langer’s Ball – Sword of Light
The Go Set – Rolling Sound
Alternative Ulster – Riot in the Rondout
Charm City Saints – The Night Paddy Murphy Died
The Rumjacks – Sober & Godless
The Go Set – Punkfest Night
The Narrowbacks – Shannon
The Dullahans – Molly Malone
Mischief Brew – Every Town Will Celebrate
BibleCodeSundays – Pittsburgh Kid
Here’s the podcast of our best of 2015 list.
Celkilt: On The Table
On the Table
The Tosspints: The Privateer
Circle J: Year of the Goat
The ones we left behind
Larkin: A Toast to St. Jude
Wages of Sin
Fun Fun Fun
Ferocious Dog: From Without
Slow Motion Suicide
Pete Berwick: The Legend of Tyler Doohan
The Legend of Tyler Doohan
Keep your socks on and don’t look down
Greenland Whalefishers: The Thirsty Cave
20 Years of Waiting
The Rumjacks: Sober and Godless
Blows & Unkind Words
Sober & Godless
The Mahones: The Hunger & The Fight (part two)
Punk Rock Saved My Life
#Mahones, #Rumjacks #Greenland Whalefishers #FerociousDog #shitenonions
Band – Song – Album
01 – Lexington Field – Ghostwriter – Greenwood
02 – The Kissers – What They Can – Good Fight!
03 – Pete Berwick – Renegade – Give It Time
04 – Drunken Dolly – Drunken Man’s Curse – And The Drunken Man’s Curse
05 – Stone Clover – One More Beer – Proper Villians
06 – Amadan – The Old North End – Pacifica
07 – Circle J – The Ones We Left Behind – Year Of The Goat (EP)
08 – Charm City Saints – The Night Paddy Murphy Died – Hooligans & Saints
09 – Uncle Hamish & The Hooligans – Jolly Beggerman – Operators Are Standing By…
10 – Currency – 888 – The Currency
11 – The Tossers – Bombo Lane – The Emerald City
12 – Kilkenny Knights – Dance! – Brady’s Pub Tales
13 – McGillicuddys – Buy Us a Drink – Kilt By Death
14 – The Tossers – Sláinte – The Emerald City
15 – The Tosspints – The Privateer – The Privateer
Thought we’d do a podcast dedicated to the proud musical tradition of the Irish and Irish-American outlaw.
Brennan on the Moore: Pat Chessell
Brennan was an highwayman from Cork who was hung around 1812. Sold out by a lady friend. The Clancy Brothers made Brennan on the Moore famous and ironically Bob Dylan stole it an turned it it into “Ramblin’ Gamblin Willie”
Whiskey in the Jar: The Bearded Bastard Irishmen
Maybe the most famous Irish ballad ever with roots going back to the 1600s. The Dubliners brought it in to the modern era but it is most associated with Thin Lizzy (despite the fact some Metallica fans think it was written by Lars). Like Brennan the unnamed highwayman was sold out by a scorned woman. So beware, if you plan to make a career robbing stage coaches, don’t trust the molls.
Grace O’Malley: The Dreadnoughts
Despite sounding like the name of a SNL catholic school girl, Grace was the most fearsome pirate of the 1500s. So ferocious the even Queen Elizabeth paid tribute to her.
Newry Highwayman: The Kissers
A highwayman looks back on his life with out remorse before he has his neck stretched on Stephens Green.
Five Points: Black 47
Seen The Gangs of New York? That was the FIve Points.
The Legend Of Money Malone: Kevin Flynn & The Avondale Ramblers
Gangster and politicians in the Windy City are often one and the same.
Legs Diamond: The Great Western Squares
NYC gangster, bootlegger and inspiration for the name of a doggy metal band.
Animal Gang Blues: Trouble Pilgrims
Dublin street gang of the 1930s.The picture is of the infamous Lugs Brannigan of the Garda riot squad who dealt out street justice.
Honour of the Gael: The BibleCodeSundays
Written by BCS for a movie about the Irish-American gangsters of Charlestown, MA. The movie was never made but there are more then a couple of movies floating around about the townies.
Robin Hood of Collinwood: Mary’s Lane
Danny Greene, the Irish man the mod could not kill (until they killed him). In death he lives on as a beer and an old skool hardcore band.
Whitey: The BibleCodeSundays
No introduction needed here. The bio-picture coming soon to a movie theater near you (though I doubt the will be a Whitey beer anytime soon)
Sawney Bean: Junkman’s Choir
A clan of Scottish cannibals. The story of ’em scared the shite out of me as a child.
After The Union
The Peelers – Repeal Of Licensing Laws (the closest we could get to a Repel Of The Union)
Roll on the 1800’s. Things can only get better. Right? One of the intentions of British Prime Mister, William Pitt (rhymes with shit) was to bring in Catholic emancipation with the union (the right to vote and take a seat in parliament). He believed it would be easier to achieve emancipation for Catholics if they were a minority in a United Kingdom rather then a majority in the Kingdom of Ireland – though what’s the point of your vote means nothing? Unfortunately the king was George lll. Remember him? The loonie German that lost the Americas – well Georgie Porgie was as king also head of the Anglican church and would not allow emancipation so Pitt quit (rhymes with shit). Within 4 years Pitt was back but the moment had passed and he was busy dealing with a short French trouble maker.
George III lays down the law. What! What! Bring in the Papists?
Daniel O’Connell and Catholic emancipation: AD 1823-29
While the penal laws were still in effect they had diminished in severity since the late 1700s – Catholics could now serve in the army, property rights improved and importantly some Catholics could vote….men with certain property rights. This was seized up by a crafty (a cute whoore in local speak) Kerry born lawyer called Daniel O’Connell – Danny Bhoy knew there was nothing in the law that could stop him running for election, the problem was if he won as a Catholic he could not take the oath of allegiance to the inheritor of the bollox of Henry the 8th as Defender of the Faith. So Danny throws his hat in the ring and faces off against the hand picked candidate of the Duke of Wellington and whips his arse. The Brits have a problem now, there is an elected member of Parliament who won’t take the oath and his core supporters a generation before rebelled massively and bloodily. The Brits blink and the oath is gone. DOC in MP for county Clare.
O’Connell – The original Kerry politician
Healy Rae- Today’s Kerry Politician
Daniel O’Connell and the monster meetings: 1842-1844
With O’Connell now in the Houses of Parliament others were elected and soon O`O’Connell was heading up the movement to repel the Act of Union. O’Connell was quite the political organizer and through church gate collections a war chest of funds was build that would put an American presidential candidate to shame, he also organized in-conjunction with the Young Ireland movement monster meetings to agitate and show support for repel of the union. The first Million Man March was to be organized at Clontarf in 1843 (see part 1 for the significance of Clontarf) a good 150 years before Spike Lee. Peel the then Prime Minister wasn’t going to let this happen and sent in troops with cannons. DOC being the Gandhi like statesman backed down and for his trouble was arrested, tried and jailed along with the leaders of the Young Ireland movement. He spent almost a year in the can before the House of Lords had him sprung.
The Great Famine: 1845-1850
Neck – The Fields of Athenry
Black 47 – Black 47
The Woods Band – The Grosse Isle Lament
Economically things were crap. In the1820s famine came close and there was the first large scale Irish emigration to the new word. But the population continued to grow as it shot up from 2.5 million in 1800 to 8 million 1845. Ireland was essentially an agricultural economy and expected to be the breadbasket for the rapidly industrializing England (industry competition with England was not allowed going back to the 1400s and the Statutes of Kilkenny). Now while parts of Ireland are very rich in agricultural land other parts are poor especially the boggy midlands and the poor lands of the West of Ireland. The main reason for the increase in population was the potato. Now despite the fact the average Irish man looks like a potato this tumor is native to the Americas and introduced to Ireland by the Elizabethan planter Sir Walter Raleigh – famous for covering a puddle with his cloak for Lizzie so she wouldn’t get her feet wet though fat lot of good it did him in the end as his head ended up in a basket. The old potato became the staple diet of Paddy and Biddy and not just because of the taste. It was a high yield crop that could be cultivated on poor land and small holdings – by 1845 90% of Irish farms were 10 acres or less and many thousands more had mere patches of mud to grow their all important crop.
Eviction – Landlords took advantage of the famine to clear the land of tenants
In 1845 the crop failed because of a blight that came in from America, the crop failed again in 1846 and 1847 (Black 47) and the great hunger became the great famine. The policy of the government in London exacerbated the famine and when public works projects were put in place it was to little too late, corn was brought in from America to be sold to the starving while Ireland was still exporting more food produce then was coming in. Lord Trevelyan, the British administrator in Ireland did not believe in government assistance and personally believed the famine was a punishment from God upon the lazy Irish peasant class and the feckless landlord class.
God’s curse upon you Lord Trevelyan
May your great Queen Victoria rot in hell – Black 47
By 1852 Ireland’s population was reduced to 6.5m with an estimated one million dead and one million left the country with the bulk of the exiles outta the clutches of Britannia and now in the United States.
The Wakes – St Patrick’s Battalion
The Mickey Finns – The Ballad Of Duffy’s Cut
Kilmaine Saints – Brave Yankee Boys
Black 47 – Five Points
The BibleCodeSundays – DixieLand
Dropkick Murphys – The Fighting 69th
Circle J – Molly Maguires
The famine not only changed the course of Irish history but also America where the potato and the blight originated. While there was Irish emigration to the US prior to the Great Famine this was the first wave of massive non-Anglo emigration to America. The US was open to the immigration as it need the labor to dig canals, build the railroads, work in the mills and fight in its wars – the war of 1848 was underway and the US was screaming our for cannon fodder (though things didn’t always go to plan like when Jon Riley took his Irish troops over to the Mexican side cos he didn’t think the war was just and disliked the poor treatment of the Irish in the American army)
The Irish were exiled and angry. Poor, excluded and exploited. They were most likely to be found in the slums of the Yankee east coast doing the jobs the Yankee didn’t want. There were anti-Irish riots in Philadelphia and New York and a catholic convent was burned down by an angry mob in Boston. The Irish used the political experience learned in Ireland and within a generation most big East coast American cities were under Irish political control. The American Civil War was a huge turning point for the Irish, and while many Irish were against emancipation of the slaves- how quickly they forget – and feared free slaves coming north and undercutting them for jobs, the Irish did show their loyalty to their adopted homeland and fought with valor (for both sides)
Winning respect in America – the hard way
A Molly Maguire executed
Seanchai – Fenians
Larkin – A Nation Once Again
Muirsheen Durkin & Friends – God Save Ireland
One group that was to use the Civil War for its advantage as The Fenians Brotherhood. Formed in New York City in 1858 the Fenians were a secret society whose aim was to drive the Brits outta Ireland. The Fenians knew the war would be a good source of trained and armed solders. With the war over the Fenians staged a rebellion in Ireland (it failed), they invaded Canada (three times), invented the submarine and undertook a dynamite campaign in England. The Fenian were the boogie man of Victorian Britain and condemned by the Church.
“when we look down into the fathomless depth of this infamy of the heads of the Fenian conspiracy, we must acknowledge that eternity is not long enough, nor hell hot enough to punish such miscreants” – Bishop Moriarty of Kerry
The Fenian flag
The Battle of Ridgeway
Kilmaine Saints – Wearing of the Green
Auld Corn Brigade – Irish soldier laddie
The Brazen Heads – Wind That Shakes The Barley
Black 47 – Vinegar Hill
Barney Murray – Glory, Glory Oh
The Battering Ram – Henry Joy
The Town Pants – Kelly The Boy From Killanne
The Battering Ram – General Munro
Shane MacGowan and the Popes – Roddy McCorley
The Porters – The Rising of the Moon
Neck – Back Home In Derry
The Penal Laws:
So you thought the last 600 years of Irish history was crappy, well those were actually the good ‘oul days. With the Irish Catholic army in France and William light footed elsewhere the fully Protestant parliament in Dublin break every agreement in the treaty using the excuse that the Pope now was recognizing Jimmy Deuce as the rightfully King of Ireland and England, allowing them to consolidate their power and destroy any remaining Catholic power in the country. The laws they brought in were called The Penal Laws and were social engineering at its worst, designed to impoverish and disenfranchise the Catholic population. The modern equivalent would be the apartheid laws in South Africa – and like apartheid they were all about keeping the power and wealth within a select group rater then to force Catholics to convert (as much a apartheid was designed to change skin color) though the laws were structured that if a son of a wealthy landowner converted then he would inherit all the fathers property (sometimes this was encouraged within family’s when one converted and the rest prayed for his eternal soul) ,if there was no conversion then the land was subdivided between all sons. Education, voting and property rights were banned as was carrying of any weapons and the ownership of horses was restricted. Churches were closed and Popish priests would be exacted if caught in the country. Ironically, the Presbyterians in Ulster who supported Willie and held out against Jimbo in Derry were also subject to the Penal Laws – their faith was not recognized at all and while a Catholic priest would be boiled, burned and beheaded if caught in the country his sacraments were still recognized by the state as valid – marriages the Presbyterians minister performed were not though they didn’t have to fear the being anyone’s barbecue – thousands of these dissenters left for North America and within a couple of generations they had their revenge and made life very difficult for the British in the colonies before becoming the original Hillbillies and Red Necks of the American South. “I bet you can squeal like a pig. Yah Fenian bastard!”
The Treat of Limerick – not worth the stone it was written on
No Pope Here
Through out the 1700’s thing in Ireland got worse and worse and the Catholic population ground into poverty or left the county for the armies of Europe or education in the Irish Colleges in Paris or Rome. Famine broke out twice in the 1700 yet the Landlord class built large palatial mansions and ruled over estates of tens of thousands of acres with thousand of tenant farmers living hand to mouth eating the only crop that could grow on their miserable few acres that would feed their brood of 25 red headed runts, the potato. If a tenant improved his land then the rent was raised, if another tenant offered more rent for another tenants land then that land went to the highest bidder and the original tenant was thrown off the land. Pretty suckie! If you every visit Ireland make sure you visit Castletown House outside Dublin (Celbridge) and take the tour. The house is the largest house in Ireland built by William Conelly, the speaker of the Dublin parliament who made a fortune through taking over the land of the disposed in the early 1700’s and as the tour guide in the plummy West-Brit accent tells you about the wonderful life of the inhabitants of the big house, stick yer paw up and ask about the Irish in their mud cabin out the back who were paying for the parasites life style – it’s great to watch ’em squirm.
A Mud Cabin
The United Irishmen:
In the 1776 the world shifted on its axis and 13 British Colonies declared independence and Ireland and especially Ulster with its close ties to the Americas (family ties so close that family trees were often just trunks) got cowbell republican fever. Then in 1789 the other country that provided sanctuary to the Irish, France, fell to republicanism. Within 3 years of the fall of the Bastille in 1792 saw the formation of the Society of United Irishmen that combined liberal Protestants in Dublin and Belfast with the Catholic rump with the idea of revolution to bring in democracy to Ireland, leaders of the movement included Lord Edward Fitzgerald – the youngest son of the Duke of Leinster – who started his career as a Redcoat and was shot and left for dead at Yorktown being rescued from the battlefield by a slave, Wolfe Tone (not the group but the man, though they are old enough to have been around then) and Napper Tandy. From pamphlets they moved quickly to revolution and appeals to the new French dictator Napoleon to send troops to Invade Ireland. Ireland moved toward all out revolution. Wolfe Tone tries 3 times to bring the French to Ireland. In 1796, 43 French ships carrying 15,000 men got in sight of Bantry Bay but the “Protestant winds” stopped the landing, there was another attempt in 1797 but again the weather stopped the landing and a third attempt was undertake with 3,000 men but disaster struck and Tone and Tandy were captured at the Battle of Lough Swilly in October 1798 which ended the rebellion (and Tone’s life).
The Capture of Lord Edward
I met with Napper Tandy and I shook him by the hand he said hold me up for chrissake for I can hardly stand.
The 1798 Rising:
Skipping back a few months to March 1798 and after a particularly riotous Paddy’s day martial law was imposed (well more due to informers actually) forcing the United Irishmen into action before the French could try to show up again – a small rebellion breaks out in Cahir, County Tipperary that is quickly crushed, then the United Irishmen planed to take Dublin but again the government had a hot line to the plans through Informers. Never the less rebellion breaks out in surrounding counties of Kildare (Barney Murray – Glory, Glory Oh), Carlow and Wicklow (Holt’s Way) and are all crushed quickly and brutally. The rebellion spreads to Ulster and Antrim (Roddy McCorley) and Down and after initial success the rebels are………you guessed it……..crushed. To the south in Wexford the biggest rebellion of all breaks out and under the leadership of the Catholic priest, Fr. John Murphy – who was initially a government loyalist but who turned after witnessing government brutality to his parishioners. The rebels quickly took over the county but defeats at the Battle of New Ross, Battle of Arklow, and the Battle of Bunclody halted the spread of the rebellion outside of the county. The government poured in 20,000 troops and the Irish and the Red Coats with support from German mercenaries met at Vinegar Hill. Despite the splendid leader ship of Fr. Murphy the rebels were poorly armed and trained and up against battle hardened regulars they are encircled and completely routed. Much butchery of the surrendering rebels and their civilian followers followed – Fr Murphy was stripped, flogged, hanged, decapitated, his corpse burnt in a barrel of tar and his head impaled on a spike (not quite water-boarding but almost as bad).
The Battle of New Ross
The Republic of Connaught:
Meanwhile across the country in Mayo, a small advance party of French Solders under the command of General Jean Joseph Amable Humbert land and they are met by the local muckers and the local branch of the United Irishmen. They quickly defeat the yeomanry and march on the 6,000 red coats hanging out in Castlebar. Faced with 1,000 Frenchmen and 1,000 bogmen with pikes (big stick with points on one end) in front of them the Redcoats turn and run and the battle becomes know in local legend as the Castlebar Races – the Redcoats, not pursued a mile or two beyond Castlebar they did not stop running until reaching Tuam, with some units fleeing as far as Athlone in the panic. After Castlebar the French/Irish army tries to march across the country and meet up with rebels in the midlands with the plan of taking Dublin. They made it to the midlands but like all good Irish battle they out on the losing end at the Battle of Ballinamuck. The French troops who surrender got off easily and were exchanged for British prisoners held by the French – the Irish, well those who weren’t killed in battle were executed by Lord Cornwallis orders (he who lost America for the crown). The novel The Year of The French by Thomas Flanagan based on the French landing is highly recommended.
The British Army
The rebellion was essentially over by October 1798 though some rebels held out in the hill and the bogs and with a small rebellion breaking out (more a street fight) led by Robert Emmet 1803. Emmet was the brother of Thomas a leader of the United Irishmen who managed to escape to New York. Emmet nearly escaped but the old romantic went to see his mott and was caught. He was tried for treason in front of hanging judge, Lord Norbury with his defense lawyer bribed by the crown. After he is sentenced to death the judge makes the mistake of asking Emmet “What have you, therefore, now to say why judgment of death and execution shall not be awarded against you according to law?”.
Emmet didn’t hold back and delivered one of the greatest speeches of history – ask Old Abe Lincoln – but it didn’t do him much good for the mortal world and he was hung, drawn and quartered (hung till your nearly dead, dragged behind horses and then cut in 4 pieces after he head is lobbed off by an axe).
“What have I to say why sentence of death should not be pronounced on me, according to law?
I have nothing to say which can alter your predetermination, not that it would become me to say with any view to the mitigation of that Sentence which you are here to pronounce, and by which I must abide. But I have that to say which interests me more than life, and which you have laboured, as was necessarily your office in the present circumstances of this oppressed country to destroy. I have much to say why my reputation should be rescued from the load of false accusation and calumny which has been heaped upon it. I do not imagine that, seated where you are, your minds can be so free from impurity as to receive the least impression from what I am about to utter. I have no hope that I can anchor my character in the breast of a court constituted and trammelled as this is. I only wish, and it is the utmost I expect. that your lordships may suffer it to float down your memories untainted by the foul breath of prejudice, until it finds some more hospitable harbour to shelter it from the rude storm by which it is at present buffeted.
Were I only to suffer death, after being adjudged guilty by your tribunal, I should bow in silence, meet the fate that awaits me without a murmur; but the sentence of the law which delivers my body to the executioner, will, through the ministry of the law, labour in its own vindication to consign my character to obloquy, for there must be guilt somewhere—whether in the sentence of the court, or in the catastrophes posterity must determine. A man in my situation, my lords, has not only to encounter the difficulties of fortune, and the force of power over minds which it has corrupted or subjugated, but the difficulties of established prejudice. The man dies, but his memory lives. That mine may not perish, that it may live in the respect of my countrymen, I seize upon this opportunity to vindicate myself from some of the charges alleged against me. When my spirit shall be wafted to a more friendly port—when my shade shall have joined the bands of those martyred heroes, who have shed their blood on the scaffold and in the field in defence of their country and of virtue, this is my hope—I wish that my memory and name may animate those who survive me, while I look down with complacency on the destruction of that perfidious government which upholds its domination by blasphemy of the Most High—which displays its power over man is over the beasts of the forest—which set man upon his brother, and lifts his hand, in the name of God, against the throat of his fellow who believes or doubts a little more or a little less than the government standard—a government which is steeled to barbarity by the cries of the orphans and the tears of the widows which it has made.
Lord Norbury— “The weak and wicked enthusiasts who feel as you feel are unequal to the accomplishment of their wild designs”.
I appeal to the immaculate God—I swear by the Throne of Heaven, before which I must shortly appear—by the blood of the murdered patriots who have gone before me—that my conduct has been, through all this peril, and through all my purposes, governed only by the convictions which I have uttered, and by no other view than that of the emancipation of my country from the superinhuman oppression under which she has so long and too patiently travailed; and I confidently and assuredly hope that, wild and chimerical as it may appear, there is still union and strength in Ireland to accomplish this noblest enterprise. Of this I speak with the confidence of intimate knowledge, and with the consolation that appertains to that confidence, think not, my lords, that I say this for the petty gratification of giving you a transitory uneasiness. A man who never yet raised his voice to assert a lie will not hazard his character with posterity by asserting a falsehood on a subject so important to his country, and on an occasion like this. Yes, my lords, a man who does not wish to have his epitaph written until his country is liberated will not leave a weapon in the power of envy, nor a pretence to impeach the probity which he means to preserve, even in the grave to which tyranny consigns him.
Lord Norbury — “You proceed to unwarrantable lengths, in order to exasperate or delude the unwary, and circulate opinions of the most dangerous tendency, for purposes of mischief”.
Again I say that what I have spoken was not intended for your lordship, whose situation I commiserate rather than envy—my expressions were for my countrymen. If there is a true Irishman present, let my last words cheer him in the hour of his affliction—
Lord Norbury— ”What you have hitherto said confirms and justifies the verdict of the jury”.
I have always understood it to be the duty of a judge, when a prisoner has been convicted, to pronounce the sentence of the law. I have also understood that judges sometimes think it their duty to hear with patience, and to speak with humanity; to exhort the victim of the laws, and to offer, with tender benignity, their opinions of the motives by which he was actuated in the crime of which he was adjudged guilty. That a judge has thought it his duty so to have done, I have no doubt; but where is that boasted freedom of your institutions—where is the vaunted impartiality, clemency, and mildness of your courts of justice, if an unfortunate prisoner, whom your policy, and not your justice, is about to deliver into the hands of the executioner, is not suffered to explain his motives sincerely and truly, and to vindicate the principles by which he was actuated?
My lords, it may be a part of the system of angry justice to bow a man’s mind by humiliation to the purposed ignominy of the scaffold; but worse to me than the purposed shame or the scaffold’s terrors would be the shame of such foul and unfounded imputations as have been laid against me in this court. You, my lord, are a judge; I am the supposed culprit. I am a man; you are a man also. By a revolution of power we might change places, though we could never change characters. If I stand at the bar of this court and dare not vindicate my character, what a farce is your justice? If I stand at this bar and dare not vindicate my character, how dare you calumniate it? Does the sentence of death, which your unhallowed policy inflicts upon my body, also condemn my tongue to silence and my reputation to reproach? Your executioner may abridge the period of my existence, but, while I exist, I shall not forbear to vindicate my character and motives from your aspersions; as a man to whom fame is dearer than life, I will make the last use of that life in doing justice to that reputation which is to live after me, and which is the only legacy I can leave to those I honour and love, and for whom I am proud to perish.
As men, my lord, we must appear on the great day at one common tribunal, and it will then remain for the Searcher of all hearts to show a collective universe who was engaged in the most virtuous actions or actuated by the purest motives—my country’s oppressor, or—
Lord Norbury— ”Stop, sir! Listen to the sentence of the law”.
My lord, shall a dying man be denied the legal privilege of exculpating himself in the eyes of the community from an undeserved reproach thrown upon him during his trial, by charging him with ambition, and attempting to cast away for a paltry consideration the liberties of his country? Why did your lordship insult me? Or rather, why insult justice in demanding of me why sentence of death should not be pronounced? I know, my lord, that form prescribes that you should ask the question. The form also presumes the right of answering. This, no doubt, may be dispensed with, and so might the whole ceremony of the trial, since sentence was already pronounced at the Castle before your jury were empanelled. Your lordships are but the priests of the oracle. I submit to the sacrifice; but I insist on the whole of the forms.
Lord Norbury— “You may proceed, sir”.
I am charged with being an emissary of France. An emissary of France! And for what end? It is alleged that I wish to sell the independence of my country; and for what end? Was this the object of my ambition? And is this the mode by which a tribunal of justice reconciles contradictions? No; I am no emissary.
My ambition was to hold a place among the deliverers of my country—not in power, not in profit, but in the glory of the achievement. Sell my country’s independence to France! And for what? A change of masters? No; but for my ambition. Oh, my country! Was it personal ambition that influenced me? Had it been the soul of my actions, could I not, by my education and fortune, by the rank and consideration of my family, have placed myself amongst the proudest of your oppressors? My country was my idol. To it I sacrificed every selfish, every endearing sentiment; and for it I now offer myself, O God! No, my lords; I acted a an Irishman, determined on delivering my country from the yoke of a foreign and unrelenting tyranny, and from the more galling yoke of a domestic faction, its joint partner and perpetrator in the patricide, whose reward is the ignominy of existing with an exterior of splendour and a consciousness of depravity. It was the wish of my heart to extricate my country from this doubly-riveted despotism—I wish to place her independence beyond the reach of any power on earth. I wish to exalt her to that proud station in the world which Providence had destined her to fill. Connection with France was, indeed, intended, but only so far as mutual interest would sanction or require.
Were the French to assume any authority inconsistent with the purest independence, it would be the signal for their destruction. We sought their aid— and we sought it as we had assurances we should obtain it—as auxiliaries in war, and allies in peace. Were the French to come as invaders or enemies, uninvited by the wishes of the people, I should oppose them to the utmost of my strength. Yes! My countrymen, I should advise you to meet them on the beach with a sword in one hand and a torch in the other. I would meet them with all the destructive fury of war, and I would animate my countrymen to immolate them in their boats before they had contaminated the soil of my country. If they succeeded in landing, and if forced to retire before superior discipline, I would dispute every inch of ground, raze every house, burn every blade of grass; the last spot on which the hope of freedom should desert me, there would I hold, and the last of liberty should be my grave.
What I could not do myself in my fall, I should leave as a last charge to my countrymen to accomplish; because I should feel conscious that life, any more than death, is dishonourable when a foreign nation holds my country in subjection. But it was not as an enemy that the succours of France were to land. I looked, indeed, for the assistance of France; I wished to prove to France and to the world that Irishmen deserved to be assisted—that they were indignant at slavery, and ready to assert the independence and liberty of their country; I wished to procure for my country the guarantee which Washington procured for America—to procure an aid which, by its example, would be as important as its valour; disciplined, gallant, pregnant with science and experience; that of allies who would perceive the good, and polish the rough points of our character. They would come to us as strangers, and leave us as friends, after sharing in our perils, and elevating our destiny. These were my objects; not to receive new taskmasters, but to expel old tyrants. And it was for these ends I sought aid from France; because France, even as an enemy, could not be more implacable than the enemy already in the bosom of my country.
Lord Norbury— ”You are making an avowal of dreadful treasons, and of a determined purpose to have persevered in them, which I do believe, has astonished your audience”.
I have been charged with that importance in the efforts to emancipate my country, as to be considered the keystone of the combination of Irishmen, or, as your lordship expressed it, “the life and blood of the conspiracy”. You do me honour overmuch; you have given to a subaltern all the credit of a superior. There are men engaged in this conspiracy who are not only superior to me; but even to your own conception of yourself, my lord; men before the splendour of whose genius and virtues I should bow with respectful deference, and who would think themselves disgraced by shaking your bloodstained hand—
Lord Norbury— “You have endeavoured to establish a wicked and bloody provisional government”.
What, my lord! shall you tell me, on the passage to the scaffold, which that tyranny, of which you are only the intermediary executioner, has erected for my murder, that I am accountable for all the blood that has been and will be shed in this struggle of the oppressed against the oppressor? Shall you tell me this, and must I be so very as slave as not to repel it?
Lord Norbury— “A different conduct would have better become one who had endeavoured to overthrow the laws and liberties of his country”.
I who fear not to approach the Omnipotent Judge to answer for the conduct of my whole life, am I to be appalled and falsified by a mere remnant of mortality here? By you, too, who if it were possible to collect all the innocent blood that you have shed in your unhallowed ministry in one great reservoir, your lordship might swim in it.
Lord Norbury—“I exhort you not to depart this life with such sentiments of rooted hostility to your country as those which you have expressed’.
Let no man dare, when I am dead, to charge me with dishonour; let no man attaint my memory by believing that I could have engaged in any cause but that of my country’s liberty and independence; or that I could have become the pliant minion of power in the oppression and misery of my countrymen. The proclamation of the Provisional Government speaks for my views; no inference can be tortured from it to countenance barbarity or debasement at home, or subjection, humiliation, or treachery from abroad. I would not have submitted to a foreign oppressor, for the same reason that I would resist the domestic tyrant. In the dignity of freedom, I would have fought upon the threshold of my country, and its enemy should only enter by passing over my lifeless corpse. And am I, who lived but for my country, who have subjected myself to the dangers of the jealous and watchful oppressor, and now to the bondage of the grave, only to give my countrymen their rights, and my country her independence—am I to be loaded with calumny and not suffered to resent it? No, God forbid!
Here Lord Norbury told Emmet that his sentiments and language disgraced his family and his education, but more particularly his father, Dr. Emmet, who was a man, if alive, that would not countenance such opinions. To which Emmet replied:—
If the spirits of the illustrious dead participate in the concerns and cares of those who were dear to them in this transitory life, O! ever dear and venerated shade of my departed father, look down with scrutiny upon the conduct of your suffering son, and see if I have, even for a moment, deviated from those principles of morality and patriotism which it was your care to instil into my youthful mind, and for which I am now about to offer up my life. My lords, you seem impatient for the sacrifice. The blood for which you thirst is not congealed by the artificial terrors which surround your victim [the soldiery filled and surrounded the Sessions House]—it circulates warmly and unruffled through the channels which God created for noble purposes, but which you are now bent to destroy, for purposes so grievous that they cry to heaven. Be yet patient! I have but a few words more to say. I am going to my cold and silent grave; my lamp of life is nearly extinguished; my race is run; the grave opens to receive me, and I sink into its bosom.
I have but one request to ask at my departure from this world; it is—THE CHARITY OF ITS SILENCE. Let no man write my epitaph; for as no man who knows my motives dare now vindicate them, let not prejudice or ignorance asperse them. Let them and me rest in obscurity and peace, and my name remain uninscribed, until other times and other men can do justice to my character. When my country takes her place among the nations of the earth, then, and not till then, let my epitaph be written. I have done.
The Act of Union:
The government in London finally had enough of the mismanagement of Ireland by the Protestant ascendancy in Dublin – they could do a much better job of the mismanagement of Ireland. In 1800 the two parliaments were joined in London and the Dublin parliament dissolved (and any member of the Dublin parliament who disagreed was bought off….cheap)