Pádraig Anraí Mac Piarais (Patrick Pearse)

I want close this series of posts I did for Easter weekend with a mention of Patrick Pearse, one of the leaders of the1916 rising.  (For a dramatic retelling of the events leading up to and inc;uding the Irish Rising of 1916 including great sketches of all the amazing personalities involved I highly recommend this book.) I hope to come back to the topic of Pearse later because he was a very interesting figure.  Pearse was always deeply committed to the Irish language and cultural revival and, though early in his career he was a moderate home rule supporter, he quickly moved towards becoming one of the most radical and romantic of the 1916 leaders.  Pearse was fervently Catholic, but was also a great proponent of the pre-Christian Irish heritage as well as of the Protestant republican tradition of men like Theobald Wolfe Tone and Robert Emmett.

Other than his reading of the Easter Proclamation from the steps of the GPO (see the text here), Pearse is perhaps best remembered for his oration at the gravesite of Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa.

Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa

Rossa, the great Irish Fenian leader and author of “Irish Rebels in English Prisons” was exiled from Ireland in 1870 and died in the U.S. in 1915.  His body was brought back to Ireland to be buried and Pearse gave the funeral oration.

 Padraig Pearseorossa-funeral.jpgJeremiah O’Donovan Rossa Funeral

“It has seemed right, before we turn away from this place in which we have laid the mortal remains of O’Donovan Rossa, that one amongst us should, in the name of all, speak the praise of that valiant man, and endeavour to formulate the thought and the hope that are in us as we stand around his grave. And if there is anything that makes it fitting that I rather than some other–I, rather than one of the grey-haired men who were young with him, and shared in his labour and in his suffering, should speak here, it is, perhaps, that I may be taken as speaking on behalf of a new generation that has been re-baptised in the Fenian faith, and that has accepted the responsibility of carrying out the Fenian programme. I propose to you, then, that here by the grave of this unrepentant Fenian, we renew our baptismal vows; that here by the grave of this unconquered and unconquerable man, we ask of God, each one for himself, such unshakeable purpose, such high and gallant courage, such unbreakable strength of soul as belonged to O’Donovan Rossa.

“Deliberately here we avow ourselves, as he avowed himself in the dock, Irishmen of one allegiance only. We, of the Irish Volunteers, and you others who are associated with us in to-day’s task and duty, are bound together, and must stand together henceforth in brotherly union for the achievement of the freedom of Ireland. And we know only one definition of freedom: It is Tone’s definition; it is Mitchel’s definition; it is Rossa’s definition. Let no one blaspheme the cause that the dead generations of Ireland served by giving it any other name and definition than their name and definition.

“We stand at Rossa’s grave, not in sadness, but rather in exaltation of spirit that it has been given us to come thus into so close a communion with that brave and splendid Gael. Splendid and holy causes are served by men who are themselves splendid and holy. O’Donovan Rossa was splendid in the proud manhood of him–splendid in the heroic grace of him, splendid in the Gaelic strength and clarity and truth of him. And all that splendour, and pride, and strength was compatible with a humility and a simplicity of devotion to Ireland, to all that was olden and beautiful and Gaelic in Ireland; the holiness and simplicity of patriotism of a Michael O’Clery or of an Eoghan O’Growney. The clear true eyes of this man almost alone in his day visioned Ireland as we to-day would surely have her–not free merely but Gaelic as well; not Gaelic merely, but free as well.

“In a closer spiritual communion with him now than ever before, or perhaps ever again, in spiritual communion with those of his day living and dead, who suffered with him in English prisons, in communion of spirit too with our own dear comrades who suffer in English prisons to-day, and speaking on their behalf as well as our own, we pledge to Ireland our love, and we pledge to English rule in Ireland our hate. This is a place of peace, sacred to the dead, where men should speak with all charity and with all restraint; but I hold it a Christian thing, as O’Donovan Rossa held it, to hate evil, to hate untruth, to hate oppression, and hating them, to strive to overthrow them. Our foes are strong, and wise, and wary; but strong and wise and wary as they are, they cannot undo the miracles of God, Who ripens in the hearts of young men the seeds sown by the young men of a former generation. And the seeds sown by the young men of ’65 and ’67 are coming to their miraculous ripening to-day. Rulers and Defenders of Realms had need to be wary it they would guard against such processes. Life springs from death, and from the graves of patriot men and women spring live nations. The defenders of this realm have worked well in secret and in the open. 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. They 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.”


One Response to “Pádraig Anraí Mac Piarais (Patrick Pearse)”

  1. AbuSinan Says:

    Great post brother! Tiocfaidh Ar La!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: