This is an old book, I have had probably far too long, the pages are now brown and its been well read over the years. Having mentioned a film this afternoon in a blog, the film being “Ryan’s Daughter” set in Ireland the time of “The Troubles”, prompted me before making a cup of Tea, for myself, what else being English (but with Irish Blood in my veins) to do this book first, so here goes. It won’t be very long, I promise
==========================================================================The book is called PEACE BY ORDEAL by LORD LONGFORD.
Have to say here I never cared for Lord Longford, he defended the IRA during their bombing campaigns mainly during Mrs Thatcher’s years as Prime Minister. He also defended and did his best to have released the most notorious Sadistic Killer this Country has known, what made it worse it was a Woman. Her name was Myra Hindley and she along with her boyfriend kidnapped, tortured and butchered Children. It made me sick and worse when I would hear of it when it happened, I never read the newspapers on any of it. Longford believed her innocent and tried to the end to have her released, she died in prison, she should have hung, her lover still lives.
Here we have Longford writing about the negotiation and signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921.
There was a man, a man from West Cork near from where my Mother came from, he was an unique man, a brilliant minded General, he should have led an Army, of course he did he led men – the majority of whom had no idea how to fight let alone have anything to fight with. His name MICHAEL COLLINS. I think all Irish women were in love with Michael Collins at that time, the myth of Michael Collins I was in love with, the man was Tall and Handsome oh so Handsome and Strong.
You may have seen the film Michael Collins as portrayed by Liam Neeson, my goodness how well he played him he was superb and should have won an Oscar for his performance.
This is taken from the book – Chapter 1
THE TREATY OF PEACE
“Spirit of Rumour; The Treaty moves all tongues tonight” by Thomas Hardy: The Dynasts.
On December 6, 1921 in the small hours of the morning, was signed at 10 Downing Street a document styled “Articles of Agreement for a Treaty between Great Britain and Ireland,” usually referred to as the “Anglo-Irish Treaty.” The signature of this document – the first Treaty ever signed (in a phase of Lloyd George’s) between the two Democracies” – put a final close to the guerilla war which had been devastating Ireland from January 1919, when an Irish Republic had been declared, down to the Truce of July 1921. Its deeper consequences was to transform the whole system under which Ireland had previously been governed and the whole basis of Ireland’s had previously bween governed and the whole basis of Ireland’s relationship to England. The British supremacy over Ireland’s relationships to England. The British supremacy over Ireland first claimed in 1172 was virtually ended. The legislative union that had linked the countries since 1800 was dissolved.
==========================================================================Michael Collins had well and truly been tricked into signing the Treaty, he did not want to but he had no choice, no choice at all. De Valera who was leader over Michael Collins would not go to London to sign the Treaty he forced Michael Collins to do so and as Lloyd George congratulated him on signing the Treaty Michael Collins spoke those now famous words “I have just signed my Death Warrant” and indeed he had.
Michael Collins took a bunch of men mostly uneducated and with no idea of fighting except in the pub or drunk I suppose and he taught them how to fight, when they told him they had no weapons, he took a pitchfork and said “there’s your weapon”. They attacked the local Police Stations and stole guns and whatever they could find. Michael Collins trained them showed them how to fight and by heavens they were a force to be reckoned with.
I was born in England but as I said my Parents came from Southern Ireland, my Father born in Blarney Village just by the gates to Blarney Castle, my mother born in a small hamlet in West Cork. My Father’s Father worked in City Hall his Mother was a real Lady that my Father worshipped. My Mother’s Father was a Farmer, Labourer, ditch digger, Turf digger you name it, my Mother’s Mother married at 18 looked after her Husband who was older than her and his Parents and her own Parents, then quickly the babies arrived, my Nana worked so hard a little Cottage no running water or electricity yet she never complained, as for my Grandad well I have spoken of him before and for me he was the finest Gentleman I have ever known, he was totally blind, blinded shoeing a Horse. My Father’s Parents died 1939 or 1940 with 6 weeks of each other.
I should think it was quite possible that my Grandad would have known Michael Collins, as Grandad before being blinded travelled around West Cork. My Mother remembered clearly the notorious Black and Tans that were sent over during the “Troubles” by Churchill they were cruel beyond belief. My Mother would tell me how as a little girl she remembered them coming down the cobbled lane to the Cottage, her mother would tell her to take the little dog down the acre and hide him because the Black and Tans shot the dogs. The Black and Tans would kick open the Cottage door storm in to a terrified woman with babies around her, bang on the table they had and demand “woman of the house, food now”, my mother would recall this so vividly.
My Father’s eldest Brother who was 15 maybe just 16 was blown to pieces by The Black and Tans, he worked for an undertaker making Coffins, as did my Father later. The stormed in as usual didn’t get the answers they wanted on leaving threw a hand grenade in, yet when I would say to my Father “how is it you don’t hate the British” he would tell me “don’t ever hate anyone its wrong. Never bite the hand that feeds you”, I never once heard my Father running down the UK I would and he would tell me off he would always tell me that it was a Great Country, so many would want to come here – well lately in the last year thats been proved true.
My Father worked for Ford Motor Company in Cork City when he was asked would he go to work in their new plant at Dagenham in Essex, he did so. Despite all the abuse and “NO IRISH” signs in the windows for lodging and despite some bitch excuse my language trying to give my Father Kit-e-kat to eat saying it was stew, until he told her to take it back and give him the food he had paid for, despite all the provoking he would take because he was a very quietly softly spoken Gentleman an Irishman who did not drink, perhaps a glass of Port on Christmas Day that he would barely sip. He was very shy and it was only the day or two before he died was he able to tell me how much he loved me, that breaks my heart even now, he died 1978 I was married desperately trying for a Baby, Daddy died January 1978 I conceived October 1978 Jonathan was born June 1979, the Grandson, Grandchild he so would have loved. I miss Daddy to this day, my mother well thats another story.
I am very proud of my Irish Blood and their history and their fight for Independence, The Treaty with Great Britain only led to more and more blood shed, when Michael Collins returned home he was called a Traitor by many even his own and a Civil War broke out. He knew from the start he had been betrayed by that lousy De Valera, who it is said arranged for the Assassination of Michael Collins. A trap was set for him as he travelled down from Cork City to West Cork they were ambushed and from a hill, a young lad fired that fatal shot that hit Michael Collins in the head he died on the spot. One of the cleverest men who could turn farmworkers, labourers into a fighting force, who could run rings around the British Government, he had been murdered. When De Valera heard of Michael Collins death it haunted him for the rest of his life. Jealousy of the massive popularity of Michael Collins put hatred in the heart of De Valera, his way to rid himself of this man was to Assassinate him. Without doubt Michael Collins would have become President of Ireland, that I have no doubt. His Funeral at Glasnevin Cemetery Dublin was the biggest ever seen probably still is. One year in Ireland we made the trip to Dublin and Glasnevin, saw Michael Collins Grave, said a Prayer – yes I do Pray – and took a photo. I dropped that camera and the roll of film was destroyed, never been back to Dublin since.
Whether my Grandad in West Cork had taken part in any fighting before and during the Civil War my mother would never let me ask Grandad anything, much to my regrets. But there was a Lady two doors down from our house where I lived in Ilford, Essex – her name was Mrs Daly and she not only knew Michael Collins but she fought for him and had the pictures to show me, we would talk and talk, my mother would call her a Liar not to her face of course, but I always believed Mrs Daly.
Ireland and its past still fascinates me, I love Ireland its deep in my heart. My Sons and myself adore Killarney and its there by the Lakes that when that time comes my Sons will scatter my ashes with my “Killarney baby” my first Daisy my late Cross Border Collie, her ashes will be mixed with mine, she was born there in Killarney by the Lakes and its there we both shall be.
My Grandad who was Blind and bedridden, I would sit and talk for hours to him – yes I do talk too much I agree with you! Grandad would tell me “go down the acre take some soil in you hand and hold it tight feel the soil the earth its in your blood”.
Ireland, yes Southern Ireland in my blood and for eternity.
Where my beautiful “Killarney Baby” Daisy my Cross Border Collie was born and where my Heart is.
Where my Grandparents and Mother was born – the Soil the love of Ireland, the magic of it all.