Fearless But Few: Fermanagh and the Easter Rising

Fearless But Few: Fermanagh and the Easter Rising

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Commemorating William Scott. Ulster Protestant, Irish Nationalist.

The Fermanagh 1916 Centenary Association were delighted to be able to attend the recent commemoration of William John Scott and the marking of his final resting place at Harold’s Cross in Dublin.

Fighting for a socialist republic.

William Scott played an active part in the foundation of the Irish Republican Socialist Party and took part in the Easter Rising as part of the Citizen Army, fighting under Constance Markievicz and Michael Mallin in St Stephen’s Green.

William may seem a quite unlikely participant in the events of Easter Week, 1916, coming as he did from Church of Ireland protestant background and later joining the Plymouth Brethren.

However, he was a bricklayer and a strong trade unionist, being part of the Bricklayer’s Union and was living in the tenements of Dublin experiencing daily the inequalities in society.  We can assume, given his involvement in the Irish Republican Socialist Party along with James Connolly; William was driven by a desire to improve worker’s rights for all members of society.

Relating 1916 to 2016

There was great attendance at the 5th March event, with 30 people travelling from William’s native county Fermanagh, and his grandchildren and their families as well as members of the wider community.

Liam Scott, William’s grandson, gave a beautiful graveside oration and spoke about what inspired the men and women of 1916 and what continues to inspire men and women 100 years on.

The great-grandchildren of William Scott shared in the reading of the Proclamation.

Daffodils were laid on the grave by William’s great-grandchildren as the first flowers of spring, early rising and a symbol of youth and hope for the future.

Four roses were laid by William’s grandchildren a symbol for socialism and the labour party cause and also to signify the four provinces of Ireland.

Several lilies were then laid on the resting place as a symbol of the Easter Rising and also for Mother’s Day and International Women’s Day – a tribute to William’s wife Mary, a native of Glangevlin, who had played a strong role supporting William.

Finally, two laurel wreaths were laid; one by William’s grandson, Alan Scott and one by the Fermanagh 1916 Centenary Association as a mark of respect of the conviction that William Scott had in striking a blow for Irish freedom.

Pride and legacy 

It was a wonderful day and a gift to the younger members of the family who will have this day to remember. They can take pride in the part that their relative played in this momentous time in Irish history. They are his legacy.

In Fermanagh, we are certainly proud of William and his family who will ensure that his story of bravery is not forgotten.

We also remember William's son, Bill (Willoughby) who is believed to have been the first Irishman to have travelled to Spain to fight alongside the rebels against Franco in the Spanish Civil War and fought bravely in the Connolly Column of the 15th International Brigade.

A piece by 'Echoes of 1916 covering the commemoration on William Scott showing Fran & Liam Scott with a copy of 'Fearless but Few: Fermanagh & the Easter Rising' which includes William's story.

Wherever you are in the world - get your copy of the book here!

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For any enquiries, or to make alternative purchasing arrangements, contact us on fermanagh1916@gmail.com

Friday, 19 February 2016

What about George Irvine for a conversation starter?

George Irvine was the person whom first ignited the conversation about the people from our county who volunteered in the Easter Rising of 1916.

Since then, a small band of amateur historians trawled the county and carried out research with local press, military archives, and the volunteer's families, to try to uncover information on these people in order to try to record them for the first time.

What we found were fascinating stories of ten men who travelled different roads to get to Dublin, but found themselves taking part in this epic moment in Irish History, which has had, and continues to have, far reaching consequences, not just on our own shores.

Apart from recording their stories, our hope was that our humble offering would start some conversations. The Easter Rising is often held up as a divisive issue - especially in the six counties in the north eastern part of this island. But in telling the stories of two Fermanagh Volunteers, George Irvine and William Scott, some of those myths and stereotypes are dispelled.

Recently, both the BBC and guest writer, Ciaran McLaren, on Jude Collins' Blog have covered George Irvine's story. 

Follow the links below to see them:

Why all the interest in George? Because his story seems so unlikely to our conditioned minds. It challenges us to rethink what we thought we knew.

A Church of Ireland Republican from Enniskillen who played a leading role both during and after Easter Week in the Irish Volunteers? Now that's an intriguing tale in anybody's book!  

Why not read more about him, and the other volunteers in ours?

Wherever you are in the world - get your copy of the book here!

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For any enquiries, or to make alternative purchasing arrangements, contact us on fermanagh1916@gmail.com

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Who Fears to Speak of Easter Week?

Fermanagh men made real history - Morrison

On 6th December 2015 'Fearless But Few: Fermanagh and the Easter Rising' was launched at the Westville Hotel in Enniskillen with great success.

A great crowd in attendance for the launch of 'Fearless but Few: Fermanagh and the Easter Rising'

In attendance at the event were relatives of many of the Volunteers who had taken part in the rising as well as the wider public.  The event was chaired by local solicitor, Frank McManus, who, 50 years ago, had read The Proclamation on the anniversary of the Rising at the graveside of Phil Cassidy, one of the Fermanagh Volunteers who fought at the GPO and who’s story is told in this book.

Frank McManus chairs the event speaking about the importance of this book.

The Fermanagh 1916 Centenary Association Chairman, Oliver McCaffrey, spoke about how the project to document these people's lives came about and said ‘This book is the beginning of a conversation about Fermanagh people who were part of the Rising. The Volunteers documented here are not the only people from the county who were involved; they are those for whom we have been able to find documentary proof.’

Fermanagh 1916 Centenary Association Chairman, Oliver McCaffrey, talks about how it is important to remember the Fermanagh Volunteers a hundred year on.

Activist and author, Danny Morrison, spoke powerfully linking the events of 1916 to the present day in his speech on the theme ‘Who Fears to Speak of Easter Week?’ He said that the book ‘was a great tribute to those heroes of Fermanagh who were prepared to fight and die for the freedom of Ireland at Easter 1916.’

Danny Morrison officially launches the book and speaks about the book being a great tribute to the Fermanagh Volunteers.

The Proclamation was read by May Murphy, granddaughter of one of the Fermanagh Volunteers, Owen Greene. A poignant moment for everyone in the room

Fermanagh 1916 Centenary Association Secretary, Mandy Leonard, spoke about the role that women played in the Rising and said that ‘although we were unable to find any documentary evidence of Fermanagh women having taken part, we are sure that they were there alongside the men and perhaps, in a future edition of the book, we will be telling their stories as more information comes to light.’

Fermanagh 1916 Centenary Association Secretary, Mandy Leonard, speaks about women's role in the Rising.

There was then a presentation of the books to representatives of the families of the volunteers who were in attendance by Siobhán Currie, Treasurer of the Fermanagh 1916 Centenary Association which was followed by a great rendition of ‘The Foggy Dew’, bringing the official launch proceedings to a close. 

Siobhán Currie presenting a copy of the book to Liam Scott, grandson of Irish Citizen Army Volunteer, William Scott.

Siobhán Currie presents a copy of the book to Paddy Gilgunn, fellow member of Fermanagh 1916 Centenary Association and relative of Volunteer Patrick McGuire.

'The Foggy Dew' is sang to bring proceedings to a close.  The book took it's title from the words of this song.

Although the official launch had finished, the music continued and it was an opportunity for people to buy the book, meet with the relatives’ families, and get their copies signed and just have a chat about the Rising.  Therein, one of the main objectives of writing this book is achieved: we want this book to create conversation for we should not fear to speak of Easter week and the role Fermanagh people played in it.

Musicians play on as the crowd discusses the book.

Danny Morrison signs a copy of the book for one of the audience.

Relatives of the Fermanagh Volunteers have the opportunity to meet each other for the first time.

Volunteers and Cumann na mBan in 1916 uniform

Wherever you are in the world - get your copy of the book here!

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Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Fearless But Few: Fermanagh and the Easter Rising - The book is here!

Fearless But Few: Fermanagh and the Easter Rising

Fearless But Few: Fermanagh and the Easter Rising
Available to buy now using the link below.
Extraordinary People
'The momentous events of Easter brought together an extraordinary group of people whose individual stories have remained largely untold. For a week in Dublin they acted with common purpose in pursuit of an ideal, of freedom and independence for Ireland. 

An Opportunity to Learn From Our Past
The centenary commemoration of the Easter Rising provides us with an opportunity to examine how our country has been shaped and influenced by and subsequent events. To do that properly we need to know who these people were, what formed their opinions and motivated their actions. We need to know why they took up arms and we need to see the consequences of their actions. 

Untold Stories
This book traces the stories of the Fermanagh men who played an active role in the events of Easter Week. Their actions changed the course of Irish history. Their own lives too would never be the same again. In telling their stories this took tells the story of Ireland in the decades since 1916, the successes and failures, the triumphs and disappointments. These men who fought together in Dublin soon found themselves scattered and divided and they slipped into obscurity, their stories forgotten, their deeds unknown. 

Unfulfilled Dreams
The greatest disappointment for the Fermanagh men of 1916 must have been that their own county was not to become part of the independent republic for which they had fought. Partition meant that none of them returned to live in Fermanagh.

A Century On
In remembering the Fermanagh men of 1916 let us remember their ideals, their vision of better Ireland and let us consider whether we have been true or unfaithful to those ideals in the century since they made their stand. 

Mar chuimhneachán orthu siúd a chuir cor i gcinniúint na tíre is cuí go n-insítear a scéalta arís. 

In commemoration of those who changed the fate of the country it is appropriate that their stories be told again.'

Seamas Mac Annaidh

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