Monday, January 31, 2011

Photo of the Day

I did something this weekend I have been meaning to do for years. I visited Glasnevin cemetery where Ireland's patriots are buried. The above headstone is that of Cathal Brugha. Cathal Brugha was an exceptionally brave yet notoriously stubborn character. He was severely wounded in the 1916 Rising. He was elected to the first Dail in 1919 and in January of that year he became Minister of Defence in the underground revolutionary Dublin which London refused to recognise. After the war against Britain he opposed the Anglo Irish Treaty unreservedly. He was completely uncompromising on the Republic which he has sworn allegiance to in 1916 and in 1919. Apart from De Valera, he was the most notable opponent of the Treaty. He developed a particular dislike for Michael Collins during this time. When the Civil War eventually broke out in Dublin on the 28th of June 1922, he took part in the fighting on O'Connell Street which followed the shelling by the Free State Army of the anti treaty garrison in the Four Courts. It took the new army led by Michael Collins about four days to secure the capital from anti Treaty resistance. Cathal Brugha was held up on the East side of O'Connell Street when the Army called on them to surrender. Brugha ordered the forty or so men under his command to surrender. However after all his men had surrendered, Brugha emerged as the last man brandishing a revolver which he proceeded to fire whilst shouting "Long Live the Republic". The free State officer in command did no have the heart to shoot him dead so he wounded him in his leg. However, the wound did prove fatal and Brugha died from his injury three days later on the 7th of July. A heroes death if ever there was one.

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