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Thread: This day in Irish History : John Redmond's speech at Woodenbridge 20 September 1914

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    Politics.ie Member Catalpast's Avatar
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    Default This day in Irish History : John Redmond's speech at Woodenbridge 20 September 1914

    This day 100 years ago JR spoke at Woodenbridge Co Wicklow and encouraged Irishmen to join the British Crown Forces to fight against Germany

    20 September 1914: John Redmond, the Leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party encouraged members of the Irish Volunteers to join the British army on this day. He did this in a speech at Woodenbridge, Co. Wicklow. In the wake of the British Parliament passing the Home Rule Act just two days previously [suspended for the duration of the War] he pledged his support to the Allied cause. The words he addressed to the Irish Volunteers that day were:


    ‘The interests of Ireland—of the whole of Ireland—are at stake in this war. This war is undertaken in the defence of the highest principles of religion and morality and right, and it would be a disgrace for ever to our country and a reproach to her manhood and a denial of the lessons of her history if young Ireland confined their efforts to remaining at home to defend the shores of Ireland from an unlikely invasion, and to shrinking from the duty of proving on the field of battle that gallantry and courage which has distinguished our race all through its history. I say to you, therefore, your duty is twofold. I am glad to see such magnificent material for soldiers around me, and I say to you: “Go on drilling and make yourself efficient for the Work, and then account yourselves as men, not only for Ireland itself, but wherever the fighting line extends, in defence of right, of freedom, and religion in this war”’.

    His words were a watershed in Modern Irish History as for the first time a Leader of Nationalist Ireland called upon Irishmen to enlist in the British Army. In the months that followed tens of thousands of Nationalist Irishmen took up his call and joined up. But while initially a calculated move by Redmond to strengthen his hand the tides of History went down other channels and his bold stroke cost his Party dear - and darkened his own legacy to Ireland.
    Last edited by Catalpast; 20th September 2014 at 11:47 AM.
    If you can convince a People to engage in the mass elimination of their own offspring - you can probably get them to do anything...http://irelandinhistory.blogspot.ie/

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    Did Redmond not understand that Ireland had already been invaded and occupied by foreigners? Poor grasp of history by himself.

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    Politics.ie Member Catalpast's Avatar
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    He would have felt that was the past

    - and he had to deal with the present...

    Still think he made a massive Blunder though...
    If you can convince a People to engage in the mass elimination of their own offspring - you can probably get them to do anything...http://irelandinhistory.blogspot.ie/

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    Politics.ie Member redneck's Avatar
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    I think John Redmond had by that stage 1914, gone "native" in London Westminister. He was a little bit out of touch. That said he had delivered Home Rule at least on paper- a great achievement.
    He is up there with Parnell and O Connell as Irish heroes albeit very flawed. His mistake imho was that he urged Irishmen to die for Britain/British Army. Not for Gaelic Ireland. The basic mistake all the Irishmen above made was they took their seats in Westminister and embraced the "system"
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    Politics.ie Member shutuplaura's Avatar
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    I don't think HR was seen at the time as the totally conservative constitutional movement it is now regarded as. At least not by the establishment in Britain anyway. There would have been a big question mark over the IPP's ultimate loyalty. So it was in this context he had to prove the movement was responsible enough to 'deserve' the powers it sought. Of course I'd consider this a major flaw in the whole HR project.

    There is a park there now commemorating Wicklows war dead.

    New Wicklow war memorial opens on 100th anniversary of Home Rule
    itís the continuing series of small tragedies, that send a man to the, madhouse

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    Politics.ie Member Goa Tse's Avatar
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    The question must be asked, (at this early stage in the thread, ie before it turns into 245 pages of whataboutery), is - would Britain really have granted Home Rule to Ireland after the War? That is the premise upon which the issue rests. Redmond I think, was naive to believe this or maybe, to be honest, he didn't really care.

    Personally I don't think they would have granted Home Rule in any form, due to the scale of the war. That is based on the assumption the war would still have lasted until Nov 1918.

    If, for instance, the 1916 Rising had not occurred, would there have been as well - organised opposition to conscription in Ireland in 1918? Would Britian have had to declare Martial Law anyway?
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    Politics.ie Member wombat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Goa Tse View Post
    The question must be asked, (at this early stage in the thread, ie before it turns into 245 pages of whataboutery), is - would Britain really have granted Home Rule to Ireland after the War? That is the premise upon which the issue rests. Redmond I think, was naive to believe this or maybe, to be honest, he didn't really care.

    Personally I don't think they would have granted Home Rule in any form, due to the scale of the war. That is based on the assumption the war would still have lasted until Nov 1918.

    If, for instance, the 1916 Rising had not occurred, would there have been as well - organised opposition to conscription in Ireland in 1918? Would Britian have had to declare Martial Law anyway?
    That's my problem with "what if" history, my guess is as good as anyone's and is worth f.a., history is about what happened, all else is speculation.
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    GDPR Deleted
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    The war was expected to be over by Christmas and no one could forsee the butchery that was ahead. History tells us that HR was over taken by other events and the Home Rule Party went from 'bigger than FF at its height to dissident republicans' in terms of relevance and popularity in a few short years.

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    I think the actual location for the speech was the railway station, It closed a few years ago and the spot is now a carpark for a golf club. How times change.

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    The point that is overlooked in all od this is that like all politicians, he urged others to go out to fight and die whilst he himself sat at home in the comfort of his own fireside. A hero indeed!

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