This is my personal report of the proceedings yesterday afternoon, when the Republican Movement paid its respects to the memory of Theobald Wolfe Tone:
Yes, it was an excellent day. I arrived at Aston Quay around 12.30, where there was already a crowd waiting for the RSF bus. I wasnt there two minutes when a big, thick, ugly branch man, with a brown jacket and dark sun glasses come over to take my name and address. There were six "branch men" at the bus stop taking names. I put quotation marks around that, as one of them was not a man at all, but a pretty young blond, who was even able to converse in Irish. Seems the branch is trying to shake off the ugly, stupid image. If so, this young lady has quite a task before her.
The bus arrived and we got on, but were delayed a little, as the branch spitefully keep questioning one person just to keep us waiting. Finally we were on the way, and got to Sallin in short time. There a line of busses from several parts of the country were unloading. Fianna uniforms, Cumann na mBan uniforms, bandsmen and pipers, along with a host of Republicans young and old. It was a fine sight in the June sun. RSF had a book store set up and seemed to be generating a lot of interest. All the while, the branch kept making a nuisence of themselves, but were generally ignored. We had a bit of a laugh, because the young blond asked some of the most well known RSF personalities for their names. I think the older branch men were having a bit of a laugh at her expense. All the Republican stalwarts were there, including Des Long, Dan Hoban and Ruairí Ó Brádaigh, and new county councillor, Tomás Ó Curaoin, except Joe O'Neill who is still unwell.
About three o'clock, Na Fianna Éireann and Cumann na mBan marched out with their banners flying in the sun, to a great round of applause. A soldierly sight to lift the heart. The pipe band, the Tomas Davis Pipe Band, of Mallow, Co. Cork, joined in behind them, and then all the Sinn Féin cumainn behind their banners. Then we all marched up to Bodenstown to the grave of Wolfe Tone, the founding father of Irish Republicanism.
Dan Hoban chaired the proceedings, there was an address from Peig Galligan of the National Graves Association, then a collection for this worthy organisation, which takes such loving care of the graves of our patriot dead. It was announced that a new memorial to Sean Russell will be unveiled in Fairview next Sunday week, and we were reminded of how Sean himself helped to carry the materials for the General Liam Lynch memorial in the Knockmealdowns, with a donkey and cart.
Then the main address was given by John Joe McCusker of Fear Manach, in which he reminded us of the great sacrifices of Tone and the men and women of 1798, and the continuity between them and our POWs today. Unfortunately, the branch came into the graveyard and stayed there all through the proceedings. Nothing could be less appropriate than the presence of mercenary free state traitors at the grave of Wolfe Tone.
Finally, we all lined up again and marched to Sallins, where Amhrán na bhFiann was sung and the order given to fall out. We then procceded to a very lively Sinn Féin function. At six o'clock the busses loaded up again, and on the way back to Dublin there was a good old Republican sing song. It was a great day, and a credit to its organisers. Bail ó Dhia orthu.
Some pics here:
Republican Sinn Féin An Mí - Commemoration's
[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xOVyopjUXIs"]YouTube - Bodenstown 2009[/ame]