• 32cm x 24cm  Caherciveen Co Kerry Framed print of one of there greatest Gaelic Footballers of all time - the legendary Mick O'Connell. Michael "Mick" O'Connell (born 4 January 1937) is an Irish retired Gaelic footballer. His league and championship career with the Kerry senior team spanned nineteen seasons from 1956 to 1974. O'Connell is widely regarded as one of the greatest players in the history of the game. Born on Valentia Island, County Kerry, O'Connell was raised in a family that had no real link to Gaelic football. In spite of this he excelled at the game in his youth and also at Cahersiveen CBS. By his late teens O'Connell had joined the Young Islanders, and won seven South Kerry divisional championship medals in a club career that spanned four decades. He also lined out with South Kerry, winning three county senior championshipmedals between 1955 and 1958. O'Connell made his debut on the inter-county scene at the age of eighteen when he was selected for the Kerry minor team. He enjoyed one championship season with the minors, however, he was a Munster runner-up on that occasion. O'Connell subsequently joined the Kerry senior team, making his debut during the 1956 championship. Over the course of the next nineteen seasons, he won eight All-Ireland medals, beginning with lone triumphs in 1959 and 1962, and culminating in back-to-back championships in 1969 and 1970. O'Connell also won twelve Munster medals, six National Football League medals and was named Footballer of the Year in 1962. He played his last game for Kerry in July 1974. Recollecting his early years on RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta and Radio Kerry, O’Connell spoke of how he was introduced to Gaelic football.He also revealed he had regularly played soccer with Spanish fishermen on his native Valentia Island. “Well, I remember I was 11 or 12, my father bought them (boots) in the shop in Cahirsiveen. I remember playing beside the house at home and I remember the first day I got those from the shop I was delighted. But after that there wasn’t a lot of people with football boots. “We would play barefoot often during the summer — and we were happy to play barefoot — that’s the way it was back then. “My father bought us a ball, a size 4. It wasn’t too big but it was fine. We would play at home and coming home from school a lot of people would come in playing with us, schoolboys, and often, very often, the Spanish would come in taking shelter from the weather, they would come in and play soccer with us. “If there was bad weather, they’d take shelter here in the harbour. They wouldn’t have a penny but a drop of wine in bags but they had no money and they’d come in and play. It was nice to watch them. I was practicing left and right but we had no trainers or coaches at the time. It was just a case of practicing between ourselves, nice and gently. There were no matches but games between ourselves and that’s all we had at the time.” It was O’Connell’s father Jeremiah who helped begin his son’s love of Gaelic football although he himself had no background in the game. “My own mother (Mary), she was never at a match and my uncle who was born in 1880 or that, he was living with us on Valentia Island, he was never at a match.
  • 32cm x 27cm

    From the Evening Echo, September 9, 1953

    THE famous comedy team of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy were scheduled to disembark from the liner ‘America’ which called at Cobh today from New York. No elaborate reception was planned, and the shipping officials carried out the usual arrangements for the arrival of important passengers.

    The famous pair wanted no fuss, and of course, the liner company officals were anxious to carry out to the letter the wishes of their first-class passengers.

    Mr Sean O’Brien, Irish manager of US Lines, said his officials were there to greet them and satisfy their slightest wish.

    But often on the occasion when the planning is most careful, something goes wrong. And in this case it did. For neither the comedians, nor their wives, nor the company officials, nor the police nor the many other people associated with the life of a trans- Atlantic port of call, reckoned with the children, to whom the funny faces and the queer screen antics of the cuckoo comedians is better known than the president of the US.

    The entire children’s population of Cobh must have played truant from school for they blocked all traffic, and despite the presence of several vastly amused policemen, they clung onto Laurel and Hardy.

    They begged for autographs, ruffled their ties and generally gave them a whole-hearted reception.

    Non-plussed, but only for a moment, the comedians entered into the fun of the affair, and nobody could accuse them of being stinted in giving autographs.

    Twenty-three stone Hardy (22st 12lbs to be exact) commented: “We were absolutely overwhelmed. There scarcely ever was a film scene like it. They are grand children, and Stan and I are grateful to them.”

    There was no great advance publicity, but all of Cobh and outlying districts seemed to know that Laurel and Hardy had arrived. Family parties went out in small boats and cheered as the tender bearing the passengers from the liner drew into the quayside.

    The party were taken by Mr O’Brien to hear the carillon bells of Cobh Cathedral and the comedians told an Echo reporter that hearing the ‘Cuckoo Song’ played on the bells was one of the greatest thrills of their lives.

    Later, the party went to kiss the Blarney Stone. All performed the traditional rite of kissing except Hardy, who commented: “Nobody would hold me. I am too big.”

    Ald P McGrath, Lord Mayor of Cork, accompanied by Mr AA Healy, TC, received them at the City Hall and was photographed with them. Asked to nominate their favourite film the bluff Oliver replied: “Fra Diavolo.”

    They have been partners for thirty years. Subsequently the comedians and their wives left for Dublin where they are to fulfil a theatrical engagement.

    Amongst the others who met them in Cobh was Mrs D Murphy, on behalf of Mr George Heffernan, Tourist Agent, Cork.

    Another passenger to disembark from the vessel was the Hon Kit Clardy, Republican Senator from Michigan. He intends to spend a short holiday in this country. In all, 117 disembarked at Cobh.

    Embarking passengers included a party of 40 pilgrims from Cork to Lourdes and Liseux. The spiritual director to the party is Rev Maurice Walsh, SMA, and the pilgrimage arrangements were in the hands of Miss B Arnold, of Mr Heffernan’s agency.

  • Two of the all time greatest hurlers -Mick Mackey of Limerick & Jimmy Doyle of Tipperary have chat after a Railway Cup Match between Munster & Leinster.
  • 40cm x 37cm Michael Collins (16 October 1890 – 22 August 1922) was an Irish revolutionary, soldier and politician who was a leading figure in the early-20th century struggle for Irish independence.During the War of Independence he was Director of Intelligence of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and a government minister of the self-declared Irish Republic. He was then Chairman of the Provisional Government of the Irish Free State from January 1922 and commander-in-chief of the National Army from July until his death in an ambush in August 1922, during the Civil War. Collins was born in Woodfield, County Cork, the youngest of eight children. He moved to London in 1906 to become a clerk in the Post Office Savings Bank at Blythe House. He was a member of the London GAA, through which he became associated with the Irish Republican Brotherhood and the Gaelic League. He returned to Ireland in January 1916 and fought in the Easter Rising. He was taken prisoner and held in the Frongoch internment camp as a prisoner of war, but he was released in December 1916. Collins subsequently rose through the ranks of the Irish Volunteers and Sinn Féin. He was elected as a Teachta Dála for South Cork in December 1918. Sinn Féin's elected members formed an Irish parliament, the First Dáil, in January 1919 and declared the independence of the Irish Republic. Collins was appointed Minister for Finance. In the ensuing War of Independence, he was Director of Organisation and Adjutant General for the Irish Volunteers, and Director of Intelligence of the IRA. He gained fame as a guerrilla warfare strategist, planning many successful attacks on British forces together with 'the Squad', such as the "Bloody Sunday" assassinations of key British intelligence agents in November 1920. After the July 1921 ceasefire, Collins was one of five plenipotentiaries sent by the Dáil cabinet at the request of Éamon de Valera, to negotiate peace terms in London. The resulting Anglo-Irish Treaty, signed in December 1921, would establish the Irish Free State but depended on an oath of allegiance to the Crown. This was the clause in the treaty de Valera and other republican leaders found hardest to accept. Collins viewed the treaty as offering "the freedom to achieve freedom", and helped persuade a majority of the Dáil to ratify the treaty. A provisional government was formed under his chairmanship in early 1922. During this time he secretly provided support for an IRA offensive in Northern Ireland. It was soon disrupted by the Irish Civil War, in which Collins was commander-in-chief of the National Army. He was shot and killed in an ambush by anti-Treaty forces on 22 August 1922
  • 34cm x 34cm The DMC DeLorean is a rear-engine two-passenger sports car manufactured and marketed by John DeLorean's DeLorean Motor Company (DMC) for the American market from 1981 until 1983—ultimately the only car brought to market by the fledgling company. The DeLorean is sometimes referred to by its internal DMC pre-production designation, DMC-12. However, the DMC-12 name was never used in sales or marketing materials for the production model. Designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro and noted for its gull-wing doors and brushed stainless-steel outer body panels, the sports car was also noted for a lack of power and performance incongruous with its looks and price. Though its production was short-lived, the DeLorean became widely known after it was featured as the time machine in the Back to the Future films. With the first production car completed on January 21, 1981, the design incorporated numerous minor revisions to the hood, wheels and interior before production ended in late December 1982, shortly after DMC filed for bankruptcy and after total production reached about 9,000 units. Despite the car having a reputation for poor build quality and an unsatisfactory driving experience, the DeLorean continues to have a strong following driven in part by the popularity of Back to the Future. 6,500 DeLoreans were estimated to still be on the road as of 2015.
  • 30cm x 65cm
    BEFORE THE ADVENT of opinion polls, by-elections were the most reliable means of gauging the mood of the electorate.
    For decades before the 1916 Rising, Irish nationalists represented by the Irish Parliamentary Party (IPP) sought Irish home rule – a subordinate parliament and government in Dublin.
    But the emergence of Sinn Féin, which championed an independent Irish republic, transformed the political landscape. In 1917 Sinn Féin won four by-elections on the bounce in North Roscommon, South Longford, East Clare and South Kilkenny.
    No victory was more emphatic than East Clare and no winning candidate more central to the future history of Ireland.
    A political novice
    The victor was a political novice with little experience of public speaking outside the classroom. The senior surviving Volunteer from 1916, he was largely unknown before the East Clare by-election.
    But after it he was catapulted to national prominence, became president of Sinn Féin and represented East Clare for the next four decades. That soldier turned politician was De Valera .
    The East Clare by-election on July 10 was precipitated by the death on the Western Front of the sitting MP: Major Willie Redmond, brother of the leader of the IPP.
    Patrick Lynch KC, a barrister, contested the seat for the IPP under the banner: “Clare for a Clareman – Lynch is the Man”. His supporters, who were strongest in Ennis, contended that an Irish republic was a political fantasy. For several reasons, few expected anything other than a Sinn Féin victory.
    One of the most rebellious counties in Ireland
    First, Clare was one of the most rebellious counties in Ireland and during the by-election the county inspector of the Royal Irish Constabulary had to obtain a draft of 150 soldiers. Eight months after the by-election Clare became the first county to be placed under military rule since the 1916 Rising.
    Second, no election had been contested in East Clare since 1895 and the IPP’s constituency machine was decrepit and almost bankrupt. By contrast, the Sinn Féin campaign was highly organised and backboned by the revamped Irish Volunteers who were unafraid to defy the authorities and acted as a private police force.
    De Valera, who had only been released from prison on 16 June, campaigned in his Volunteer uniform and told the electors that, “every vote you give now is as good as the crack of a rifle in proclaiming your desire for freedom”.
    Third, buoyed up by its earlier electoral successes Sinn Féin attracted not just the support of the young but that of the Clare Champion (the county newspaper) and, more significantly, the endorsement of Bishop Michael Fogarty of Killaloe and the majority of younger clergy. The Catholic card was played astutely and reassuringly by de Valera.
    Although everyone expected a victory for de Valera, no one expected so stunning a winning margin. When the result of the election was announced on July 11 de Valera had secured 5,010 votes to Lynch’s 2,035.
    A game changer
    The rural vote had turned against the IPP. The Freeman’s Journal, the newspaper of the IPP, lamented that, “East Clare has declared for revolution by an overwhelming majority”. Lynch was not the man after all.
    The East Clare by-election was a milestone for Sinn Féin because it secured a striking popular mandate which helped the organisation to continue its rapid growth ahead of the 1918 general election.
    For de Valera his victory was a pivotal episode in his progression from militant to political republican. More than any other factor, the scale of his success propelled him to the presidency of Sinn Féin in October 1917 and launched his long political career. For a man who in the early months of 1917 wished to have no truck with politics this was quite a turn of events.
  • 58cm x 42cm Quaint vintage poster of a jaunting car carrying a group around Phoenix Park- the giant Wellington monument can be seen in the background. The Wellington Monument or sometimes the Wellington Testimonial,is an obelisk located in the Phoenix Park, Dublin, Ireland. The testimonial is situated at the southeast end of the Park, overlooking Kilmainham and the River Liffey. The structure is 62 metres (203 ft) tall, making it the largest obelisk in Europe


    The Wellington Testimonial was built to commemorate the victories of Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington. Wellington, the British politician and general, also known as the 'Iron Duke', was born in Ireland. Originally planned to be located in Merrion Square, it was built in the Phoenix Park after opposition from the square's residents. The obelisk was designed by the architect Sir Robert Smirke and the foundation stone was laid in 1817. In 1820, the project ran out of construction funds and the structure remained unfinished until 18 June 1861 when it was opened to the public. There were also plans for a statue of Wellington on horseback, but a shortage of funds ruled that out.


    There are four bronze plaques cast from cannons captured at Waterloo – three of which have pictorial representations of his career while the fourth has an inscription. The plaques depict 'Civil and Religious Liberty' by John Hogan, 'Waterloo' by Thomas Farrell and the 'Indian Wars' by Joseph Robinson Kirk. The inscription reads:
    Asia and Europe, saved by thee, proclaim
    Invincible in war thy deathless name,
    Now round thy brow the civic oak we twine
    That every earthly glory may be thine.

    Cultural references

    The monument is referenced throughout James Joyce's Finnegans Wake. The first page of the novel alludes to a giant whose head is at "Howth Castle and Environs" and whose toes are at "a knock out in the park (p. 3)"; John Bishop extends the analogy, interpreting this centrally located obelisk as the prone giant's male member. A few pages later, the monument is the site of the fictional "Willingdone Museyroom" (p. 8).
  • 48cm x 43cm The Irish Volunteers (Irish: Óglaigh na hÉireann), sometimes called the Irish Volunteer Force[3][4][5] or Irish Volunteer Army,was a military organisation established in 1913 by Irish nationalists and republicans. It was ostensibly formed in response to the formation of its Irish unionist/loyalist counterpart the Ulster Volunteers in 1912, and its declared primary aim was "to secure and maintain the rights and liberties common to the whole people of Ireland". The Volunteers included members of the Gaelic League, Ancient Order of Hibernians and Sinn Féin,and, secretly, the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB). Increasing rapidly to a strength of nearly 200,000 by mid-1914, it split in September of that year over John Redmond's commitment to the British war effort, with the smaller group retaining the name of "Irish Volunteers".


    Home Rule for Ireland dominated political debate between the two countries since Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstoneintroduced the first Home Rule Bill in 1886, intended to grant a measure of self-government and national autonomy to Ireland, but which was rejected by the House of Commons. The second Home Rule Bill, seven years later having passed the House of Commons, was vetoed by the House of Lords. It would be the third Home Rule Bill, introduced in 1912, which would lead to the crisis in Ireland between the majority Nationalist population and the Unionists in Ulster. On 28 September 1912 at Belfast City Hall just over 450,000 Unionists signed the Ulster Covenant to resist the granting of Home Rule. This was followed in January 1913 with the formation of the Ulster Volunteers composed of adult male Unionists to oppose the passage and implementation of the bill by force of arms if necessary. The establishment of the Ulster Volunteers was (according to Eoin MacNeill) instigated, approved, and financed by English Tories with the other major British party, the Liberals, not finding "itself terribly distressed by that proceeding."


    The initiative for a series of meetings leading up to the public inauguration of the Irish Volunteers came from the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB).Bulmer Hobson, co-founder of the republican boy scouts, Fianna Éireann, and member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, believed the IRB should use the formation of the Ulster Volunteers as an "excuse to try to persuade the public to form an Irish volunteer force".The IRB could not move in the direction of a volunteer force themselves, as any such action by known proponents of physical force would be suppressed, despite the precedent established by the Ulster Volunteers. They therefore confined themselves to encouraging the view that nationalists also ought to organise a volunteer force for the defence of Ireland. A small committee then began to meet regularly in Dublin from July 1913, who watched the growth of this opinion. They refrained however from any action until the precedent of Ulster should have first been established while waiting for the lead to come from a "constitutional" quarter. The IRB began the preparations for the open organisation of the Irish Volunteers in January 1913. James Stritch, an IRB member, had the Irish National Foresters build a hall at the back of 41 Parnell Square in Dublin, which was the headquarters of the Wolfe Tone Clubs. Anticipating the formation of the Volunteers they began to learn foot-drill and military movements.The drilling was conducted by Stritch together with members of Fianna Éireann. They began by drilling a small number of IRB associated with the Dublin Gaelic Athletic Association, led by Harry Boland. Michael Collins along with several other IRB members claim that the formation of the Irish Volunteers was not merely a "knee-jerk reaction" to the Ulster Volunteers, which is often supposed, but was in fact the "old Irish Republican Brotherhood in fuller force."

    "The North Began"

    The IRB knew they would need a highly regarded figure as a public front that would conceal the reality of their control. The IRB found in Eoin MacNeill, Professor of Early and Medieval History at University College Dublin, the ideal candidate. McNeill's academic credentials and reputation for integrity and political moderation had widespread appeal. The O'Rahilly, assistant editor and circulation manager of the Gaelic League newspaper An Claidheamh Soluis, encouraged MacNeill to write an article for the first issue of a new series of articles for the paper. The O'Rahilly suggested to MacNeill that it should be on some wider subject than mere Gaelic pursuits. It was this suggestion which gave rise to the article entitled The North Began, giving the Irish Volunteers its public origins. On 1 November, MacNeill's article suggesting the formation of an Irish volunteer force was published.MacNeill wrote,
    There is nothing to prevent the other twenty-eight counties from calling into existence citizen forces to hold Ireland "for the Empire". It was precisely with this object that the Volunteers of 1782 were enrolled, and they became the instrument of establishing Irish self-government.
    After the article was published, Hobson asked The O'Rahilly to see MacNeill, to suggest to him that a conference should be called to make arrangements for publicly starting the new movement.The article "threw down the gauntlet to nationalists to follow the lead given by Ulster unionists."MacNeill was unaware of the detailed planning which was going on in the background, but was aware of Hobson's political leanings. He knew the purpose as to why he was chosen, but he was determined not to be a puppet.


    With MacNeill willing to take part, O'Rahilly and Hobson sent out invitations for the first meeting at Wynn's Hotel in Abbey Street, Dublin, on 11 November. Hobson himself did not attend this meeting, believing his standing as an "extreme nationalist" might prove problematical.The IRB, however, was well represented by, among others, Seán Mac Diarmada and Éamonn Ceannt, who would prove to be substantially more extreme than Hobson.Several others meetings were soon to follow, as prominent nationalists planned the formation of the Volunteers, under the leadership of MacNeill.Meanwhile, labour leaders in Dublin began calling for the establishment of a citizens' defence force in the aftermath of the lock out of 19 August 1913.Thus formed the Irish Citizen Army, led by James Larkin and James Connolly, which, though it had similar aims, at this point had no connection with the Irish Volunteers (were later allies in the Easter Rising. The Volunteer organisation was publicly launched on 25 November, with their first public meeting and enrolment rally at the Rotunda in Dublin.The IRB organised this meeting to which all parties were invited,and brought 5000 enlistment blanks for distribution and handed out in books of one hundred each to each of the stewards. Every one of the stewards and officials wore on their lapel a small silken bow the centre of which was white, while on one side was green and on the other side orange and had long been recognised as the colours which the Irish Republican Brotherhood had adopted as the Irish national banner. The hall was filled to its 4,000 person capacity, with a further 3,000 spilling onto the grounds outside. Speakers at the rally included MacNeill, Patrick Pearse, and Michael Davitt, son of the Land League founder of the same name. Over the course of the following months the movement spread throughout the country, with thousands more joining every week.

    Organisation and leadership

    The original members of the Provisional Committee were:
    Portfolio Name Organisation Political Party
    Honorary Secretaries Eoin Mac Néill Gaelic League
    Laurence Kettle Ancient Order of Hibernians Irish Parliamentary Party
    Honorary Treasurers The O'Rahilly Gaelic League Sinn Féin
    John Gore Ancient Order of Hibernians Irish Parliamentary Party
    The Manifesto of the Irish Volunteers was composed by MacNeill, with some minimal changes added by Tom Kettle and other members of the Provisional Committee. It stated that the organisation's objectives were "to secure and maintain the rights and liberties common to the whole people of Ireland", and that membership was open to all Irishmen "without distinction of creed, politics or social grade."Though the "rights and liberties" were never defined, nor the means by which they would be obtained, the IRB in the Fenian tradition construed the term to mean the maintenance of the rights of Ireland to national independence and to secure that right in arms. The manifesto further stated that their duties were to be defensive, contemplating neither "aggression or domination". It said that the Tory policy in Ulster was deliberately adopted to make the display of military force with the threat of armed violence the decisive factor in relations between Ireland and Great Britain. If Irishmen accepted this new policy he said they would be surrendering their rights as men and citizens. If they did not attempt to defeat this policy "we become politically the most degraded population in Europe and no longer worthy of the name of nation." In this situation, it said,"the duty of safeguarding our own rights is our duty first and foremost. They have rights who dare maintain them."But rights, in the last resort, could only be maintained by arms. MacNeill himself would approve of armed resistance only if the British launched a campaign of repression against Irish nationalist movements, or if they attempted to impose conscription on Ireland following the outbreak of the First World War, in such a case he believed that they would have mass support.

    John Redmond and the Irish Parliamentary Party

    While the IRB was instrumental in the establishment of the Volunteers, they were never able to gain complete control of the organisation. This was compounded after John Redmond, leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party, took an active interest. Though some well known Redmond supporters had joined the Volunteers, the attitude of Redmond and the Party was largely one of opposition, though by the Summer of 1914, it was clear the IPP needed to control the Volunteers if they were not to be a threat to their authority.The majority of the IV members, like the nation as a whole, were supporters of Redmond (though this was not necessarily true of the organisation's leadership), and, armed with this knowledge, Redmond sought IPP influence, if not outright control of the Volunteers. Negotiations between MacNeil and Redmond over the latter's future role continued inconclusively for several weeks, until on 9 June Redmond issued an ultimatum, through the press, demanding the Provisional Committee co-opt twenty-five IPP nominees.With several IPP members and their supporters on the committee already, this would give them a majority of seats, and effective control. The more moderate members of the Volunteers' Provisional Committee did not like the idea, nor the way it was presented, but they were largely prepared to go along with it to prevent Redmond from forming a rival organisation, which would draw away most of their support. The IRB was completely opposed to Redmond's demands, as this would end any chance they had of controlling the Volunteers. Hobson, who simultaneously served in leadership roles in both the IRB and the Volunteers, was one of a few IRB members to reluctantly submit to Redmond's demands, leading to a falling out with the IRB leaders, notably Tom Clarke. In the end the Committee accepted Redmond's demands, by a vote of 18 to 9, most of the votes of dissent coming from members of the IRB. The new IPP members of the committee included MP Joseph Devlin and Redmond's son William, but were mostly composed of insignificant figures, believed to have been appointed as a reward for party loyalty.[46] Despite their numbers, they were never able to exert control over the organisation, which largely remained with its earlier officers. Finances remained fully in the hands of the treasurer, The O'Rahilly, his assistant, Éamonn Ceannt, and MacNeill himself, who retained his position as chairman, further diminishing the IPP's influence.

    Arming the Volunteers

    Shortly after the formation of the Volunteers, the British Parliament banned the importation of weapons into Ireland. The "Curragh incident" (also referred to as the "Curragh Mutiny") of March 1914, indicated that the government could not rely on its army to ensure a smooth transition to Home Rule.Then in April 1914 the Ulster Volunteerssuccessfully imported 24,000 rifles in the Larne Gun Running event. The Irish Volunteers realised that it too would have to follow suit if they were to be taken as a serious force. Indeed, many contemporary observers commented on the irony of "loyal" Ulstermen arming themselves and threatening to defy the British government by force. Patrick Pearsefamously replied that "the Orangeman with a gun is not as laughable as the nationalist without one." Thus O'Rahilly, Sir Roger Casement and Bulmer Hobson worked together to co-ordinate a daylight gun-running expedition to Howth, just north of Dublin. The plan worked, and Erskine Childers brought nearly 1,000 rifles, purchased from Germany, to the harbour on 26 July and distributed them to the waiting Volunteers, without interference from the authorities. The remainder of the guns smuggled from Germany for the Irish Volunteers were landed at Kilcoole a week later by Sir Thomas Myles. As the Volunteers marched from Howth back to Dublin, however, they were met by a large patrol of the Dublin Metropolitan Police and the King's Own Scottish Borderers. The Volunteers escaped largely unscathed, but when the Borderers returned to Dublin they clashed with a group of unarmed civilians who had been heckling them at Bachelors Walk. Though no order was given, the soldiers fired on the civilians, killing four and further wounding 37. This enraged the populace, and during the outcry enlistments in the Volunteers soared.

    The Split

    The outbreak of World War I in August 1914 provoked a serious split in the organisation. Redmond, in the interest of ensuring the enactment of the Home Rule Act 1914 then on the statute books, encouraged the Volunteers to support the British and Allied war commitment and join Irish regiments of the British New Army divisions, an action which angered the founding members. Given the wide expectation that the war was going to be a short one, the majority however supported the war effort and the call to restore the "freedom of small nations" on the European continent. They left to form the National Volunteers, some of whose members fought in the 10th and 16th (Irish) Division, side by side with their Ulster Volunteer counterparts from the 36th (Ulster) Division. A minority believed that the principles used to justify the Allied war cause were best applied in restoring the freedom to one small country in particular. They retained the name "Irish Volunteers", were led by MacNeill and called for Irish neutrality. The National Volunteers kept some 175,000 members, leaving the Irish Volunteers with an estimated 13,500. However, the National Volunteers declined rapidly, and the few remaining members reunited with the Irish Volunteers in October 1917.The split proved advantageous to the IRB, which was now back in a position to control the organisation. Following the split, the remnants of the Irish Volunteers were often, and erroneously, referred to as the "Sinn Féin Volunteers", or, by the British press, derisively as "Shinners", after Arthur Griffith's political organisation Sinn Féin. Although the two organisations had some overlapping membership, there was no official connection between Griffith's then moderate Sinn Féin and the Volunteers. The political stance of the remaining Volunteers was not always popular, and a 1,000-strong march led by Pearse through the garrison city of Limerick on Whit Sunday, 1915, was pelted with rubbish by a hostile crowd. Pearse explained the reason for the establishment of the new force when he said in May 1915:
    What if conscription be enforced on Ireland? What if a Unionist or a Coalition British Ministry repudiates the Home Rule Act? What if it be determined to dismember Ireland? The future is big with these and other possibilities.
    After the departure of Redmond and his followers, the Volunteers adopted a constitution, which had been drawn up by the earlier provisional committee, and was ratified by a convention of 160 delegates on 25 October 1914. It called for general council of fifty members to meet monthly, as well as an executive of the president and eight elected members. In December a headquarters staff was appointed, consisting of Eoin MacNeill as chief of staff, The O'Rahilly as director of arms, Thomas MacDonagh as director of training, Patrick Pearse as director of military organisation, Bulmer Hobson as quartermaster, and Joseph Plunkett as director of military operations. The following year they were joined by Éamonn Ceannt as director of communications and J.J. O'Connell as chief of inspection. This reorganisation put the IRB is a stronger position, as four important military positions (director of training, director of military organisation, director of military operations, and director of communications) were held by men who were, or would soon be, members of the IRB, and who later become four of the seven signatories of the Easter Proclamation. (Hobson was also an IRB member, but had a falling out with the leadership after he supported Redmond's appointees to the provisional council, and hence played little role in the IRB thereafter.)

    Easter Rising, 1916

    The official stance of the Irish Volunteers was that action would only be taken were the British authorities at Dublin Castle to attempt to disarm the Volunteers, arrest their leaders, or introduce conscription to Ireland.The IRB, however, was determined to use the Volunteers for offensive action while Britain was tied up in the First World War. Their plan was to circumvent MacNeill's command, instigating a Rising, and to get MacNeill on board once the rising was a fait accompli. Pearse issued orders for three days of parades and manoeuvres, a thinly disguised order for a general insurrection.MacNeill soon discovered the real intent behind the orders and attempted to stop all actions by the Volunteers. He succeeded only in putting the Rising off for a day, and limiting it to about 1,000 active participants within Dublin and a very limited action elsewhere. Almost all of the fighting was confined to Dublin - though the Volunteers were involved in engagements against RIC barracks in Ashbourne, County Meath, and there were actions in Enniscorthy, County Wexford and in County Galway.The Irish Citizen Army supplied slightly more than 200 personnel for the Dublin campaign.


    Steps towards reorganising the Irish Volunteers were taken during 1917, and on 27 October 1917 a convention was held in Dublin. This convention was called to coincide with the Sinn Féin party conference. Nearly 250 people attended the convention; internment prevented many more from attending. The Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) estimated that 162 companies of volunteers were active in the country, although other sources suggest a figure of 390. The proceedings were presided over by Éamon de Valera, who had been elected President of Sinn Féin the previous day. Also on the platform were Cathal Brugha and many others who were prominent in the reorganising of the Volunteers in the previous few months, many of them ex-prisoners. De Valera was elected president. A national executive was also elected, composed of representatives of all parts of the country. In addition, a number of directors were elected to head the various IRA departments. Those elected were: Michael Collins (Director for Organisation); Richard Mulcahy (Director of Training); Diarmuid Lynch (Director for Communications); Michael Staines (Director for Supply); Rory O'Connor (Director of Engineering). Seán McGarry was voted general secretary, while Cathal Brugha was made Chairman of the Resident Executive, which in effect made him Chief of Staff. The other elected members were: M. W. O'Reilly (Dublin); Austin Stack (Kerry); Con Collins (Limerick); Seán MacEntee (Belfast); Joseph O'Doherty (Donegal); Paul Galligan(Cavan); Eoin O'Duffy (Monaghan); Séamus Doyle (Wexford); Peadar Bracken (Offaly); Larry Lardner (Galway); Richard Walsh (Mayo) and another member from Connacht. There were six co-options to make-up the full number when the directors were named from within their ranks. The six were all Dublin men: Eamonn Duggan; Gearóid O'Sullivan; Fintan Murphy; Diarmuid O'Hegarty; Dick McKee and Paddy Ryan. Of the 26 elected, six were also members of the Sinn Féin National Executive, with Éamon de Valera president of both. Eleven of the 26 were elected Teachta Dála (members of the Dáil) in the 1918 general election and 13 in the May 1921 election.

    Relationship with Dáil Éireann

    Sinn Féin MPs elected in 1918 fulfilled their election promise not to take their seats in Westminster but instead set up an independent "Assembly of Ireland", or Dáil Éireann, in the Irish language. In theory, the Volunteers were responsible to the Dáil and was the army of the Irish Republic. In practice, the Dáil had great difficulty controlling their actions; under their own constitution, the Volunteers were bound to obey their own executive and no other body. The fear was increased when, on the very day the new national parliament was meeting, 21 January 1919, members of the Third Tipperary Brigade led by Séumas Robinson, Seán Treacy, Dan Breen and Seán Hogan carried out the Soloheadbeg Ambush and seized a quantity of gelignite, killing two RIC constables and triggering the War of Independence. Technically, the men involved were considered to be in a serious breach of Volunteer discipline and were liable to be court-martialed, but it was considered more politically expedient to hold them up as examples of a rejuvenated militarism. The conflict soon escalated into guerrilla warfare by what were then known as the Flying Columns in remote areas. Attacks on remote RIC barracks continued throughout 1919 and 1920, forcing the police to consolidate defensively in the larger towns, effectively placing large areas of the countryside in the hands of the Republicans. Moves to make the Volunteers the army of the Dáil and not its rival had begun before the January attack, and were stepped up. On 31 January 1919 the Volunteer organ, An tÓglách ("The Volunteer") published a list of principles agreed between two representatives of the Aireacht, acting Príomh Aire Cathal Brugha and Richard Mulcahy and the Executive. It made first mention of the organisation treating "the armed forces of the enemy – whether soldiers or policemen – exactly as a national army would treat the members of an invading army". In the statement the new relationship between the Aireacht and the Volunteers – who increasingly became known as the Irish Republican Army (IRA) – was defined clearly.
    • The Government was defined as possessing the same power and authority as a normal government.
    • It, and not the IRA, sanctions the IRA campaign;
    • It explicitly spoke of a state of war.
    As part of the ongoing strategy to take control of the IRA, Brugha proposed to Dáil Éireann on 20 August 1919 that the Volunteers were to be asked, at this next convention, to swear allegiance to the Dáil. He further proposed that members of the Dáil themselves should swear the same oath.On 25 August Collins wrote to the First minister (Príomh Aire), Éamon de Valera, to inform him "the Volunteer affair is now fixed". Though it was "fixed" at one level, another year passed before the Volunteers took an oath of allegiance to the Irish Republic and its government, "throughout August 1920". On 11 March 1921 Dáil Éireann discussed its relationship with its army. De Valera commented that "..the Dáil was hardly acting fairly by the army in not publicly taking full responsibility for all its acts." The Dáil had not yet declared war, but was at war; it voted unanimously that "..they should agree to the acceptance of a state of war."


    All organisations calling themselves the IRA, as well as the Irish Defence Forces (IDF), have their origins in the Irish Volunteers. The Irish name of the Volunteers, Óglaigh na hÉireann, was retained when the English name changed, and is the official Irish name of the IDF, as well as the various IRAs. The name of the Bengal Volunteers, an Indian revolutionary organization founded in 1928 and active against British rule in India, may have been inspired by the Irish organization.
  • W & A Gilbey was founded in 1857 and began in small basement cellars at the corner of Oxford Street and Berwick Street in London. Gilbeys benefitted greatly from the introduction of the off-licence system introduced in 1860 and a commercial agreement between Britain and France in 1861, following which, the British Prime Minister Gladstone reduced duty on French wines from 12 shillings to 2 shillings. Gilbeys were successful from the start and, within a couple of years, had branches in Dublin, Belfast and Edinburgh.

    1861 Wine importers and distillers

    By 1861 Gilbeys had premises at 31 Upper Sackville Street in Dublin (now called O’Connell Street), and were described as wine importers and distillers. They carried stocks of over 140 different wines and held between 700 and 1,000 wine casks under bond.

    1866 A distinctive brand

    In 1866, the company moved to new offices and stores at 46 & 47 Upper Sackville Street in the centre of Dublin (now O’Connell Street), which contained their own vaults. The buildings were previously the premises of Sneyd, French and Barton. The premises had its own tasting room and a small still for determining the alcoholic strength of wines and spirits. Gilbeys had their own patented bottle cases which could be easily stacked, a state of the art bottle washing machine and by this time, wax seals were replaced with their patented capsule seal. Gilbeys sold all their wines and spirits directly to consumers under their own distinctive brand.

    1874 300,000 Gallons in bond

    Initially famous for their wines, spirits were becoming a greater part of Gilbey’s business. By 1874, Gilbeys held a stock in bond of over 300,000 gallons of whiskey sourced from “the most celebrated Dublin Distilleries”. The proprietary brand at this time was Gilbey’s Castle Whiskey. They sold three main brands Castle U P Irish Whiskey 33% under proof (u.p.), Castle U V Irish Whiskey 17% u.p. and Castle D O Irish Whiskey at full proof strength.

    1875 996,000 Bottles a year

    At this point Gilbey’s held the largest stocks of Irish whiskey, outside of the distilleries themselves, of any company in the world. In 1875 they were selling 83,000 cases of Irish whiskey compared with only 38,000 of Scotch, a reflection of the pre-eminence of Irish Whiskey at the time.
  • 34cm x 22cm
    This Flying Column operated across the West Mayo area during the War of Independence. The photograph was taken shortly after the Carrowkennedy ambush on a RIC Barracks; the men are displaying the captured weapons. On the 2nd June 1921 the West Mayo Flying Column ambushed British soldiers on the Westport to Leenane road. After the ambush they went on the run. While near Laherdane in the vicinity of Neiphin Mountain they were visited by Jack Leonard. Leonard was a photographer and a cousin of Michael Kilroy, who was the Officer in Command of the brigade and took the only photograph of the Flying Column that exists.

  • Great picture of a recuperating Arkle getting his lunch washed down by one of his two daily bottles of Guinness by the managing director of Kempton Park Racecourse Henry Hyde. Ratoath Co Meath.    45cm x 75cm Arkle (19 April 1957 – 31 May 1970) was an Irish Thoroughbred racehorse. A bay gelding by Archive out of Bright Cherry, he was the grandson of the unbeaten (in 14 races) flat racehorse and prepotent sire Nearco. Arkle was born at Ballymacoll Stud, County Meath, by Mrs Mary Alison Baker of Malahow House, near Naul, County Dublin. He was named after the mountain Arkle in Sutherland, Scotland that bordered the Duchess of Westminster’s Sutherland estate. Owned by Anne Grosvenor, Duchess of Westminster, he was trained by Tom Dreaper at Greenogue, Kilsallaghan in County Meath, Ireland, and ridden during his steeplechasing career by Pat Taaffe. At 212, his Timeform rating is the highest ever awarded to a steeplechaser. Only Flyingbolt, also trained by Dreaper, had a rating anywhere near his at 210. Next on their ratings are Sprinter Sacre on 192 and then Kauto Star and Mill House on 191. Despite his career being cut short by injury, Arkle won three Cheltenham Gold Cups, the Blue Riband of steeplechasing, and a host of other top prizes. On 19th April, 2014 a magnificent  1.1 scale bronze statue was unveiled in Ashbourne, County Meath in commemoration of Arkle.In the 1964 Cheltenham Gold Cup, Arkle beat  Mill House (who had won the race the previous year) by five lengths to claim his first Gold Cup at odds of 7/4. It was the last time he did not start as the favourite for a race. Only two other horses entered the Gold Cup that year. The racing authorities in Ireland took the unprecedented step in the Irish Grand National of devising two weight systems — one to be used when Arkle was running and one when he was not. Arkle won the 1964 race by only one length, but he carried two and half stones more than his rivals. The following year's Gold Cup saw Arkle beat Mill House by twenty lengths at odds of 3/10. In the 1966 renewal, he was the shortest-priced favourite in history to win the Gold Cup, starting at odds of 1/10. He won the race by thirty lengths despite a mistake early in the race where he ploughed through a fence. However, it did not stop his momentum, nor did he ever look like falling. Arkle had a strange quirk in that he crossed his forelegs when jumping a fence. He went through the season 1965/66 unbeaten in five races. Arkle won 27 of his 35 starts and won at distances from 1m 6f up to 3m 5f. Legendary Racing commentator Peter O'Sullevan has called Arkle a freak of nature — something unlikely to be seen again. Besides winning three consecutive Cheltenham Gold Cups (1964, 1965, 1966) and the 1965 King George VI Chase, Arkle triumphed in a number of other important handicap chases, including the 1964 Irish Grand National (under 12-0), the 1964 and 1965 Hennessy Gold Cups (both times under 12-7), the 1965 Gallagher Gold Cup (conceding 16 lb to Mill House while breaking the course record by 17 seconds), and the 1965 Whitbread Gold Cup(under 12-7). In the 1966 Hennessy, he failed by only half a length to give Stalbridge Colonist 35 lb. The scale of the task Arkle faced is shown by the winner coming second and third in the two following Cheltenham Gold Cups, while in third place was the future 1969 Gold Cup winner, What A Myth. In December 1966, Arkle raced in the King George VI Chase at Kempton Park but struck the guard rail with a hoof when jumping the open ditch, which resulted in a fractured pedal bone; despite this injury, he completed the race and finished second. He was in plaster for four months and, though he made a good enough recovery to go back into training, he never ran again. He was retired and ridden as a hack by his owner and then succumbed to what has been variously described as advanced arthritis or possibly brucellosis and was put down at the early age of 13. Arkle became a national legend in Ireland. His strength was jokingly claimed to come from drinking 2 pints of Guinness  a day. At one point, the slogan Arkle for President was written on a wall in Dublin. The horse was often referred to simply as "Himself", and he supposedly received items of fan mail addressed to 'Himself, Ireland'. The Irish government-owned Irish National Stud, at Tully, Kildare, Co. Kildare, Ireland, has the skeleton of Arkle on display in its museum. A statue in his memory was erected in Ashbourne Co Meath in 2004.     Dimensions : 55cm x 60cm
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