12 thoughts on “The Shoulders Of Giants

  1. Alan MacSimoin

    At least you can make a case that Cromwell was a republican of sorts, which is more than can be said for any of the four on the state’s banner.

  2. Em-malicious

    At the risk of getting lambasted here, surely everyone is missing the point of those four portraits? The missing context is where they were hung up: on the former Irish Parliment on College Green, Grattan’s Parliament, now a bank of all things.

    Grattan established that institution, and the Irish Volunteers were very taken by his example, indeed he set up the precursor to the Irish Volunteers in 1778. These Irish Volunteers played a decisive role in securing Ireland its first parliament in 1782. Fast forward to the 1830s and Daniel O’Connell tried to re-establish this institution post Act of Union as did Parnell in the 1870s and ’80s. John Redmond successfully got an act put on the statute book in 1914 to re-establish a parliament in that building. Pearse spoke at a rally defending Home Rule on 31 March 1912 in which he defended Redmond’s project: ‘ it is clear to me that the bill we support today will be for the good of Ireland, and that we will be stronger with it than without it. Let us unite and win a good Act from the British: I think it can be done.’ However, Pearse concluded with a prophetic note: ‘If we are cheated once more there will be red war in Ireland.’

    Also, for anyone asking what those guys have to do with 1916, Tom Clarke was released from a life sentence through the efforts of John Redmond in 1898. This dichotomy between physical force and the constitutional tradition is largely a false one and it’s deeply unhelpful. History is complicated enough without us trying to fit everyone into neat little boxes.

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