Former IRA leader Ruairi O Bradaigh remembered by a close friend
Former head of IRA and leading dissident Republican passes away at age 81
It was fate that brought my husband and I on vacation from the U.S. to the round table at Gleeson’s, the popular bed and breakfast in Roscommon Town Square many years ago.
Seated at our side, the affable proprietor offered suggestions and pointed us toward local inhabitants who could be helpful in our search for Roscommon’s past. “You really must talk with Ruairí Ó’Brádaigh. He’s an expert on local history, and really into that stuff.”
That recommendation was all that was needed to spur us out the door and down Main Street headed toward the Abbey Hotel. Further along the Galway Road, my husband and I found the proper house number. We had arrived unannounced. Dressed in a suit, Ó’Brádaigh cordially invited us into the parlor, and proceeded to talk with us about the early days of the Volunteers in Roscommon.
Our interview was soon interrupted by a television camera crew from the BBC. Asked to return several hours later, we exited the cottage only to come back for more reminiscences about the Black and Tan War and the men who fought in it. Family medals were shared over tea in the kitchen as the profile of a devout Republican began to emerge.
Born Peter Roger Casement O’Bradaigh in 1932 in Longford town, he was called Rory (the Hiberno-English translation of Roger). During his secondary (high school) years at St. Mel’s, he sat next to the boy who would become this author’s parish priest in Oregon. Father Joe Black well remembered his school chum’s escapades at the old Dillon House in Loughglynn, with the nuns leaning out the second storey windows shouting at the embracing boys and girls, “Not in this holy place!”
His father was an avid Republican who had been badly wounded in the Black and Tan War, and later served as the Chairman of the Easter Rising Commemorative Ceremony. His great aunt, having been burned out of her Belfast home, suffered health problems as a result of the trauma, and spent five years in a mental hospital. Ó’Brádaigh’s mother was an Irish speaker, who instilled in her son not only a love of the native tongue but a reverence for the sacrifices of past patriots. She had been active in the Cumann na mBan.
An eight-year-old’s brush with Republican milestones directed this young boy to a road of political activism. On the morning of 7 February 1940, his father checked his watch, and when the small hand pointed to nine and the longer hand snapped to twelve, the elder Ó’Brádaigh turned to his son and daughter and said, “Kneel down and say your prayers. Two Irishmen now lie into quicklime in Birmingham.” (Peter Barnes and James McCormack were hanged for their supposed participation in a bombing in Coventry.)
15 - 69 | See all comments
- An open letter in strong defence of capitalism.
- Sarah Palin is saving Christmas
- Racist incidents in Ireland up by 85 percent...
- Gay teacher fired from Catholic school after...
- Irish drugs mule to escape full trial and...
- Virginia governor slammed by doctor over...
- Top Christmas Irish ads that will be bring...
- Nelson Mandela was against IRA decommissioning.
- Irish radio presenter suspended after anti-Isra
- Hollywood star Gabriel Byrne brands new Pope...
I wonder if the Governor of Virginia put up similar protests on behalf of his constituents when the slave trade was outlawed everywhere else but his mGay teacher fired from Catholic school after applying for same-sex marriage license
Stevenstar , I live in Ireland and I can emphatically say that 75% of Irish people do NOT believe in gay "marriage " . The idea is regardedNelson Mandela was against IRA decommissioning its arms during 2000 talks
You're right, Fergananim, about Americans not grasping the Irish weariness with IRA activities into the late 20th century. Americans find the idea ofAn open letter in strong defence of capitalism to Pope Francis
Yes, capitalism is very good at providing an abundance of low value items such as food and electronics, just so long as the State (the nation) provide