Fishermen pictured in An Claidheamh Soluis in 1913.Conradh na Gaeilge

An Claidheamh Soluis (meaning The Sword of Light) was an Irish nationalist weekly bilingual newspaper published throughout the early 20th century.

Established and published by Irish language organization Conradh na Gaeilge (then known by its Anglicized name The Gaelic League) in 1899, the newspaper boasted some impressive editors including Eoin Mac Néill (1899-1901), the co-founder of Conradh na Gaeilge, and founder of the Irish Volunteers; and Pádraig Pearse (1903 - 1909), political activist and leader of the 1916 Easter Rising.

Although the primary goal of the newspaper at the time was to promote the Irish language, promoting the philosophies and policies of Conradh na Gaeilge, the paper’s pages now act as a doorway not just into the state of the Irish language in the early 20th century but into life as it was in the lead up to the Easter Rising.

Conradh na Gaeilge are currently in the process of digitizing the images within archived copies of the paper and featured below are a selection of the photos published in 1913, the year of the Dublin Lockout, and the year in which both the Irish Citizen Army and the Irish Volunteers were formed. There are also more images available to explore in our gallery here

1913 was also the year that the 3rd Home Rule Bill was rejected by the House of Lords in Westminster. English Conservative Party politician Andrew Bonar Law was one of those who strongly resisted the introduction of Home Rule and swore to fight against it. In late November 1913, he attended a huge Unionist rally in Dublin in the Theater Royal. He is pictured below (left) with Edward Carson (right) being handed letters by Bean Uí Conaire (Ms Conroy) a loyal member of the women’s movement.

Image: Conradh na Gaeilge.

Image: Conradh na Gaeilge.

This cartoon from the paper gives some idea as to how Home Rule was viewed at the time.

Image: Conradh na Gaeilge.

Image: Conradh na Gaeilge.

Other funny cartoons include this illustration of women asking to see everything the shop has.

Women shopping: We don't want anything but we want to see all of the best you have. Image: Conradh na Gaeilge.

Women shopping: We don't want anything but we want to see all of the best you have. Image: Conradh na Gaeilge.

Could you guess what towns are depicted in this illustration?

Riddle: What are the towns these images show? Image: Conradh na Gaeilge.

Riddle: What are the towns these images show? Image: Conradh na Gaeilge.

Historic moments in Irish history were also recorded. Pictured below is the first plane to travel over the sea to Ireland.

Image: Conradh na Gaeilge.

Image: Conradh na Gaeilge.

Crowds await James Larkin outside Liberty Hall.

Image: Conradh na Gaeilge.

Image: Conradh na Gaeilge.

Almost hidden among the advertisements, we come across famous names. This ad is for the shop owned by Tom Clarke, the man renowned as being the person most responsible for the Easter Rising. It is now known that this tobacconists was watched by the British during these years as they tracked the actions of the most high-profile figures in the move for Irish independence.

Image: Conradh na Gaeilge.

Image: Conradh na Gaeilge.

Another 1916 leader and former editor of the the paper is mentioned in this image of the school St. Enda’s. The school was established by Pádraig Pearse in 1908 to promote bilingual education and the promotion of Irish heritage in the education system.

The Lake at St. Enda's College, Rathfarnham, Dublin. Image: Conradh na Gaeilge.

The Lake at St. Enda's College, Rathfarnham, Dublin. Image: Conradh na Gaeilge.

We also see glimpses of normal life as it was in the country in 1913. These images show divers preparing to go underwater, school children in Galway, the glens in Donegal and a market in Derry.

Divers going under water in the River Liffey. Image: Conradh na Gaeilge.

Divers going under water in the River Liffey. Image: Conradh na Gaeilge.

A diver being helped out of his suit. Image: Conradh na Gaeilge.

A diver being helped out of his suit. Image: Conradh na Gaeilge.

School Children in Connemara. Image: Conradh na Gaeilge.

School Children in Connemara. Image: Conradh na Gaeilge.

Irish students from St. Kevin's in Dublin. Image: Conradh na Gaeilge.

Irish students from St. Kevin's in Dublin. Image: Conradh na Gaeilge.

Donegal. Image: Conradh na Gaeilge.

Donegal. Image: Conradh na Gaeilge.

A market for laborers in Derry. Image: Conradh na Gaeilge.

A market for laborers in Derry. Image: Conradh na Gaeilge.

Bringing home the turf was a much slower affair.

Image: Conradh na Gaeilge.

Image: Conradh na Gaeilge.

It would also take a much longer time for you to receive your post. Pictured here is the 1913 Christmas card delivery on its way to Achill.

Image: Conradh na Gaeilge.

Image: Conradh na Gaeilge.

That’s if your post ever reached its destination at all. This letter is notification of a complaint to the Irish postal service about the delivery of post with Irish addresses and the delay or even loss of this post. Unfortunately, complaints regarding the Irish language to the postal service have still not been rectified some 100 years later.

Image: Conradh na Gaeilge.

Image: Conradh na Gaeilge.

The newspaper, of course, included tales of the GAA heroics of the time and featured pictures of the teams. Below is an image of the Kilkenny hurling team in 1913 followed by a shot of the Kilskeery camogie team from Co. Tyrone. We can’t imagine that gear was easy to play in!

Image: Conradh na Gaeilge.

Image: Conradh na Gaeilge.

Image: Conradh na Gaeilge.

Image: Conradh na Gaeilge.

As newspaper of Conradh na Gaeilge, it recognized the work of the organization all over the world.

Branch of Conradh na Gaeilge in Melbourne, Australia. Image: Conradh na Gaeilge.

Branch of Conradh na Gaeilge in Melbourne, Australia. Image: Conradh na Gaeilge.

Finally, as a player in the Irish Literary Revival, it worked for the promotion of all Irish works in both English and Irish. Below are ads for Riders to the Sea in the Abbey Theatre and a scene from the first Gaelic play, “St. Patrick at Tara”.

Image: Conradh na Gaeilge.

Image: Conradh na Gaeilge.

Image: Conradh na Gaeilge.

Image: Conradh na Gaeilge.

"St Patrick at Tara" - A scene from the first Gaelic play. Image: Conradh na Gaeilge.

"St Patrick at Tara" - A scene from the first Gaelic play. Image: Conradh na Gaeilge.

Images with thanks to Conradh na Gaeilge

Further images in our gallery