Descendants, politicians and historians gathered at Glasnevin Cemetery, in Dublin, this weekend to commemorate Irish political figure Daniel O’Connell on the 168th anniversary of his death.
O’Connell, after whom Dublin’s main street is named, was nicknamed The Liberator or The Emancipator. An Irish political leader in the first half of the 19th century, O’Connell campaigned for Catholic emancipation, including the right for Catholics to sit in the Westminster Parliament in London, denied for over 100 years, and the repeal of the Act of the Union, which tied Great Britain and Ireland together.
On Saturday a ceremony of commemoration took place in Dublin attended by O’Connell’s descendants, Ireland’s Minister for Diaspora Affairs Jimmy Deenihan and Dublin Lord Mayor Christy Burke. This year marked the 5th annual ceremony for O’Connell and included wreath-laying under the tower crypt where he is buried.
Speaking at the event, Deenihan said, “Daniel O’Connell was distinguished in his age for his dedication to the advancement of society, his recognition of the universality of human rights and his unshakable commitment to his principles.
“This great man created changes and chances of progress. He is a cornerstone in Irish history and it is my honor to be a part of this annual event.”
Chairman of the Glasnevin Trust, John Green said, “Daniel O’Connell was a colossus not only in these islands but on the world stage.
“As we reflect on the first century of this state we must never forget the key role Daniel O’Connell has in our nationhood.
“Two hundred years ago he lit a torch, which, although occasionally dimmed, has never been quenched. That torch is the peaceful parliamentary process, carried on by Butt, Parnell, Redmond and every Taoiseach since the founding of this state.”
In commemoration to the Irish politician, known for his gift of oration, here are some of his best known quotes:
“Nothing is politically right which is morally wrong.”
“The altar of liberty totters when it is cemented only with blood.”
- Written in his journal, Dec 1796, and one of O'Connell's most well-known quotes
“Gentlemen, you may soon have the alternative to live as slaves or die as freemen.”
- from his speech in Mallow, County Cork
“Good God, what a brute man becomes when ignorant and oppressed. Oh Liberty! What horrors are committed in thy name! May every virtuous revolutionist remember the horrors of Wexford!”
“My days – the blossom of my youth and the flower of my manhood – have been darkened by the dreariness of servitude. In this my native land – in the land of my sires – I am degraded without fault as an alien and an outcast.”
“How cruel the Penal Laws are which exclude me from a fair trial with men whom I look upon as so much my inferiors...”
- O'Connell's Correspondence, Letter No 700, Vol II
“I want to make all Europe and America know it – I want to make England feel her weakness if she refuses to give the justice we the Irish require – the restoration of our domestic parliament...”
- Speech given at a 'monster' meeting held at Drogheda, June, 1843
“No person knows better than you do that the domination of England is the sole and blighting curse of this country. It is the incubus that sits on our energies, stops the pulsation of the nation's heart and leaves to Ireland not gay vitality but horrid the convulsions of a troubled dream.”
- Letter to Bishop Doyle, 1831 (O'Connell Correspondence, Vol IV, Letter No. 1860)
“No man was ever a good soldier but the man who goes into the battle determined to conquer, or not to come back from the battle field (cheers). No other principle makes a good soldier.”
“England's difficulty is Ireland's opportunity.”
- As quoted in the Tribune, 19 January 1856
“I would walk from here to Drogheda and back to see the man who is blockhead enough to expect anything except injustice from an English Parliament.”
“O Saxon cruelty! how it cheers my heart to think that you dare not attempt such a thing again!”