“A mix in society between Catholic and Protestant was lost at that time…”

It’s worth catching up with this Irish language documentary called “An Tost Fada” (the long silence) which features Canon George Salter, who family left Dunmanway in west Cork in response to an intense set of killings of Protestants in that area and his return after over ninety years later to his former home, Kilronan House…

Adds: Eoghan Harris who mentioned it in his Sindo column yesterday explains some of the impulse for making it:

Between the Ne Temere decree of 1911 and the aftermath of the Civil War we lost a third of our Protestant population. That is, 107,000 southern Protestants, including 10,000 working-class Dublin Protestants. And some of that exodus was enforced by threats and murder.

This traumatic experience was excised from the Irish State’s public memory. Remaining rural Protestants nursed their grief in silence. Privately, however, many rural Roman Catholics felt a sense of shame. That shame formed a saving grace that touched me through.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

  • Framer, try logging out and back in. I’ve found that sometimes works.

  • Framer

    Fraid not. Only four out of the 101 now visible!

  • Mick Fealty

    Yeah, that’s weird. Just happened to me on a much earlier thread. But not on this one.

  • “family left Dunmanway in west Cork in response to an intense set of killings”

    There was certainly a lot of intimidation and fear but George was more specific:

    A man approached [his father] with a revolver and said, ‘Bill boy, if you’re not gone by tomorrow morning you’ll be shot dead’.

    Many folks here will have departed their homes in more receipt times when in receipt of a similar ‘request’ from loyalist and republican paramilitaries; it happened to a member of my extended family in north Armagh who decided not to take any chances after another of their relations was murdered when he ignored a different paramilitary ‘request’.

  • Framer

    You only have to ask and two items arrive.

    Just came across this piece by Gerard Murphy and his website today. Similarly a Cork conference this Saturday below.

    – convincing response to Regan et al.

    I think Meda Ryan’s justifying ‘list of informers’ (much loved on Wikipedia) is rapidly losing currency as Regan fails to endorse it in his latest piece – http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1468-229X.2011.00542.x/pdf

    Examiner, Historians to revisit 1922 massacre of Protestants

    Wednesday, April 25, 2012

    Several leading historians will be in Cork this weekend to discuss one of the bloodiest sectarian massacres of the War of Independence.

    The killing of 18 people in West Cork — all Protestant but one — at the end of Apr 1922 remains one of the most contentious events of the time.

    Since then, various interpretations of the so-called Bandon Massacre have polarised opinion.

    A public event at the Imperial Hotel, Cork, on Saturday Apr 28 will explore the complex backdrop which led up to the tragic event.

    John M Regan, who teaches Irish and British history at the University of Dundee, will re-examine the late Professor Peter Hart’s controversial interpretation of the killings.

    Dr Regan claims that, from the available evidence, it is impossible to know exactly who carried out most of the killings, or what motivated them.

    He explains how Prof Hart constructed his narrative of an “unambiguous sectarian massacre” from contradictory sources.

    Dr Regan argues that Prof Hart’s interpretation “rests on an unsound reading of the evidence”, and he concludes that Prof Hart exaggerated tensions between Catholics and Protestants in West Cork to support his interpretation of the massacre as sectarian.

    The event is organised by Dunlaoi Teoranta, which has invited leading members of all the faith communities around Cork, and members of the public, to attend and contribute to the discussion.

    Andrew Bielenberg, senior lecturer in history at University College Cork, will speak on the historical context and impact of the killings on the community in West Cork.

    The chairperson of the event will be Seán Ó Coileáin, emeritus professor of modern Irish, UCC. Hiram Morgan, senior lecturer in
    history at UCC, will facilitate questions and answers.

    The event takes place at the Imperial Hotel Ballroom at 2.30pm on Saturday.

    The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
    John Regan, Peter Hart and the ‘Bandon Valley Massacre’
    Linked article above by Gerard Murphy ends –

    For this is the second attempt in the last few years to try to tar the victims of the Bandon massacre with the label of ‘spy’ – which they were not even labelled with at the time. (The first was based on equally spurious evidence – the suggestion that they were named on the Auxiliary dossier that was found in Dunmanway workhouse after the Auxiliaries who had occupied it left. The ‘spies’ named on the dossier were never harmed, while the Dunmanway victims were not named in it at all.) The past should be interpreted in its own terms. People should be innocent until proven guilty, not the other way round. Whatever about contemporary propagandists peddling this kind of nonsense, it is surprising to find a professional historian trying to do the same. Seán Buckley and Tom Hales were closer to the truth than many of those who would wish to overturn history. Hart’s interpretation of these events may need to be changed if new information becomes available. Until it does, however, it is still the best show in town.

  • antamadan

    Great links by Framer. Maith thú/ –
    Good on you (I never noticed that translation was an Irishism before now).

    I wonder is nationalism finally getting to something close to objective i.e. between ‘only the bad guys were shot in 1916-22’ to ‘ Pearse and all Irish independence-seakers were bloodthirsty murderers for no reason at all except sectarianism’.

    Are there any revisionist unionist historians?

  • Harry Flashman

    I think too many people get hung up on Peter Hart when discussing this issue when in fact what he wrote, how he researched his book and what he chose to include and leave out are actually entirely irrelevant to the issue.

    The men shot may indeed all have been “informers” if we take that term to mean, not as it traditionally meant in Ireland men within a secret organisation covertly working for the Crown, anyone who gave information to the RIC or British army between 1919 and 1921.

    The men shot were protestant unionists, they viewed the IRA as terrorists and supported the forces of the British state and assisted them where possible. They behaved in other words as protestant unionists would be expected to behave and exactly as protestant unionists behaved during our own recent Troubles in the North.

    During the War of Independence the IRA would rightly have regarded such men as collaborators with the enemy, being enemies of the IRA would be something that such men would have been happy to describe themselves as.

    However, and this is the absolute crux of the issue, the War of Independence was over, the IRA and the British forces had signed a peace treaty and the British were leaving. The protestants of west Cork, whether they were happy with the situation or not, were now Irish citizens for better or for worse and entitled to their human rights as Irish citizens.

    To have then proceeded to murder, and murder is the correct term even within the terms of newly-independent Irish law, eighteen Irish citizens for deeds they were alleged to have committed in the past was outrageous. To have singled out for murder eighteen men who all happened to be members of the religious minority is nakedly sectarian and there can be no denying that.

    If the RUC had murdered eighteen Catholic nationalists in cold blood for the crime of being Catholic nationalists in Lisburn in 1922 no one would have the slightest hesitation in describing it as sectarian murder, I fail to grasp how anyone can deny the same thing in west Cork

  • Mick Fealty

    Can anyone reading this get along tomorrow? I wouldn’t mind getting a blog report out of it?

  • Harry, just as Catholics were attacked in the North following events in the South it would hardly be surprising if there was reciprocation. Also those in the south-west who didn’t oppose the treaty between London and Dublin would have been vulnerable to attack.

    CoI archbishop of Dublin [diary – early May 1922]: “A week of v. great anxiety as to the church’s future. News of evictions, ejections and intimidations everywhere. where is it all to end? Is it the beginning of the end, or a short storm? Prol. Govt. so far seems powerless to intervene.”

    The archbishop’s comments were made made within a week or two of the Dunmanway murders but it’s clear from his other comments that he didn’t see the North-South connection.