A Tender Named America by Senan Molony


Inger Sheil

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I see that popular demand has been met and the tender piece has gone up - and what a beautiful combination of hard research and exquisitely evocative writing. I read it enthralled...we've discussed here before the question of Irish nationalism and the Home Rule debates, and it was a pleasure to see the subject so elegantly dealt with in the context of what it meant for ordinary Irish men and women. Wonderfully illustrated with sources you've brought together, too - kudoes to you and Phil for that!

What would Morrow have made of these strong nationalistic currents around him, I wonder? How isolated that man must have felt, surrounded by people like Daly who were not reticent about making their socio-political views felt, and there was Morrow leaving Ireland to escape 'Rome Rule'.

Superlative work, Sen - you've got a master's touch with your material. Confident and firm, but with the light touch of lyricism. Beautiful and poignant.
 

Inger Sheil

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So, do you think that Skibereen was in Daly's repetoire?

Oh father dear, I oft-times hear
You speak of Erin's isle
Her lofty hills, her valleys green,
Her mountains rude and wild
They say she is a lovely land
Wherein a saint might dwell
So why did you abandon her,
The reason to me tell.

Oh son, I loved my native land
With energy and pride
Till a blight came o'er the praties;
My sheep, my cattle died
My rent and taxes went unpaid,
I could not them redeem
And that's the cruel reason
Why I left old Skibereen.

Oh well do I remember
That bleak December day
The landlord and the sheriff came
To take us all away
They set my roof on fire
With their cursed English spleen
I heaved a sigh and bade goodbye
To dear old Skibereen.

Your mother too, God rest her soul,
Fell on the stony ground
She fainted in her anguish
Seeing desolation 'round
She never rose but passed away
From life to immortal dream
She found a quiet grave, me boy,
In dear old Skibereen.

And you were only two years old
And feeble was your frame
I could not leave you with my friends
For you bore your father's name
I wrapped you in my cóta mór
In the dead of night unseen
I heaved a sigh and bade goodbye
To dear old Skibereen.

Oh father dear, the day will come
When in answer to the call
All Irish men of freedom stern
Will rally one and all
I'll be the man to lead the band
Beneath the flag of green
And loud and clear we'll raise the cheer,
Revenge for Skibereen!

Mick Collins was partial to songs along these lines, like The Bould Galtee Boy

Bold and gallant is my name
My name I will never deny,
For love of my country I'm banished from home,
And they calls me the Bould Galtee Boy


He had a particular fondness for - dare I mention it - 'The List':

So here's to the Maine and we're sorry for Spain,
Said Kelly and Burke and Shea


Does anyone have the rest of the lyrics for that one? I haven't found them yet.

All the best,

Ing
 

Senan Molony

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Yeah Phil did a fine job, particularly in getting it up on ET so quickly. Within a few hours of it being sent to him!
I'm rather proud of having done all the
pull-out pictures myself, the ones that radiate out from the picture of the folk in the America's bows at the very end of the article. Phil rejigged the numbers and the colour of the linkage-lines, but I'm still thrilled I managed to realise what I wanted in my head via Adobe photoshop. I'm a bear of very little brain and still learning all this computer stuff.
You were asking Inger about the photos I had dug out but couldn't get into the second edition of The Irish Aboard Titanic - there are a couple of them up there now for ET readers on the article to enjoy at least.
Speaking of TIAT, while that article's pix are "all my own work" (apart from the Fr Browne photos!), it would be remiss of me if I did not pay tribute again in the wider TIAT 2nd-edition context to the highly valuable help Phil Gowan gave me in tracking down US-based descendants of Irish Titanic survivors. I know I keep saying this, but it's true. He it was, for instance, who discovered the gruesome way in which John Kennedy died. Truly the topmost of top individuals.
Anyway - Glad you liked it, guys.
Don't get me singing the old songs, Ing... we'd be here all night!
 

Inger Sheil

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There's always time for Skibereen - must love a country where even the mountains are 'rude and wild'.

Sensational job on the image work - has me thinking I should pick up yet another new image programme - have done some crude work with some of the other programmes available, but wouldn't have the skills to post any work I did do (wouldn't a scanner be lovely??).

I particularly noticed the quality of the images in this piece...there I was congratulating myself on picking up a nice period photo postcard of Cobh the other day at Greenwich, and you come up with a whole swag of images.
 

Senan Molony

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Already coloured. First time I've seen the stacks as red. BTW, if you click on some of those images they zoom to a larger display - ideal for close analysis.
 
Dec 12, 1999
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Thanks for the article, Senan, I like the "Boolavogue" song, in particular. It's rather disquieting to look at that picture of the people aboard the America and know that so few of them survived, and with those that did, there was further tragedy. Thanks again.
 

Senan Molony

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your_image.gif


To answer questions about the relative importances of the Titanic disaster versus the Home Rule Bill, these are the side-by-side headline treatments in the Cork Examiner for Tuesday April 16, 1912 as news breaks of the sinking.

These headlines have been pushed together in the image, but each story is given equal prominence, both garnering three full columns of the six-columns of the inside page. Both these headlines are on the same page.

The difference is that the details of the Titanic disaster are meagre, but there are lots of related stories. Meanwhile the Home Rule coverage continues overleaf for a full three pages. Saturation reportage of the issue, in other words.

One story begins:

"Though the fate of the Home Rule Bill as far as the House of Commons is concerned is already assured, even such an unfriendly authority as the Daily Telegraph making a calculation of 112 of a majority in its favour, the public interest in the debate on the first reading still continiues to be very great, as was shown by the rush to obtain seats in the gallery again to-day.
The Irish members... found it impossible to comply with all the requests (for admittance) that were made to them...
The chief interest in to-day's proceedings centred mainly on the speech which Mr Balfour was to deliver (former leader of the Tory opposition) , but before seting down to the order of the day some diverting incidents took place, A Liberal member, Mr Martin, was informed by the Attorney General during Question Time that it was not the intention of the Government to prosecute Mr Rudyard kipling for sedition on account of some verses which he had written about Ulster, whereupon Mr Wm Redmond created laughter by asking if it was not the general opinion that this doggerel could not be called verse at all."

Etc etc, every sneeze and cough....
 

Senan Molony

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Another odd connection between the Titanic and Home Rule is the fact that Arthur Conan Doyle and George Bernard Shaw, who had that famous Battle of the Brains over how to interpret the disaster (which Shaw won, in my view) later buried their differences to unite on Home Rule.

The two men headlined a mass gathering at the Memorial Hall in London on December 4, 1912, to protest against Ulster Unionist resistance to Home Rule, which by then had been long passed as a measure. Also on the podium was one W.B. Yeats.

Of course the Home Rule ramifications in one shape or another have continued to this day, and one can argue that Northern Ireland's new devolved assembly is a form of Home Rule.

Ireland never did get Home Rule. The measure passed in 1912 was prorogued or put into abeyance on the outbreak of WW1 in 1914 following a prolonged "Plan of Campaign" rearguard action by Northern nay-sayers.

That led to the 1916 Rising in Dublin and eventual independence for the South by the Treaty of December 1920.
 

Inger Sheil

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Conan Doyle came down in favour of Home Rule...??? The man goes up umpteen notches in my estimation (and he was already pretty high for remembering James Moody in that exchange over the Titanic).

Shaw, of course, gave us one of the finest passages of writing in that period (IMHO) when he wrote to Hannie, sister to Michael Collins:

Don't let them make you miserable about it: how could a born soldier die better than at the victorious end of a good fight, falling to the shot of another Irishman - a damned fool, but all the same an Irishman who thought he was fighting for Ireland - 'a Roman to a Roman'?

So tear up your mourning and hang up your brightest colours in his honour; and let us all praise God that he had not to die in a snuffy bed of a trumpery cough, weakened by age, and saddened by the disappointments that would have attended his work had he lived.


Have to agree with you on the dominancy of Home Rule as a political issue - tremendous polarisation, and not just in Ireland!
 

Inger Sheil

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Conan Doyle came down in favour of Home Rule...??? The man goes up umpteen notches in my estimation (and he was already pretty high for remembering James Moody in that exchange over the Titanic).

Shaw, of course, gave us one of the finest passages of writing in that period (IMHO) when he wrote to Hannie, sister to Michael Collins:

Don't let them make you miserable about it: how could a born soldier die better than at the victorious end of a good fight, falling to the shot of another Irishman - a damned fool, but all the same an Irishman who thought he was fighting for Ireland - 'a Roman to a Roman'?

So tear up your mourning and hang up your brightest colours in his honour; and let us all praise God that he had not to die in a snuffy bed of a trumpery cough, weakened by age, and saddened by the disappointments that would have attended his work had he lived.


Have to agree with you on the dominancy of Home Rule as a political issue - tremendous polarisation, and not just in Ireland!
 
Dec 12, 1999
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I came across this traditional Irish song. Please forgive the translation.

Rising Of The Moon

Come on tell me Sean O’Farrell tell me why you hurry so,
Hush me vocal, hush and listen, and his cheeks were all aglow.
Aye they’re orders from the Captain get you ready quick and soon,
For the pikes must be together by the risin’ of the Moon.

By the risin’ of the Moon, by the risin’ of the Moon,
For the pikes must be together by the risin’ of the Moon.


And then tell me Sean O’Farrell where the gatherin’ is to be,
In the old stop by the river, right where Mo met you and me,
One more worth a signal talkin’ this a left a marchin’ tune,
With your pike upon your shoulder by the risin’ of the Moon.

By the risin’ of the Moon, by the risin’ of the Moon
With your pike upon your shoulder, by the risin’ of the Moon.


Out of many mudwall cabin eyes er watchin’ through the night,
Many a man we heard was grubbin’ for the comin’ mornin’ light,
Burn is ramblin long the valley like the banshee’s long lit crew.
And a thousand pikes were flashin’ by the risin’ of the Moon.

By the risin’ of the Moon, by the risin’ of the Moon,
And a thousand pikes were flashin’by the risin’ of the Moon.


There’s a sign sayin' a river that a mass of men were seen,
Far above their shining weapons come the rue for love of free,
Death to every foe and traitor for explain the marchin’ too,
And her army boys her freedom tis the risin’ the Moon.

Tis the risin’ of the Moon, tis the risin’ of the Moon,
And her army boys her freedom, tis the risin’ of the Moon.

Tis the risin’ of the Moon, tis the risin’ of the Moon,
And her army boys her freedom tis the risin’ of the Moon.
 

Inger Sheil

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Ah, this has to be one of the songs from when we rose in 1798!

A bad influence, the Irish...we had a Vinegar Hill in Australia, too :)

Emmet's final speech before his execution for his part in the 1803 rising ('Let no man write my epitaph...') was apparently one of those studied by young Abraham Lincoln.

And there's even a Titanic connection - Robert Emmet might not have gone down with the Titanic, but his picture did.
 

Senan Molony

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Interesting translation there Jan. Yeah, this is a song of '98...

I find that second line translation interesting:
"Hush me vocal,"

The original line is
"Hush me buachall,"

Buachall is the Irish language word for "boy."
So it's hush me boy, and *his* cheeks were all a-glow.

I'll hush my vocalling now. No more warbling from me until maybe the St Patrick's Day gig in South Carolina...
 

Senan Molony

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From the Cork Examiner, January 6, 1913. p. 6.

CLYDE SHIPPING CO

RETIREMENT OF CAPTAIN TOBIN (OF THE "AMERICA")

Queenstown, Sunday.

Captain James Tobin, Commodore Captain of the Clyde Shipping Co's fleet at Queenstown has retired after what has been in the fullest sense of the term a strenuous life at sea, and no man could possibly retire from command with a more satisfactory and successful record that to which Captain Tobin can lay claim.
He has been over 40 years commanding vessels at Queenstown, and during that period has had many voyages way from our port.
For the past 27 years he has been in the employ of the Clyde Shipping Co., and in that capacity, as well as while employed with the old Queentown Towing Co., he has won fame for himself by his exceptionally skilful handling of the vessels under his command.
Anyone who knows Cork harbour and what intercepting liners in bad weather means will marvel at the success that has followed Captain Tobin's handling of his tender and his freedom from accident in all those years past.
Many in Queenstown can recount stories of many a desperate struggle with the elements on the tender America with James Tobin in command and strangers who have come amongst us from other shipping ports from time to time have often paid generous tribute to Captain Tobin's superb handling of his tender, very often when it seemed as if nothing would save her from being seriously disabled while getting alongside or holding on to the liners while gale and sea rendered every moment of struggle desperate.
The natural pride which Captain Tobin took in our port, and his desire to prove that it had no equal as a highway for transatlantic liners, were such that he always felt personally glad at being instrumental, as he frequently was, in preventing the big liners from passing our harbour without landing mails and passengers.
I've often watched him in the height of a storm, while his tender was roped on to one of the monster passenger ships, and but for his unerring judgment in the directions he gave, many an accident would probably be reported against him.
The strain to which his lifework subjected him must have been awful, and it told somewhat on his once robust frame, for though he risked much, he never forgot for an instant what his duties were to his employers, and faithful and much respected employee that he has been, he kept his duty to the Clyde Shipping Co. ever prominently before him, and though his courage was wonderful, he never for an instant alllowed it to bear the impress of bad judgment.
He knew exactly what he and his ship were capable of accomplishing, and beyond that no power could make him go. It is often said, and I believe in perfect truth, that Queenstown has never had a man in command who could intercept a liner or handle a vessel in bad weather with such skill as Capt. Tobin, and knowing every current as he does, and with that lynx-eye that was his, he seemed to know by a glance wen a storm was in store or about to blow out.
His knowledge and experience were valuable assets to the entire shipping interests of the port. The countless thousands who have been carried by his tender on part of the way to or from America owe him much for his safe guidance, and the humblest exile was as much a consideration with him as the wealthiest of magnates.
The evolution of shipping durring his active career has been astonishing, and it was all the same to him, for with the biggest of the leviathans as well as the smallest, he by his magnificent judgment was equal to every demand and thus he contributed in no small way to the great good name which our port is credited with amongst all shipping authorities.
The news of his retirement marks the severance of a man of commanding worth - one who has served every interest he represented, or for which he was responsible, with a devotion that no man could improve on, and hence the sincerely expressed hope that his well deserved rest may be extended over many years.

(Now if Phil would fix the photo thingy, I could post his pickchur)
 

Senan Molony

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your_image.gif


To answer questions about the relative importances of the Titanic disaster versus the Home Rule Bill, these are the side-by-side headline treatments in the Cork Examiner for Tuesday April 16, 1912 as news breaks of the sinking.

These headlines have been pushed together in the image, but each story is given equal prominence, both garnering three full columns of the six-columns of the inside page. Both these headlines are on the same page.

The difference is that the details of the Titanic disaster are meagre, but there are lots of related stories. Meanwhile the Home Rule coverage continues overleaf for a full three pages. Saturation reportage of the issue, in other words.
 

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