On the other hand there was seldom a rebellion suppressed with more criminal methods or
more vicious cruelty. The Irish people had no legal rights whatever at that period,
and were treated like slaves by the ruling class of a different race and language. These
rapacious people who had stolen the land from the native Irish maintained the British Ascendancy
by graft, trickery and pure physical force. Eventually to counter heir unscrupulous enemies
The Defenders were formed a great secret defensive alliance of poor men against
landlord tyranny. These Defenders stated Miss Jacob, eventually joined up with
the United Irishmen as they had the same ideals, a free democratic Ireland, thus forming the
first union of Irishmen of all religious persuasions.
Miss Jacob went on to refer to the three great heroes of Kildare at this period, Laurence OConnor, the school master of Naas, who was tried and sentenced to death in 1795 a great upholder of the cause of the poor against landlord tyranny. Then there was Lord Edward Fitzgerald, who organised the people by joining in handball tournaments, taking part in dances and other amusements, thus winning the hearts of the people. After the death of Lord Edward, William Aylmer, Rathcoffey took his place in Kildare, and led the United Irishmen.
An intrepid soldier he captured Prosperous, Clane and other towns, and eventually after the end of the Rising went to Germany and entered the Austrian service. This is how Charles Teeling described him, added Miss Jacob:- Without artillery, Alymer couldnt keep hold of town but he moved fast and kept harassing the enemy. At night on the plains of Kildare, in the morning 20 miles in advance, cutting off the supplies of the enemy storming their posts, or driving back the advance of their enemy in full march to lay waste some village or town; always on the alert indefatigable in his pursuits and exhaustless in enterprise.... even after the end of the Wexford campaign the defeat of the United Irish forces in Ulster and general cessation of hostilities we find Aylmer at the head of his invincible band; winning by his courage and his conduct the admiration of hostile ranks, and never laying down the arms which he had borne with manly pride, until the last of his companions were guaranteed in life and safety, by solemn treaty with the British general, Dundas. Other prominent Kildare patriots, the speaker referred to were Edmond (Laider) OHanlon, Hugh Ware of Maynooth, George Luby and Captain Farrell Blackhall who led the attack in Prosperous.
Tribute To Women
She expressed the opinion
that the Battle of Ovidstown might have been won if the pikemen had obeyed Aylmers orders
to attack the positions from which the enemy artillery was firing. We must be proud of these
people who suffered and made such a gallant fight, concluded Miss Jacob. We must remember
them and keep alive the history of that noble movement for human and national freedom in
the minds of the young a fight for liberty is the noblest memory a native can have,
a possession to cherish for ever.
William Aylmer and his men, Edmond Laidir, Dr. Emond who was hanged on Carlisle Bridge in Dublin, Ruth Hackett, of Prosperous, the women of Clane, Laurence OConnor the martyr of the Defenders, Lord Edward. Above all we must cherish what they fought for all of them of different religions the principle of civil and religious liberty in a free democratic Ireland. We have in our hands independence for our country, the first blessing of nations and liberty for ourselves, without which life is not worth preserving.
With Roger Casement
We do little honour to the men of 98 if we but gather to hear speeches, to sing our songs, drink too much and tell each other what fine fellows we are and then go home and forget all about it. No matter what we do or say here today we can neither take from nor add to the glory of Irelands immortal dead. But there is something we can do to further the cause for which these men died. Let us begin at the beginning and look squarely at the situation that confronts this country today. The objects and ideals for which the men of 98 fought have not yet been attained. We are not a free nation.
Let us also realise that if freedom was worth fighting for in 98 it is still worth fighting for. Therefore if we are men we must carry on this fight until Ireland is free from the centre to the sea. The blazing torch of liberty has been tossed to us and if we do not hold it high we deserve all the slavery and degradation which will surely follow. For 750 years we have fought our one and only enemy. As long as England holds those six counties in the north she is still our enemy.
Rule Britannia Boys
But the Rule Britannia boys are not so sure of themselves now. In rapid succession they have been driven out of China, out of India, out of Burma, out of Egypt, out of Palestine and her grip has been shaken in the old Boer Republics of South Africa. Her Black and Tans are engaged in a life and death struggle in Malaya and all the time England cries aloud to the world for money fees and material to save her crashing empire. That is the position of England today. In her desperation she turns to Ireland. She has great plans for us. She will most graciously withdraw from the North of Ireland if we feed her, if we work for her, if we send our Irish boys to fight her battles for her.
Remember she fights only Holy Wars now: if you dont believe me ask the people of Malaya. For the return of the six counties she will gladly take over whole island, She would turn the people of this land into a nation of cow punchers, hen wives and potato diggers. But we must sell to no other but her. For this she will return to us that which she has already stolen - the six counties of the north. No matter how sweetly this plan may be put by diplomats, its import is the same. We are expected to become once more the pack asses of English privilege. What would the men of 98 say to such a plan. What would Tone, Emmett McCracken or Jimmy Hope say? What would be the reply of Pearse, Clarke, Connolly or MacDermott? No! A thousand times no. Let us reply as Sean MacDermott replied in 1913: England damn your concessions, we want our country. And then like the men of 98 let us be ready to back our words with strong right arms.
Father Carter thanked the distinguished speakers for their addresses and said that it was the fires rekindled in 98 and 1916 which eventually won them civil and religious freedom. An apology regretting inability to attend was received from Mr. Tom Barry. Also on the platform were Rev. P. Byrne, C.C. Broadford, and Mr. C. OBuachalla, Kilcock. The general attendance included Mr. G. Sweetman, T.D.; Mr. T. Harris, T.D.; Mr. J. Daly, Messrs. J. Harris, M.J. Daly, M.J. ODonoghue, Co.C.; T. Donoghue, Kilcock; T. Boylan, Co.C.; T. Donnellan, and D. ONeill, Co.C.; Michael Bird, Miss Buckley, Kilcock: R. ODonnell, T. Ahern, P.C.: M. Cowley, Padraigh Crowley, Naas; J. King, J. Byrne, W. OBrien, W. OByrne, Kilcock; D. Halligan, P.C.; Mrs. M. Curley, Donadea; J. Mullally, T. Mulligan, Hortland; W. Allen, Straffan; Mr. Cornelia, Straffan; J. Kelly, Grange. Both monuments were erected by Messrs. Harristown, Pearse St. Dublin. Great credit is due to the Newtown Committee for their arduous work in the preparation of the sites.