Post by Matt McNamara on Oct 23, 2008 21:56:15 GMT
The following photograph was sent to me by Caroline Shelton. Included in the photograph is her Father Jim Smith. Jim came to the Curragh on a holiday but ended up staying for almost 5 years and went to school here. Read Jim's amazing memories of his time on The Curragh. Jim is still alive today and will celebrate his 100 Birthday next March.
While this is historic, I can't help but wonder about the following.
1. At the time, the Camp was occupied by the British, I wonder how many of the kids in the photograph were born in the Curragh? The irony here is, prior to 1922, those born in Ireland would still consider themselves British because Ireland was a British constituency thanks to the Ireland Act of 1801. Yet, kids born to Irish parents always considered themselves thoroughly Irish since time immemorial.
2. There's a strong likelihood that every kid in the photo had an English accent.
3. Judging from the early pictures of the Curragh, those kids wouldn't have enjoyed playing in the plantations because they weren't there.
3. When the British departed in 1922, I assume that most, if not all the kids in the photograph returned to England.
4. Several Irish men that fought for the British Army as officers, later became officers in Irish Army. Thus we inherited the class culture and mirror image of our greatest nemesis, Britain.
Post by Matt McNamara on Oct 24, 2008 16:19:34 GMT
I will agree with you on one point and that is that the article is historic . It is The Curragh History. When I started my first web page on The Curragh my sole intention was to share the history of The Curragh with as many people as possible, and I quote from my first page which is still on the site “My interest in The Curragh and it's history go back a long time, and with the advent of the web, I decided what better way to share this information than with a dedicated Curragh web site”
The fact the Jim Smith is still alive and still connected to The Curragh is probably one of the last remaining links with that particular time and pre-1922. The fact that these children may have had or had not an English accent is irrelevant to me. I look at the picture and see Curragh children through and through. Sure they are children of soldiers from a different army, but they have a lot more in common with you and I than you care to think. As for playing in the plantations, I am sure that as true Curragh children they managed to find plenty to do in a military camp. ( Read Jim's article for more info on that one)
As to these children being from the Curragh, take a look at the web page on the site called CASUALTY LIST of SOLDIERS FROM KILDARE Killed or Injured during WWI and do a search on that page for soldiers Born in the Curragh. As you will see there is quite a lot of men born in the Curragh Camp like you and I, but they had to grow up and fight a war and give the ultimate sacrifice , so where do you draw the line when saying somebody is from The Curragh.
So we can look at our history with narrow minds and just imagine that all the fine red brick buildings just appeared in 1922 and nothing happened before that. But I prefer to look at the whole picture “warts and all “and I am proud of my Curragh roots and history.
My comments were purely observational. However the fact remains that the island of Ireland was occupied by the same soldiers in the photograph and the indigenous population were essentially captives in their own land. Like 200,000 Irishmen, my grandfather fought for the British in WWI and was ostracized by his own people upon his return. That’s just the way things were.
My observation is to contrast the fact that those of us who were born and reared there consider the Curragh home. The Curragh Camp is unique because it was self-sufficient as a community i.e., its own schools, church, and other facilities etc. Hence the kids in the photo were part of a British enclave within the heart of Ireland. It ponders the question: can someone who is not welcome (occupier) consider the Curragh as their home? I can’t answer that. If any of them consider themselves Curragh folk, that’s okay with me.
In contrast, I lived in England in the 80s and I found the experience truly wonderful. However, I met others who felt the opposite. The only difference is the Paddy’s didn’t occupy the place, it was merely home from home for many, and that I am grateful for.
Here's another contrast that exists in Irealnd today. My yougest daughter was born in Birmingham and has lived most of her life in New York. She considers herself to be 100% Irish and her cousins say she's a Yank. What is she? I was in Newbridge in August when I overheard a yob calling a young black kid an African so and so. The young guy clearly with a Kidlare answered him saying he was born in the Coombe and that he was Irish.
Hi Brendan, i'm Sure each and every child in that picture considered themselves from the Curragh wheather they were born there or were forced to live there through circumstance. I'm sure they would have had much in common with us thorough breds basically thrown together because their fathers choose to join the army. This web site shows the impact the curragh has had on many people over the years wheather they were passing through with the army or born there. Please excuse my ignorance as i'm not very political but i do think those children deserve to be regarded as curragh kids
I agree with you wholeheartedly. Kids are very resilient and adapt very well to their environment. My own kids settled nicely in England and later in the States. When they were pre-teens, it was harder for them to move when I moved out of NYC upstate NY. But they love it here now. I bet those kids enjoyed the Curragh as much as I did.
Post by Matt McNamara on Oct 25, 2008 15:47:29 GMT
In reference to the above I mentioned a page on the site called CASUALTY LIST of SOLDIERS FROM KILDARE Killed or Injured during WWI. I had a look through it last night and in total I counted 107 men born in The Curragh. The vast majority of them being killed in action in some of the bloodies periods of WW I. Their units, of which many are famous Irish Regiments and of course there was English Regiments mentioned. I will mention some of the Regiments in which many of these of Curragh born lads ended their lives among their ranks.
Irish Guards Royal Dublin Fusiliers Army Service Corps Kings Liverpool Regiment Machine Gun Corps Royal Munster Fusiliers Royal Field Artillery The Welsh Regiment Connaught Rangers Army Veterinary Corps Royal Irish Fusiliers
And if you look at the surnames of the Dead and Wounded born in The Curragh you will see the following Irish names:
Quinn O’Neill Murray Moran Moore Maher Kelly Houlahan Hannigan Guilfoyle Coughlan Connolly Carolan Burke Brennan
Sure there is some very English sounding names among the Curragh Born, but what they all had in common is that after being born in The Curragh most of them were to live a very short lives, as bullets and bombs in War don’t look for a birth certificate when they are coming in your direction.
But here on this forum almost 100 years later I am still trying to teach myself and show other people with a genuine interest in The Curragh, that there is a lot more to the Curragh History than we will ever know. And for that reason we must document what we know and from what ever source, before time erases it away forever.
Hello Matt, Good website. I read your piece with interest. I’d like to add some history to the soldiers serving in the Curragh around 1916. The names you mention are Irish in name and most had Irish connections. The Soldiers in the Curragh served in the following barracks.
Ponsonby Barracks, Stewart Barracks, Beresford Barracks, A.S.C. Barracks, Engineer Barracks, .Gough Barracks, and Keane Barracks. The last two are good Irish names.
Around 50,000 Irishmen died and tens of thousands came back suffering horrendous injuries to a land occupied by the same lot that promised them freedow. I bet you didn’t know that some of the soldiers serving on the Curragh were in the firing squad that murdered the names that replaced the English barracks.
Plunkett, Connolly, Clarke, MacDermott, MacDonagh, and Pearse – all RIP.
Thanks to these fellas, the Tricolour flies proudly on the Water Tower in a free Curragh and country.
Post by Matt McNamara on Oct 25, 2008 21:34:25 GMT
Thank you for your comments and contribution to the forum, but again I am afraid that your knowledge of history is a little clouded if not leaning to the republican side. You mention Plunkett, Connolly, Clarke, MacDermott, MacDonagh, and Pearse which I will agree were great leaders of a Rising which was stopped by a far greater force in terms of numbers. To say they were murdered, I would have to disagree. They were the leaders of an army engaged in War or conflict with another occupying army. And like any solider (myself included) when it comes to war or conflict you have to be prepared for the worst. So murdered No, casualties of a War or conflict Yes
But you have to remember the people they were fighting had among their ranks many Irish men. And the old saying “Well they took the Kings Shilling” was always the answer to anybody who never took the republican side.
Well my Grandfather (Maurice Madden) took the “Kings Shilling” along with his brother (John) and many thousands of Irishmen . John was killed during WW I and his body was never recovered, just a name on a wall in France. Anyhow my Grandfather was luckier and survived the war while serving with the Connaught Rangers. After the war his Regiment was sent to a relatively nice posting in India. It was while he was here the word of the atrocities been carried out by the Black and Tans back in Ireland. Anyhow to cut a long story short the Connaught Rangers had a mutiny and tried to take over a number of posts in protest. The mutiny was squashed and a few were killed. As a warning to the whole Regiment one soldier was selected and shot by Firing Squad before the whole Regiment as a reminder where their allegiance should lie.
Anyhow like many other famous Irish Regiments with traditions going back hundreds of years they were soon disbanded by the crown as part of “The Treaty” which Michael Collins negotiated and signed.
Forming an Irish Army was difficult with the split of the republicans after the treaty was signed. So who did the then Commander in Chief Gen. Michael Collins of the new Irish Army look to fill the ranks, the very men who had took “The Kings Shilling” , they were trained and had seen service in WWI and other places. Again my Grandfather signed up and was soon engaged in a different conflict or Civil War against fellow Irishmen and Women. Now if Gen Collins and the men of the new Irish Army had failed I think that we would be living in a very different Ireland today.
I am sorry if I have gone on, but I grew up in a time when all this vital part history was “Airbrushed” out and we were taught other peoples history. My mother who is still alive to-day knew very little about her Father military background as he never spoke about it. Because I think he was dammed by all sides by taking the “Kings Shilling” and fighting the republicans who had plans for a different Ireland to the one we have today.
So GuestX you have to say that Irish History is not Black and White as we were taught, but more a Grey colour in which we have to look at with open eyes and an open mind.
This should debate should never have taken place on The Curragh School Forum in the first place, but I feel that I should reply to other peoples postings. If somebody would like to take it further please create a new thread on the Forum and please leave this one to what it is suppose to be about “Curragh Schools”.
My view of history is far from clouded. Having a master’s degree in history and being an army officer, I felt it necessary to reflect the truth. I’m sorry you missed my point of fact. It seems you are emotionally triggered about your grandfather and granduncle’s involvement in WWI. Your site, I believe is about the history of the Curragh. This particular discussion is about this era, hence I was emphasizing the facts as reflected of the time (between 1916 – 1922). It has nothing to do with the wonderful Irishmen who fought for the British in WWI. I have the greatest respect for them because my grandfather was in the Dublin Fusiliers who fought and lost his life at the Battle of the Somme. Your thread discusses the Curragh of the time. Hence, my intention to zero into this era of Irish history. Another fact relating to BRITISH soldiers occuping the Curragh includes the fact that they were mobilized to Dublin when the rising occurred. By the way, the Black and Tans were also housed in the Curragh periodically. We all know about them. Being an officer, I would like to state that you are very wrong about my “Republican” persuasion.
I want to state that I admire and appreciate the sacrifice your relatives have made, including my own, in their fight of the freedom we enjoy today.
Post by Matt McNamara on Oct 26, 2008 12:54:35 GMT
Hiding behind an alias name (GuestX), we can all have a Masters Degrees in history, so why if you have an interest in the site, why do you not register your user name.
Personally I don’t hide behind an alias and I don’t have a Masters Degree in history, but my knowledge in Curragh History (which I have acquired over the last 15 years) and which is far from complete. I have acquired this through research of Army archives, many books, and most importantly from the many contributions to this site from Families that have lived on The Curragh over the last 90 years and more. What contributions have you made to the site? If you have a Masters Degree in History, surely you must have many fine papers of interest to this site and I would gladly display your work here.
Reading between the lines I find your views and comments and general response not that of an Irish Army Officer ,who in my option would take a more professional view and not leaning to the republican side. .
As I have previously said this is not the area for this particular debate and I am now as the administrator, (for the first time) locking this particular thread. If you want to continue this debate please register a username and create a new thread in the “General Discussion “area. Or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
This type of debate has no place in the Curragh Schools thread.