The last of the true believers ?

painting by Eoin Mac Lochlainn of Pearse' Cottage in Ros Muc
an oil painting of Pearse’s Cottage in Ros Muc – one I painted about twenty years ago

Do you ever feel like you are a minority within a minority? Scroll down to read the English language version.

Bhuel, bhí comhdháil mór ar siúl in Ollscoil na Gaillimhe ag an deireadh seachtaine, comhdháil leis an téama: 1916-2016: Dóchas agus Dúshlán na Ceannasachta Náisiúnta. Ó bhí gach sórt daoine támhachta ann – Enda Kenny T.D., an Dochtúir Maurice Manning, an t-iriseoir Fintan O’Toole, agus an tAire Seo, Siúd agus na Gaeltachta ina measc – ach cén mhaith dhom é, ní raibh mé ann…

Ach bhí mé ag ceann des na h-ócáidí imeallacha a bhain leis. ’Sé sin: Parlaimint na nDán a bhí á reachtáil ag Oireachtas na Gaeilge, le maoiniú ó Ealaín na Gaeltachta, agus bhí mé an-shásta a bheith ag glacadh páirt ansin. Thaispeáin mé mo ghearrscánnán “Ar theacht an tSamhraidh” ann agus labhair mé faoin tionchar a bhí ag comóradh 1916 ar mo chuid oibre. (Is féidir an scannán a fheiscint anseo )

Bhí Diarmuid de Faoite (drámadóir), Ríonach Ní Néill (Cóiréagrafaí) agus Nuala Ní Fhlathúin (físealaíontóir) ag glacadh páirt ann freisin agus Páraic Breathnach ina Cheann Comhairle.  Bhí roinnt cainte againn ansin faoin maoiniú a bhí ar fáil do chomóradh 1916 agus faoi na coinníollacha a bhí ag baint leis.

the before and after photos of Tobar Bhriocán, the holy well in Ros Muc
Tobar Bhriocán Naofa – mar a bhí anuraidh agus mar atá anois

Ar aghaidh liom ansin, siar go dtí Ros Muc leis an t-ionad nua ag Teach an Phiarsaigh a fheiscint. Bhuel, nach mór an feall. Nach raibh an chruatain riamh i ndán dosna Gaeil. Tar éis a bheith ag fanacht le 30 blian le go dtógfaí ionad ceart leis an chaidreamh idir muintir Ros Muc agus an bPiarsach a chomóradh agus a cheiliúradh, céard a fuair siad sa deireadh ach ‘stopadh bus’ ar an Wild Atlantic Way.

Ní dóigh liom go mbeidh mórán de mhuintir na h-áite sásta leis. (ní dóigh liom gur iarr éinne orthu faoi, ar aon chaoi).

Céard faoin sliocht seo a leanas ón mbileog ioldaite faoi Ros Muc:  From turf-cutting to boat trips, historic houses to hill walks, rural landscapes to magical sunsets, Ros Muc is the perfect place to experience special family moments and create memories to share with your friends. ’nfheadar an raibh an té a scríobh an sliocht sin riamh i Ros Muc? An bhfaca sé nó sí rásaí na gcurrachaí riamh nó damhsa ar an seanós, nó… Nó ar léigh sé nó sí gearrscéalta an Phiarsaigh?

Ach ansin, lean mé orm isteach go dtí reilg Chill Bhriocáin. Bhí duine eicint tar éis slacht a chur ar an tobar naofa. Bhí an áit deas néata agus bhí leacht nua curtha acu ann. Thug an leacht simplí sin ardú meanman dom…

photo of 1916 centenary ceremonies at Teach an Phiarsaigh, Ros Muc 2016
The locals gathering outside of Pearse’s Cottage at Easter 2016

Yes, well somebody was saying that those who took part in the Easter Rising were a minority within a minority. This was intended to cast aspersions, perhaps, on the men and women who took a stand against the British Empire in 1916. That same somebody might also have asked: ‘But did they have a mandate to embark on such drastic action?’ To that person I would say: Did the British Empire ever seek a mandate to collonise or to plunder the resources of Ireland, or indeed, of half the world?

Anyway, I was thinking about minorities because, as part of the National Centenary Conference at NUI Galway at the weekend, I took part in a panel discussion entitled: Parlaimint na nDán, about the arts and commemoration. I showed my short film “Ar theacht an tSamhraidh” (you can view it again by clicking here) and I heard about productions that had received huge state grants and other projects that had struggled to subsist.

In the area around Ros Muc, where Patrick Pearse found his inspiration, they managed with very little state funding this year, despite the fact that a new “interpretive centre” was being built there for the tourists. They organised simple but meaningful commemorations, dignified solemn ceremonies and uplifting musical gatherings with readings from the short stories of Pearse. We felt very privileged to be able to attend these ceremonies at the Easter weekend.

So yes, it was a minority within a minority, as it always will be. There are precious few out there who are willing to stand out from the crowd and do what is right. But so be it. We must not lose heart. Níor chaill fear an mhisnigh ariamh é. (Fortune favours the brave, they say). What do you think?

http://www.ireland.ie/events/parlaimint-na-ndan

http://www.ireland.ie/news/galway-gears-centenary-conversations-and-national-conference

http://www.eoinmaclochlainn.com/

http://www.oliviercornetgallery.com/

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5 comments

  1. Exquisite oil painting of Ros Muc, Eoin. Like me, you’ve loosened up in technique somewhat, but as someone said to me recently, ‘I liked your earlier perfectionist work!’
    I like all of it, your early and later work. Sarah

    Like

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