The CATTUVVIRR Project consists of a time-map (a diagram/text/map combination) which depicts certain instances in which world military history overlaps with the history of the Irish language. When completed, it will cover the period 1332AD to the present day.
Each entry on the time-map counts, as one might expect, as a single event. Most of the events consist of biographical details from the lives of individual people. This shall be illustrated in a "date-of-birth to date-of-death" format. However, in some cases, certain allowances will have to be made:
- If there is not enough definitive biographical information to confirm death or birth dates, the entry will be constructed based on rough approximations when they engaged in their Irish language/wartime activities.
- Entries for individuals who are still alive shall be depicted in a "date-of-birth to present day" format.
- When several individuals are involved in one event, the date of the event shall be given, and details pertaining to the individuals will, when possible, be included in the text of the relevant entry.
In almost all cases, the individuals shall be of Irish descent. However, this rule does not apply in a number of cases:
- Sir John Sebright: an English-born officer who commanded an Irish regiment, thus connecting him with the Irish military diaspora.
- Maurice Cadell: a Scottish-born aristocrat who claimed an unproven link to the Blake clan of Galway, made his home in Ireland after the Second World War and became heavily involved with an ultra-conservative political fringe party.
Why is Cadell a more suitable candidate than, say, Seán Mac Stíofáin? This man, born John Stephenson, was a former RAF corporal who later became involved in the IRA and Conradh na Gaeilge. One could describe this as an example of the zeal of a convert. Cadell was decorated for his actions as a British Commando officer during the Second World War. Both men adhered to both Catholicism and the Gaelic ideal following their respective tours of duty, thus following a remarkably similar path (although it should be born in mind that Cadell's political activities were strictly constitutional). Furthermore, both Cadell's and Mac Stíofáin's Irish ancestry are a matter of dispute. Their connection to Irish politics is a matter of interest, however. As such, I intend to include Cadell. It is not my intention to exclude Mac Stíofáin; however, I intend to do further research into his RAF service.
By way of further comparison, CATTUVVIRR shall not include military figures who have contributed to the language, but never claimed to have Irish connections in any event. Thus we must exclude both Charles Vallancey and Thomas Larcom (officers in the Royal Engineers who held key commands in Ireland at different respective periods). Ernst Lewy, whose First World War-related actions prove quite fascinating, must also be excluded because, as a German Jew, he had no known Irish connection other than having lived in the country.
The event or individual must have succeeded in doing one, or several, of the following:
- Engaging in activities to promote the language.
- Expressing sentiments in its favour.
- Conducting Irish language-scholarship.
- Increasing the understanding of its significance.
- Adding to its literature.
- Acting as a patron for its literature.
Even though a nationalist-related event such as the Easter Rising was an act of war, neither it nor its most prominent participant (Pádraig Pearse) will be the focus of this project. The reasons for this are:
- The Easter Rising was a military event in Ireland, the instigators of which were motivated by loyalty to Ireland only. So it is a 'domestic' conflict.
- However, the intelligence-based wartime activities of Brian Ó Ceallaigh and John Quinn (entries to follow in both cases) on behalf of the British Empire conducted against those sympathetic to, or active in, the Rising SHALL be illustrated here.
- Pearse's contributions to the Irish language are already extremely well-documented.
As such, if a figure involved in a domestic conflict is afforded a unique entry in the time-map, it shall be because he or she has a connection to the Irish military diaspora. Let's take an example from another period. Thomas Russell and Henry O'Kane (entries to follow) supported the separatist/Irish nationalist/Irish republican United Irishmen during the 1798 Rebellion. Russell had a distinguished career as a British army officer BEFORE that period and upon resigning his post and changing his political outlook, took an interest in Irish before being killed in the Rebellion. O'Kane acquitted himself equally well in the French army, both in Ireland (during efforts to aid the aforementioned rebellion) and on the Continent. So, the former is a case of participation in the military diaspora FOLLOWED by participation in a domestic conflict, and the latter is an example of being engaged in both such conflicts at the same time.
On the pro-British/unionist/loyalist side, we have both Henry Sirr and Power Trench. Sirr was in the British army before resigning, and then rejoining again to fight the United Irishmen - Trench was a yeomanry captain who did the same. They both played a key subsequent role in Irish language proselytizing for the Anglican Church. In other periods, we have other subtleties and nuances to watch for. If, during the Middle Ages, a particular Gaelic chieftain or Norman lord based in Ireland supported the Irish language and had a tendency to side consistently with the English Crown rather than against it, he will be included.
Thus, when we consider entries such as the above, or those concerning Liam O'Flaherty and Bríd Uí Dhíreáin (entry not yet added), due attention shall be paid to the domestic conflict ONLY if it is necessary to do so in order to give context to the subject's language- or military-related activities.
Furthermore, during instances in which the throne of England and Ireland was in dispute between rival claimants (e.g. the war between William of Orange and James II, and the subsequent intrigues between Europe and Great Britain in which their respective successors engaged), both monarchs are considered foreign for the purpose of this project, and any supporters they may have had who engaged in language activities shall be included.
Nature of service
Such activities can be of a military or civilian nature, but they must have been proven to have been carried out loyally in the terms of the specified service. Criteria for loyal service in the context of this project consists of the subject HAVING NOT ENGAGED in one or more of the following actions:
- Desertion of one's post.
- Conducted intelligence-gathering activities for an enemy force. In this case, however, the subject will be considered as having been loyal to the enemy force.
- Engaged in mutinous actions or encouraged others within the service to do so.
The following entries, which unquestionably bring mitigating circumstances to bear, may be considered as exceptions by the user, depending upon his or her point of view:
- Criostóir Nuinseann: was knighted in 1565 for his actions against Shane O'Neill, but thought by some to have secretly supported his descendant Hugh O'Neill against the Crown in 1600 (albeit possibly under duress). His early service is the basis for his inclusion here, because it seems to have been unequivocal. It should also be borne in mind that, even though he ended his life as a prisoner of the Crown, all accusations of disloyalty on his part were circumstantial.
- Eoghan Rua Ó Súilleabháin: it is said that Ó Súilleabháin deliberately injured himself in order to escape the British military and wrote Jacobite poetry calling for the overthrow of the British regime in Ireland, such actions did not merit a serious enough threat based upon the above criteria.
- Liam O'Flaherty: Liam O'Flaherty saw service in the Irish Guards during the First World War (in which he expressed a lifelong pride). Not long after his discharge, O'Flaherty joined the IRA to fight the British forces.
- Maurice Moore: Whilst serving with distinction as an officer in the Connaught Rangers, Maurice Moore sent anonymous letters to Irish nationalist publications describing (and condemning) the British Army's repressive measures against the Boer population. This certainly indicated a strong distaste for the British war effort. However, Moore participated wholeheartedly in active service and was decorated for having done so.
It should also be noted that General Eoin O'Duffy and the Irish Brigade he raised to fight for General Franco shall be excluded from the time-map. Even though he was involved in Conradh na Gaeilge as a young man, the nature of his unit's service was such that it does, in my view, fit the criteria for loyal service as set down above. However, Aodh de Blacam (entry to be added) will be allocated an entry due to his pro-fascist propaganda activities in Ireland during the Spanish Civil War.
The Irish who fought on the opposite side of that conflict in various units of the Spanish Republic's International Brigades will be quite well-represented in the finished product. However, de Blacam's inclusion should provide an interesting counterbalance. If there was no significant pro-fascist figure connected to the Irish language during the period, the time-map would be adjusted accordingly. As the digital artefact bares out, there are numerous examples of civilian contribution to conflicts.
Personal stories such as those of Hugh Courtney, Tomás Ó Casaide and Seán Ó Cathail shall be excluded from the time-map because in the opinion of this digital humanist, they have more than a touch of exaggeration. Seon Ó hUaithnín must also be left out because there is not enough concrete information concerning his date of birth, or his time as an officer in the Spanish army. His brother Daniel O'Huony will, however, have an entry on the time-map.
Charles Kearney (entry to be added), it can be argued, stands apart from all other entries in that he did not technically engage in military activities. Nevertheless, he was involved in efforts to rescue King Louis XVI of France during the Revolution; Kearney also serves the purpose of illustrating the counter-revolutionary tendencies of many Irish people (military and otherwise) living in France during that period. Although his Dictionary of Irish Biography entry indicates that he professed outward loyalty to the Bonapartist regime, I argue that he should, by virtue of the events described, be considered a secret agent of the old Bourbon monarchy.
Sean O'Neill (entry to be added) deserted the British army during the Boer War, but did so with a view to fighting for the Irish contingent of the Boer commandos. As such, I shall classify him as a South African operative rather than a British one. If he had deserted merely to escape the conflict itself, he would have been excluded.
The purpose of this section is to explain certain specialized phrases (in Irish or English), abbreviations and short forms of certain lengthy phrases and titles. I found it necessary to use abbreviations and short forms in many of the time-map's entries due to space restrictions in the text segments.
- Aontacht na Gaeilge: AKA, the "Gaelic Union", a predecessor of the Conradh.
- Ardfheis: the Conradh's annual convention.
- bata scoir: a stick used to punish children for speaking Irish in 19th century schools. Every time a child was caught speaking the language, a notch was made in the stick, and he/she would be hit once for every notch.
- Coiste Gnó: or "Coiste Gnótha", the Conradh's executive committee.
- Comhdháil: the Conradh's annual conference.
- Conradh na Gaeilge: AKA the "Gaelic League". Shall be referred to either "Conradh na Gaeilge" or the Conradh in all entries.
- Cumann na Scríbheann Gaeilge: the Irish Texts Society.
- Dáil Uladh: Means "Ulster Assembly". However, several organizations have borne this title, so its exact context, history and meaning are to be confirmed.
- feis: term for a Gaelic arts and cultural festival.
- Fiannaíocht: the Fenian Cycle of Irish literature.
- filí: an elite class of poet in Gaelic Ireland.
- IPP: Irish Parliamentary Party.
- Leinster Regiment: the commonly-used short title for the Prince of Wales's Leinster Regiment (Royal Canadians).
- MP: Member of Parliament.
- Ogham: the oldest form of writing in the Irish language.
- Oireachtas: AKA Oireachtas na Gaeilge, the Irish language movement's annual festival.
- Railway Bill: a piece of legislation which compelled all train stations to use bilingual signage and print tickets in Irish.
- Scáthán shacramuinte na haithridhe: a treatise on the Sacrament of Penance.
- Scoil Éanna: AKA St. Enda's School. Set up by Patrick Pearse which placed special emphasis on Irish culture, history and language.
- UDR: Ulster Defence Regiment.
- USMC: United States Marine Corps.
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