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:

In almost all cases, the individuals shall be of Irish descent. However, this rule does not apply in a number of cases:

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.

Language activities

The event or individual must have succeeded in doing one, or several, of the following:

Military activities

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:

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:

    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.


    Terminology List

    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.