Militaria Archive

Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa memorial unveiling - 9th September 2012

Photographs recording the unveiling on Sunday 9th September 2012 of the memorial at the grave of Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa at Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin, Ireland. O’Donovan Rossa was a veteran fenian, born in 1831 he survived the great famine of 1845 – 1848 which caused the deaths of one million Irish and the forced emigration of one million more, while crops & livestock were exported from Ireland to continue paying rent to absentee landlords. In 1856, Rossa founded the Phoenix National and Literary Society 'for the liberation of Ireland by force of arms'. When the Irish Republican Brotherhood were founded in 1858, Rossa was one of it’s first recruits. In December 1858 Rossa was arrested and jailed without trial until July 1859. Accused of plotting a Fenian rising in 1865, he was tried for high treason and sentenced to penal servitude for life. He was imprisoned in Pentonville, Portland and Chatham Prisons in England where, for eight years, he suffered inhumane and cruel treatment. He was fed on bread and water for 28 days at a time. In Chatham, his hands were cuffed behind him every morning at 6:45am and to eat his food he had to get down on all fours like a dog. This went on for more than thirty days. In 1869 he was elected to Parliament for Tipperary but his election was declared void because he was imprisoned. Rossa was exiled to the United States of America, settling in New York. He survived an assassination attempt by a British woman and continued to support the cause of Irish Independence for the rest of his life. Included here are pictures of the recreation of one of the most famous speeches in Irish history, that of Pádraig Pearse at the graveside of Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa in 1915. A speech which closed with the lines (reflecting upon British policy toward Ireland) “Life springs from death; and from the graves of patriot men and women spring living nations. The Defenders of this Realm have worked well in secret and in the open. They think that they have pacified Ireland. They think that they have purchased half of us and intimidated the other half. They think that they have foreseen everything, think that they have provided against everything; but the fools, the fools, the fools! — they have left us our Fenian dead, and while Ireland holds these graves, Ireland unfree shall never be at peace.” The memorial unveiling on 9th September 2012 was also the launch of a major fund raising campaign for refurbishment of the 1916 Monument at the St. Paul's section of Glasnevin Cemetery. The artist Robert Ballagh announced a contemporary reworking of the iconic Walter Paget painting of the Easter Rising 1916, GPO ‘Birth of the Irish Republic’. This famous painting has been revisited in Ballagh style and a limited edition of 350 numbered prints were released with all proceeds going to the fund for the restoration of the 1916 monument. The memorial & fund raising event were organized by the National Graves Association of Ireland. Speakers included Michael Kenny (Historian and former Curator for National Museum of Ireland) & attendees included Williams and Rossa Cole (Great grandsons of Rossa) of New York.

9th September 2012, unveiling of the new O'Donovan Rossa Memorial at Glasnevin Cemetery Dublin. Including the re-enactment of Pádraig Pearse speech at the graveside of Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa in 1915.