Scotland and the Easter Rising: Fresh Perspectives on 1916 by Willy MaleyScotland and the Easter Rising: Fresh Perspectives on 1916 by Willy Maley

Scotland and the Easter Rising: Fresh Perspectives on 1916

EditorWilly Maley

Paperback | June 17, 2016

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The story of the Rising is still being told, and in these pages the reader will find much to ponder, much to discuss, and much to disagree with. From the Introduction by Kirsty Lusk and Willy Maley

On Easter Monday 1916, leaders of a rebellion against British rule over Ireland proclaimed the establishment of an Irish Republic. Lasting only six days before surrender to the British, this landmark event nevertheless laid the foundations for Ireland's violent path to Independence. It is little known that James Connolly, one of the rebellion's leaders, was born in Edinburgh's Cowgate, at the time nicknamed 'Little Ireland', or that another key figure in the events of Easter 1916 was a young woman from Coatbridge, Margaret Skinnider. These and other surprising Scottish connections are explored in Scotland and the Easter Rising, as Kirsty Lusk and Willy Maley gather together a rich grouping of writers, journalists and academics to examine, for the first time, the Scottish dimension to the events of 1916 and its continued resonance in Scotland today.


Featuring a mix of memoir, essays, poetry and fiction this book provides a thought-provoking and necessary negotiation of historical and contemporary Irish-Scottish relations, and explores the Easter Rising's intersections with other movements, from Women's Suffrage to the 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum.

Willy Maley is Professor of English Literature at the University of Glasgow. Recent work includes two essay collections: Celtic Connections: Irish-Scottish Relations and the Politics of Culture, co-edited with Alison O’Malley-Younger (Oxford and Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2013), and Romantic Ireland: From Tone to Gonne; Fresh Persp...
Title:Scotland and the Easter Rising: Fresh Perspectives on 1916Format:PaperbackDimensions:240 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.68 inPublished:June 17, 2016Publisher:Luath Press LtdLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1910745367

ISBN - 13:9781910745366

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Table of Contents


Acknowledgements 14

Timeline 15

Introduction 21
Kirsty Lusk and Willy Maley 
Not only was the Easter Rising an attempt at declaring Irish independence from Britain, it was also a statement of equality and equal suffrage for women and the first attempt to assert a Socialist Republic.

To Shake the Union: The 1916 Rising, Scotland and the World Today 25
Allan Armstrong 
The words of James Connolly proved to be remarkably prophetic. In 'Labour and the Proposed Partition of Ireland' Connolly warned there would be 'a carnival of reaction both North and South', if the UK state was able to impose such a settlement.

The Shirt that was on Connolly: Sorley MacLean and the Easter Rising 31
Richard Barlow 
For the Scottish Gael Sorley MacLean, the ghostly attendance of Connolly is affirmed through his absence and the 'red rusty stain' forms a nexus of some of the poet's great themes: wartime heroism, Marxism, and the fate of the Gaelic world.

Connolly and Independence 37
Ian Bell
I don't remember his name being mentioned during the long argument that preceded Scotland's independence referendum in September 2014. The fact remains that when it mattered most his birthplace excluded Connolly yet again.

 A Terrible Beauty 42
Alan Bissett
Da, says Chelsea. This is the best experience ay ma life. Look at it. Scotland's wakin up, Da. Scotland's wakin up!

Who Fears to Speak? 49
Joseph M Bradley
Few in Scotland have heard of Irish-born Padraic Pearse and Englishborn Tom Clarke, two of the seven signatories to the historic Easter Proclamation, and seven who form half of the 14 executed by British Army firing squads in its immediate wake.

'They will never understand why I am here': The Irony of Connolly's Scottish Connections 56
Ray Burnett
Partly in terms of content, and entirely in terms of method, Connolly's explicitly 'land and labour' approach to the lessons of the past had direct relevance to Scotland.

Anti-imperialist Insurrection 63
Stuart Christie
Despite the heroic attempts by Connolly, Larkin and their comrades of the ICA on Easter Monday 1916 to break the alliances between the financial circles of Ireland and the British Empire and establish a genuinely worker-friendly democratic socialist Republic, by 1923 the links between those countries' ruling elites remained unbroken and the hopes and dreams of the men and women who sacrificed their lives for a new Ireland had been hopelessly corrupted, and their ideals abused and manipulated out of all realistic shape.

Commemorating Connolly in 1986 67
Helen Clark
Not all visits however were welcome; some young men stormed in, and wanted to know the name of the person who set up the exhibition so they could 'fill them in'. On a similar note, in the People's Story Museum we have a panel with a photo of James and Lillie Connolly with their daughters Mona and Nora. This photo was slashed with a knife in about 1992.

The Behans: Rebels of a Century 74
Maria-Daniella Dick
In addition to Connolly, there would be another Irish-Scottish connection for the Behans. If they had been connected through republican and socialist politics to one Scotsman, they were also to take those politics to Scotland.

After Easter 78
Des Dillon
Liberty. Rising. James Connolly tied to a chair. Sinn Féin rebels whispering partition. Civil War.

Margaret Skinnider and Me 86
Peter Geoghegan
Margaret Skinnider never appeared in the history books that I devoured as a lank-haired teenager in Longford. I had never heard her name until I started going to Coatbridge in 2014, ahead of the independence referendum.

A Beautiful Thing Wronged 91
Pearse Hutchinson
I want to wear an Easter Lily in honour of Pearse and Connolly and all their comrades; of my father and mother and all the other sacrifices; of all the suffering generations - Black and Basque and Irish.

Home Rule, Sinn Féin and the Irish Republican Movement in Greenock 94
Shaun Kavanagh
The Easter Rising and its aftermath, like the Great Famine, became embedded within the psyche of the Greenock-Irish enclave, whether Irish-born or not. It was a  lasting reminder of their roots, and their 'curious middle place' between a Scottish and Irish Catholic identity.

Homecoming 101
Billy Kay
To me, as a Scottish nationalist, identifying with 1916 and the successful independence struggle of a fellow Celtic nation was the most natural thing in the world.

James Connolly's Stations 107
Phil Kelly and Aaron Kelly
1916 instructs that full democratic equality requires those who want and need it to fight on and to fight hard against the grinding, obdurate violence of the world.

A Slant on Connolly and the Scotch Ideas 114
James Kelman
Essential strands of our history are not generally accessed through popular media and ordinary educational resources. We contend with sectarianism, racism and assorted prejudice; historical misrepresentation, disinformation, falsification, and occasional outright lies, alongside everyday British State propaganda.

Short Skirts, Strong Boots and a Revolver: Scotland and the Women of 1916 124
Kirsty Lusk
By bringing female voices back into the narrative of the Easter Rising perhaps it will be possible to take a step towards reconciliation and a fuller understanding of the importance of its legacy for Scotland today.

Irish Kin under Scottish Skin 131
Kevin Mckenna
Ireland has been the mother who gave me up for adoption and I have been the reluctant son, torn between love and resentment. Such is the contradictory love-hate relationship my generation of Scots-Irish has with the old country.

'Pure James Connolly': From Cowgate to Clydeside 136
Willy Maley
Those whose families left Ireland in the wake of Famine feel part of a great diaspora, and thus entitled to self-describe as Irish. Many Irish and Scottish socialists had cross-cultural connections and cross-water connections.

'Mad, Motiveless and Meaningless'? The Dundee Irish and the Easter Rising 144
Richard B McCready
The Easter Rising in 1916 was one of the pivotal events in modern Irish history. Its effects and the events after it had a profound effect not just on Ireland but also on the rest of the United Kingdom. The Rising and subsequent events had a lasting impact on the Irish Diaspora, not least in Dundee.

MacLean in the Museum: James Connolly and 'Àrd-Mhusaeum na h-Èireann' 149
Niall o'Gallagher
An Irish revolutionary from an Edinburgh slum, Connolly was an important figure throughout MacLean's career. The poet's fullest tribute to the leader of the 1916 Rising had to wait until the 1970s, the decade in which MacLean's earlier work was republished with facing English translations, the decade in which Scottish nationalism became a serious political force and in which bloodshed in Ireland reached levels not seen for decades.

Scotland is my home, but Ireland my country: The Border Crossing Women of 1916 153
Alison o'Malley-Younger
While Pearse's messianic rhetoric appears to mark the Easter Rising as a solely male affair, an expanding body of scholarship has shown that women, across a variety of classes and ranks were key participants in the events of 1916.

To Rise for a Life Worth Having 160
Alan Riach
Easter 1916 recollected may be a reminder of failure, violence, bloodshed, vicious state reprisal, and how public sympathies change, but in a broader context, and in more intimate ways, it may also be an enactment of virtues: different co-ordinate points, strengths, suppleness and subtlety, loyalty, determination, hope: a play, a drama, a weathering of storm, coming to rest in the prospect of a future, in Scotland as in Ireland, most apt for 2016.

'Let the People Sing': Rebel Songs, the Rising, and Remembrance 168
Kevin Rooney
Those preparing to celebrate the centenary of the Easter Rising should seize on this occasion to show a new tolerance. James Connolly could, if we allowed him, be a unifying figure in present-day Scotland.

Before the Rising: Home Rule and the Celtic Revival 174
Michael Shaw
Arthur Conan Doyle, a Scot of Irish descent and twice a candidate for the Liberal Unionists in Scotland, made a striking conversion to the cause of Irish Home Rule in 1911, influenced by his friend Roger Casement, on whose behalf he petitioned the British Prime Minister in 1916.

'Hibernian's most famous supporter' 179
Irvine Welsh

Afterword: Scotland 2015 and Ireland 1916 181
Owen Dudley Edwards
The Irish past summons us provided we keep it as tutor not as jailer. The Scottish future can remain one of ideals provided we blunt their agency for hurt.

Contributors 219

Endnotes 225