DESCRIPTION: Lloyd George won the great war but he'd still "better keep clear from the boys of Fair Hill"; the Germans had intended to capture Ireland. The bishops say only Freestaters get to heaven but there is a spot reserved for the boys of Fair Hill.
AUTHOR: Sean O'Callaghan (source: OCanainn)
EARLIEST DATE: 1978 (OCanainn)
KEYWORDS: Ireland nonballad political religious IRA
FOUND IN: Ireland
REFERENCES (1 citation):
OCanainn, pp. 52-53, "Lloyd George" (1 text, 1 tune)
NOTES: The Irish Free State, created under the Free State Agreement, came into being December 1922. It did not provide for the independent republic desired by the IRA. David Lloyd George, who had been Prime Minister during the "Great War,' was British Prime Minister during the negotiation. (Source: Wikipedia article Irish Free State) See notes to "General Michael Collins" for additional background.
Fair Hill is a suburb of Cork City. - BS
And Cork, we should note, was one of the strongest centers of the rebellion in Ireland.
The Bishops did not say that only Freestaters get to Heaven; almost universally, they condemned all violence -- this is, after all, basic Christian doctrine, as is non-resistance to being governed by nonbelievers (so explicitly 1 Peter 213fff., and less explicitly but no less clearly in the writings of Paul). But since the Republicans started the violence -- and since they had very little Christian understanding of the other side -- they felt they were suffering the stronger condemnation. It was ironic to note than many Republicans considered their Catholic bishops to be working with the British!
The situation perhaps can be shown by the events of a single day in 1919. According to Robert Kee, Ourselves Alone, being Volume III of The Green Flag (Quartet, 1972, 1976), pp. 77-78, this day saw the murder of a British agent, which the Archbishop of Tuam labelled "'a shocking crime'... 'a most grave violation of the law of God.'" But even as this was going on, the entire Irish hierarchy was formally condemning British behavior in denying the Irish their political rights, and declaring, "Let the military domination of Ireland cease at once. Let the people of Ireland choose for themselves the Government under which they are to live."
Of course, the Irish people would choose the Free State (or Home Rule -- a government still with links to Britain). So in a way the Bishops were condemning the Republicans. But this was clear only after the fact.
The mention of the Germans capturing Ireland is a reference to the Casement Affair. They didn't really intend to invade Ireland (though they made vague promises along those lines); they could not, unless they beat the British Navy -- and the Battle of Jutland had settled that. What the Germans could do was send arms to the rebels -- arms which they considered unfit for their own soldiers. For background on this, see the notes to "Lovely Banna Strand.." - RBW
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