Happy Birthday Pecker Dunne

1st April 1933-19th December 2012

Pecker Dunne broke the mold.  He was one of the great liberators of the Travelling community and from the Travelling community. He was a fluent conversationalist and his wit and intelligence and expression could transform and transcend any company.

He was always a man who would stand up to prejudice and racism not just on behalf of his own community and himself but on behalf of others. He knew hardship and empathized with the hardships of many others outside of his own kind, own clan and own community.

If the word ‘hero’ applies to anything, well then it applies to Pecker Dunne and his epic life journey.  The testament to the man and his artistry, his humanity and his commitment to his community and family are a well-known legend and live on today through his children and his wife Madeline and indeed the very essence of the Pecker himself.

For those that knew him and experienced him, he is part of our living culture.  That essence will never die.  Like the great Irish legends that were written down in Clonmacnoise, the Pecker Dunne engrained his experiences and his artistry and his music into our society, into our everyday.  And we are the richer for it.

 

Peckers tune,  Tinkers Lullaby, written for his young son, is an anthem about the Travelling community.  It is a deep lament in the great tradition of lamenting and indeed keening.  It is grief stricken but its melody and lyrics are full of hope and love and dignity.  Learn it and sing it.  From the GAA grounds of Limerick to the Rugby grounds of old Landsdowne road, to the race tracks of Galway, the streets of Dublin and Donegal, and the corners of Ballybunion through fields and encampments, roadsides and halting sites and the grand music halls and concerts venues of America – the Pecker Dunne can still be heard if you care to listen.

 

Kennedy and Pecker Dunne 1981 one

Kennedy Wedding, Glandore

The above photos are from the wedding at Glandore, Co Cork (Cuan d’Ór ) in the early 1970tys of a young American couple Miss Shauna Sump Hegarty and Mr Mark Kennedy both from Oregan USA. Pecker Dunne played music at their wedding as he did at many a wedding.

 

Pecker Dunne casket

The simple coffin of Pecker Dunne. A burial full of humility and serenity.

 

Tinker’s Lullaby 

Go to sleep my little tinker
Let all your troubles pass you by
For you have no place to camp now
Ah that’s a tinkers lullaby.
Ever since you were a baby
Cradled in your mothers shawl
Society said they did not want you
And now you have no home at all

When your mother died and left you
You had to fend all alone
All in this land of saints and scholars
And still you have not got a home.

Although your clothes are torn and ragged
And your hair is silvery grey
Some day you’ll die and go to heaven
And you will find a camp ground there.

Go to sleep my little tinker
Let all your troubles pass you by
For you have no place to camp now
Ah that’s a tinkers lullaby.

 

Everybody in Ireland and indeed the world should get to know the Pecker. Listen and learn from his music and become wise from his shared experiences.

Breithlá Shona Dhuit Pecker agus go raibh míle maith agat.

 

Advertisements

Draft Tree Strategy – Dublin City Council

Below is a PDF file of the Draft Tree strategy for Dublin City.  There is an opportunity for people who  live in Dublin to comment and give observations and suggestions on ‘treeing’ your City.

8. Presentation on Draft Tree Strategy

  • Please email observations/submissions to treestrategy@dublincity.ie
  • Closing date Fri 29th April

8. Presentation on Draft Tree Strategy

Women of 1916- Áine Ceannt

The images on this site are from our installation ‘Something to Live for’ situated over the Ivy on Parliament Street and Dame Street Dublin.  The work was first installed in 2006 and has been reinstated for 2016.

Aine Ceannt

Áine Ceannt (née Brennan) – Something to Live For

 

Áine Ceannt (née Brennan)  1880-1954

Frances O’Brennan is best known by her married name, Áine Ceannt, as the widow of Eamonn Ceannt, one of the leaders of the 1916 Rising.

Frances was born on 23 September 1880, four months after the death of her father, Frank O’Brennan. Elizabeth Butler, Fanny’s mother got a job as a nurse in a workhouse after her husband’s death.

At the turn of the century Fanny joined the Gaelic League and, like many of the other women who became interested in the Irish language, she adopted an Irish name, Áine.  It was in the Gaelic League that she met Eamonn Ceannt. Their first encounter was on an annual excursion to Galway in 1901.  The couple married on 7th June 1905.  Their son Rónán was born on 18th  June 1906. Eamonn worked in the Dublin Corporation.  By 1916, he was the assistant to the City Treasurer and commanded a substantial salary.  He was a committed nationalist; in 1913, he joined the Irish Volunteers as a Private and rose to the rank of Captain.  He was in charge of the South Dublin Union garrison in 1916.

Just before his execution on 8th May 1916, Eamonn Ceannt wrote a last letter to his wife: ‘My dearest wife Áine. Not wife but widow before these lines reach you….Dearest ‘silly little Fanny’ My poor little sweetheart of – how many – years ago…Ever my comforter, God comfort you now.  What can I say? I die a noble death, for Ireland’s freedom…You will be – you are, the wife of one of the Leaders of the Revolution.  Sweeter still you are my little child, my dearest pet, my sweetheart of the hawthorn hedges and Summer’s ever….’

Like many of the other widows, Áine moved into a public role following the Rising. She had been a member of Cumann na mBan from its inception and her sister Lily, was in the Marrowbone Lane garrison. Áine served as vice-president of Cumann na mBan from 1917-1925.  In 1918 she contested the elections for the Urban District Council of Rathmines and was vice-chairman for a period.  During the years 1920-21, she acted as a District Justice in the republican courts in the Dublin suburbs of Rathmines and Rathgar. During the War of Independance, she sheltered men on the run; one of the many who stayed with her was Robert Barton.  She also acted as an arbitrator for the Labour Department of Dáil Éireann in wage disputes throughout the country.

In 1920, she became the founding member of the Irish White Cross allocating funds for the benefit of orphans of wars in Ireland.  By 1941 the office had closed but Áine archived all the papers and wrote a history of the White Cross from 1920-1947. 

From 1939-1947 she was a member of the Red Cross.  Mine died in February 1954. Her funeral took place in her local parish in Dundrum, County Dublin and she was buried in Deansgrange cemetery.

From the installation ‘Something to Live for’ Parliament St/Dame St Dublin by Farcry Productions Ltd.

http://www.1916onehundred.ie

Hanna Sheehy Skeffington 1877-1946

Hanna Sheehy Skeffington

Johanna Sheehy was born in Kanturk County Cork in 1877. Her father was a nationalist MP for South Galway. David Sheehy was imprisoned many times for his part in the Land War. Hanna was educated in Eccles St, Dublin. She later went on to St Mary’s University obtaining her degree from the Royal University of Ireland.

In 1920, she achieved a first class honours MA. She became a teacher in Eccles St and later taught French and German in Rathmines College of Commerce. In 1903 she married Francis Skeffington, a university registrar, Francis was totally committed to equality and, very unusually for the time, took Hanna’s surname.


In 1912, she and her husband founded the Irish Citizen.
During the Rising, Hanna brought food to the different outposts and Frank tried to set up a citizen’s militia to stop looting. He was arrested by the British authorities and shot on the orders of Captain Bowen-Colthurst. Bowen-Colthurst was found ‘guilty but insane’ at his court martial. Hanna refused the compensation and insisted on an inquiry into his death.

At the end of 1916 Hanna travelled to the US and spoke at 250 meetings across the continent. Her tour raised $40,000, which was handed over to Michael Collins. Forbidden by the Government to return to Ireland Hanna smuggled herself in via Liverpool in 1918, but she was soon detained and imprisoned in Holloway Jail along with Kathleen Clarke, Maude Gonne and Countess Markievicz. During the War of Independence, she was active in Sinn Féin. In 1920 she was elected to Dublin Corporation.
1926 Hanna supported Eamon de Valera during the Sinn Féin split and joined Fianna Fáil.

Hanna died on Easter Saturday, 20 April 1946.

She really deserves to be looked up if you have read this far as her life and achievements deserve a website onto themselves.  The images are part of a series of works entitled ‘Something to Live for’ at Parliament Street, Cork Hill, Dame Street Dublin.  1916 One hundred website

 

frontview1

 

Mrs Kate O Callaghan 1885-1961

Everyday I will post a short biography and image from the ‘Something to Live for’ window installation at Parliament Street/Cork Hill/Dame Street Dublin.

Today is Kate O Callaghan who had a major influence on the cultural life and politics of Limerick City.

 

Kate Murphy was born near Macroom, Cork in 1885. She had 14 brothers and sisters, 11 of whom survived to adulthood. She obtained a degree from the Royal University followed by teacher training in Cambridge. She took up her sister Máire’s post as a teacher in Limerick at Mary Immaculate College.
In July 1914 she married Michael O’ Callaghan and passed her job on to another sister, Éilis. She joined the Gaelic League along with her sisters and was a founder member of the Cumann na mBan Limerick branch . Her jusband became Lord Mayor of Limerick in 1920 and was shot dead by masked men in front of her (believed to be Black and Tans), She was left a widow at 35 years of age. She began a campaign to countermand the authroities ‘version’ that he had been killed by and extreme element of the IRA.  Her pamphlet, The Limerick Curfew Murders,  was circulated in Ireland, England and America.
In 1921 Kate was elected to the Dáil. She opposed the Treaty and in 1922 called for increased women’s suffrage.  She lost her seat in 1923 but remained a very active member of the cultural life of the city and was a member of the Limerick Drama Society, Féile Luimnigh, Limerick Art Gallery and the Gaelic League.  When she died in 1961 members of the old IRA carried her coffin draped with the tri-colour.  She was buried at Mount St Lawrence cemetery next to her husband.

 

Link to The Limerick Curfew Murders http://museum.limerick.ie/index.php/Detail/Object/Show/object_id/11690

Institutional Abuse Public Meeting

SUPPORT FOR THOSE WHO HAVE EXPERIENCE OF INSTITUTIONAL ABUSE

nuns

CARANUA INFORMATION EVENT DAYS

Please see below information events and dates that Caranua (service name of the Residential Institutions Statutory fund).

Institutions covered link to list of Institutions

For those living in Dublin the event takes  place next Saturday 12th March (10am-1pm) in the Gresham hotel.  For all of those who have suffered as a result of the institutions as defined in the Ryan Report and other such reports this public meeting by Caranua is important to you, as this organization is charged with administering assistance to those who suffered in such institutions.  It was set up by the then Minister Ruairi Quinn and has a budget in excess of 100 million euros which was part of an overall compensation package designed to address education, social and health issues, counselling, mental health and emotional issues.

Many of the former residents are elderly and infirm and many are in substandard accommodation. Caranua offers assistance with some house improvements, personal health issues and educational issues by way of financial support in the payment of bills.

It does not offer direct financial support by way of cash to individuals but is more to assist and help and support with provision of services and goods.

If you know of anybody who was in any of these institutions and could do with assistance and support and the relevant information regarding how to access such supports you should inform them to attend these meetings where relevant information will be supplied and also it’s an opportunity to somewhat socialize and meet others.

See you all there at the Gresham, next Saturday.

It is also important to note at such gatherings that anonymity and boundary and confidentiality are important to us all and above all to treat each other with courtesy and respect.

City Venue Date and Time Type of event

 

Dublin Gresham Hotel, O’Connell St, Dublin Saturday 12th March 10am – 1pm In addition to Caranua, other organisations will also have information stands at the event.
Manchester MacDonald Manchester Hotel, London Road, Piccadilly, Manchester Saturday 9th April 10.30am – 1pm This event will only involve Caranua
Cork River Lee Hotel, Western Road, Cork Saturday 23rd April 10am – 1pm In addition to Caranua, other organisations will also have information stands at the event.
 Galway Radisson Blu Hotel, Lough Atalia Rd, Galway Saturday 14th May 10am – 1pm In addition to Caranua, other organisations will also have information stands at the event.

 

Protect me, I am the Donnybrook laundry

 

laundry 10

Side laundry room, Donnybrook

 

Structure as witness

Deep in the heartland of Donnybrook, hidden in a crescent, surrounded by apartments, houses and leafy trees there sits, intact, a building which embodied part of our cruel social history.  Known locally as the laundry or Donnybrook laundry, but more widely known in sub-cultures and State reports as the Magdalene laundry of the Sisters of Charity.

 

Donnybrook2

Site for sale.  Our only completely intact Magdalene Laundry.

It is for sale now as in investment property at Donnybrook crescent. No mention in the brochure of its former use and its past.  No mention of the many women who toiled there, scrubbing shirts, washing socks, endless ironing, endless starching, endless washing; no let up, just let down.  No mention of the clients that came from the affluent families in the surrounding areas, nor that Áras an Úachtaráin was a client too.  The basket that carried the laundry – pressed, starched, immaculate spotless – now lies discarded with a pile of others, rotting and abandoned.

aras2

Áras an Uachtaráin laundry box, Donnybrook Laundry

What would the nuns think of such disrespect, of such irreverance for such an important basket.  Back in the day these baskets were sacred. Revenue.  Handle with care.  These baskets, these boxes for laundry were very important. The people who worked, the women, the young girls, were never as important as these baskets.

Memory is something that fights an eternal battle with the passage of time and forgetfulness.  Time is a great healer for those who can heal and those who are offered healing.  There is no healing here. Time stands still like a festering wound in a well-to-do suburb as somebody attempts to erase a grave and mortal wrong. The McAleese report, the Justice for the Magdalenes, the hundreds of women still alive and their families should know of this place.  Should be present here to witness what can only be witnessed by them.  So that they can understand what’s lost, what cannot be given.  What was taken from them for generations.

.

staircase

Granite staircase leading from laundry room to upstairs dormitory

The world and its mother should be brought through these doors to see for themselves, to feel for themselves what it was like, that this actually happened.  That this place exists.  All around it the religious lands are being sold for development.  Somebody somewhere pocketed the money for profit.  The laundry is and its history is othered , cut off by walls, sliced away from the well-manicured, well -kept, well-preserved and well-managed convent that remains on the site in the heart of Donnybrook, respected, revered.

This is private property  now and people use the local dry cleaners or their Zanussi washing machine or a launderette in town.  The sound of hand scrubbed collars if you listen you can still hear it. The vast drums of the washing machines , the slushing of the water, the mangle of the manglers, the rinsing of the dirty laundry.  Nobody in Donnybrook wore dirty clothes in those days, they all turned up spic and span spotless, scrubbed by ‘sinners’.

The chimney stack of the laundry is a defiant hand of a female inmate.  Screaming out ‘we were here’, ‘we were treated badly’, ‘you wronged us’, ‘you took all from us’.  The tall mast of RTE broadcasting strange half-truths to the Nation doesn’t hear this.  The world passes by here unbeknownst. The presence of presence is something all of us should never miss.  Our bones give us a sense of place, a sense of now.  Like Caesar, like Brutus, like Marc Antony the good is in the bone, the memory is in the marrow, living.

The Magdalene laundry is still intact and this State and its people need to ensure it stays intact and all the paraphernalia there within, the ledgers, the industrial machines, the woven baskets, the statues, the cupboards, the stairways, the furniture, the windows the atmosphere remain intact.  This place should not be turned into an artificial artefact.  This is the real thing. If ever there was to be a monument, a memorial, a gesture, an acknowledgment – this is it.  This is a place of anger and atonement.  A place of rage and fury.  A place of loss and maybe a place to be found.

suitcases

Baskets and suitcases once precious, now discarded

Thousands upon thousands of women and young girls suffered in the Magdalene Laundry system.  Thousands of children suffered in the Industrial school system, they were by and large the children of the poor.  The children that this State regarded as surplus to need and that the Catholic Church and the religious congregations enslaved, exploited and abused as their sexual playthings.

The uniqueness of this site and this location is that its not separated from the surrounding community in their fine Victorian redbrick houses.  Not separated entirely from their history.  The Sisters of Charity have an obligation to preserve this building as a testament to their own past and as some sort of atonement to the many women who feel gravely wronged.  It is also important to preserve it as an educational centre to inform future generations of just what way we treated those who were not strong.

crack in the window

Upstairs dormitory, Magdalene laundry, Donnybrook

Laundry statues

Discarded statues, Donnybrook Magdalene laundry

All across the country from the Good Shepherds in Limerick to the wood turning college in Letterfrack, Connemara they are trying to erase this landscape, this memory by turning these sites into Art Colleges, hostels, homeless accommodation etc None of them have yet to be made or let be what they are – sites of anguish, sites of suffering, which form a vital part of our social, political and religious history.

With all we know about what happened to individuals in this country, with all we know about this State and the Irish Catholic Church and its congregations, with the continuous ongoing injustice to the Magdalene women and the Mother and Baby home (women and children) it would be an absolute disgrace and a further insult and injury if this site was not preserved, exactly as it is.  In many ways, this site in my view, is as important as any of the battle sites of 1916 that are getting so much attention.  Indeed, the men and women of 1916 laid down their lives for the women of the Magdalene laundries and the children of the institutions.

laundry 3

Interior laundry room, Donnybrook

People of Donnybrook, people of Dublin lets do the right thing here and own our past.  All of it.  Let’s not try smooth it out with a bit of cash, a bit of compensation or an inappropriate architectural monument. We have the real thing and all its uncomfortability for us all. It is high time we stopped running from it. Stand still and face it.

Sinks

Hand wash garment sinks

These institutions and their memories are among us, were always among us, but we have chosen to deny them, to make them invisible, to make them secret to shove them into a past, into a history.  But they are not done with us yet. Time to embrace our own unpalatable truth.

Kate O’Connell TD, Jim O Callaghan TD, Eoghan Murphy TD, Eamon Ryan TD make this your first task.

gates nuns

Sisters of Charity, Donnybrook.  Founder, Mary Aikenhead.  Purveyor’s of Magdalene Laundry services.

 

Please sign the petition and pass it on Protect Donnybrook Magdalene Laundry Petition