Simone Veil – Thank You

French politician, women’s rights champion and Holocaust survivor Simone Veil will be buried in Paris’s Pantheon mausoleum. She will become the 5th woman to be buried at the National monument.  Veil will join scientist Marie Curie; two resistance members who were deported to Germany, Geneviève de Gaulle-Anthonioz and Germaine Tillion; and Sophie Berthelot, who was buried alongside her chemist husband, Pierre-Eugène Marcellin Berthelot.

Simone Veil (13 July 1927 – 30 June 2017) was a French lawyer and politician who served as Minister of Health under Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, President of the European Parliament and member of the Constitutional Council of France.

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Born in Nice in 1927 as Simone Jacob, she was arrested by the Germans in 1944, alongside her family, and sent to Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen.  Only she and her sister survived.  Her mother, father, and brother all died there.

She became best known in France for her instrumental role in legalising abortion in the 1970s as Minister of Health and went on to serve as the first president of an elected European Parliament.

She later re-entered French politics, returning to the cabinet in the 1990s.

In 2010, she was deemed one of the 40 “immortals” of the Académie Française – a great honour in France.

She inspired generations of people all over the world and paved the way for many.  The 89 years she spent here were dedicated to the advancement of the human being with a primary purpose being, the equality of women.  They are correctly honouring her as an extraordinary human being by placing her in The Pantheon.

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Guardian Article:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jul/05/french-rights-champion-simone-veil-place-pantheon-mausoleum-paris

 

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Mr. Pussy book launch tonight

Alan Amsby is a true champion and one of our most provocative artists.  He challenged this society in a way that very few did.  He gave an outlet and an opening to a lot of men who were coming to terms with their identity.  Before Brendan O Carroll or any of the tame Panto dames, there was Alan Amsby (Mr Pussy).  Dangerous, provocative, innovative, ground breaking and loved by everybody including all those in the shadows and underworld of Dublin’s then unlawful gay scene.

I hope President Higgins sees fit to honour Alan Amsby in some way. It is fantastic to see this book finally come out of that big wardrobe that Alan Amsby has.  Its part of our social and political history as well as our artistic cultural identity.

Alan Amsby, a British citizen, gave this city and this country his life and a fantastic service well before the Belfast agreement.
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In 1969, a young Englishman named Alan Amsby arrived in Ireland with a frock and a wig. He was booked for one week, but was an overnight sensation, and made Dublin his home. Catholic Ireland had never before seen anything like the beautiful and outrageous Mr Pussy. For almost fifty years, Alan has delighted audiences and demolished boundaries.

Here, he recalls his early days as a drag princess and model in Swinging London, partying the likes of Judy Garland, Noël Coward and David Bowie; being heckled by one of the Kray twins – and snogging Danny La Rue. He also remembers grey 1980s’ Ireland, shocking the country with its first adult panto, and losing friends to the Aids epidemic. Then there’s his 1990s’ renaissance, ‘doing time’ with Paul O’Grady and Daniel Day Lewis, and opening Mr Pussy’s world-famous Café De Luxe with Bono.

Full of hilarious celebrity yarns, sequinned characters like the remarkable Stella Minge, and a lot of shameless name-dropping, Mr Pussy is the story of a legendary, ground-breaking entertainer, full of pathos, charm and wit.

 Alan Amsby (aka Mr Pussy) was born in London and performed a popular drag act before moving to Ireland in the late 1960s. 

Things to see -Farcry Productions- Culture Night Dublin

If you are heading out into the heart of the city of Dublin tonight for Culture night do check out various sites by  Farcry Productions (www.farcryproductions.ie)

  •  Something to Live For

    Parliament Street/Cork St/Dame Street
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    Something to live for – window’s acknowledging the contribution made by individuals to the establishment of the Irish Republic. Originally installed 2006-2008

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    Pidge Duggen, Ellen Walsh and other great citizens who made this country.

    There has been a special guest put up in one of the windows just for Culture night

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  • Close by the previous installation, you will find SOMEBODY’S CHILD, Essex Street, Temple Bar West.   This work lists the names of the children buried in a pit in Tuam, Bons Secours Mother and Baby home, Co Galway.

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  • THANK YOU – GO RAIBH MAITH AGAT – Georges Street, opposite The George

Proclamation translated into Arabic, Chinese, Gaeilge, French, Polish and Russian.  To find the German translation you will have to walk to The Oak Pub on Dame Street and look up above the door!

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  • CHILDREN TO YOUR FLAG, NEVER IN DARKNESS – Video installation, Dame Street (Stand at the bottom of Georges Street and look up)

A video installation on Dame Street – Georges street of 13 women who contributed greatly to Irish culture, heritage and the establishment of the Irish Republic.

see http://www.1916onehundred.ie/about.html

 

  • Also on the front of the Mercantile Pub, Dame Street you will come across the banners of 7 Women and 7 Men

 

 

 

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.

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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

 

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New Memory

Sacred heart

Past Trauma, New Memory and the Now

We are shaped moulded by yesterdays, past generations of our families hand down formed rituals as facts to live by. Generation after generation, commemmoration after commemmoration. Rigid to custom, tradition and strict rule.  Ireland and the Irish State draws from a similar past for its authenticity. As a people we seek our identity in a past that is overwhelmingly tragic.  We are baptised by and large into a faith based on suffering, sacrifice and death with a promise of everlasting afterlife. Our very bones carry the memory of a traumatic past, not of our making, and we are captured and held hostage by it and, as we face into this commemmorative decade, we must ask ourselves – who we truly are and what we would like to become in the future? What new memory can we create now that will change that perception of ourselves as victims and survivors which keeps us from true ownership of ourselves.

In Ireland, change comes about with great reluctance, resentment and vindictive consequences.  We have had the case of Savita, the X case, the child abuse issue, the nursing homes, the banking issue, the planning issue, the Northern troubles, not to mention the Limerick City of Culture and the issues of Temple Bar Cultural Trust – yet, no new way is forged.  We remain childlike, hapless.  We jump up and down and shout outside the Dáil, re-elect the same people and on it goes. Yet no lessons are learned.  No new way forged.  We all complain about RTE, The Abbey Theatre, yet we still watch and we still go.  Disappointment seems to be our sedative.

Appeased by our own complaining, we saunter fatalistically along with our false image intact.  Uncomfortable? Of course.  But alcohol can take care of that. On we go, until somebody mentions any of these institutions or individuals and then the backlash begins.  You are accused of having ‘sour grapes’.  You’re accused of personalizing.  The keepers of ‘no change’ make you out as a loose cannon.  Negative, destructive, dangerous.  A threat to their cosy number.  And we all sing the chorus line ‘Sure it’s not that bad, ah sure it could be worse’. “lets move on’. Or in the immortal words of Pat Cox “I’m determined to hit the reset button’.  Not address the problem, not learn from the problem but simply “reset” so the problem seems never to have happened – that’s the Irish way.

So what do you do with themes like the role of memory in making theatre.  The challenge of commemorating historical events? Well, you simply make something new.  Something that will grow and be free.  Big and open.  The making of new memory.  New ackowledgement of the immediate now.  Your now.  Our now.  How you feel rather than how you think.

The challenge is not so much about the challenge of commemmorating historical events like 1914, 1918, 1916, 1922 , the Lockout, the Battle of Clontarf.  It’s about how you set yourself free from them. And how you free them from us. Create a new legacy.

We have to remove ourselves by all means possible from our own institutionalisation.  Otherwise the continued indoctrination of our collective memory by the State and other agents through the spectacle of event commemmoration will succeed in reducing us to spectators, lookers on and not the true owners of our own history.

Theatre events are made from interrogated memory, from memory which is investigated and creatively interpreted.  The burial of active memory and conscious recall is a form of conditioned self-censorship.  In a way, we have to save memory from being consigned to memory. We must resist adopting the ruling class memory of a magic nostalgic masquerade which separates us from truth.  Their version of our memory is akin to a closed down thing. Coma induced.  Our conscious memory struggles to be switched on.  So tread softly cause you tread on my memory.  Memory cannot be told ‘thus far and no further’.  So let new memory arise. Without interference and without baggage.  Memory is not a thing of the past.

Facebook, Google, Twitter, Linkedin and their like, they are the enemies of live human memory.  The mobile phone and other machines have the potential to erode and take over our relationship with our memory and private self.  Synthetic history has begun – out there on the world wide web.  In our hands, on our persons, in our houses, in our environment – our intimate relationship with our private selves and self discovery, that mystery, that journey is being surrendered to triumphant capitalism and consumerism.

“No Escape” at the Peacock Stage some time ago, and also part of this symposium, is, in my view, an exercise. An excuse for the lack of  artists’ involvment in exposing State terror and church inhumanity as well as society’s indifference to what went on in State institutions in this country.  The theatre makers in this case take a whitewashed State document – the Ryan Report- take witness statements and do a kind of pageant enactment which turns real events into theatre commodity.  Rendering the struggle for truth and justice into a night out in the theatre for the elite cultural class.  It is easy to move an audience to crying and feeling sorry for what happened to the poor kids in the institutions in this society.  It is much more courageous though to enrage a public in order to change this society.  In this instance the State Theatre, used a State document in furtherance of its own self-service and appeasement.  True story and real events are stolen from the owners.  The authentic voice is silenced and we are estranged, again. Orphaned again. This time from one of the few things we can truly call our own   – the memory and experience of what happened to us.  The theatre in this instance kills the possiblity of inclusion for an entire generation and a deeply oppressed class.  The struggle is betrayed and all of the uncomfortability of Irish society is laundered out, made safe.

New memory can only arrive with true authenticity.  An uncontaminated platform.  It won’t hold or lend  itself to the notions of those with no real true cultural credibility who float about, aloof.  New memory will seek the risk taker. The brave.  The daring.  Not those who lick up to the Arts Council or other funders who wish to continue to promote the lie of the status quo. The fake of the State.

The Risen People, the show, set out to make new an old play, an old story about a past real event.  The primary purpose of staging the work at the Abbey Theatre, the State Theatre is the acknowledgment of the anniversary of the 1913 lock-out 100 years ago.  This meaning gets lost at the Abbey Theatre because of the failure to acknowledge what they have created, which is the ‘theatre of commemmoration’ and not the theatre of the Risen People.  What now needs to happen here is a process of disentanglement from versions of the work to a celebration of the new possibility for a new public that will carry a lasting memory of commemmorative theatre that has meaning and healthy acknowledgement of real events in our city.

The future generations have a right  to be free from a contaminated institutionalised collective memory that enslaves them and closes down the possibility of past as a celebration.  Our task is to rescue and recover historical memory and events from the brutalised past and transform them into celebratory events.  Free of the brutalised memory. Now is the time for a new hour, a new day, a new memory for a new time.

The Myth of History

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Glad to see that Margaret Skinneder is being given her rightful place in our history. The women of Cumann na mBan and all the women who gave service and duty to the cause of Irish Freedom are being sidelined in these forthcoming celebrations. The public now have an opportunity to demand, as per the proclamation that they all fought for, that full equality and recognition be given to the women of Ireland and indeed the children of Ireland who gave their lives in the cause of Irish freedom in order to end oppression.

There simply cannot be a two tiered system of commemoration that favours a body of men over a body of women. The example here from the archives shows a deep prejudice and a continued inequality that is still very much part of today.

The commemorative committee of the Government and the commemorative committee of Dublin City Council along with county council throughout the country, who are charged with organizing commemorative events need to be very mindful of these inequalities.A soldier is a soldier, male of female. A revolutionary is a revolutionary.

All too often as in the case for instance of the Algerians who fought in the 2nd world war against the Nazi’s for the French, were sidelined because of race, creed and colour and were never to this day, given full recognition or their pensions.

Addressing these issues will give commemoration and remembrance ceremonies greater meaning and can be instruments in confronting exclusion and championing inclusion.  Above all, it must always be about mans inhumanity to man and that war and violence changes little.  If a person goes out to fight in the hope of a better life and in the victory of that the homeland that they fought for, discriminates against them in favour of the new ruling class as in the case of Margaret Skinneder and her pension rights and parity of esteem, well then all we are doing is continuing the same regimes. The same kind of rule.  The same type of authoritarianism. The same kind of class, gender and economic divide.

The words of the proclamation have yet to see themselves entirely in action.

President Michael D. Higgins address at the Abbey Theatre yesterday, clearly identifies these historical and present fault lines.  Don’t read and weep.  Read and do something.  The above images are just some of the women who gave their lives in death and also gave of their time through out their lives for the Irish people and humanity in general.  We should know them as our own and keep them close in our hearts and in our minds and always attempt to do a little in honour of the lot that they have done.  Learn their names and learn their good deeds.  And we can change this society for the better.  History as a myth…broken.

UN panel grills Catholic church. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/16/un-criticises-vatican-coverups-child-sex-abuse-catholic-priests?CMP=twt_gu

Theatre of Memory Symposium, Abbey Theatre – Irish Independent http://www.independent.ie/entertainment/books-arts/higgins-laments-exclusion-of-women-from-history-29924269.html