The Wild Geese Today
DOMNAIGH -- On Aug. 1, 1915, the funeral of Fenian Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa
was held before a huge crowd at Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin. Rossa's body had been returned from New York, where he died June 30. He had been exiled by the British for his Fenian activities in 1871.
While in exile, Rossa had managed to alienate many of his former Fenian colleagues, including his good friend John Devoy
, with his uncompromising advocacy of violence to end British rule in Ireland. Perhaps his attitude was due in part to the harsh treatment he received in British prisons as well as scenes he witnessed while helping to distribute relief in his native County Cork during the Great Hunger
In the late 1870s, he organized the 'Skirmishing Fund,' which financed the infamous dynamite campaign in England. When he died in New York on June 30, 1915, he was estranged from most in the Irish republican movement, but his funeral would be one of the seminal events in the revival of the movement in Ireland. Patrick Pearse
gave an address at the graveside that day which has resounded with republicans down through the years; the final words of his oration provided them with one of their most enduring slogans: "Ireland unfree will never be at peace." [Editor's note: Interestingly, the world slogan derives from the Gaelic sluagh ghairm, or army cry, according to The Random House Dictionary.]
*Tomorrow, text of Pearse's graveside oration