Celtic Illumination, part 361, Breathe a pray’r and a tear for the Croppy Boy.
I think the most interesting reply, or message, I got yesterday, regarding the wholesale slaughter of one and a half million innocent Irish men, women and children, by starving them to death, came from Patti Welsh. Patti stated that she had once read The Graves Are Walking, a book covering An Gorta Mor by John Kelly. Despite the fact that Patti says she had to put the book down a couple of times, because she felt physically ill from what she was reading, she still feels that the author was being apologetic. This is one of the great tricks that the British use by smothering their enemy with their so called culture and their disgusting class system. I didn’t really want to get in to this today, but with the amount of replies and comments I should at least say something, and Patti I do feel that my reluctance to discuss any of this would place me as an apologist too. I don’t want to say that the British were disgusting for their treatment of Irish people in case I offend anyone. Interesting isn’t it.
In fact this is the problem that faces many people in Northern Ireland at the moment. I would say that most of the Catholic population of the North of Ireland are Republican and want a United Ireland. However, to suggest such a thing would mean that you would have to support the IRA and therefore condone all of the atrocities that they were responsible for, making you as bad as them. Can you see the situation people are placed in? There are many reports that consider the number of people killed by the IRA in the recent troubles, one, the CAIN report from the University of Ulster, states that the IRA was responsible for the deaths of 1824 people (48.4%) during the troubles, yet the British slaughtered one and a half million innocent Irish people. Who would you say was the more detestable?
It is a huge leap of faith that only each individual person can make. I suppose you all want to know what I intend to do about it when I become King and take back the throne of Ireland. Guess what Patti, we are back to being an apologist again, well; it’s the main thought at the back of my mind, don’t say anything that could upset anybody. It’s quite simple, when I take back the throne of Ireland I shall be demanding that the Queen of England, or whoever is in charge at the time, sells every single asset that that family claim to own, including Charles and his Duchy of Cornwall, and all the money raised will be given to the poor children of Ireland. There is no discussion to be had about any of it, when I think about the Duke of York branding the letters DOY onto the necks of innocent ten year old Irish children that have been stolen from their families and are getting sent for sale in the British colonies, I hear my shotgun getting cocked.
And it was about this time that I began to understand exactly who I was and why I had been put through what I had endured. My brother had contacted me, the one who lives in Warrenpoint. He was having a hard time getting his head around the fact that he had another brother, he had never been aware of any rumours of an elder sibling. I explained to him that I was no threat to him, but that as we moved in the same sort of social circles in Warrenpoint, and I had told a few people, I didn’t want him to hear it from anyone else but me. I discovered that he had two daughters so not only was I now a brother, but I was an uncle too. So a few weeks later I got another telephone call this time from a sister. At the time I only knew the name of my one brother in Warrenpoint I was unaware of the names of my ten other brothers and sisters.
This sister lived in England and was married to a fellow who had been three years below me at Violent Hell. I’ll tell you what; if the world keeps getting smaller I’m going to scream. She gave me a list of names of all my brothers and sisters, which did help fill in a lot of the blanks. It was an exciting time for Irene and myself as this great big adventure was opening up. Despite the fact that mother number two didn’t want to know me, brothers and sisters were starting to contact me. Seems that my sister and brother in law were visiting my brother and sister in law in Warrenpoint. The sister in law and the brother in law are together and the sister in law tells him about me contacting my brother. Brother in law comes back to England and after a while, or perhaps a couple of gin and tonics, tells sister, who is immediately on the telephone to me.
She asked for some proof which I agreed to send her. Once she could see that I was in fact her older brother our telephone conversations became more regular. She told me about each of my brothers and sisters and what they got up to; she gave me a bit of background about their family life, a strange connection the family have to the French Royal family, and how it was so sad that one of my brothers, daughters in Warrenpoint had a deformity on her left hand. I laughed about this and explained that I too had been born with a deformity on my left hand. At that time it meant nothing more to me apart from suggesting a certain form of genetic link. My brothers and sisters were now placed in a quandary, how to you approach your mother and or father and tell them that you know about their secret child? And they began to feel that all the brothers and sisters should know about my existence.
During one of what was now becoming a regular telephone call my sister explained that she had told the oldest sister about me and she was quite angry that I had contacted our mother in the first place. I couldn’t really get my head around that one. I could understand them being confused and perhaps angry for in fact have they not been lied to all their lives? But why direct any of that anger against me? Sometimes my head would be in a rage as I could see them, my mother and father and their eleven other children all traipsing in to mass on a Sunday morning, like something from the Sound of Music. How they would exude the qualities of a fine Catholic family when in fact there was this dark secret lurking in the corner, me.
Progress was slow, to say the least. In fact it was as slow as the bloody celebrities we were waiting to hear back from. I had written the first book for Alex Reid and was thinking about the second but most of my time was spent reading as much as I could get my hands on about An Gorta Mor, plus any other incident I could find. I found a host of fascinating incidents like where the North Cork militia, commanded by Lord Kingsborough, claimed to have invented the use of the pitch cap as a method of torture. Any person identified as a United Irish sympathiser would be dragged in to a guard house, where their hair was cropped short, even sometimes losing ears too, and a combination of pitch and gunpowder was applied to the head. The pitch was then lit and the poor person released to the baying of the crowd outside. The practise was more commonly known as ‘Pitchcapping’ and was basically a way of scalping a person as hot pitch, or tar, would be poured over the head and when cool removed along with the hair and usually the skin.
One of these ‘incidents’ that stayed with me was about Mr Hunter Gowan, the captain of a corps of yeomen, who, when he entered a town at the head of his men would find a croppy boy and cut off a finger. At the time aristocrats wore wigs, so anyone with short ‘cropped’ hair was seen as anti-aristocrat and usually pro French, so the term Croppy Boy became associated with United Irish sympathisers. The finger would be placed on the tip of his sword which he would then parade about the town as his men selected a public house where they would rest. Gowan would then ride over and stir the punch for his men with the finger on the end of his sword, in a similar fashion it says, ‘like true blades of the game, their punch was stirred about with the finger that had graced their ovation, in imitation of keen fox hunters who whisk a bowl of punch with the brush of a fox before their boozing commences.’
So as you can see I was discovering a whole world that I knew nothing about and a world that would certainly affect me in one way or another. Because of my new discovery that I was an O Neill from county Tyrone I automatically became interested in anything O Neill flavoured, from Niall of the Nine Hostages to Conn of the Hundred Battles. But the one thing that got to me was the story about how the O Neill Clan would choose their leader, their High Chief, the King of Ireland. It was because a member of the Tyrone O Neill’s would have been marked by God, with a small deformity on their left hand, which as we all know gave rise to the Red Hand symbol. I could see that the genetic line continued to this very day with my niece having a deformity on her left hand, so I was now aware that I was in line for the position of Chief of the Clan O Neill. All I would have to do would be to stay away from people named Gowan, for wouldn’t they have a field day with a six fingered fellow like me.