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Major John MacBride


Leopold Bloom

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Apr 21, 2007
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Given that we've recently been examining the feet of clay of some of the 1916 martyrs, it seems opportune to take a closer look at this fellow. Yeats, of course, memorably described him as:

This other man I had dreamed
A drunken, vainglorious lout.
He had done most bitter wrong
To some who are near my heart,


The bitter wrong, it would seem, consisted of the attempted drunken paedophiliac rape of his stepdaughter Iseult Gonne. Of course, some of the misty-eyed nationalist romanticists on this site will immediately start to jump up and down and shout slander but I think it is salutary for us as a nation to have a good "warts and all" look at some of the founders of our state and the heroes we have placed on pedestals.
 

cain1798

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Leopold Bloom said:
Yeats, of course, memorably described him as:

The bitter wrong, it would seem, consisted of the attempted drunken paedophiliac rape of his stepdaughter Iseult Gonne. Of course, some of the misty-eyed nationalist romanticists on this site will immediately start to jump up and down and shout slander but I think it is salutary for us as a nation to have a good "warts and all" look at some of the founders of our state and the heroes on pedestals.
I don't think anyone objects to a warts and all look at republican heroes, but there's a difference between that and simple slander. Yeats hated McBride even before he ever met him simply because he married Maud Gonne so citing him as a source is a bit silly.

By all accounts McBride was a disaster as a husband and accusations of adultery, domestic abuse and a possible sexual attack on his step-daughter, who would have been nine or ten at the time, were made, but they were never proven.

Edited this as I came across a report on the net http://www4.ncsu.edu/~alfrench/IseultGonne.pdf which has more information and suggests it might not have been Iseult that Gonne was referring to in the first place.
 

Leopold Bloom

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Very informative link, Cain. Thank you.
 

ergo

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Sep 29, 2006
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Yeats was jealous of McBride.

The McBrides were and are a highly respected Mayo family. Maude Gonne made many false accusations against him.
 

Leopold Bloom

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ergo said:
Yeats was jealous of McBride.

The McBrides were and are a highly respected Mayo family.
That may or may not be the case. However, many families have their black sheep. Just look at the Cosgraves - also regarded by some as highly respectable. I'd say Liam Snr was mortified at the antics of Liam Jnr. http://www.rte.ie/news/2006/0227/cosgravel.html

By all contemporary accounts (and not just the word of Yeats and Gonne) MacBride appears to have been a complete lout. Furthermore, he sided with the Boers. I don't think the most ardent modern day Irish nationalists would want to be seen to have sided with the Boers, even in a fight against the much hated Brits! This is probably one of the reasons why MacBride is not one of their more loudly trumpeted heroes.
 

ergo

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Sep 29, 2006
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To Leopold Bloom

John McBride was not a "black sheep".

Yes he fought like many Irish men with the Boers - What is your problem with that?
 
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Leopold.

Where to begin?

First off the Boer War was a conflict between two sets of colonials who wanted to exploit Africa for their own interests and who regarded the local population as inherently inferior. To portray the Boers as the "baddies" in that particular moral swamp is a waste of a post, quite frankly.

Secondly The reason McBride isn`t more widely trumpeted among Irish Nationalists is that his impact was tiny on Irish nationalism. Whose place would you suggest he take Pearse? Connolly? Wolfe Tone? Tom Clarke? O`Donovan Rossa? all of those had a huge impact. Kevin Barry was executed by himself, was young and good looking, Dan Breen and Ernie O`Malley wrote memoirs.

Thirdly Military adventures and orgnisations attract a certain amount of louts. McBride may or may not have been one. But of 16 men execcuted in 1916 there was bound to be one or two who weren`t admirable men.

Now you`ve yet to post up any information yourself regarding McBride except for rumour and innuendo. Any hard facts? I`d suggest going and doing some research . You could start by trying to ascertain whether or not anyone has any actual information about McBride himself .
 

Leopold Bloom

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ergo said:
Yes he fought like many Irish men with the Boers - What is your problem with that?
If you don't know the answer to that, my friend, then I suggest you go and ask Nelson Mandela.
 

Leopold Bloom

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anmajornarthainig said:
Kevin Barry was executed by himself, was young and good looking, Dan Breen and Ernie O`Malley wrote memoirs.
Funny, I thought the Brits did it: aren't you lucky this site has an edit facility?
 

Leopold Bloom

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anmajornarthainig said:
You could start by trying to ascertain whether or not anyone has any actual information about McBride himself .
I didn't, but Cain did: have you read the information on the highly informative link he posted?
 

Leopold Bloom

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ergo said:
To Leopold Bloom

so Brits good, Boers bad?
As I say, I think you should ask that of Nelson Mandela or some other black South African, not me.
 
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Executed by himself= executed on his own.

Simple enough for you?

Now any grownup, adult responses to the points I raised?

Regarding the information Cain posted up. That is irrelevent. You started the thread with an allegation with no evidence to substantiate that. Cain shouldn`t have to come in and tidy up your mess for you.
 

merle haggard

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This betrays even more idiocy and ignorance by posters here, completely ignorant of their own history . The Irish brigade that McBride fought in originally set out to assit the Zulus . Their aim was not only to fight alongside them but secure supplies of arms from the US and Europe for them to fight the British army . The Zulus however capitulated and then allied themselves to the British . It was after the Zulus had been conquered that the British then set their sights on the Boers and the Irish brigade decided to assist them instead . South Africa was extremely strategic for both the British and the Fenians . The British empire depended totally on shipping trade , which had to pass round the Cape Horn . The Irish brigades object was to damage the British empire strategically and fundamentally weaken it .
During the same period the Fenians were busy inventing the submarine in the United States . Its purpose was to attack British shipping in the gulf of mexico , closing the Panama canal to British shipping and again crippling the empire .
It was in this context , as well as the context of 1000s of Irishmen fighting in the British army , that the Irish brigade made their stand with the boers .
 

Leopold Bloom

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Apr 21, 2007
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Well, Merle, confirms what I've long suspected: you're a Boer! It's official.
 

Cookie68

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May 14, 2007
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anmajornarthainig said:
Very interesting Merle. Any reference for that, History of the Irish Brigade? A book preferably.
I found it very interesting too. One of my great grandfathers was involved in this on the British side.

Great to see Michael Caine went on to better things after the campaign.
 
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