Tuesday, 1 October 2013

1 October 1843: Daniel O’Connell addressed a huge ‘Monster Meeting’ at Mullaghmast, Co Kildare on this day.

O’Connell was attempting to get the British Government to Repeal the Act of Union between Britain and Ireland. He believed that the pressure of Irish public opinion would leave Westminster no option but to capitulate. He stated that after the meeting held at Tara, Co Meath the one at Mullaghmast was the largest.

At Tara I protested against the Union—I repeat the protest at Mullaghmast. I declare solemnly my thorough conviction as a constitutional lawyer, that the Union is totally void in point of principle and of constitutional force. I tell you that no portion of the empire had the power to traffic on the rights and liberties of the Irish people…

One hundred years before Eamon De Valera’s famous ‘Comely Maidens’ speech of 1943 ‘The Great Dan’ gave his own vision of the Promised Land he would lead his People to:

I will see every man of you having a vote, and every man protected by the ballot from the agent or landlord. I will see labour protected, and every title to possession recognized, when you are industrious and honest. I will see prosperity again throughout your land…

I will see prosperity in all its gradations spreading through a happy, contented, religious land. I will hear the hymn of a happy people go forth at sunrise to God in praise of His mercies—and I will see the evening sun set down among the uplifted hands of a religious and free population. Every blessing that man can bestow and religion can confer upon the faithful heart shall spread throughout the land. Stand by me—join with me—I will say be obedient to me, and Ireland shall be free.

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