--- Famous Quotations ---


Well, we know that eighteen years after that solemn declaration it was disregarded, and the Irish Parliament, which lasted for five hundred years, was destroyed by the Act of Union. Gentlemen, the Act of Union was carried by force and fraud, by treachery and falsehood.

John Edward Redmond

The majority of the members of the Irish parliament are professional politicians, in the sense that otherwise they would not be given jobs minding mice at crossroads.

Death must be so beautiful. To lie in the soft brown earth, with the grasses waving above one’s head, and listen to silence. To have no yesterday, and no tomorrow. To forget time, to forgive life, to be at peace.”
Oscar Wilde, “The Canterville Ghost”

If today when all Europe is dying for national ends, whole peoples marching down with songs of joy to the valley of eternal night, we alone stand by idle and moved only to words, then we are in truth the most contemptible of all the peoples in Europe.
Casement, Sir Roger 1864-1916  ---  Letter to Joe McGarrity, 29 April 19

As our language wanes and dies, the golden legends of the far-off centuries fade and pass away. No one sees their influence upon culture; no one sees their educational power.

Douglas Hyde

“The man who in the name of Ireland accepts as a ‘final settlement’ anything less by one iota than separation from England is guilty of so immense an infidelity, so immense a crime against the Irish nation . . . that it were better for that man (as it were certainly better for his country) that he had not been born.” 

 Padraic Pearse

"Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!"

Patrick Henry

A people without a language of its own is only half a nation. A nation should guard its language more than its territories--'tis a surer barrier, and more important frontier, than fortress or river.

Thomas Osborne Davis

I have a total irreverence for anything connected with society except that which makes the roads safer, the beer stronger, the food cheaper, the old men and old women warmer in the winter and happier in the summer.
Brendan Behan

"Self government is our right, a thing born to us at birth a thing no more to be doled out to us by another people then the right to life itself then the right to feel the sun or smell the flowers or to love our kind."

 Roger Casement

You must not grieve for all this. We have preserved Ireland’s honour and our own. Our deeds of last week are the most splendid in Ireland’s history. People will say hard things of us now, but we shall be remembered by posterity and blessed by unborn generations. You too will be blessed because you were my mother.

Patrick Pearse’  --- Letter to his Mother, 1 May, 1916 --  written in  Arbour Hill Barracks, Dublin

To subvert the tyranny of our execrable government, to break the connection with England, the never-failing source of all our political evils and to assert the independence of my country – these were my objects. To unite the whole people of Ireland, to abolish the memory of all past dissension and to substitute the common name of Irishman in place of the denominations of Protestant, Catholic and Dissenter – these were my means.

Theobald Wolfe Tone

 Families, when all was eaten and no hope left, took their last look at the sun, built up their cottage doors that none might see them die nor hear their groans, and were found weeks afterwards skeletons on their own hearth.
John Mitchel --- Describing Irish Famine in Jail Journal.

If you remove the English Army tomorrow and hoist the green flag over Dublin Castle., unless you set about the organization of the Socialist Republic your efforts will be in vain. England will still rule you. She would rule you through her capitalists, through her landlords, through her financiers, through the whole array of commercial and individualist institutions she has planted in this country and watered with the tears of our mothers and the blood of our martyrs”. -

James Connolly, --- from Socialism and Nationalism in Shan Van Vocht, January 1897

"Travelling - I was all my life at it. I'd still rather be travelling around. I'm always thinking of it. It was a better and a nicer time on the road - more freedom along the roads. We'd be selling tinware, saucepans, cans - country people knew us well at those times and were very nice."

Nan McDonagh --- Former Irish Traveler  (Tinker)

Often while sewing for the lords and barons who lived in magnificent houses on the Lake Shore Drive, I would look out of the plate glass windows and see the poor, shivering wretches, jobless and hungry, walking alongside the frozen lake front. The contrast of their condition with that of the tropical comfort of the people for whom I sewed was painful to me.”  

Mary Harris "Mother" Jones  -- writing in her biography

Life springs from death and from the graves of patriot men and women spring living nations. . . . They think that they have pacified Ireland. They think that they have purchased half of us and intimidated the other half. They think that they have foreseen everything, think they have provided against everything; but the fools, the fools, the fools, they have left us our Fenian dead, and while Ireland holds these graves Ireland unfree shall never be at peace. --

Patrick Henry Pearse-- excerpt from gaveside oration for O'Donovan Rossa

They won't break me because the desire for freedom, and the freedom of the Irish people, is in my heart. The day will dawn when all the people of Ireland will have the desire for freedom to show. It is then that we will see the rising of the moon.

Bobby Sands

I will not serve that in which I no longer believe whether it call itself my home, my fatherland or my church: and I will try to express myself in some mode of life or art as freely as I can and as wholly as I can, using for my defence the only arms I allow myself to use, silence, exile, and cunning.

James Joyce -- A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.

I was raised in an Irish-American home in Detroit where assimilation was the uppermost priority. The price of assimilation and respectability was amnesia. Although my great-grandparents were victims of the Great Hunger of the 1840's, even though I was named Thomas Emmet Hayden IV after the radical Irish nationalist exile Thomas Emmet, my inheritance was to be disinherited. My parents knew nothing of this past, or nothing worth passing on."

Tom Hayden, a California state senator, is the editor of Irish Hunger and of legislation incorporating the Great Hunger into the California school curriculum.

I now bid farewell to the country of my birth—of my passions—of my death; a country whose misfortunes have invoked my sympathies—whose factions I sought to quell—whose intelligence I prompted to a lofty aim—whose freedom has been my fatal dream. To that country I now offer as a pledge of the love I bore her, and of the sincerity with which I thought and spoke, and struggled for her freedom, the life of a young heart; and with that life, the hopes, the honours, the endearments of a happy, a prosperous, and honourable home. Proceed, then my lords, with that sentence which the law directs—I am prepared to hear it—I trust I am prepared to meet its execution. I shall go, I think, with a light heart before a higher tribunal—a tribunal where a Judge of infinite goodness, as well as of infinite justice, will preside, and where, my lords, many, many of the judgements of this world will be reversed."

Thomas Francis Meagher -- in speech from the dock  10/23/1848

Believing that the British Government has no right in Ireland, never had any right in Ireland, and never can have any right in Ireland, the presence in any one generation of Irishmen, ready to die to affirm that truth, makes that Government for ever a usurpation and a crime against human progress.

I personally thank God that I have lived to see the day when thousands of Irish men and boys, and hundreds of Irish women and girls, were ready to affirm that truth, and to attest it with their lives if need be

James Connolly - in speech to the Court Martial that sentenced him to death on May 9, 1916.

Ireland has seen her sons - aye, and her daughters too! - suffer from generation to generation, always for the same cause, meeting the same fate, and always at the hands of the same power. Still, always a fresh generation has passed on to withstand the same opposition . . . the Unionist champions chose a path which they felt would lead to the woolsack, while I went down the road I knew must lead to the dock, and the event proved we were both right".

Roger Casement, in speech from the dock - June 30, 1916

We are ready to die and shall die cheerfully and proudly, you must not grieve for all of this. We have preserved Ireland's honor and our own. Our deeds of last week are the most splendid in Ireland's history. People will say things of us now, but we shall be remembered by posterity and blesses by unborn generations. You cannot conquer Ireland.  You cannot extinguish the Irish passion for freedom.  If our deed has not been sufficient to win freedom, then our children will win it by a better deed. Ireland unfree shall never be at peace.

Padraig Pearse --- on Easter 1916

"No person knows better than you do that the domination of England is the sole and blighting curse of this country. It is the incubus that sits on our energies, stops the pulsation of the nation’s heart and leaves to Ireland not gay vitality but horrid the convulsions of a troubled dream."

Daniel O'Connell --- Letter to Bishop Doyle, 1831

"Ireland, thou friend of my country in my country's most friendless days, much injured, much enduring land, accept this poor tribute from one who esteems thy worth, and mourns thy desolation."

George Washington --- speaking of Ireland's support for America during the revolution.

You know whats going to happen here in the morning? The whole damn reb army is going to be here. They'll move through this town, occupy these hills on the other side and when our people get here Lee will have the high ground. There will be the devil to pay! The high ground! Meade will come in slowly, cautiously. New to command. They'll be on his back in Washington. Wire hot with messages 'Attack! Attack!'. So he will set up a ring around these hills. And when Lee's army is nicely entrenched behind fat rocks on the high ground, Meade will finally attack, if he can coordinate the army. Straight up the hillside, out in the open, in that gorgeous field of fire. We will charge valiantly... and be butchered valiantly! And afterwards men in tall hats and gold watch fobs will thump their chest and say what a brave charge it was. Devin, I've led a soldier's life, and I've never seen anything as brutally clear as this.

Gen. Buford  --- Gettysburg battlefield July 1, 1863

Abhor the sword—stigmatize the sword? No, my lord, for, in the passes of the Tyrol, it cut to pieces the banner of the Bavarian, and, through those cragged passes, struck a path to fame for the peasant insurrectionist of Insprück!

Abhor the sword—stigmatize the sword? No, my lord, for at its blow, a giant nation started from the waters of the Atlantic, and by its redeeming magic, and in the quivering of its crimson light, the crippled colony sprang into the attitude of a proud Republic—prosperous, limitless, and invincible!

Abhor the sword—stigmatize the sword? No, my lord, for it swept the Dutch marauders out of the fine old towns of Belgium, scourged them back to their own phlegmatic swamps, and knocked their flag and scepter, their laws and bayonets, into the sluggish waters of the Scheldt.

Thomas Francis Meagher --- Sword speech Constitution Hall, Dublin, July 20, 1846

I have but a few more words to say. I am going to go to my cold and silent grave. My lamp of life is nearly extinguished. My race is run. The grave opens to receive me and I sink into its bosom. I have but one request to ask at my departure from this world. It is the charity of its silence. Let no man write my epitaph; for as no man who knows my motives dare now vindicate them, let not prejudice or ignorance asperse them. Let them and me rest in obscurity and peace; and my tomb remain uninscribed and my memory in oblivion until other times and other men can do justice to my character. When my country takes her place among the nations of the earth, then, and not till then let my epitaph be written. I have done."

Robert Emmet --- Speech from the Dock, September 19, 1803