Monday, 12 February 2018


It so happens that Caroline, named after the daughter of a murdered president, was also supposed to be payback for an Irish freedom fighter murdered by the British. It was on April 29th 1916 that Ronan’s grandfather had died in Dublin during the Easter Rising against the British occupiers. Michael Joseph O'Rahilly (Mícheál Seosamh Ó Rathaille), was an Irish nationalist and an important figure in the quest for Irish independence. Although a militant, he had been against the planned insurrection as he felt it was madness and could only lead to defeat. When the revolt went ahead regardless he decided to join his comrades at arms of the GPO garrison. Arriving at the General Post Office he told Countess Markiewicz “It is madness, but it is glorious madness”. To the volunteers he said “Well, I’ve helped to wind up the clock. I might as well hear it strike”. And indeed, hours afterwards the bell tolled for him, slain by a number of British machine gun bullets. Forty eight years later it was time for Caroline’s bell to toll to claim the freedom of the airwaves. It also was “glorious madness” and a definite shot across the bow of the British government. 

In 1981, in a stolen moment when preparing offshore Radio Paradijs in Dublin, I went and visited the very spot near Moore Lane (O’Rahilly Parade), not far from the GPO, where The O'Rahilly is said to have been mown down by British bullets.  

More of AJ's radio- and other anecdotes.

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