Irish Ancestral Heritage

Past stories of my Éire families

Monday, 12 March 2018

Bards - Lady Gregory & the ANZAC (Initial Writeup 12-03-18)

Well, I am at a point in my research that has taken me to, far deeper levels of my ancestry than I had expected. A connection to 2 relatives, that have given me a "library of information", much more than anyone could've given me at school or even at an academic level.

This is an initial post with very basic details - but gives an insight to where research has taken me.
It is again, another interesting family story that crosses between my Paternal & Maternal lineages, that go between Ireland and Australia.

The whole concept of this blog post, is to touch on these 2 people's lives, showing a complete "juxtaposition" of each other during the exact same time. Each person's story carries pure passion and patriotism but also carries the issue "which side are you on". I cannot emphasize enough, the importance of these 2 people, into understanding ones allegiance to ones country and how sometimes the real meaning of "patriotism" can lead you astray.

I cannot emphasize enough, if ever you are researching the WW1 era with an Australian perspective, you must research the Easter Rising, Dr Daniel Mannix (Archbishop of Melbourne) and the Australian / Irish Catholic perspective on the conscription/plebiscite debacle.
These items are absolutely essential, to understanding the motives of people's "agenda's" and explains how the Easter Rising, dramatically affected Australia, both politically and personally, 1/2 a world away. Anything to do with the above history, is always provocative, depending on your viewpoint.

  • Lady Gregory - Maternal 2nd Cousin - tells us a lot of WW1, The Easter Rising and how history has been told about her son - Major Robert Gregory, with how he served and died in WW1. Robert's legacy is immortalised in the W.B Yeats poem "An Irish Airman Forsees His Death". Her poem's and plays are very deep in culture. Born in Galway, under a Protestant upbringing, she changed her Anglo-Irish ways and went into a nationalist mode, the Easter Rising period is essential reading. In 1892, her husband - Sir William Gregory died and I believe this is the point where she found herself in books and cultured into the native Irish ways, including her way of expressing the English language in Gaelic form, by usage of "Kiltartanese". This form of nationalised culture (maybe coined as Romantic Nationalism), extended into the Easter Rising period.
  • Paternal Great Great Uncle - James Sebastian Sheehan, an Australian born Catholic, tells us a lot during the initial phase of the WW1 Gallipoli campaign, from an Australian perspective. He served in the 1st Australian - Light Horse Brigade Train as a driver, but then went on to other areas. It is hard to define what other jobs he did (Camel Corps come up), but in numerous newspaper articles, that he is mentioned in, shows he was right in the middle of the battle zone. He laments about a young boy, who died in his arms on the battleground and how he heard the boy asking about the welfare of his mother, just before he passed. James came back to Australia, affected by shell shock. He put his hand up for being a "recruiter" and soon became acquainted with the British Born - Australian Prime Minister - Billy Hughes. It was then, we see a change in James, for what I can interpret, it's almost as if he was being groomed as a Politician, with supporting the Empire. He became quite the writer of poems, recitals and some were performed in a choir like voice. His pen use, was "mightier than the sword". One of his poem's, was based on "The Blind Poet" - Thomas Skeyhill

This insight and complete "juxtaposition", to these 2 Bard relatives, is unparalleled.
More later!

by Brett Fitzgerald Monday, March 12, 2018 No comments


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