SOLOHEAD by Donal Mahon Kennedy

In 968 AD a kinsman of mine, King Mahon of Thomond defeated at Solohead the forces of the Danish King Ivar of Limerick.

Mahon was son of Cinneide, or in Sacs-Beurla “Kennedy.”  They were rough times and armed men faced other armed men and killed one another. Historians and moralists may tut-tut about our rude ancestors while noting 165  General Practitioners have just signed on to perform abortions at no risk to themselves and that Irish citizens will happily  pay them for it through their taxes.p

Tough times, and Mahon got done in by a couple of Irishmen, and was succeeded by his younger son, Brian, reputedly born in 941 AD, one thousand years before this kinsman saw the light of day. Brian perished at the young age of 73, together withbmany of our kinsmen and a fair amount of Danes in the Battle of Clontarf, a place of peace and much joy in my time  wheremI did some coortin’ and rather more drinkin’ than was good for me. A friend recommended dances in Philipsburgh Avenue, where, without exaggeration he said the girls were as beautiful as you’d see in an Elvis movie. I can recall the lead singer of “the Viscounts” named after Aer Lingus’s most modern planes , singing  Ces Si Bon (that’s how they say it in French)and his version of the Lonnie Donegan hit Sloop John B. In Clontarf Rugby Club I danced to a band led by Humphrey Murphy, whose witty patter, old threadbare evening jacket an gaping hole in the seat of the pants, and good singing voice, might have earned him a fortune in more money-rich days. Bands and their leaders were there to entertain before BONEHEADS andGELDOAFS were hailed as prophets and profitted from public stupidity.

They were days when boys could be stupid and girls didn’t compete with them in stupidity. In the old club house the gentlemen went to drink in the bar and the ladies sat around the walls in the ballroom until the bar closed where upon thehalf-sozzled and fully-sozzled gentlemen staggered across the hall and gallantly asked them to dance. Them war the daze!

On January 21 1919  Dail Eireann held its first meeting in the Round Room in Dublin’s Mansion House. As the Roll was called there were repeated answers of “FE GHLAS AG GALLAIBH”  meaning LOCKED UP BY THE FOREIGNER. Whenthe names of Michael Collins and Harry Boland were called, there was the answer ANSEO meaning present, though they were on their way to spring Eamon de Valera from Lincoln Prison.

The same day in SOLOHEADBEG (little solohead) two RIC men were killed in an ambush by an IRA unit under the command of Seumas Robinson. No doubt there will be much handwringing about this episode in the Irish media this month. But the RIC andBritish military had in the preceding two years  attacked unarmed Irish people with batons, bayonets and bullets on many occasions reported in the newspapers and the reports collated in THE IRISH BULLETIN.

The GREAT WAR did not end with the Armistice of 11 November 1918 but with the TREATY OF VERSAILLES of 28 June 1919
imposed on   Germany by the allies. The imposition was effected by the fatal starvation of hundreds of thousands of German civilians including infants, primarily by the British Navy, which since the Armistice had access to the Baltic and enforced a complete blockade of German Ports. The Germans were obliged to falsely confess to crimes for which they were not guilty.  Following the Treaty the bodies of the fallen troops were, where possible retrieved, and buried in cemeteries according to which flags they had served.

The flagstones for the Allies are White, to signify purity and virtue. Those of the Germans are Black to signify evil.The Versailles Treaty was a travesty and was no prelude to peace.

Incidentally the name Kennedy – Ceann Eide may be translated as ClOTHED  or HELMETTED HEAD, and our Coat of Arms shows 3 Heads with Helmets and a sword-bearing arm. Our MOTTO is Lamh Laidir in Uachtarmeaning “the strong hand on high” or a Myles na gCopaleen would no doubt say “the strong hand in the Cream”  Only Begrudgers would say that Ceann Eide means Ugly Head.




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