On my BLOG of 27 September I paraphrased a remark by Robert Lynd, and gave the gist of a piece in THE TIMES.
In October 1916 Lynd wrote JAMES CONNOLLY: AN APPRECIATION, remarking
“Before the rich clubmen of London began to ship bales of cheques over to Belfast for the Ulster Volunteers, Ireland was as blissfully addicted to constitutional politics as the teapot.
Old Fenians despaired, seeing her, as they thought, perishing of constitutionalism as of some kind of pernicious anaemia . When Ulster armed, and Leinster, Munster and Connacht went on as usual with the day’s work, many Englishmen smiled and said it was obvious Ireland did not want Home Rule half as strongly as Ulster wanted not to have it.”
THE TIMES of London wasn’t consciously playing the Fool when it printed on Monday, April 1st 1912 a report of a meeting in Dublin attended by 100.000 Nationalists the previous day, but it might well have inspired Lynd’s observation on “many Englishmen” –
“a good-humoured pleasant, holiday gathering simply proving that the Irish are a gregarious people and like excitement, especially on Sundays. There was nothing about this meeting of the fierce and stolid resolution which made such an impression on English visitors to recent Unionist meetings at Belfast.”
Dublin’s population at the time was about 250,000.
Part 3 will deal with a Sunday in Dublin in 1913 with a less feckless happy-go-lucky atmosphere