Courtesy Reuters

Twenty-five Years of Irish Nationality

TO explain Ireland as it is today I must go back rather more than a quarter of a century. I do not think the intellectual character of the Irish revolution has been understood outside Ireland. The cables are in love with battle, murder and sudden death. For all these there is a broad highway, but not for beauty, not for the spirit, not for the cultural forces which are the inspiration of great movements and lie at their inception as the seed at the root of the great tree.

I think if the intimate history of the past quarter of a century in Ireland was truly told it would be one of the most fascinating of stories because of the variety of character, the poetry, beauty, imagination and thought which had been awakened. The heights as well as the depths of national life were stirred. There was heroism as well as devilry in it. Poets, scholars and economists contributed to the resurrection as well as politicians and fighters. There were movements in many directions which seemed dissociated from each other but which worked in a harmony which can now be recognized. The unborn State might have been the invisible captain of the host. They all contributed to the fire which went on blaze in Easter, 1916. I shall endeavor to show what the forces were and their interaction on each other, and later how far the ship of state which was launched found itself and the direction in which it is moving.

It might be thought in a country in which for over a century so many millions of Irish emigrants found a home, that the character of the Irish revolution would be well understood, that these millions would explain everything. But during that century or more in which Ireland sent out so many millions of its people there had been an alien domination over the Irish soul. It had become almost oblivious of its own past. The emigrants could tell indeed

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