All aspects of life touched upon in 175 years of letters from our readers

Today marks 175 years since the Irish Examiner, then known as the Cork Examiner, was first published.

Thousands of letters have been published since that first newspaper appeared on August 30, 1841.

A small selection of those letters are reproduced below and are taken from a special supplement which is being published with today's Irish Examiner print edition to mark this latest milestone in our history.

All aspects of life touched upon in 175 years of letters from our readers

1841: FIRST LETTER

September 13, 1841, Issue 7

Dear Sir,

In looking over an old volume of ‘Blackwood’, the enclosed panegyric on the present Tory Premier caught my eye. It is a very faithful translation from the inimitable Berenger. If you think it worthy a corner in your truly national Journal, it is at your service.

I am, Sir, &c, P O’N. Fonthill Abbey

Blackwood’s English Version of Beranger’s ‘Monsieur Judas’. (From Blackwood’s Magazine for July, 1829)

Here Judas, with a face where shame Or honour ne’er was known to be, Maintaining he is still the same, That he ne’er ratted — no — not he. But we must spurn the grovelling hack, To-day all white — to-morrow black, But hush! he’ll hear, He’ll hear, he’ll hear; Iscariot’s near — Iscariot’s near!

The moral Surface sweare to-day Defiance to the priest and Pope; To-morrow, ready to betray His brother churchmen to the rope. But let us trust the hangman’s string Is spun for him — the recreant thing! But hush, &c.

All character that knave has lost — Soon will the Neophyte appear, By priestly hands bedipp’d becross’d, Begreased, bechrism’d, with holy smear, Soon may he reach his final home, “A member of the church of Rome.” But hush &c.

Now from his mouth polluted flows — Snuffled in Joseph Surface tone — Laments o’er hapless Ireland’s woes, O’er England’s dangerous state a groan. Ere long beneath the hands of Ketch, Sigh for thyself, degraded wretch! But hush &c.

Judas! till then the public fleece, For kin and cousins scheme and job, Rail against watchmen and police, Inferior swindlers scourge or rob. At last, another crowd before, Thou shalt speak once — and speak no more! But hush! he’ll hear, He’ll hear, he’ll hear; Iscariot’s near — Iscariot’s near!!!

1875: TOURISM

All aspects of life touched upon in 175 years of letters from our readers

June 15, 1875 Issue 6,899

Sir, I wish en route to your city upon a matter in which I am sure tourists visiting the truly charming and magnificent scenery of the south-west of Ireland take great interest. I refer to the unsatisfactory nature of the communication between Cork and Killarney and vice versa. I have to-day travelled from Killarney to Glengariffe with a friend in a vehicle that, but for absolute necessity, I should never think of patronising. It was dirty, miserably furnished, especially regards shelter from rain, the tarpaulin

letting in the wet and proving a poor shelter for the legs, and, considering the charge made for a seat, utterly discreditable to the beautiful district through which it plies. Is there no one concerned for the reputation of the district, sufficiently interested in enhancing its attractiveness who could put upon the road a better

vehicle than the one which I and a friend, with two other fellow travellers, have to-day been compelled to ride.

J Timperly Cox

June 19, 1875 Issue 6,903

Sir, A letter signed “J. Timperly Cox,” has statements needing correction.

The writer laments the necessity of patronising the tourist cars between Killarney and Macroom, and complains of the vehicle upon which he travelled...

No such necessity existed.

The vehicle in question, which is on the pattern of Bianconi’s well known cars, is put on every season before the regular Scotch cars, introduced last summer by my partner and myself, are required, and was neither “dirty” nor “miserably furnished.” If the object Mr Cox had in view was the improvement of the communication between Cork and Killarney, he has taken a very peculiar way of attaining it. My partner and myself have spared neither time nor money in our endeavours to make the conveyance worthy of the beautiful district through which they pass, and it seems hard that Mr Cox or anyone else should by thoughtless scribbling have the privilege of injuring us.

Edward J A Roche, Roche’s Royal Hotel, Glengariffe.

1903: QUEENSTOWN AND THE ROYAL VISIT

An original print of a photo taken by Robert Gemmell of King Edward VII going down Great Georges Street (now Washington Street) in 1903. The royal procession was en route to the Cork International Exhibition 1902-03. Photo: Courtesy of Alan and Margeret Campbell, Carrigaline
An original print of a photo taken by Robert Gemmell of King Edward VII going down Great Georges Street (now Washington Street) in 1903. The royal procession was en route to the Cork International Exhibition 1902-03. Photo: Courtesy of Alan and Margeret Campbell, Carrigaline

August 7, 1903, Issue 15,616

Sir

The King of England has come and gone, and his own received him as they naturally — and to be consistent — should have received him — and the Press, with scarcely an exception, has flattered, magnified, and expanded that reception, which is absolutely false, groundless, and altogether unwarranted by the facts which have been studiedly kept in the background. Now, sir, in the spirit of ‘Audi alteram’, I solicit a small space in the columns of your widely read journal to throw a little light on the back of the picture, which whatever may be said of it has the merit of truth.

I have read in the “Examiner” of this morning the address of the Urban District Council of Queenstown that was presented to the King, purporting to be an address “on behalf of the peoples of Queenstown,” a people that this Council did not venture to consult at all on the subject, well judging what the popular response would bein the event of doing so.

A more audaciously impudent act could hardly be perpetrated on a people than to wilfully misrepresent them or the vast majority of them which has undoubtedly been done in the instance. To be plain this Queenstown address was unquestionably smuggled through...

The “crowds” that are credited to the presence of the King — with the exception of the importations and the “True Blues” who were constantly in attendance were such as would have been present at a parade of the menageries of Batty, Bostock, or Barnum — out of sheer curiosity — no more nor no less.

Had the Urban District Council of Queenstown spoken in its own name alone, I would not have questioned its rights to do so, but when it presumes to speak on behalf of the people, I, as one of the people, repudiate its impudent and unwarranted assumption.

I am, sir,

yours respectfully,

CG Doran,

1913: DUBLIN LOCKOUT

All aspects of life touched upon in 175 years of letters from our readers

November 17, 1913 Issue 18,887

From Mr William Murphy — To Editor of the Examiner

I frequently receive letters, visits, and telephone messages from amiable people who have various nostrums for settling the labour unrest in Dublin, which they want me to put into operation straight away. [...]

The deadlock in Dublin has not been so bad as is represented, and it is only in the port that it has become serious. The public memory is so short, and so many lies have been disseminated, that it is desirable to recall the fact that the origin of the present trouble was the attack made by Mr Larkin on the Tramway Company, of which I am chairman. This attack began long before the actual calling out of the men and was in pursuance of a policy of “breaking Murphy’s heart” publicly announced by Mr Larkin. The crime of which my name has added a new word to the dictionary is, that having an objection to allowing my heart to be broken I prepared to resist Mr Larkin’s attack, and inflicted a defeat on him from which he will not recover, even with the cheap martyrdom bestowed on him by the government. [...]

He has, it is true, been successful in getting a great many men out of their employment, but he has not got one of them back again, and he has been the cause of introducing a large amount of additional labour into a city where even in normal times there was not enough work to go around.

Wm M Murphy

Dublin

1916: EASTER RISING

All aspects of life touched upon in 175 years of letters from our readers

June 20, 1916, Issue 19,695

Sir,

A remarkable thing about this scheme is that nobody in Ireland is willing to be responsible for it. We are left to grope for the meaning of “important parts” through a maze of words studiously vague, where clearness and definiteness were essential to any sound judgement.

No one who has read the evidence given before Lord Hardinge’s Commission can doubt that the suspension of the Home Rule Act was a fruitful cause of the recent rebellion. Disregarding this awful lesson, we are now invited to do what Irish public opinion universally condemned two short years ago, and which is again being condemned wherever a free and an unfettered expression of the views of the people can be had. No matter how many party organisations in England or Ireland may approve this proceeding, I must affirm my conviction that it will be even more disastrous than what has gone before.

There is no provision in the scheme for taking the votes of the electors on a matter vital to their lives and fortunes: and all the machinery of party is being employed to snatch a decision while the whole of Ireland is subject to Martial Law. The suspension of the Home Rule Act was advocated in the name of peace and conciliation, and we know the result. This scheme is supported on the same ground, and will be followed as surely by similar disillusion and disappointment.

I have read speeches of members of Parliament calling upon the young men of Ireland to go to the front because of the Home Rule Act. The brave young fellows rushed to the recruiting offices in tens of thousands, most of whom now sleep their last sleep in the blood-stained fields of Europe. They did not offer up their lives for a mutilated Ireland, but for one united from sea to sea, and they died with the promise of their leaders that the National unity, would never be given away. I ask, is faith not to be kept with the dead? If so, the infamy of the broken Treaty of Limerick will be outdone by the betrayal of today.

Yours faithfully,

J O’Connor Power

1922: OPINIONS ON THE TREATY

A group of prominent Republicans, who travelled from Cork to join the Mac Swiney family to bring home the remains of Terence Mac Swiney, seen here in Regent Street, London. Picture: From The Unknown Commandant: The Life and Times of Denis Barry 1883-1923’ by Denis Barry, published by The Collins Press, 2010
A group of prominent Republicans, who travelled from Cork to join the Mac Swiney family to bring home the remains of Terence Mac Swiney, seen here in Regent Street, London. Picture: From The Unknown Commandant: The Life and Times of Denis Barry 1883-1923’ by Denis Barry, published by The Collins Press, 2010

January 2, 1922, Issue 21,418

Sir,

Having seen several opinions regarding the Treaty from mothers whose sons were killed in the fight for Irish freedom and having read the speech of Miss Mary MacSwiney, TD, I must say, on behalf of my wife and self that the question of ratification should be left to the men who had done their share in the fight for freedom, that is the members of the Dail who were elected at the last general election.

Now, sir, as the father of five sons, three of whom fought for the cause of freedom, two of whom perished in that cause, I must say that I have studied the terms fully, and am fully pleased with them, and believe should poor Sean and Liam be alive today they would approve of them for ratification.

Liam Ó Coilenn

Cork

1922: SHOOTING OF PRISONER

 

All aspects of life touched upon in 175 years of letters from our readers

September 27, 1922: Issue 21,643

Sir,

As a representative of Cork City elected to the third Dáil, which has not yet been summoned, I request space to ask the citizens of Cork to protest against the outrage committed in Cork gaol to-day.

A young prisoner was shot through the windpipe, and is not expected to live through the night. The prisoners are — we understand — on strike against the ill-treatment meted out to some of their comrades. These strikes and protests in gaols have been of frequent occurrence during the past six years. They have rarely had such justification as under the newest regime. All these men are untried prisoners.

It is murder, pure and simple, to shoot an unarmed prisoner. The authority which has arrested and is responsible for the shooting of these men is of British manufacture. The people of Ireland voted… for the Third Dáil, and a peaceful settlement by a Coalition Government.

The Third Dáil was not summoned. Instead, war on the soldiers of the Republic was declared by England’s direct command, not by the will of the Irish people. The present assembly is an illegal one, a provisional partition Parliament called under a British act.

The result is seen in the horrible Civil War that is now raging... The people have it in their power to stop it. Let the Third Dáil be called at once, and let that Dáil draw up a constitution for Ireland, which will not be of British manufacture. That way lies peace.

The deliberate incitements of Alderman Cosgrave, Ernest Blythe and Kevin O’Higgins to the murder of Republicans can no more result in peace than the previous British regime did. We are told the British will come back. They have far too much on their hands.

But if we unite against them they could no more conquer us than the present tactics can kill the Republic, even though they shed plentifully the blood of Republicans. The Third Dáil, united against the common enemy, and our own constitution: that is the way to peace and forgiveness! What Irishman can refuse to take it.

Mary Mac Swiney

Cork

1941: SECOND WORLD WAR

All aspects of life touched upon in 175 years of letters from our readers

January 3, 1941, Issue 27,452

I was glad to see that the Minister for Agriculture has even at the eleventh hour been roused to the seriousness of the food situation...

In the debate before Christmas I asked him in case of a shortage what he proposed doing, and he agreed that he would have to dilute the loaf. I suggested that he increase the price of wheat so as to induce the cultivation of an acreage sufficient to our requirements.

His answer was that this would make the loaf too dear. I pointed out to him that if the choice lies between a dear white loaf and a cheap black loaf, the people will have the white loaf at any price. I would now ask him to think further, and I am perfectly satisfied that the whole country in one voice would say, “Let us have the white loaf.”

To this end I think the Minister should turn his efforts and offer that inducement which is necessary even at this late hour to put, say, 600,000 acres under wheat for the 1941 crop. I would suggest to the Minister that he fix the price of wheat at 50/- per barrel, as I am confident that even if he could get foreign wheat to buy he will not get it at a less figure than this.

In these circumstances, why not offer it to the Irish farmer and appeal to him in this emergency, probably the greatest emergency in Irish history, to grow sufficient wheat to give bread to the nation.

There are people who from the highest motives are proclaiming from the house-tops that in certain eventualities the people of this country should resist an invasion to the last man. It is hardly necessary to point out that there will be no bravery, or can be no bravery, if we have hunger.

The first line of defence is, therefore, the bread line, and defences on this line should be made adequate.

Yours, etc.

P Belton, TD.

1963: JFK

All aspects of life touched upon in 175 years of letters from our readers

December 9, 1963, Issue 45,202

Enclosed please find letter sent to the Director, Military College of the Curragh, expressing our appreciation of the beautiful job done by the cadets of that College as honour guards on the occasion of our late President’s funeral.

Frank Ryan

103 Atholgate Lane

Baltimore 29, Maryland, USA

TO: The Director,

Military College,

The Curragh, Co Kildare

Living in Baltimore in

proximity to Washington DC, we saw the funeral of our late President at first hand. My reason for writing you is to put on record the admiration of the Irish community here in Baltimore for the cadets from your College who represented Ireland at the funeral. It was a great honour for them as it was an honour for us to watch them conduct themselves in such splendid fashion. In appearance, bearing, deportment and attitude, they were perfect. The efficiency with which they carried out the intricate arms drill at the graveside was superb, and the precision excellent. In this regard, Ireland was well represented, and we in all modesty feel very proud.

On returning to my office today, many of my American friends paid me the highest compliments and my sense of pride was whetted even more. In this the most cosmopolitan community in a pluralistic society where any compliment towards Ireland is an event, this is indeed consolation, if consolation there can be at this time. Our thanks again for a job well done.

Sincerely,

Frank Ryan

1964: CHRISTY RING

All aspects of life touched upon in 175 years of letters from our readers

October 29, 1964, Issue 45,475

Sir,

I wish to correct a statement made in a letter in to-day’s (October 28) “Examiner” from your anonymous correspondent “Nineteen Thirtynine” to the effect that I asked Christy Ring to leave his own club to join Glen Rovers.

When I spoke to Christy in the early 1940s about joining Glen Rovers, he told me that he had left the Cloyne club for a considerable time and was not then a member of any other club. This, in fact, was well known at the time. Otherwise I would not have invited him to join the Glen.

Jack Lynch

1979: POPE JOHN PAUL II IN IRELAND

All aspects of life touched upon in 175 years of letters from our readers

August 30, 1979, Issue 49,218

We were surprised to read of the extravagance of the Irish Hierarchy in connection with the forthcoming Papal visit.

Surely £20,000 is too much to spend on a carpet, and God only knows what the altars are costing.

The Irish Hierarchy are foolishly overspending for this occasion, money that is badly needed elsewhere. White carpets and glittering altars serve only but to glamorise, and hide the reality of Jesus Christ’s message and departs from the ideals which the Catholic Church itself preaches.

J O’Mahony and PJ O’Mara

South Douglas Rd, Cork.

1981: STARDUST FIRE

All aspects of life touched upon in 175 years of letters from our readers

March 2, 1981, Issue 49,684

Sir,

Two clear facts have emerged from the various comments made by experts following the disaster at the Stardust disco.

1 – The non-implementation of the Draft Building Regulations.

2 – The Fire Authorities in many areas of the country do not even have a trained Fire Prevention Department.

We have ignored for years the warnings issued by the Chief Fire Officers Association. The most frightening comment made last weekend must have been the prediction that another major disaster will occur again unless the draft fire regulations are made law. Surely we must ensure that such a disaster must never happen again.

JA McMahon

1985: AIR INDIA DISASTER

All aspects of life touched upon in 175 years of letters from our readers

June 23, 1985, Issue 50,959

The Cork Examiner yesterday received the following Open Letter to the People of Cork from the relatives in Ontario of one of the victims of the Air India disaster:

The crash of Air India flight 182 brought my uncle and I to Cork in the last few days of June. We are writing this letter to express our deep gratitude to the people of Cork.

The loss of my mother was devastating to our whole family and it was emotionally painful for my uncle and I to come to Cork. The anxiety of not knowing what to expect, combined with our grief, was a terrible strain.

The kindness, sympathy and support that was shown to us from the moment that we landed in your airport somehow made our ordeal more bearable...

The death of our loved one, Barsa Kelly, will scar our lives forever, but we will always remember the exceptional kindness that we received from the people of Cork. We have never encountered kinder souls.

Those whom we met provided the support group that we needed to come through the ordeal of identifying our loved one.

Our deepest thanks,

Lorna Kelly and Sikindra Mitra

Footnote: Mrs Kelly was travelling to Delhi to research material for a PhD in Women’s Studies when the tragedy occurred.

Kindness recalled

June 13, 1990, Issue 52,249

My name is Lorna Kelly. I was in Cork in 1985 to identify my mother who was killed in the Air India tragedy. I wrote to you in 1985 to ask you to print a letter that my uncle and I wrote in appreciation for the treatment we received while in Cork. It will soon be the fifth anniversary of the death of my mother. We feel strongly that the people of Cork should be commended again for their kindness.

There is not enough of this kind of kindness and caring in the world. We want to let the people of Cork know that we have not forgotten them and that we thank them once again for treating us so kindly and with such dignity in our time of crisis.

Lorna Kelly

128-B Liverpool St, Guelph, Ontario, Canada NIH 2L3.

1999: MILLENNIUM

All aspects of life touched upon in 175 years of letters from our readers

December 4, 1999, Issue 55,196

I recently received a card from the National Millennium committee inviting me to light the millennium candle “as the sun sets on the millennium on December 31, 1999”.

I am all in favour of the sentiment expressed and think the idea is great, but there is one problem — the millennium does not end on December 31, 1999.

Dionsius Exiguus, a monk in Rome in the year 525 AD proposed our calendars be in line with the birth of Christ. Despite the fact it is impossible to accurately pinpoint this event, it was agreed that December 25 of the Year of Rome 753 would be regarded as December 25, 1BC.

We can only say for certainty that Jesus was born sometime between 27BC and 4BC but accepting the calculations of Dionysius, Jesus was one year old in the year 1AD.

Incidentally, the concept of zero was not introduced in the western world until the ninth century. If Jesus was one year old in 1AD, he would have been 99 years old in 99AD and will be 1,999 years old on December 25, 1999 AD.

This means that at the end of this year we will still be one year short of the millennium. What plans have we for celebrating the real end of millennium on December 31, 2000?

Sean Fitzgerald, Blarney, Co Cork.

2003: ROY KEANE

All aspects of life touched upon in 175 years of letters from our readers

October 29, 2003, Issue 56,395

Mr Kennedy’s ‘stout’ defence of the ex soccer manager Mick McCarthy, along with his tepid attack on Roy Keane, is about as flat as a half pint of the black stuff left too long on the counter without anyone taking notice.

His statements which are totally lacking in substance almost had me not even answering, but then I would just have to say that if water-bottle throwing had a footballing European equivalent, then Kerr’s kermits would qualify hands down.

Yours sincerely,

Robert O’Sullivan

Hospital Road

Bantry, Co Cork

2008: IRISH BANKING SYSTEM

All aspects of life touched upon in 175 years of letters from our readers

October 20, 2008, Issue 57,927

The early Irish believed bad judgments by the king or leader led to disasters such as famine, death, wars and inclement weather.

Cormac Mac Airt became King of Tara when his predecessor gave a bad judgment and the sloping trenches began to collapse. Cormac stopped the slide by giving the correct ruling. Since construction of the M3 began some 15 months ago our economy has collapsed, the banking system is endangered, unemployment is rising, the Government coffers are empty, Brian lost the Lisbon vote, inflation keeps rising and it has rained non-stop for two summers.

How appropriate that one of the acronyms used in America for the solution to the current financial crisis is the Troubled Assets Relief Act, TARA while the original of the name is being destroyed by Government-sponsored vandalism.

Muireann Ní Bhrolcháin

Maynooth, Co Kildare

2011: VISIT OF QUEEN ELIZABETH II

All aspects of life touched upon in 175 years of letters from our readers

May 19, 2011: Issue 58,732

I have just been watching the BBC coverage of Queen Elizabeth II landing in Dublin and her arrival at Áras an Uachtaráin and I can’t believe how upset I was. I cried buckets of tears from very deep down.

I was born in England to Irish immigrants, my father was from Cape Clear, and for me this day signifies, not only a new era in Anglo-Irish relations, but a validation and a coming together, for me, of both parts of my psyche and my personality.

It has always been difficult to reconcile the two halves of myself, Irish and English, and for me the queen travelling over to Ireland and shaking the hand of Mary McAleese is a hugely symbolic gesture of those two parts of myself finally gelling, I have wanted to see peace and goodwill between our countries for so long. We owe it to so many who were blown between our two countries for all of their lives and who struggled to find a balance in their hearts. Well done to all who made this day happen.

Jacqueline Cotter

Manchester

England

...

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