The Silent Dog …

Short story from Ballgullion

Lynn.C. Doyle (Linseed Oil) alias LeslieAlexander Montgomery

a comic homophone of ‘linseed oil’; later without the “C.”] b. Downpatrick, Co. Down; worked as a branch bank-manager in Cushendall, Co. Antrim; also in Keady, Co. Armagh, and latterly in Skerries, Co. Dublin; he published Ballygullion (1908 and edns.), the first of thirteen volumes of fiction while a banker in Dublin, 1908, to be followed 14 other comic titles in Hiberno-English, ending with The Ballygullion Bus (1957) and Mr Anthony of Ballygullion (1979), mixing nationalist and Orange characters – the last being the local solicitor (‘as decent a wee man as iver stepped’)

 

CHAPTER III
THE SILENT DOG

The minit I clapped eyes on the baste I
knowed there was an unlucky look about him.
But if there was bad luck wi’ him sure the
most av it fell his own road. It was this way
I come across him. Wan afthernoon I was
workin’ about the yard, whin who should come
intil it but wee Mr. Anthony, the solicitor, an*
Mr. Harrington av the Bank.

” Good evenin’ to yez both,” sez I ; ” what
has sthrayed ye out av Ballygullion the day,
gintlemen ? ”

” Pat,” sez Mr. Anthony, ” are ye on for a
night’s sport ? ”

That’ll depend,” sez I.

I wasn’t goin’ to let on what I’d do till I
knowed what they were afther. For if it’s
shootin’, sez I to meself, Pm otherwise engaged.

Mr. Anthony’s as dacint a wee man as iver
stepped, divil recave the betther ; but a bigger
ould dundherhead niver wint out wi’ a gun in
his fist. Between his short sight, an’ his ram-
stam way av runnin’ at things, it was the

52 BALLYGULLION

danger av your life to go within a mile av him.
Didn’t he blow in the end windy av the
Presbyterian meetin’-house wan prayer-meetin’
night in the month av May, thryin’ to shoot a
crow off ould Major Dennison’s tombstone in
the buryin’ ground outside ; an* wanst he
thrailed me two miles to Ballybreen bog afther
a flock av wild geese he said he seen, an’ before
I could stop him he killed ould Mrs. Murphy’s
gandher that lives in Drumcrow, an’ had to pay
her a cowld pound, forbye a new gandher he
bought her.

So whin he sez ” Are ye on for a
night?” thinks I, I’ll know what yez are afther
first.

“Well, Pat,” sez he, “Mr. Harrington an’
me has planned to have a night’s rabbit-nettin’
up at Mr. Hastings’s at The Warren ”

” Is it mad yez are ? ” sez I. ” Sure ye’ll
be right foment the house, an’ the ould gintle-
man’ll hear the first bark ; an’ doesn’t the
whole counthryside know he’s a fair lunatic
about poachin’.”

” Aye, but,” sez Mr. Anthony, ” we’ve got a
silent dog.”

“A what?” sez I.

” A silent dog,” sez he. ” A dog, Pat,” sez
he, ” that’ll hunt rabbits, or rats aye or cats,”
sez he, ” an’ niver even give a whine. I have
him chained to the gate here.”

THE SILENT DOG

53

Wi’ that he goes round the corner an* fetches
back a dog on a chain.

” There he is, Pat,” sez he ; ” an’ you
wouldn’t get a bark out av him if you thried
him for a month.”

” Faith,” sez I ” it’s well he’s some good
points about him, for be me sowl he’s no
beauty.”

An’ nayther he was ; a low-set, crooked-
legged baste, wi’ a dirty brown coat, an’ a wee
bunty tail. Wan av his ears was half tore off”,
an’ he’d lost two teeth in the front.

” An’ what do you think about it, Mr.
Harrington ? ” sez I.

Between ourselves, Mr. Harrington was
supposed to be coortin’ the youngest wan av
the Miss Hastings’s, an’ 1 thought it a quare
thing if he’d run the risk av a. row wi’ the ould
fellow for the sake av a night’s sport.

” There’ll be Ould Nick himself to pay if
we’re catched, an’ that’ll be no good till any av
us,” sez I, lookin’ hard at him.

” Oh ! I know rightly what ye mane, Pat,”
sez he, ” but it doesn’t matther. The ould
fellow an’ me has fell out,” sez he, savage-like,
” an’ I don’t mind the chance av a row if I can
spite him a bit.”

” I’m wi’ you there,” sez I ; ” for he’s no
friend av mine. But what about the dog. Can
yez depend on him not to bark ? ” sez I.

54 BALLYGULLION

” I tell ye, man,” sez Mr. Anthony, ” he’ll
not bark. Hit him a kick,” sez he, ” an’ see
if he even whines.”

” Hit him a welt yourself, Mr. Anthony,”
sez 1 ; “he knows you betther nor me.” For
there was a quare glitther’ in the baste’s eye I
didn’t like.

So Mr. Anthony fetches him a lick wi’ the
toe av his boot ; an’ wi’ that the dog turns on
him, an’ without even a girn, catches him be
the ball av the leg, an* houlds on like grim
death, worryin’ at him. Mr. Anthony he lets
a screech an’ begins to pull away from the dog.

” Haul him off, Pat ! ” sez he, I’m bit till
the bone ! Kick the brute. Why don’t ye
pull him off, Archie ? ” sez he, dancin’ round
on wan leg an’ cursin’ like a haythen.

As luck would have it, he’d on a pair of
them putty leggin’s, an’ the dog only had his
teeth in wan av them ; an’ afther the first
fright, whin we seen he wasn’t likely to be
hurt, Mr. Barrington an’ myself couldn’t do
nothin’ for the laughin’, till Mr. Anthony was
fair wild.

” What the divil,” sez he, ” are yez grinnin’
at, ye pair av monkeys ? Pull him off quick,
or he’ll be through to me leg.”

So I lifts a bit of a stick, an’ hits the dog
two or three lundhers wid it ; but divil a bit
would he let go.

THE SILENT DOG 55

” He’s a terrible hoult, anyway, Mr.
Anthony,” sez I. ” What’ll I do wi’ him at
all, at all ? ”

” Bate him over the head wi’ a stone,” sez he.

” I’ll hurt the baste,” sez I, if I do.”

” 1 don’t give a damn,” sez he, ” if ye kill
him. Get him off anyhow,” sez he.

So I ups wi a stone an’ runs over till the pair
av thim ; an’ whin the dog seen me comin’ wi’
the stone, he lets go Mr. Anthony’s leg all av a
suddint an’ turns sharp on me. Mr. Anthony,
he was pullin’ the other way, an’ whin the dog
let go he went on his hands an’ knees intil the
sheugh, an’ I took a run-race an’ got up on the
ditch, thinkin’ I felt the baste’s teeth in me leg
ivery minit.

Whin I looked over my shouldher I seen Mr.
Barrington had him be the chain.

” More power to ye, Mr. Barrington,” sez I ;
” it’s well ye were there, for I’ve no leggin’s on,
an’ if he’d got me he’d ‘a massacred me.”

” He’s safe enough, now, Pat,” sez he, ” come
on down.”

So I come down an’ give Mr. Anthony a pull
out of the sheugh.

I thought Mr. Barrington would have died
laughin’ at him ; an’ in troth it was small
wondher, * for he was a shockin’ sight wi’
gutthers an’ clay. But for all that he wasn’t a
bit daunted.

56 BALLYGULLION

” Ye may laugh, Archie,” sez he ; ” but the
dog didn’t give a squeak anyhow. Ye’re satis-
fied av that.”

” Oh, I’m quite satisfied,” sez Mr. Barring-
ton. ” I think we can depend on him. Anyway,
I’ll not bother thryin’ him,” sez he.

So we trysted to meet the nixt night at Mr.
Anthony’s gate, as bein’ the handiest place for
all parties ; for it’s about half-roads between me
an’ Ballygullion, an’ just across the river on the
other side av the county road an’ you’re in the
Warren grounds. I was to bring me nets.

It was a gran’ moonlight night when I left
home, an’ when I come to Mr. Anthony’s gate
the two av them was there wi’ the dog.

Mr. Anthony was in great heart.

“We couldn’t have picked a betther night,”

sez he. “We’ll be able to see what we’re

j >
doin .

” Aye, an’ the rabbits’ll be able to see what
we’re doin’ too,” sez I. ” There’s no good
startin’ till it clouds over a bit.” It was risin’
a bit cloudy behind the wind, an’ I knowed the
moon would be soon covered.

” Maybe you’re right,” sez Mr. Anthony.
” I’ll tell you what I’ll do while we’re waitin’.
I’ll run back an’ get the air-gun,” sez he’.
“It’ll make no noise, an’ I -might get a shot at
a rabbit. Hould the dog, Archie, till I come
back.”

THE SILENT DOG

57

” If ye take my advice,” sez I, ” ye’ll let the
gun alone.”

But he never listened to me, an’ made off up
the avenue at a trot, lavin’ Mr. Barrington an’
me standin’ there’.

Mr. Barrington was very heavy an’ down,
an’ said nothin’, but kept suckin’ away at the
pipe ; not like himself at all ; for he’s mostly
full av jokes an’ fun, an’ ready to laugh at
nothin’.

” What’s up between yourself an’ Mr.
Hastings above, Mr. Barrington,” sez I, ” if
it’s not bould av me to ask?”

“Nothin’ much, Pat,” sez he. “Only I
spoke till him about what ye know, an’ he’s
forbid me the house.”

” The ould upstart,” sez he between his teeth
till himself, ” because av his dirty money turnin’
up his nose at a man whose gran’-father was a
gintleman when his was carryin’ a hod.”

Ye must know the Hastings made their money
in the buildin’ line, an’ none av them was very
much before the present man.

” What need ye care,” sez I, ” about the ould
fellow at all, at all, if the young lady an’ you
has made it up ?”

“Oh, it’s willin’ enough she’d be (the
darlin’!” sez he under his breath) ; “but I’d
be a nice hound to ask her to marry me on two
hundhred an’ fifty a year.”

58 BALLYGULLION

” Divil moan her,” sez I, ” if she niver gets
a man wi’ more. Sure I’ve brought up a wife
an’ family on the fift’ av it.”

Mr. Barrington he laughs a bit at that, an*
just thin Mr. Anthony comes up an’ stops the
crack.

” The moon’s well hid, now,” sez he ; we’ll
make a start.”

So we crossed the river an’ took to the fields,
an’ afther half a mile av a walk we come to the
plantin’ below the big house. There’s about
fifteen acres av it in a sort of half-moon, then a
big stretch of grass land they call the lawn,
right up to the hall-door, wi’ an odd big tree
in it here an’ there. The upper end av the
plantin’s fair alive wi’ rabbit-holes, an’ av a fine
night the rabbits does be feedin’ on the law in
hundhreds. Our schame was to run the nest
along in front of the holes, an’ thin get round an’
let the dog loose to scare the rabbits intil them.

As soon as we got the nets set we slipped
round to the horn av the plantin’, close up to
the house. Mr. Anthony puts the end av the
chain he had the dog on in my hand.

” Now, Pat,” sez he, ” you hould the dog in
till we get to the middle av the lawn, an’ I’ll
maybe get a shot,” sez he, puttin’ a pellet in
the air-gun.

” Ye ould fool,” thinks I, ” wi’ your pop-
gun ; it’s well if ye don’t lame somebody.”

THE SILENT DOG

59

For his hands was in such a thrimmle wi’ nar-
vousness that he could hardly snap the breech.

Howiver, out we moves, an’ just thin, as ill-
luck would have it, out comes the moon.

” Bad cess to ye,” sez I, cc ye ould divil ye,
weren’t ye all right behind there, but ye must
come out an’ spoil sport.”

But Mr. Anthony was well plazed.

” Wheesht, Pat,” sez he, ” I see wan.”

Wi’ that he puts his foot in a rabbit-hole, an*
down he slaps on his face, an’ the gun snaps
an’ pins the dog in the side somewhere.

Maybe it was more than mortial baste could
stan’, for thim wee pellets is cruel, but anyway
the dog sets up the horridest howlin’ ye iver
heard, an’ I was that taken in at him I dhropped
the chain an’ let him go.

An’ thin the fun began, Mr. Anthony rippin’
an’ cursin’ an* spittin’ out bits av grass, an’ the
silent dog runnin’ round an’ round in rings an’
yowlin’ murther, wi’ the chain rattlin’ behind
him like a tinker’s cart.

Mr. Barrington, divil miss him, but he’d
see fun in it, he begins to laugh.

” For a silent dog, Anthony,” sez he, ” he’s
makin’ a brave noise.”

” Shut up, ye fool,” sez Mr. Anthony, as
mad as you like, ” an’ catch the brute. Be the
mortial,” sez he, ” if I catch him, I’ll make a
silent dog av him.”

60 BALLYGULLION

But the divil a catch him could we do ; an*
the more we went near him the louder he yelled.

” We’d better run,” sez I ; ” the house’ll be
up.”

But I didn’t spake in time. All av a suddint
the big front door opens wi’ a clatther.

” Come on, men,” I hears in ould Mr.
Hastings’s voice. ” Scatther across the lawn,
an’ ye can’t miss the blackguards.”

Ye niver seen three men run faster than we
did for that plantin’.

Divil a much laughin* there was in Mr.
Barrington then.

” If we’re caught, Pat,” sez he, as he run,
” I’m done entirely. I’ll be disgraced for iver,”
sez he.

” We’ll not be caught,” sez I, as well as I
could wi’ thryin’ to keep up wi’ him. ” Sure
we’ve over three hundhred yards av a start.
Look out for the nets ! ” sez I.

But wee Mr. Anthony was runnin’ like a red-
shank ten yards in front av us, an’ niver heard
me. The net just took him on the shin-bone,
an’ he riz about two feet in the air, an’ lit on
his belly on the plantin’ ditch wi’ a sough.
Whin we got up till him he could hardly spake.

” Up wi’ you, quick, Anthony,” sez Mr.
Barrington.

” I can’t,” sez he wi’ a groan or two ; ” me
heart’s bursted,” sez he.

THE SILENT DOG

61

” Not a bit av it,” sez Mr. Barrington, feelin’
him ; ” it’s only your braces.”

” Come on, Mr. Anthony,” sez I, ” you’re
not bate yet.” But he couldn’t move.

” Run yourselves, boys,” sez he, in a kind av
a whisper.

” Come on, sir,” sez 1 to Mr. Barrington,
” they’ll be on us in a minit.”

The words wasn’t right out av me mouth till
he catches me be the throat.

” This way, men,” sez he, at the top av his
voice ; ” I’ve got wan o’ the villains.”

” It’s not goin’ to sell me, ye are, Mr.
Barrington,” sez I.

” Hit me a good knock wi’ your fist in the
face, Pat,” sez he. ” Quick, man !”

“Be me sowl will I,” sez I, “if ye don’t let

go-”

” I won’t let go till ye do,” sez he.

” Here goes thin,” sez I to meself. ” It’s a
quare business anyway, but if ye’ve sould me
ye desarve it, an’ if ye haven’t, sure ye asked
for it yourself ; an’ wi’ that I fetches him wan on
the right cheek-bone would ha’ felled a bullock,
an’ off I goes like the divil, lavin’ him where
he fell.

I was away safe an’ well, for the moon was
hid again, an’ it was gey an’ dark ; but I hadn’t
run above a hundhred yards till I come on that
unfortunate divil av a dog whimperin’ in the

62 BALLYGULLION

bushes. He took till his heels whin he heard
me comin’ an’ kep’ in front av me about ten or
fifteen yards ; an’ if he’d been silent all his
days before, be me sowl he made up for it that
night, for the gowls av him was lamentable.

“The divil choke ye, anyway,” sez I, when
I’d run near a quarther av a mile an’ him niver
stopped ; ” for if I’m not catched it’s no fault
of yours.” I stopped a minit to get me wind,
an’ at first I thought there was nobody follyin’ ;
but thin I hears ould Billy the game-keeper’s
voice.

“This way, boys,” sez he. “They’re not
away from us yet ; I hear their dog.”

” An’ divil thank ye,” sez I to meself ; “sure
ould Pether of the Bog could hear him, that’s
been stone deaf this fifteen years.”

So away I goes again, wi’ the dog in front av
me, him yowlin’ an’ guldherin’ harder than iver,
thinkin’ I was comin’ to kill him fair out this
time. But whin he comes to the river bank,
he takes down the sthrame nixt Ballygullion.

“Good-bye, me darlin’,” sez I, an’ I off up
the sthrame as hard as I could belt. Before I’d
gone very far, I hears a sound av men runnin’,
an’ thin a shout or two down the sthrame, an’
a couple av shots, an’ then nothin.’ But I
niver stopped till I was at home an’ in me bed.

All night long I lay wondherin’ what could
have come on Mr. Barrington. The more I

THE SILENT DOG 63

thought about it the more it looked like some
thrick, but divil a bit av me could see through it.

” Howaniver,” thinks I, I’ll lie low,” an’ I
keeps to the house for a week, lettin’ on I’d a
cowld ; till on market day the wife comes home
from Ballygullion in a terrible flutther.

” Did ye hear about the poachin’ at Mr.
Hastings’s, Pat?” sez she.

” Holy Pether,” says I to meself, ” I’m
done.”

“What poachin’, Molly ?” sez I.

” Sure,” says she, ” poachers broke intil Mr.
Hastings’s on last Tuesda’ night, above ten
av thim, to thrap his rabbits, an’ Mr. Barring-
ton, of the Bank, an’ Mr. Anthony, the soli-
citor, follyed thim to catch thim an’ got nearly
killed. Wee Mr. Anthony’s been in bed iver
since, an’ Mr. Barrmgton has a face like a prize-
fighter.

” Ould Mr. Hastings’s tarrible plazed
about thim both. They say he’s promised
Mr. Anthony the agency av the estate whin
ould Jenkins dies, an’ there’s a sough in the
town that Mr. Barrington’s goin’ to marry Miss
Anne.”

Thin I seen the whole thing in a wink.

” Well done yourself, Mr. Barrington,” thinks
I, ” sure you’re the able one. Thrust you to
get out av a hole, if ye were up till the neck
in it.”

64 BALLYGULLION

“I’ll just slip down to the town, Molly,”
sez 1, “an’ hear all about it.”

Whin I got intil Ballygullion I sends a
message till the Bank to Mr. Barrington, askin’
him if he could step down the length of the
bridge to see a couple of ferrets I had, -just for
a blind.

Prisintly down he comes, an’ in troth I hardly
knowed him.

There was a big lump av stickin’-plasther
above his right eye, an’ the whole cheek was all
puffed up, an’ as yellow as a duck’s foot.

” Aye, ye ould reprobate,” sez he, catchin’ me
look ; ” ye see the hand ye’ve made av me.”

“Sure,” sez I, “ye brought it on yourself.
Didn’t ye ask me to hit ye.”

” I didn’t tell ye to hit me such a skelp,” sez
he. ” You’ve loosened every tooth in me head,
an’ I’ve been livin’ on slops an’ mashes for a
week past. But niver mind, Pat,” sez he,
” I’ve had good luck out of it. There’s no
wan would think I got an eye^like this from a
friend.”

” Be me sowl, Mr. Barrington,” sez I, ” ye’re
a cliver wan. Ye’ve bamboozled the ould
gintleman finely, wi’ your ten poachers. An’
is it true what they’re sayin’ about the young
lady an’ you ?”

“True enough, Pat,” sez he. “We’re to be
married within three months. The ould fellow

THE SILENT DOG 65

has behaved uncommon handsome, an’ I feel
a mane baste for deceivin’ him. But anyhow,
1 tould Anne Miss Hastings,” sez he, gettin’
very red where his face wasn’t yellow.

“An’ what did she say, Mr. Barrington?”
sez I.

“Whin she’d done laughin’,” sez he, “she
tould me to tell ye ye’d niver want a day’s
shootin’ in The Warren as long as she could
put in a word for ye ; an’ she’s goin’ to get the
best kennel in Ireland for the dog. Have ye
any notion what’s become av him ?”

” Divil a bit av me knows,” sez I.

Wi’ that I sees somethin’ comin’ floatin’ down
the river.

“Be the mortial, Mr. Barrington,” sez I,
whin I’d looked at it a minit. “It’s him!”

“What ?” sez Mr. Barrington. “What is
it, Pat?” sez he.

“The dog,” sez I, pointin’.

” Not a bit av it,” sez he, ” that’s twice the
size.”

” Maybe he’s a bit swelled,” sez I ; an* whin
it floated down the length av the bridge, sure
enough it was himself.

Mr. Barrington stands lookin’ at him till I
war near turned, for in troth he was smellin’
higher nor a daisy.

” Come on, Pat,” sez he, at the last, turnin’
away. ” I’m sorry the poor baste’s killed, for

66 BALLYGULLION

he done me a good turn, an’ I can’t return him
another wan now. But I’ll send down some-
body to fish him out an’ give him a dacint
burial/*

c It’s all ye can do for him, Mr. Harrington,”
sez I . ” Rest his sowl, if he has wan, though
I did lose two good rabbit-nets be him, he’s a
silent dog now, anyway.”

It’s a brave while ago since it all happened,
an’ Mr. Harrington an’ the wife, Miss Hastings
that was, is in Dublin now, in the big Bank
there ; but to this day there’s a wee headstone
in the Bank garden at Ballygullion, wi’ words
on it that has bothered the whole countryside
but me an’ Mr. Anthony :

“IN LOVING MEMORY

OF

THE SILENT DOG.”

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The DUP Orders UK Conservative Party Government To Push For Hard Brexit

AN SIONNACH FIONN

The finance minister of the United Kingdom, Philip Hammond, is regarded by most commentators as one of the less enthusiastic members of the British government when it comes to implementing Brexit or the UK’s exit from the European Union. Despite his lead role in the country’s negotiations with the EU, and occasional expressions of frustration with the process, many critics believe that the Chancellor of the Exchequer would rather the referendum of 2016 had never happened. This has made him an object of derision, and even hatred, among some anti-EU politicians and newspapers in the country. Chief among these are members of his own Conservative Party, who have turned to the Tory’s parliamentary allies, the xenophobic Democratic Unionist Party, to bring the wayward cabinet member to heel. According to PoliticsHome, the DUP has instructed lameduck prime minister Theresa May to sack Hammond if he won’t stick to a consistent…

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The Exaggerated Myth Of Terrorist Incompetence

AN SIONNACH FIONN

In the aftermath of the latest terror attack in Britain, the international press has published a wide range of articles examining why the improvised bomb left in the passenger carriage of a London underground train may have failed to explode. So far, the suggestion that the initial blast stemmed from the detonator rather than the main charge seems to be the most popular, as the media await details from the police. This has led to some poorly framed conclusions by more than one newspaper. From the Guardian:

The incompetence of terrorists has spared hundreds of lives in recent years. The recent attacks in Barcelona could have been much worse if the leader of the plot had not blown himself up – along with the network’s stockpile of bomb components – hours before they occurred.

Counter-terrorist specialists in the west recognise that the “Four Lions factor” – a reference to…

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Things Irish Protestants  should know about Ireland

By Sam Smith

 According to Edward T. O’Donnell in theHistory News Network:

“The practice of honoring St. Patrick on March 17, traditionally understood as the day of his death (c. 493) at Downpatrick in County Down, is a tradition that comes from old Ireland. For centuries the people of Ireland marked the day as a solemn religious event, perhaps wearing green, sporting a shamrock, and attending mass, but little more. No one knows for sure when the first commemoration of St. Patrick’s Day in America took place. One of the earliest references is to the establishment of the Charitable Irish Society, founded on St. Patrick’s Day in Boston in 1737. Another early celebration took place in New York City in 1762, when an Irishman named John Marshall held a party in his house. Although little is known of Marshall’s party, it is understood that his guests marched as a body to his house to mark St. Patrick’s Day, thus forming an unofficial ‘parade.’ The first recorded true parade took place in 1766 in New York when local military units, including some Irish soldiers in the British army, marched at dawn from house to house of the leading Irish citizens of the city. With few exceptions, the parade in New York has been held every year since 1766. Thus was a tradition born – an American tradition only recently adopted in Ireland itself.”

 Thus, thanks hanks to Irish-American Protestants, St. Patrick’s Day became secularized rather than, as in Ireland, considered a day of holy obligation. In fact, until the 1970s the bars in Dublin were closed on March 17.

 Early, groups such as the Hibernians, the Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick, and Irish Aid societies sprung up in America as a reflection of Irish loyalty and concern for Irish immigrants.

 The idea spread. For example, on March 17, 1812, in Savannah GA, thirteen men founded the Hibernian Society dedicated to aiding destitute Irish immigrants, largely Catholic. A few months later, the group, now up to 44 members, adopted a constitution and the motto, “non sibi sed alis” (not for ourselves, but for others). Not one charter member was a Catholic. One year later, on March 17, the group marched in procession to a Presbyterian church for a service and oration.

 The Catholics were not the only religion persecuted by the English. Presbyterians, who had fled Scotland to escape persecution, found a similar fate in Ireland. It was one of the causes of Irish emigration to America prior to the potato famine. As one history recounts:

“Though they naturally contributed to the stipend of their own preachers, Presbyterians (and other dissenters: Quakers, Baptists and, later, Methodists, as well as Roman Catholics) were obliged by law to financially support the Church of Ireland, through payment of tithes; this provoked deep resentment. Ulster Presbyterians deeply resented being obliged to submit to, support and obey the Episcopalian church interests of the Anglo-Irish ascendancy . . . By the archaic Test Act, Presbyterians were barred from holding public office — unless they took the communion sacrament according to Church of Ireland rites.”

This account also describes a fundamentalist twist that may seem odd to today’s reader:

“The radical biblicism of Ulster Presbyterians meant that they took most seriously scriptural concern for social and political justice. When oppressive, despotic government denied them civil and religious liberty, liberal Presbyterians in late 18th century Ulster began to clamor for constitutional reform of their (Irish-based) British parliament. Political questions, they contended, were ultimately moral and religious concerns and Presbyterians saw it as their duty to create a just society; the state needs be ‘born again.'”

 1791 saw the creation of the multi-denominational United Irishmen. Its members initially merely sought political and economic reforms, but within four years had begun arming themselves and talking of liberation. They also revised their oath to read:

“In the awful presence of God, I do voluntarily declare that I will persevere in endeavoring to form a Brotherhood of affection among Irishmen of every religious persuasion. And that I will also persevere in my endeavors to obtain an equal, full and adequate representation of all the people of Ireland.”

 While many Presbyterians declined to support or withdrew from the United Irishmen, the group was central to the uprising of 1798. This largely Protestant revolt was a failure and, with the exception a minor skirmish in Tipperary in 1848 and one at Chester Castle in 1867, there would not be another Irish armed rebellion until the 20th century.

 Irish Protestant emigrants played a major role in the American Revolution and the revolution in turn influenced events in Ireland. For example, the first copy of the Declaration of Independence to be printed outside of North America appeared in the pages of the ‘Belfast Newsletter.’ A less direct influence came when England was forced to rely on Irish volunteer companies to defend Ireland because its regular troops were in America. After the war, the 80,000-strong Volunteers pressed for political reform.

 Some Irish Protestants and Catholics joined in support of the French revolution and in encouraging a French invasion of Ireland on behalf of the Irish cause. The French national assembly even promised military and financial support for an uprising against the English.

 Among the influences on Irish Protestants were the writings of Tom Paine. His ‘Rights of Man’ was declared “the Bible of Belfast.’ 40,000 copies were sold in Ulster and it was reprinted in four Irish newspapers.

 Following the American revolution, Paine encouraged similar uprisings in Europe, suggesting, “it is not difficult to believe that the spring is begun”.

 Among pro-nationalist Protestants of the time was Theobald Wolfe Tone, who wrote an early “Argument on Behalf of the Catholics of Ireland.” He also served as secretary of the Catholic Committee. Tone, upon his capture in 1798, was refused a soldier’s execution by gunshot and was sentenced to be hung. He made an eloquent speech about the virtues of republicanism in court and then returned to his cell where he cut his own throat.

 Irish Protestant Thomas Addis Emmett, brother of 1798 uprising leader Robert Emmett, was captured and condemned but later won a reprieve. In 1804, a year after his brother was hung, he emigrated to America. He became the highly regarded attorney general of New York, well enough known nationally that a New Orleans attorney said of him, “his name rings down the valley of the Mississippi, and we hail his efforts with a kind of local pride.” Tom Paine liked him well enough to leave him $200 in his will.

 A 20th century Protestant fighter for the Irish cause, Erskine Childers, was executed on charges of possessing a small pistol after helping Eamon de Valera and other IRA members lead a rebellion against the Irish free state government. His son would become president of Ireland in the 1970s. Childers, regarded as the father of the modern spy novel (“Riddle of the Sands”), used his 50-foot ketch to smuggle arms to the Irish rebels. In support of his execution, Winston Churchill said, “no man has done more harm or done more genuine malice or endeavored to bring a greater curse upon the common people of Ireland than this strange being.”

 Although he would later become far more conservative, Protestant poet WB Yeats as a young man was a member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood. An 1899 police report called him as “more or less revolutionary” and he wrote a poem about the 1916 uprising:

Now and in time to be,
Wherever the green is worn,
All changed, changed utterly;
A terrible beauty is born

 Yeats said of Irish Protestants during a 1925 Senate debate on divorce, “We . . . are no petty people. We are one of the great stocks of Europe. We are the people of Burke; we are the people of Swift, the people of Emmet, the people of Parnell. We have created most of the modern literature of this country. We have created the best of its political intelligence.”

 History News Network –In several polls and surveys conducted in the 1970s and 1980s, researchers discovered what at first seemed an astonishing fact: a majority of Americans who identify themselves as Irish also identify themselves as Protestant. For a nation (and an ethnic group for that matter) that had grown so accustomed to conflating Irishness with Catholicism, this announcement was greeted with disbelief. Among some Irish Catholics, the reaction was anger.

The explanation for the find is actually quite simple. Huge numbers of Irish immigrants came to America in the colonial period (indeed, 30 percent of all immigrants from Europe arriving between 1700 and 1820 came from Ireland) and the great majority of them were Presbyterians from Ulster. Of the many thousands of Catholics who came in the 17th and 18th centuries, most appear to have converted to some form of Protestantism.

The Protestant descendents of these early Irish arrivals have been multiplying ever since. In contrast, the great migration of Irish Catholics began only in the 1830s (during which time, of course, many Protestant Irish continued to come). A poll conducted by the National Opinion Research Center makes this point clear: in the 1970s, only 41% of Irish Catholics were fourth generation or more as compared to 83% of Irish Protestants.