Winter Talks Underway at Solidarity Books, Cork


The first in a series of ‘Winter Talks’ organised by Solidarity Books in Cork took place last Tuesday night and was a big success.  Donal O’Drisceoil, the historian from UCC, introduced the ‘forgotten’ figure of Tadhg Barry who, as he pointed out in his introduction, had the largest funeral ever in Cork when his body was returned to the city following his death in 1921; Barry had died in suspicious circumstances at the Ballykindlar internment camp in Co. Down shortly before the Treaty was signed.



Over forty people listened to the talk at Solidarity which outlined Barry’s early involved with the Irish Volunteers, Cork GAA and the Gaelic Revival Movement; he was a founding organiser of the first Cork camogie (women’s hurling) team.  A proficient writer and political activist, Barry was foremost an advocate of working class interests and identified strongly with the then gratifying scenes of revolutionary transformation in Russia.  Barry was active in the ITGWU and indentified with James Connolly’s ideas. In the War of Independence when class politics quickly raised its head, Barry stood with the workers and argued that a new Ireland could not and should not have a subject working class in it.  Arrested in City Hall by British troops, the spirited and much loved activist spent his final months in internment in Co Down where he was shot by a prison guard for standing too close to the camp fence.

The talk by O’Drisceoil was as always entertaining and illuminating.  He also covered an important period of popular militancy in Cork (1917 to 1921) and the issues that arose during that time.  The discussion and questions afterwards covered a number of issues including those to do with the class conflict that arose within the independence movement and its eventual resolution in favour of the ruling class.

Next week, in the continuing series of talks, Brian Hanley, will speak about the ‘The Lost Revolution’ – the politics of the Workers Party and the Official IRA.  This talk will take place once again at Solidarity Book on Douglas Street at 8 pm.  Get there early to be sure to get a seat.
                                WORDS: KD