James Connolly


Dublin and the War

Diary of the “Troubles”


Workers’ Republic, 30 December 1899.
Republished in James Connolly: Lost Writings, (ed. Aindrias Ó Cathasaigh), Pluto Press 1997.
The notes, which are © 1997 Pluto Press, have not been included.
HTML Mark-up: Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

December 8. – Announced in London and Dublin newspapers that the Right Hon Joseph Chamberlain, MP, Colonial Secretary, would visit Dublin on the 17th and 18th December to receive a degree from Trinity College.

English newspapers eulogise Chamberlain’s “courage”.

December 11. – Special meeting of Dublin Corporation to consider a vote of sympathy with the Boers is rendered abortive by the Home Rule members treacherously absenting themselves.

December 12. – Public meeting called by the Irish Socialist Republican Party “to celebrate the British defeat at Stormberg.”

Date of meeting 19th December, same date as Chamberlain’s triumphal entry; place of meeting, College Green, beside Trinity.

December 13. – Reliable natives report the jingo enemy to be very wrathful at Socialist audacity.

December 14. – Irish Transvaal Committee summon public meeting to be held in Beresford Place on Sunday 17th, to denounce the action of the Dublin Corporation – and salute Chamberlain.

British garrison go into laager.

December 15. – London Pall Mall Gazette declares that there is trouble brewing in Dublin in connection with Mr Chamberlain’s visit and expresses the belief that the parties responsible for all the trouble are “the Irish Socialist Republican Party which is composed of a number of the most extreme and least reputable representatives of the nationalists of Dublin”.

London St James’ Gazette hopes “that the police will see to it”.

Irish Daily Independent reminds us of the “rights of hospitality”.

December 16. – Reported at British Headquarters that both wings of the Irish Revolutionary forces were gathering behind the kopjes.

British draw in all their outposts, from Kingstown and all outlying camps.

One hundred rounds of ammunition per man served out to the military.

Proportionate quantity of porter served out to the police.

Some swearing done before Mr Wall, Police Magistrate.

Government Proclamation issued forbidding the meeting on Sunday. Copies served on the Transvaal Committee: John O’Leary, Michael Davitt, Pat O’Brien, MP, Willie Redmond, MP and James Connolly.

Meeting of Transvaal Committee. Willie Redmond, as chairman, advises the people to defy the police, and hold the meeting in Beresford Place.

Native runners out all night summoning the bludgeonmen of the Government.

December 17. – All the tactical positions in and about and streets debouching on Beresford Place occupied by masses of police. Military confined to barracks and in readiness to turn out. Thousands of people thronging to the place of meeting. Dublin wild with excitement.

Home Rulers Funk. Leave the people to face the police as they had advised them to, but take their own miserable carcasses to the seclusion of a back room.

Miss Maud Gonne, Mr Griffith of the United Irishman, Mr Lyons of the Oliver Bond ’98 Club, comrades Stewart and Connolly of the Irish Socialist Republican Party step into the breach and drive down to Beresford Place to hold the meeting.

Baton charges by police. Hired driver of brake seized by police, reins assumed by Connolly who had been moved to the chair by Griffith, procession organised through the principal streets, two meetings held, charges by mounted police, unsuccessful, but desperate, efforts of the mounted police – to keep their seats, triumphal conclusion of the procession, arrest of Connolly.

Fake meeting held by Home Rulers. Audience composed of five reporters and two ladies.

At the close of the meeting W. Redmond MP gets himself interviewed (?) and declares:

I have never seen anything like the enthusiasm manifested when I (I, I, Willie Redmond, to wit) stept out of the rooms of the Celtic Literary Society.

Saith Pat O’Brien: “We have demonstrated to England that she cannot go to war unless she has first conciliated Ireland.”

Quoth the man in the street: “Rats.”

December 18. – Connolly fined £2, or one month imprisonment, and to find bail in the sum of £10 or go to prison for another month.

Fine paid, and security for bail found.

Socialist Republican meeting prohibited, the attempt at holding meeting frustrated by hundreds of policemen, vicious police charges upon the people.

Police raid on Socialist premises. One Red Flag, one Green Flag, two Boer Flags, and the Historic Black Flag which led the anti-Jubilee procession of 1897 captured by the police.

Several members maltreated. After a gallant struggle six stalwart policemen succeed in throwing one small boy, brother of one of the members, downstairs. Said policemen to be mentioned in despatches for “distinguished conduct”.

After the retirement of the police meeting held in Socialist club-room, comrade Stewart in the chair. A resolution denouncing the Dublin Corporation, and protesting against the ruffianly conduct of the police, was put to the meeting, spoken to by Messrs Griffith and Quinn of the Transvaal Committee, and carried.

Chamberlain in his speech at Trinity apparently loses heart, for, instead of the expected war-whoop, he winds up by asking those present to believe “he was not so black as he was painted”.

A “Reconnaissance in force” of the Trinity College loyalists checked by an old woman in Dawson Street, and finally repulsed by a flying column of Catholic University boys. Loyalists retreat in two divisions, one towards Trinity, the other towards Mercer’s Hospital – for surgical treatment.

Workers’ Republic suspended for one week owing to disorganisation caused by above events.

December 19. – All quiet on the Potomac.


Although a body aiming primarily at economic change, at Social Revolution, yet wherever a blow is to be struck for freedom – national or social, political or economic – there you will find the Socialist Republicans, ready and willing to fight.

Our warfare against the domestic exploiter does not diminish our hatred of the foreign tyrant.


Last updated on 11.8.2003