Notes from An t-Eireannach

This selection is based on translations from the book about an Irish language paper, An t-Eirneach.

These notes are based on a few individuals and their connections to the Spanish Civil War. I'm using bold just to highlight names connected with Spain. Thanks to Terry McB for his translation of the articles.


Peadar O'Donnell wasn't especially interested in the language question. According to him it was fairly peripheral question, but other people in the camhdhail like Sean Lucas from Tallaght, Eamon McGrotty from Derry, Frank Edwards and Ryan were active in the Gaelic League or in other Irish language activities. Others were involved in both the language and leftist movements. In the Irish Democrat, which supported the fighters in Spain it stated: "Padraig de Stainligh", Dublin Gaelic Leaguer and Republican, serving in the Irish Unit in Spain" (19/6/1937). Its worth mentioning as well that Cu Uladh asked to speak at a public meeting organised by Republicans and trade unionists in Dublin in 1935 despite a ban on members of Fianna Fail from attending the meeting.


Another man who helped getting adverts for the paper was former Christian Brother, Eamon McGrotty, who was close to Sorcha Ni Ghuairin. McGrotty was experienced in this sort of work. From 1932-34 he was editor of an Irish industrial journal which depended a lot on adverts. It's not known if he took much part in Republican Congress events, but when the war broke out in Spain in 1936 he joined up. He was killed in the battle of Jarama on the 23rd February 1937. Along with him died the poet Charlie Donnelly and the Rev. R.M. Hilliard while defending the Republic.


In reference to an article of 19th-26th December 1936 criticising the fact that the Irish soldiers were fighting against other Irishmen in Spain.

"A strange stance to take of one considers that two central figures in An t-Eireannach had gone to fight for the republic. Frank Ryan, printer of the paper during the previous year was recruiting and leading men over there (to Spain) and Eamon McGrotty who had been collecting ads, and who was apparently close to Sorcha Ni Ghuairin. That friendship could be explained by the pitiful tone of the article in question. The writer of an article about James Connolly, published in An t-Eireannach, in May 1935, Eoghan O Duinnin [aka in English Eugene Downing], also went to Spain and Tommy Patten, a native speaker from Dumha Eige, Achill, was one of the first Irishmen from the brigades to be killed in Spain, around December 1936.

The article stated that these young men were badly needed in their own country, and it is certain that most of their friends thought that their friends who had gone to fight in the international brigade "were mad" and that the whole campaign was nonsense. Other friends said that the likes of Ryan was badly needed in Ireland and that his departure was a blow for the Irish language and republican movements.