From Irish Ideas by William O'Brien, 1893

Page 30


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You ask me to write about my imprisonment, but whirling as I have been for the past three days through mountain glens, whose every breeze or streamlet sings a song of liberty, there would be a certain churlishness in turning back to brood over those six months of drab monotony in Galway Gaol, behind a twenty-one-foot wall, straining for some dim murmur of the national life-and-death struggle which was raging all the while beyond. On Saturday last we were driving past the free side of that prison wall. Its grey buttresses skirt the road to Connemara. The dinner-bell—the bell that has served for a death-bell, also, pretty often in its time—was ringing our ex-companions in misfortune from the stone-yard to their mess of suet pudding or Indian-meal soup. The O'Flaherty country, in its best coat of royal heather, with patches of golden harvest plenty among its rocks, opened its hospitable arms in front of us. The prison walls receded amidst church spires and crumbling towers into mellow distance, until they looked like part of the mediaeval fortification within which the Irish Jacobites made their last stand, and the notes of the prison bell melted in with the never-ending chimes and church bells which set life in Galway to the music of a dreamy Spanish chant. So let the memory of those slow-moving months, … continue reading »

[1] Published in the Speaker, August 29, 1891.

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