In the 1955 The Derry Journal published an article “Christmas in the Historic Years”, by Seumas G. O”Ceallaigh. It documented the festive season in the historic or revolutionary years 1915-1920. Below is what he recalled of 1918.
On November 11th, 1918, the Great War ended, and o November 25th the British Parliament was dissolved. December 14th was Polling Day, and Sinn Fein was working under great difficulties.
Most of its responsible leaders were in jail, arrested under “The German Plot” scare in June of that year.
It seemed impossible that an organisation which was practically leaderless could win a General Election, but in Ireland “the impossible, always happens, and the inevitable never,” as a famous Trinity-man once remarked.
Father O’Flanagan, the famous Roscommon patriot priest, who had preached eloquently at Rome before the Pope and who in his day was one of the most noted preachers in Ireland, took over the leadership of the Election Campaign.
He visited the Irish towns and villages, and the result was, as we all know, a resounding victory for Sinn Fein, who came back from the polls with over 70 seats. Before the election they had held only three.
Christmas Day, 1918 saw bonfires burning on every hillside, tricolours flying from tree-tops, and the nation watching and waiting for the first freely elected Irish Parliament since the Confederation of Kilkenny, over 300 years before.The Derry Journal, December 21st 1955
The Derry Journal, December 21st 1955
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