Pádraig Ó Siadhail will present a talk titled “The Not-So-Imperial Irish: Irish Political Conscientious Objectors In Canada 1918” as the annual Irish Heritage Lecture Series continues Friday night in Charlottetown.
Sponsored and organized by the Benevolent Irish Society, the lecture begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Edward Whelan Irish Cultural Centre at 582 North River Road. There is no admission charge, although donations are always welcome to help with expenses. Everyone is welcome.
Tens of thousands of Irish Canadians loyally served Canada during the First World War with many of them dying in action. However, a small number of Irish Canadians refused to serve for political reasons relating to Britain’s rule in Ireland. The Easter Rising had occurred just two years before and memories of the treatment of the rebels and the execution of their leaders was still fresh.
John T. (Sean) MacSwiney was one of four Irish-born men court-martialled and imprisoned in Ontario in 1918 for refusing to don the khaki. MacSwiney was the brother of Terence MacSwiney, the Lord Mayor of Cork, who two years later would die on a hunger strike protesting British actions in Ireland. Plan to attend to hear the rest of the story.
Ó Siadhail holds the D’Arcy McGee chair of Irish studies at St. Mary’s University in Halifax. He is the author of “Katherine Hughes: A Life and a Journey” (2014). This is the story of an Island woman, born in Emerald, who became active in the struggle for Irish independence.
The lecture series continues on Nov. 24 - Lament, Memory, and the Supernatural in the Isle of Skye and Prince Edward Island - Tiber Falzett; Dec. 1 - The Legend Of Edward Whelan: Hit And Myth in the Life of a Famous Islander – Edward MacDonald; and Dec. 8 - The Gaelic League And Irish Language Revival – Cormac Ó Feinneadha.