Sunday, November 7, 2010

Keash United Irish League Banner

Back to history. I gave a talk on County Sligo 1914-1918 to the NUIM (National University of Ireland Maynooth) History Forum in Maynooth on Friday evening. A toothache doesn't help on these occasions but the talk seemed to go reasonably well. Lots of very interesting questions.

My brother recently alerted me to this wonderful United Irish League banner from Keash, Co Sligo being offered in an Ian Whyte sale in Dublin on 13 November. I included a slide showing it at the talk. The United Irish League was launched in 1898 with the motto The Land for the People. It soon became the main constituency organisation of the reunited Irish Parliamentary Party which survived until the 1918 election.

This large banner would have been carried at all the great meetings and marches of the Home Rule campaign in Sligo from 1900 to 1917. Painted in oil on canvas by Dublin artist Samuel Rowan Watson it's disappointing in that it has no local reference apart from the name. One would expect the outline of Keash Hill at least in the background. Possibly you bought such a banner off the shelf and the artist just added the organisation's name.

My great grandfather, Pat Gallagher, was secretary of the Killoran branch of the UIL for most if not all of the same period. I wonder what happened to the Killoran UIL banner?

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