Cumann Seandalaiochta agus Staire Phort Lairge

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Lecture: Cartoon representations of John Redmond 1906 – 1916

The WAHS lecture season for 2017 and 2018 continues on Friday 23rd February with a lecture titled ‘Cartoon representations of John Redmond 1906 – 1916’ by the historian and broadcaster Dr Úna Ní Bhroiméil at 8:00 pm in the St Patrick’s Gateway Centre, Waterford.

This special lecture has been arranged to mark the centenary of the death of John Redmond, who was MP for Waterford and leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party, in March 1918. Many cartoons of Redmond were published in the Irish-American and British press in the decade before 1916, they give an insight into how Redmond’s political leadership and the campaign for Irish Home Rule which he led was perceived, in both positive and a negative light.

In the lecture Dr Ní Bhroiméil will demonstrate the links between Ireland, Britain and America in a transatlantic and transnational context in the person of John Redmond and through the medium of political cartoons. The cartoons illustrate Redmond’s centrality as a preeminent Irish figure at the beginning of the twentieth century. As the leader of the reunified Irish Parliamentary Party in 1900, John Redmond embodied the hope of the Irish people that a unified party could complete Parnell’s mission of achieving Home Rule for Ireland.

Having visited America in 1886, 1895 and 1899, he was well known to Irish American supporters, but it was his 1904 visit to the United Irish League Convention that spurred the strong and consistent support of the most widely circulated Irish American newspaper, the Irish World. The contemporary British press, however, was outraged at the monetary support that Redmond was receiving in America, for instance, the London Saturday Review raged against the influence of the Irish American press on the government at Westminster and particularly on prime minister Asquith, stating

‘It is often said Mr Redmond is master of the position and has the government in his hand. But is not the real boss behind Mr Redmond? Is he not an Irish American and his name Mr Patrick Ford? Mr Redmond may be master but is not Mr Ford paymaster?’

In turn, the Irish World reprinted five ‘Tory cartoons’ that had been published in the ‘London Unionist Press’ on its front page in December 1910. John Redmond was celebrated by the Irish World and promoted not just as the political leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party, but as the leader of the Irish generally at home and abroad. However, the Irish American press turned on Redmond after September 1914 and the later cartoons published in the Irish World reflect Redmond’s diminished political stature in Irish American eyes.

Úna Ní Bhroiméil lectures in American history in Mary Immaculate College, Limerick. She completed  a BA, MA and HDip at NUI Galway and her PhD at Lehigh University, Pennsylvania in the United States. She has published on the themes of Irish identity in the USA, the Irish American press, the formation of Catholic female teachers, and using visual methods in historical research. Úna has contributed to many historical documentaries and can currently be seen presenting the weekly ‘Tríd an Lionsa’ series about historical photographs on TG4.

This lecture will be of interest to anyone interested in John Redmond’s political career and how the examination of visual sources can provide significant historical insights. Admission to the lecture is €5 (students €2.50), but is free for members of the Waterford Archaeological and Historical Society.

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