The following article, brought to our attention by mywhisperingmind, underscores how powerful this role will be for Colin. Even as we read this excerpt describing Sean’s speech, we can ‘hear’ Colin’s voice, see his demeanor, feel the impact his portrayal will give to Sean’s voice. We will be transported back 100 years to that time and that place. This is Colin’s gift.
It was Saturday and the surprisingly high number of British-born Volunteers in the GHQ in Moore Street … were resolutely opposed to the leaders’ decision to surrender and had decided, come what may, to keep on fighting. It was accepted that the leaders were going to be executed. The question being debated was how far down the ranks the British would go.
Patrick Pearse had gone to surrender to General Lowe and the wounded James Connolly had been evacuated to another building. One by one, the four remaining leaders present spoke to these men and tried to avert an open mutiny. First, the universally respected Tom Clarke, then Michael Collins (by now recognised as a leader), then Joe Plunkett, clearly weakened from TB and the toll taken by the week’s fighting. Though the speeches were heartfelt and impressive, the English-born contingent remained unmoved. Then Seán MacDermott, suffering from polio, stepped up, leaned on his cane and asked them what exactly they wanted to do. After they had had their say, he had his.
The author comments: “His was the most powerful personality I’d ever encountered. I don’t know if he was a Marxist . . . but it was the sheer scale of his persona that mattered.” He invited them “to take a long look at the dead civilians lying outside our windows” and reminded them that “the civilians nearest us were all very poor and would [if fighting resumed] be butchered with us”. He said that the worst that the English-born would get was a few years in jail. …. MacDermott made it clear that he wanted them to survive to carry on following the execution of the leaders. He carried the day. Joe wrote that while Pearse was the soul of the Rising and Connolly its heart, MacDermott was its mind.
This is the story of Joe Good by Joe Good. It is the narrative of a young soldier, first hand, rather than that of a leader. And in particular, the story of an English-born Volunteer. (The English had shortened MacDiarmada to McDermott … perhaps they had trouble pronouncing the Irish original.)
Bold Italics above are mine. You will find a link in the comments section to access the entire article. Thanks again to mywhisperingmind.