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Irish anthem `could fall into foreign hands`

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  • Irish anthem `could fall into foreign hands`

    Fears were expressed today that the original hand-written words and music of Ireland`s national anthem could leave the country after an auction in April.

    By:Press Association

    Penned by Peadar Kearney in 1907 on two pieces of paper, the Soldier`s Song (Amhran na Bhfiann), is expected to attract bids of up to €1.2 million (£820,000) when it goes under the hammer.

    Poignant last letters from Easter Rising revolutionaries will also be sold in one of the most historically significant auctions ever held in the country.

    Auctioneer Fonsie Mealy said he was worried the state`s national anthem could be sold to a collector outside Ireland.

    "Of supreme national importance, it will naturally be of interest to many Irish collectors and we would hope to see it stay in the country," he said.

    "However, having already been offered to the state on different occasions, we are concerned that it could leave Ireland because of huge international interest."

    Ireland`s leading auction houses, James Adam & Sons and Mealy`s Auctioneers, are joining forces to host the sale, which will be held in April to coincide with the 90th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising.

    The Soldier`s Song (Amhran na Bhfiann) was popularised by Irish revolutionaries during the Easter Rising and formally adopted as Ireland`s national anthem in 1926.

    Stuart Cole, director of James Adam & Sons, said the sale is unique in every respect.

    "No sale of such national importance has ever been held before, and we imagine it won`t be matched for a long time after," he said.

    "Many of the items consigned for auction are one-offs. Previously unseen and entirely irreplaceable, they derive from important Irish families directly involved in the Easter Rising and the battle for Irish independence."

    Mr Mealy, director of Mealy`s Auctioneers, Castlecomer, said it is difficult to place estimates on some of the lots, due to their uniqueness and the level of interest they may incur.

    "A case in point is the recently-sold handwritten letter by Padraig Pearse asking volunteers to surrender, which fetched 10 times its estimate at Adam`s, making €700,000 (£479,000) on the night," he added.

    The national anthem will be auctioned alongside items that track the history of the Irish revolution, from the spark of 1798 right through to the British government`s telegram announcing the declaration of the Irish Free State.

    Of the 400 lots catalogued for sale, other important items include:

    :: Sean McDermott`s poignant handwritten letter on the eve of his own execution addressed to John Daly, mayor of Limerick, who is uncle to Edward Daly and Kathleen Clarke;

    :: An archive of papers from the 1880-1916 period, written by and relating to Thomas Clarke, the first signatory of the Proclamation, including his final letter, before execution, to his wife Kathleen Clarke;

    :: The first communication that Ireland was to become a free state - a telegram from the Duke of Devonshire, informing the Irish Secretary of State, WT Cosgrave, that the King has just agreed to give Ireland independence,;

    :: The Tricolour believed to have flown over the GPO during the 1916 Easter Rising;

    :: Irish revolutionary Thomas Francis Meagher`s last letter written before deportation to Tasmania;

    :: Collections of Padraig Pearse letters and poetry, including an autographed unpublished manuscript appealing for funds and explaining plans for St Enda`s, also signed by Thomas McDonagh;

    :: Original architect`s watercolour drawings showing the elevations of the GPO building;

    :: An original Proclamation dating to the 1916 Easter Rising;

    :: Michael Collins` typewriter and an essay he wrote on Ancient and Modern Warfare aged 14.

    The Independence Sale is to take place on April 12.

    Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.

  • #2
    it woul;d be a great shame for these items to leave the country. why dosent the state step in and buy these items for the sake of irish history
    What are you cackling at, fatty? Too much pie, that's your problem.


    • #3
      Its possible that these are appearing on the market now just to capitalise on the states renewed interest in 1916.

      Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.


      • #4
        Originally posted by Odin_ie
        it woul;d be a great shame for these items to leave the country. why dosent the state step in and buy these items for the sake of irish history
        Or a sombody who had a big lotto win .......


        • #5
          Originally posted by Odin_ie
          it woul;d be a great shame for these items to leave the country. why dosent the state step in and buy these items for the sake of irish history
          "However, having already been offered to the state on different occasions....."

          Looks like they were given the chance


          • #6
            Its the Irish government first they will not bid on them, then there will be a tribunral that will cost about €100million to ascertain why there was no bid on them and finally they will buy them back off the private collectors who bought them at a hugely inflated price.
            All in all we will get them eventually but they will ending up costing about 100 times more than if they had bothered to buy them at auction.
            Lifes a bitch, so be her pimp!


            • #7
              Its a shame really to see them go. Something like that should be in a museum. Not in the hands of a private collector.
              From bloomberg

              April 13 (Bloomberg) -- Medals, letters and parliamentary papers marking Ireland's fight for independence from British rule in the early 20th century exceeded estimates at auction, signaling growing interest in Irish historical artifacts.

              Around 95 percent of the items sold at auctioneers James Adam & Sons in Dublin late yesterday achieved higher than forecast prices, director Stuart Cole said. The 450 lots fetched 2.8 million euros ($3.4 million) in total, he said.

              The auction coincides with the 90th anniversary of Ireland's 1916 Easter Rising, and the Irish government's first official commemoration of the event in more than 30 years. It taps a growing demand for historical artifacts sparked by the sale in May of a surrender order signed by Padraig Pearse, a leader of the uprising, for 700,000 euros, seven times the top estimate.

              ``This truly has been the sale of the century,'' Cole said in an e-mailed statement. ``Nothing on this historical scale and of this caliber has been auctioned before in Ireland and we imagine it won't be matched for a long time.''

              Adam & Sons sold about 1 million euros' worth of Irish historical artifacts last year, including the Pearse surrender letter. That compares with around 500,000 euros for the auctioneer in 2004 and 100,000 euros in 2003.

              A medal posthumously awarded to Thomas Clarke for his part in the 1916 uprising sold at the auction for 105,000 euros, seven times the highest pre-sale estimate. A letter from Clarke to his wife, Kathleen, as he awaited execution in prison was bought for 75,000 euros, compared with a 20,000-euro estimate.

              Independence Telegram

              The 26 counties that make up Ireland gained independence from Britain in 1921. The six counties of Northern Ireland have since been a U.K. province. A telegram from the Duke of Devonshire informing William T. Cosgrave that the country would be granted independence sold for 25,000 euros, more than four times the top estimate. Cosgrave became the first prime minister of the Irish Free State.

              Some political parties and museum curators opposed the sale, concerned that irreplaceable artifacts would be taken out of the country. Sinn Fein, the political party that campaigns for a united Ireland, called on the government to halt the auction. Two members of the party's youth wing were arrested yesterday after disrupting the sale by distributing leaflets in the auction room and shouting ``Shame'' and ``History is not for sale.''

              ``Is this what the leaders of 1916 and 1921 would have wished?'' said Pat Wallace, director of the National Museum of Ireland in an interview with state broadcaster RTE. ``Would they have wanted us to have been touting them around auction houses like this? I don't think they would.''

              Representatives from the museum bid for some items to fill what Wallace said were ``gaps'' in their collections.

              National Anthem

              The highlight of the auction, an original copy of Ireland's national anthem, written in 1907, failed to make the lowest pre- sale estimate of 800,000 euros.

              ``Now ladies and gentlemen, anything I can say would be superfluous,'' auctioneer Fonsie Mealy told the packed room on Dublin's St. Stephen's Green as the bidding for the anthem document began. ``Somebody start me at 1 million euros.''

              Bidding for the anthem, known as ``The Soldier's Song,'' eventually started at 500,000 euros. The handwritten note was bought by an unidentified telephone bidder for 760,000 euros.
              Good Friday Agreement

              The resumption of the 1916 commemoration follows the Irish Republican Army's announcement in July that it was ending its armed campaign for a united Ireland. An annual ceremony was held until 1970, when the government canceled it after the outbreak of the ``Troubles'' in Northern Ireland. More than 3,500 people have died in the sectarian hostilities over three decades.

              The 1998 Good Friday Agreement was intended to bring the Protestant and Roman Catholic communities of Northern Ireland together in a power-sharing assembly and end decades of violence between pro-British groups and those who want a united republic.

              ``The government has spent a lot of time and effort revisiting the 1916 celebrations,'' Cole said on RTE radio. ``The political landscape has changed in ways that are almost imperceptible to us if we look back at our attitudes 10 years ago.''

              The country's army and police force will take part in the ceremony, while an army officer will read a copy of the Proclamation of Independence, first read by Pearse on the steps of Dublin's General Post Office at the start of the 1916 rebellion.

              The ceremony is also intended to honor Ireland's army and the Irish soldiers who fought in World War I. Around 140,000 Irish soldiers enlisted during the 1914-1918 war, and 49,400 died, according to the National War Memorial.
              Trouble, Trouble, I tried to chase trouble but its chasing me.
              Trouble, trouble, trouble with a capitol T
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