SOLD Hammer price: €750, Estimate: €600-800
Pearse’s Scarcest Publication
Pearse, P.H. An Barr Buadh. Iml. 1 Uimhir 1 – 9, Marta-Bealtaine 1912, lacking only No. 7. Folio, each 4pp (single folded sheet). A weekly periodical entirely in Irish, edited and published by Pearse and mostly written by him. Other contributors include Eamonn Ceannet. Eamon O’Tuathail, Peadar O Maolain, Padraic O Conaire, Cathal Ua Seanain (O’Shannon), and a few others. Also includes the celebrated series of ‘Beart Litreach de Chuaidh Amugha’ (i.e. ‘open letters’ to various Irish personalities), signed Leagh Mac Rianghabhra (i.e. a pen name for Pearse). The last of these letters, in No. 9, is addressed to Perase himself, and it concludes, ‘Is maith an gniomh do rinnis an uair do chuiris Scoil Eanna ar bun v.. No Chomhaile dhuit: tabhair aire do Scoil Eanna agus, do Scoil Ide agus nab ac a thuille le cursaibh polaitiochta. Ta do dhothain mor ar d’aire ’ (‘You did well to found St. Enda’s.. My advice to you: Take care of St. Enda’s and St. Ita’s and take no further head of political affairs. You have more than enough to do ’
Sound advice, perhaps; how would Irish history have developed if he had followed it? Impossible to say.
Pearse edited the Gaelic League newspaper An Claidheamh Soluis from 1903 to 1909, when he resigned to devote his time to St. Enda’s; but evidently he felt a need for a public platform, and in 1912 he began issuing ‘An Barr Buadh,’ taking its name from the horn Fionn Mac Cumhaill sounded to summon his men. Its purpose, as outlined in the first number, was ‘chum misneach Gaedheal do mhuscailt’ (‘to encourage the Gael.’). Its message was openly revolutionary. ‘Eireochaidh Gaedhil aris, agus claoidhfear aris iad muna mbid ullamh chum eirghe. Bidis ullamh. Gabhaidis airm chuca. Nior baineadh an teaoirse amach in aoin chrich foe acht de ghoin chIaidhimh.’ (‘The Gael will rise again, and they will be defeated again unless they are ready. Let them be ready. Let them take arms. No country has ever won its freedom except by the sword.’)
A remarkable publication, combining Pearse’s revolutionary zeal with an element of wit expressed in the ‘open letters’. It was issued in small numbers, and good sets are exceptionally scarce. It is believed that the present set was a gift for Pearse himself to a West of Ireland friend and colleague. (1)