Saturday, 13 February 2010

Soldiers of Destiny at the Queen's University

© Joe ÓNéill 2009
(R to L) Chairmen of the Down, Armagh, and Fermanagh Forums, Edmund McCullough, Martin McAllister, Padraig Murphy, and Chair of the William Drennan Cumann of Ógra Fianna Fáil, Mark Mulholland.

The Queen's University William Drennan Cumann of Ógra Fianna Fáil, held their second annual William Drennan Commemoration Day today with a series of events in Belfast.

Dr. William Drennan, a founding member of the United Irishmen, was born in Belfast in the manse of the First Presbyterian Church in Rosemary Street.

Drennan, a literary man, founded and edited the Belfast Magazine and with others founded the Belfast Academical Institution. A poet as well as a political pamphleteer, he is credited with being the first poet to use the phrase “Emerald Isle”, in the poem, “When Erin First Rose.” He died in 1820, and is buried in the old cemetery in Clifton Street, which also holds the remains of Henry Joy McCracken, executed in Belfast's Corn Market for his part in the rebellion in 1798.

In the afternoon, a debate on the motion: “William Drennan is the true father of republicanism”, was held in the university Student Union.

Following the debate, the audience was addressed by Martin McAllister, Chairman of the Armagh Forum of Fianna Fáil, who gave a brief account of the background leading to the formation of Fianna Fáil Forum in the six counties. Three Forums have been established in Armagh, Down,and Fermanagh, with the other three counties expected to be constituted by early summer.

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