‘Mind the flag’

Published in Issue 3 (May/June 2018), Letters, Volume 26

Sir,—Lar Joye and Donal McCracken (HI 26.1, Jan./Feb. 2018, ‘Artefacts’ and ‘Letters’) mention the flag that Inghinidhe na hÉireann sent to the Irish Transvaal Brigade during the Anglo-Boer War and which was recently conserved at Letterfrack for the National Museum. My understanding is that Major John MacBride undertook its transfer to Paris, where it was displayed at his wedding to Maud Gonne. It subsequently formed part of his artefacts and, together with his papers, was safeguarded by his landlady and lover Clara Allan. She was the sole witness he called to give evidence at his trial. As they parted, he asked her to ‘Mind the flag’. Clara Allan later gave the flag to Eileen Wilson, half-sister to Maud Gonne and husband of Joseph MacBride TD, John’s brother. Eileen Wilson subsequently donated the flag to the National Museum. These occurrences are covered in my book Boer War to Easter Rising.—Yours etc.,

Dublin 4


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