Independent Media Centre Ireland

Hammered by the Irish

category national | anti-war / imperialism | news report author Saturday October 11, 2008 17:36author by eos

Kick Ass Gig and Book Info Update

Some photos from a rockin' gig. Text to follow shortly.
Paul O'Toole - Heart and soul set to music
Paul O'Toole - Heart and soul set to music


Joe Black - It's a long way from Clare to here
Joe Black - It's a long way from Clare to here

Harry Browne - Wordsmith and activist
Harry Browne - Wordsmith and activist

Donal O'Kelly - Put that hammer away Ciaron
Donal O'Kelly - Put that hammer away Ciaron

Paul and the band - kicking it up a notch
Paul and the band - kicking it up a notch

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author by Ciaron O'Reilly - Dublin Catholic Worker/ Ploughsharespublication date Sun Oct 12, 2008 08:59author address "At Large", Dublin, Irelandauthor phone

The Dublin court season opened this past week. A barrister who attended both the opening religious service for Dublin's legal fraternity and our kick ass "Hammered by the Irish" gig, reports that the reading for both functions was the "Swords into Ploughshares" prophecy from Isaiah 2....that's gotta be a good sign!

Well this was one kick ass gig. It was something like the 14th. benefit gig that has come out of the Pitstop Ploughshares disarmament action and 3 trials

Why have yet another benefit gig two years after the Pitstops reached its use by date and disbanded, I hear you ask?

Well for a number of reasons.........

-it's not all about us! Like the war, the anti-war resistance continues and this gig was a benefit for U.S. military resister Robin Long presently locked up in The Naval Consolidated Brig at Mirimar, just north of San Diego, U.S.A. for refusing deployment Iraq AND for the latest ANZAC/Waihopai Ploughshares crew facing trial in Aotearoa/ New Zealand. The gig raised 600 euros for these four good people risking their liberty for resisting this war.

*Background on Robin Long and the Kiwi Ploughshares, check out

-to celebrate the Counterpunch U.S. publication of Harry Browne's fine book on the Pitstop Ploughshares "Hammered by the Irish"

-to farewell Damien as he heads off to volunteer in Africa for a year. Damo was back in Ireland for the Summer, after 2 years in Warsaw (and a few hours at O'Hare, Chicago before being returned to sender by Homeland Security!), in the hope of making some money, learning Twi, catching up to family and friends and doing what he could to keep resisting the war. This gig was a conclusion of a 5 year organising relationship between Damo whose young -as he cocnstantly reminded me over 6 years - enough to be my son, this gig was our no budget/zero infrastructure organsing swan song.

To keep in touch with Damien in Africa, check out his blog.....

-an opportunity to gather folks who remain engaged with this war in a very militarily engaged country (refueling at Shannon as the major major hub for U.S. troops deploying to do the killing and dying in Iraq) and a very consciously disengaged country (media, youth culture, "the left", the churches etc) with the war. To gather with people who have resisted the zombification of the mainstream media who "cover" (& bury) the ongoing Irish contributuion to an ongoing war.

-and lets face it, all false humility aside after 5 years of fine tuning, given that we have no budget and no infrastructure, we do kick ass benefit gigs!

-Paul O'Toole has been a mainstay for all our benefits and he was available, it also provided an opportunity for a bit of a reunion for folks who had accompanied the Pitstops through 3 trials. Given that the 5 Pitstops have such far flung origins, present locations and future destinations, reunions are unlikely.

*Community as the Basis of Ongoing Reistance and the Search for Peace & Justice

One thing we have realised over the last 6 years of this war is that there isn't much resistance, because there ain't much community and solidarity with resisters. In the imperial centre, we live lives that are a lot more atomised than was the case during the Vietnam War (and the anti-Vietnam War movement) of the '60s & '70's. A community of sorts emerged around the Pitstop resistance and here it was at play. In the early hours of the previous day it had also been made evident to me.

At 3 a.m. on Tuesday morning, I awoke to find my blind friend R in a neighboring bedsit had been viciously assaulted by another man living in the house. The assailant had broken into my friend's room threatened to kill him, punched him repetitively in the face and ribs, picking up a metal microphone stand, hitting my friend around the head. He had left and returned to assault him a second time. By the time I woke, I discovered my friend sitting in his room in a stunned traumatised state, the cops interviewing the assailant upstairs. I stayed with my friend and waited for the cops to arrest this guy. The cops came down emptyhanded and were about to leave stating they could take no further action tonight (it was 3.30 am), if you want to pursue this matter come to the Garda station at 10pm.

I was shocked, I said to the cops, "Run this by me real slow, this guy has just broken into this room, breaking the lock and assaulted this blind guy. He has threatened to kill him. This room is no longer secure and you are about to depart the scene of a crime without taking the assailant with you who has threatened the life of the guy with the disability he has just bashed?"

The cops left, I'm still waking up and now I'm on guard duty sitting on a stool in the bedsit facing off the closed unlocked door as my friend is nursing his injuries on the bed. I don't know, but where I come from beating up blind people is down there with raping kidz and stealing's something the criminal fraternity wouldn't even consider doing and not expect to get a bashing when they hit jail should the word get out, and it surely would. I'm not sure if the place I'm from is "Australia" or maybe it's a place called "the 70's" that doesn't exist anymore? Whichever it is, I'm a long way from there as I sit on this stool, facing this unlocked door, listening intently and considering my options.

The forces of the state, deployed with such numbers, vim and vigor to secure Shell and the U.S. military at Rossport and Shannon against nonviolent resisters, had failed to secure my friend tonight from an ongoing violent threat.

Once I got over the illusions of the state (that it does what it says on the package), I began to turn to my community (remember them? the one that emereged and connected around the Pitstop action and trials). I text punk artist S, R & I walked around to S and had R's injuries photographed and put on a disc. I rang an anti-war Doc to get advice on how to best access the illusive Irish health care system. At 6 pm, I put out a text updating folks and requesting help. Messages of concern came flooding back that countered R's feelings of humiliation and isolation that go with being bashed. Paul sent back a message that he could fix the lock, but was playing a cheesy tourist gig on Bachelors Walk. He said he'd be over after the gig. Great. In the meantime R's old friend J came to accompany him to the 10 pm appointment at the cop shop to lodge the complaint.

Paul arrived with his tool kit at midnight and departed the bedsit Wed. 2 am after securing the room and pasuing httereafter to analyse the decline of Western civilisation.....a great security pardaigm shift for R. I hit the hay (actually a leather jacket between me and the floor) after being up for 23 hours.

By Wed 7pm Paul was tuning up on the Lower Deck stage to do this gig (remember the gig?). By 11.30pm Paul O'Toole and his hastily assembled A.r.s.e. (Aging Rock Star Ensemble) were finishing their act. In the meantime we had heard from the very gifted Joe Black
who I first met carrying a guitar case at the Rialto 19 bus stop. Donal O'Kelly (that's him above doing a very convincing seagull!) was his usual brilliant self. We heard from author Harry Browne reflecting on humility, the war, the Pitstops and the impact of the anti-war movement on the U.S. elections.

We sold all the (32) copies of "Hammered by the Irish" books we had brought. We raised 600 euros for the anti-war resisters before the courts and in jail.

To me these gatherings are in their best sense sacramental - rituals of communities of celebration and resitance at play. There were 70-80 folks gathered. Some who had travelled with us over the 3 years of the Pitstop witness, action, jailtime and trials. Folks who had given us accomodation, financial support, bicycles, music, meals, written articles, taken photos, bought us pints, long hours of support inside and outside the Four Courts, intervened on our behalf with the authorities, parents, church, forgiven us and who had been forgien by us to dust ourselves down and re-engage with the important work of resisting this war.

There were a bunch of new people as well. Babs had travelled from Glasgow, Conor from Shannon, there were Austrians, Aussies, Yanks, French, Colombian, Brazilian, priests, lawyers, exprisoners, future prisoners, lotta A.A. folks, @'s over from the Seama Spraoi meeting, Mike from IAWM, fellow workers from the homeless shelter, Legalise Cannabis dudes, Rossport activists.

It was a great night, future celebrations
around Harry Browne's "Hammered by the Irish" are planned for D.I.T., Tower Records (Dublin), Glasgow, London, Galway. If you have an activist crew in your town or on your campus..we might be able to throw a few of us (defo Paul & me, maybe Joe Black and Harry when he's available) in a van, head up to your town, hook up with some local artists & activists and have a night. It would be a bit like Dylans's "Rolling Thunder Review" of the '70's, only difffferent!

author by Seán Ryanpublication date Sun Oct 12, 2008 18:45author address author phone

I had a great time at this gig.

Both the entertainment and the company were brilliant. Not bad, considering the 'no infrastructure' and 'no budget.'

Paul O'Toole is some asset. Great activist and an incredible artist. I loved the tribute to Liz and Robin. Straight from the heart man, like it should be.

I'm nearly finished the book. I can't put it down and when I'm forced to, I can't stop thinking about it. I now know loads of stuff I didn't know before and I'm not only speaking of the Ploughshares here. Harry's done himself and everyone else proud. The one criticism of the book I have is that it's not long enough. I know that when I'm finished reading that I'm going to be disappointed. The flow of the writing is so smooth and compelling that it'll be like losing a dear friend when it stops. More!!!! (please!!)

My regards to R. If I can do anything I'm only a phonecall or a text away. Don't let the bastards get you down.

author by Plowsharespublication date Mon Oct 13, 2008 15:47author address author phone

1) Presently Harry Browne's "Hammered by the Irish" is Available in Dublin from....
Afri 134 Phibsborough Rd. Phibsborough
Tower Records off Grafton St. City Centre
The Food Co-op
Harry Browne
Damien Moran
Ciaron O'Reilly

In Cork...
from James at WSM

In Shannon/Limerick..
from Conor Cregan

In London the Anarchist Bookfair Saturday Oct 18th 08
11 a.m. workshop (see program) & Catholic Worker Book Stall

In Brisbane.....
St Mary's Church stall, South Brisbane
(soon) Folio Books, City Centre
(soon) Avid Reader (West End)
(soon) Sean O'Reilly

Online from ....
AK Press


Catholic Worker Bookstore

The book is also available on Amazon:

2) Future Events around "Hammered by the Irish"

*Thursday Oct 16th. Senator David Norris launches "Hammered by the Irish" by Harry Browne.

*Saturday Oct 18th. 11 a.m. Room EB2 London Anarchist Bookfair Snr. Seargeant Steiger from "Neighbours" in hot pursuit as Ciaron O'Reilly introduces "Hammered by the Irish"

*Thursday Oct 30th. 5 pm Tower RecordsDublin City Centre, Colm Mac Con Iomaire (from "The Frames")
plays from his solo album "The Hare" ) as Harry Browne speaks to
"Hammered by the Irish"

*Hammered by the Irish" gigs presently being explored in Galway, Glasgow and Limerick.

author by interloperpublication date Tue Oct 14, 2008 13:09author address author phone

it's all fair and well now, and a pretty good book too but i was seriously taken by the striking fact that not one of the "pitstop" women were in attendance at this launch (possibly one of the more important gigs since their trial).

author by availabilitypublication date Wed Oct 22, 2008 13:21author address author phone

"Hammered by the Irish" now available at Connoly Books, Temple Bar, Dublin

author by Fred Johnstonpublication date Wed Oct 22, 2008 14:23author address author phone

Having read the book, my only real crib would be the (to me) rather off-hand regard in parts for the work of the Galway Alliance Against War and others who have made the trip to Shannon to protest. Perhaps I am mis-reading.

author by Galway Availabilitypublication date Fri Oct 24, 2008 09:16author address author phone

"Hammered by the Irish" now available from Punks Martin & Trina in Galway.
Galway book launch slated for end of November.

author by Updatepublication date Thu Oct 30, 2008 14:37author address author phone

Of the 500 copies sent by AK] San Fran 7 weeks ago.
350 of the books have been moved.

If you want a copy of this book you may have to move quickly.
Hopefully it will become a collector's item passed around the movement.

As usual, with anything anti-war in Ireland, the mainstream media have largely censored the arrival of the book. Given the lack of mainstream coverage, promotion & outlets it is a testament to the alternative distribution networks that so many copies have moved so quickly in a society disengaged from the ongoing wars and Irish complicity with them at Shannon.

Feedback on the book by those who have read it is largely positive. Readers say that you don't have to have an activist background to access the is a good read.

Today's (0ct.30) 5pm gig at Tower with Colm (from the Frames) and author Harry Browne and a launch in Galway at the end of the month are the remaining events presently planned aroond the book

author by Ciaronpublication date Sat May 23, 2009 11:11author address author phone

Last weekend I spent with Fightin' Fr. Dave Smith in Sydney. The boxing pastor mentors young marginalised men in the gym and ring in the inner city.

On Saturday night, I ended up in a Leagues Club near Newcastle, with bucket and sponge doing the acts of mercy between rounds as the "cornerman". Yup it was a new, weird and challenging experience for moi.

Below you can find a youtube (4 minute) interview and the anti-war homily (20 minute)
I gave at Dave's Sunday service.
One of the congregation happened to be a member of military intellignce and bought two copies of Harry Browne's fine book "Hammered by the Irish" (one for his boss!) about the Pitstop Ploughshares in Ireland. (get one quick while limited stocks last!)

Yutube and anti-war homily.....

author by Lord Queensberrypublication date Sat May 23, 2009 14:34author address author phone

Now that's what I call muscular christianity, with emphasis on the noble art of self defence rather than vicious attack. Did you know that a young Harlem boy called Cassius Clay learned amateur boxing in a parish club run by an Irish American priest? That was in the late 1950s. After winning an Olympic gold medal he went on to be a professional, winning the world heavyweight title a few times. He converted to Islam and renamed himself Muhammed Ali. After refusing the draft as a protest against the war in Vietnam Ali was stripped of his boxing licence by the American boxing federation; but after several years he made a great comeback. Keep slugging Ciaron.

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