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Limerick Catholic Literary Institute

On Thursday night, at the Limerick Catholic Literary Institute, Mr A. Clery, 51, delivered an engaging lecture titled “Ourselves” to the institute’s members and their friends. At the end of the lecture, a warm vote of thanks was extended to the speaker. Judge Adams, who presided over the event, responded to a similar vote by expressing his disappointment with the ongoing dispute between Catholics and Protestants. He stated that while the old conflict between landlords and tenants had mostly been resolved, some individuals seemed eager to initiate a new one. Judge Adams humorously remarked, “A plague on both your houses,” emphasizing the need for unity among all classes in Ireland.

The concept of nationality was considered wise and noble, as it had been instrumental in building great states. However, Judge Adams cautioned against its misuse. He pointed out that after the Battle of Waterloo, a few sovereigns and statesmen had rearranged the map of Europe, disregarding the principle of nationality. The consequence of this disregard was the emergence of troubles and wars half a century later. He shared an anecdote about the language dispute between the Czech and German populations in Austria, recalling a humorous incident where the roof of a building collapsed during a gathering of Czech gentlemen, leading some to believe it would mark the end of the Czech language.

The lecturer touched upon the topic of emigration, noting that 40,000 to 50,000 people left Ireland annually for the United States, resulting in an annual loss of four to five million pounds for the country. Judge Adams expressed concern about how to halt this emigration. He emphasized that the issue interested everyone, irrespective of their religious or political affiliations. He acknowledged that many people would choose not to emigrate if they had better opportunities at home, but a significant population sought a more prosperous life in the United States. He shared a humorous anecdote where someone remarked that people preferred working under Mick Donovan, the head sweeper in America, earning two dollars a day, rather than earning eight or nine shillings a week in Limerick.

Judge Adams believed that the establishment and support of manufacturing industries in Ireland were crucial for keeping people in the country. He referenced a statement by Pope, who said that God made the country and man made the town, expressing his agreement with his friend, Mr John Redmond, that one of the primary causes of emigration was the prevailing dullness in rural Ireland. He argued that in the past, wakes, faction fights, and various forms of entertainment had kept the people engaged. However, he clarified that they did not desire a return to those barbarous times. He cited Mr John Morley’s observation that the Catholic Church held significant influence wherever he visited in Ireland. Judge Adams believed that the church could serve the people better by providing recreational activities and addressing the prevailing dullness in the country. He expressed regret that dancing had been suppressed and that the old style of open-air country dancing was no longer practiced, as the current form of dancing was not as enjoyable. He opined that dancing posed less harm than the streets of London or New York.

The proceedings concluded following Judge Adams’ remarks, leaving the audience with much to ponder.

Limerick Echo – Tuesday 12 January 1904

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