By Maurice “Mossy” Martin Special to the Gazette
March is Irish history month and with St. Patrick’s Day around the corner, I thought I’d mention a little known Irish hero, Jeremiah Mee, born in March of 1889 in Glennamaddy, County Galway. Mee was a Police Constable, starting his career in Sligo in 1911 and his police duties were fairly mundane. However, things took a violent turn in April of 1916, during the “Easter Rising”, an insurrection, which began on Easter Sunday morning in pursuit of an independent Irish Republic. The violence culminated in 1920 when Royal Irish Constables opened fire at a Gaelic soccer match at Croke Park, Dublin, killing 14 and wounding 65, an occurrence forever known as “Bloody Sunday. ” At a meeting in Listowel, County Kerry in 1920, attended by Jeremiah Mee, Lt. Col. Gerald Smyth, in his pursuit of IRA members, addressed the Constables, saying; ” If they don’t immediately put their hands up, shoot to kill. It’s ok if innocent people occasionally get killed.” The speech, which was later published in the Irish Bulletin, was too much for Constable Mee who summarily resigned, saying; “I see by your accent you are English and by your ignorance you don’t realize you are speaking to Irishmen.” Lt. Col. Smyth ordered Mee’s arrest but another Constable stated: “If Mee is touched, this room will run red with blood.” In what became known as the Listowel Mutiny, 13 Constables resigned that day and Mee joined with Irish patriot Michael Collins in pursuit of Ireland’s independence, which would come in 1922. Meanwhile Mee was a wanted man and his family farm was burned to the ground by the “Black and Tan,” a group of loathsome men who joined forces with the Royal Irish Constablulary. Mee died in 1953 and a memorial plaque at his birthplace in Glennamaddy reads that: “He exemplified courage and patriotism in the face of intimidation.” I’m reminded when I was a was little boy in Mission Hill and my father, who lived in Ireland from 1909 until 1927, would curse the Black and Tan, the more Budweisers he consumed, the louder the curses. There is a spirited song about the Black and Tan (1991), called “Come Out Ye Black And Tan” by The Wolfe Tones, a terrific Irish music band. Speaking of Irish music, I often go to Brendan Behan’s in Jamaica Plain. Normally I don’t promote taverns outside of Mission Hill, but the Hill pubs, to my chagrin, are devoid of Irish music. Brendan Behan’s has terrific Irish Sessions on Saturday from 4-8 p.m. My bottle of Coors Light is only $3 bucks and served with a smile by bartenders, Mike Condon and pretty Jessica Murtha. I like to hang in the front corner of the bar, known as “Patsie’s Corner” named for Patrick Long, an affable Irishman who spins interesting tales in that area while sipping his Corona.. It was nice meeting my neighbor here at the Charlesbank Apartments, 92-year old Enoch “Woody” Woodhouse. Woody, who graduated from English High School and Yale University, has led a stately life. He is an attorney and he is a retired Lt. Col. in the U.S. Air Force Reserves. Still sharp in the mind, Woody loves Mission Hill and this inspirational man said, “I wouldn’t want to live anyplace else.” City Councilor, Josh Zakim, who represents Mission Hill, stops by Mike’s Donuts on a monthly basis to converse with his constituents. Last month I and others engaged in a compelling conversation with Josh about several issues including sanctuary cities, illegal aliens and ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement). Councilor Zakim and several folks in the coffee shop believe ICE should be abolished. I disagree. A little more than a year ago ICE, targeting sanctuary cities, arrested 500 criminal aliens including 50 from Ma., several of whom were wanted for serious felonies. Josh argues that ICE is targeting many people here illegally who are otherwise law abiding and if that is true, he has a valid point. Stop by Mike’s for a coffee and a chat with Josh, who is a good guy and there are less-pressing concerns discussed, such as parking tickets, housing and normal City Council matters.
It was great seeing Mission Hill’s Wayne Selden play well for the Chicago Bulls in their thumping of the Celtics last Saturday night. Wayne is a nice kid from a wonderful family. It doesn’t seem too long ago when Wayne was my bat boy for Mission Hill Liquors in the local softball league. It was a packed house Saturday evening (Feb. 23) at the Squealing Pig for the “Unite Against Cancer” fundraiser. Thanks to Mission Hill’s favorite band, “Jason Bennett and the Resistance,” who performed marvelously. Among the notable pretty faces sitting bar side were Janet Earley, Anna Debenadictis and former Jamaica Plain Main Street Director Randace Raucher.