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Chapter 8: 1953 – 1968

On 12th June 1953 two of the club members, S Ó Raghallaigh and L Ó Cuirc, spoke at the club about their journey and experiences in Spain. In Madrid, Valencia and Barcelona they met many Esperantists who helped them a great deal. In Valencia they visited the local Esperanto Group, which met daily, and a local Esperantist hosted them. In Barcelona their hotelier was an Esperantist, and in the window of a big shop near the hotel was the announcement “Oni parolas Esperanton” [Esperanto spoken].

The May and June numbers of the children’s periodical Junior Digest in 1953 printed excellent long articles about Esperanto, and as a result the club received 100 requests for information and learning-books. On 18th August an Esperantist from Trieste visited the club.

In October 1953 Mr Frank Riley presented an International Song Evening with songs and gramophone records, and Miss Doris Norton sang sweetly. Arrangements were begun for an Irish contingent to the 39th World Esperanto Congress at Haarlem, the Netherlands, in 1954.

From the end of 1953 to 1968 we don’t have much information about the movement in Ireland because the Notes in the Evening Mail ceased to appear. We know that the Club in North Frederick Street lasted for many years. Unfortunately, Lorcán Ó hUiginn, President of the Irish Esperanto Association, emigrated to Toronto, Canada, where until his death he took part in the Canadian Esperanto movement and published Esperanto learning books in English and French.

After the departure of Lorcán the Irish Esperanto Association reorganised. Jeremy Addis became President and P J O’Reilly was Secretary. The Treasurer was Ken McKnight. They did a great deal of campaigning for Esperanto and arranged publication, in large number, of two excellent multicoloured leaflets – one for Bord Fáilte (the Tourist Board) and the other for Aer Lingus (the national airline).  They also printed a leaflet about Dublin.

In this period many articles about Esperanto appeared in the Irish-language newspaper Inniu. Earnan De Blaghd (Ernest Blythe), Minister in the Irish government and head of the Abbey Theatre, often wrote in Inniu about the problem of international communication and was very much in favour of Esperanto.

Dr Micheál Mac Liammoir, world famous actor and intellectual, several times proposed that four languages be taught in all Irish schools – Irish, English, French and Esperanto.

In 1968 a long article by Liam Ó Cuirc about Esperanto appeared in the Sunday Independent. In the same year the Irish Esperanto Association announced that, by its invitation, the 53rd British Esperanto Congress would be held at Trinity College, Dublin, at Easter (4th – 7th April) 1969.

Chapter 9: The Great Congress of 1969


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