Peelers And Sheep
Ep 8: The Factory Farm and the Forest Frontier
Season 1, Ep. 8
All about habitat destruction, simplified eco-systems, declining bio-diversity and how this ties in the spread of zoonotic diseases such as Ebola, AIDS, Avian Flu & Swine Flu – looking not just at human impact on nature but at particularly capitalist forms of agriculture & resource extraction and how that form of society determines environmental crises.
Ep 7: Landscape of Lyme.
All about landscape as a historic creation – how what we often think of as ‘nature’ has been shaped by generations of human activity – especially farming.Changing land uses impact on eco-systems and helps spread zoonotic diseases – that’s diseases that come to us from animals – like Covid, AIDS, Ebola, Avian Flu. This episode particularly focuses on lyme and the relationship between lyme and suburbanisation in the US.
Ep 6: In Dublin County In 1913.
Starting in the summer just before the famous Lock-Out of 1913 was a movement of farm workers in the rural parts of Dublin – back then the countryside went in as far as Crumlin. So this is Dublin in 1913, but not the Dublin of trams and tenements— this is the Dublin of bullocks and brassicas. Dublin had its own particular agricultural industry with a strong presence of market gardening. The main centres of the movement included Clondalkin and Swords. Also coming into the story is the farmers’ leader Andrew Kettle, who was the father of Tom Kettle, and who had a long career in public life going back to the Tenants’ Right League of the 1850s.
Ep 5: Notes on the Defence of Irish Country Houses.
Season 1, Ep. 5
The name comes from a draft document composed in 1914 by Colonel George O'Callaghan-Westropp, self-styled as The O’Callaghan, a county Clare landlord. O'Callaghan-Westropp was an activist in the British conservative-nationalist mobilisation against Home Rule and lost out through agrarian agitation and government intervention in the years running up to 1914 (that is the years of the Ranch War). He later re-invented himself as a leading activist in the Irish Farmers’ Union. This episode tells his story and also looks at the Farmers’ Union and its clash with the labour movement over attempts to control food prices through regulating food exports in 1920 (the Butter and Bacon Embargo).The Irish Farmers’ Union also had a political wing – the Irish Farmers’ Party and a proposed paramilitary wing – the Farmers’ Freedom Force.
Ep 4: Dubs, Dirty Shirts and World Revolution.
Where were the Irish regiments of the British Army in 1919‒21? This episode goes from Cairo and Constantinople to Iraq and India and puts the Irish revolution into its global context through some of the scribblings of Sir Henry Wilson - the Longford man who was Chief of the Imperial General Staff – the highest military position in the British Empire. From January 1919 onwards the Empire was beset by strikes, riots and protests and so the agenda shifted from the expansion of the Empire to its defence — even to the defence of London. In 1919-21 the Dirty Shirts – the Royal Munster Fusiliers - were in Cairo, and the Dubs – the Royal Dublin Fusiliers - were in Constantinople.Other Irish units were in Iran, Iraq, and India.
Ep3: The Last Campaign Of The Leinsters
Season 1, Ep. 3
In the Autumn of 1921 men of the 1st Battalion Leinster Regiment were in action against a rebellion in Malabar, in the south-west of what was then British India. This was the last combat of any of the southern Irish regiments which were disbanded in 1922.In this podcast there is some of the history of the Irish regiments and of Irish recruitment to the British Army, then something of the background to the rebellion itself, as well as the story of the actual fighting. The men of the Leinster Regiment played a pivotal role in the early days of the uprising.
Ep 2: Prairie Fire
Season 1, Ep. 2
This episode looks at the West of Ireland agrarian movement of the spring and early summer of 1920. That year saw a widespread popular mobilisation known as the cattle drives - crowds assembling to drive cattle and sheep off disputed land.This movement was a major factor underpinning the land reform policies of the new Irish Free State - policies which lead to almost 20% of farmland being re-distributed. The episode takes in the story of the movement itself, as well as the social structure which it arose in reaction to.Also examined is the response of the republican leadership, who put considerable effort into putting an end to the agrarian movement.
Ep 1: The Forgotten
Season 1, Ep. 1
This episode is about the farm labour strike in Meath and Kildare in July and August 1919. Farm workers were by far the largest single group in the transport union during the revolutionary years.The episode will look at the forming of small local unions in 1917 and 1918 as well as the epic clash in 1919. The strike that year saw robust picketing by farm workers, sympathetic action by drovers and dockers, and even rail sabotage by the IRA.The Transport Union’s expansion into rural Ireland laid the foundation for the largest single strike in Irish history – the general strike in support of hunger-striking political prisoners in Mountjoy Gaol in April 1920.The podcast also deals with the socio-economic background to the dispute – especially the food supply measures of the 1914 to 1918 war.
Teaser: This Is A Rebel Story
The name Peelers and Sheep comes from an incident in the 1919 Meath and Kildare farm labour strike.It took eleven policemen, nicknamed peelers, led by a sergeant and a head constable, with fixed bayonets, just to deliver thirteen sheep to Drumree railway station.In the end, as you’ll discover when listening to our first episode, the bayonets of the Royal Irish Constabulary were of no avail, the sheep were boycotted in Dublin and returned on the very next train.This is the land, but this is not a land of timeless tradition, this is the hothouse where the modern world is made.This is a rebel story.This is a story of people who are not the big names of Irish history. This is not the history you learned in school.This is history from below.