The Funeral Of Jim Larkin Was A Passion Play For Dublin
The funeral of James “Big Jim” Larkin in 1947 was a passionate event for the city of Dublin. Although Larkin had long since ceased to be a major player in the Irish labor movement at the time of his death, Larkin’s contribution to securing rights for the urban working poor stands as a monumental achievement for his people.
Thousands of people lined the streets while 1,200 dockers formed an honor guard at Liberty Hall, the site of so many of Larkin’s stem-winding speeches urging his fellow Irishmen to rise up and fight the oppression of the wealthy ruling elite. Learn more about Jim Larkin: http://www.irishexaminer.com/lifestyle/artsfilmtv/books/the-definitive-biography-of-big-jim-larkin-372254.html and http://www.rte.ie/centuryireland/index.php/articles/jim-larkin-released-from-prison
Marching in the funeral procession on this cold, dreary February day were Larkin’s four sons, Denis, Fintan, Bernard and James. All of Larkin’s son went on to hold positions of public importance, including Denis who was elected to Assembly of Ireland’s lower house in 1954. He went on to serve as Lord Mayor of Dublin from 1955 to 1956. James Larkin Jr. was also elected to the Irish House for the Labor Party.
A reporter for The Irish Press, Liam MacGabHann, wrote that the funeral for Jim Larkin brought out 50 years of Irish history to march across Dublin. Another writer, Sean O’Casey, quipped, “the lion of labor will roar no more.” O’Casey went on to say that Jim Larkin, born in abject poverty, grew up to “wrest tribute from Ireland’s greatest and most prominent men.”
Larkin’s final resting place was to be Glasnevin Cemetery. At the graveside, an oration was delivered by William Norton, Labor T.D. Norton urged the crowd to use the death of Larkin as motivation for labor leaders to deepen their resolve and keep fighting for the plight of the common worker — while also putting aside the petty bickering and in-fighting that plagued the various factions within the Labor movement. Read more: James Larkin | Biography and James Larkin – Wikipedia
Today a magnificent statue of Jim Larkin graces Dublin’s O’Connell Street. It’s one of the city’s most significant landmarks — it displays Larkin with his arms upraised, urging from beyond death his fellow countrymen to continue to fight for labor rights.