Interpreting the role of the violin in the ballykinlar internment camp during the 'Anglo-irish war' of 1919-1921

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

Music-making in the internment camp at Ballykinlar in Ireland during the 'Anglo- Irish' conflict, 1919-21, was one of several purposeful recreational activities that the British military permitted for prisoners. Apparently cherished by its participants (including the celebrated republican Peadar Kearney) were elementary group lessons in the classical violin and Irish fiddle, which were taught by fellow inmates Martin Walton and Frank O'Higgins, using inexpensive, imported instruments funded by the Irish White Cross. Scrutinizing a range of primary sources, this essay explores how the class functioned in the harsh situation of detention, and attributes its tolerance, even encouragement, by the British to a neo-Victorian paternalistic value-system. It further considers the appeal and meaning that the violin held for students, highlighting its possible value and function as a psychological coping mechanism in the face of 'barbed-wire disease', a motivating connection to Irish heritage, home life, and contemporary culture, and even a means of enacting covert resistance to British oppression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbergcz040
Pages (from-to)355-382
Number of pages28
JournalMusic and Letters
Volume100
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2019

Fingerprint

Violin
Internment
Primary Source
Oppression
Heritage
Detention
Tolerance
Psychological
Military
Republican
Teaching
Wire
Ireland
Prisoners
Victorian Values
Value Systems
Fiddle
Music-making

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Music

Cite this

Interpreting the role of the violin in the ballykinlar internment camp during the 'Anglo-irish war' of 1919-1921. / Bashford, Christina.

In: Music and Letters, Vol. 100, No. 2, gcz040, 01.05.2019, p. 355-382.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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