This is Peelers & Sheep: Rebel Tales From The Land!

This is the land, but this is not a land of timeless tradition, this is the hothouse where the modern world is made.

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 not just a history podcast, this is something more.  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. These are the unknown stories of the Irish revolution, these are the stories of the uncommemorated because official Ireland doesn’t want you to remember a past where the ordinary people came together and stood up for their rights. 

The image of conflict in the rural Irish past has been one of landlords versus tenant farmers, not one where the police defended farmers’ interests from their employees. 

The image of the Irish revolution has been a militaristic one, where all the nation united behind a military elite, not one where mass mobilisation played a decisive role and not one where the nation was divided by class. 

The image of the rural Irish past has been one of little thatched cottages and family farms, pushing up from the rain-sodden earth like mushrooms wholly the outcome of natural processes, not one where history and ecology together shaped different social relations – including large farms with wage labour and the latest technology.   

Ireland has a rich history of social conflict and social movements, especially in the two centuries stretching from the middle of the 1700s to the middle of the 1900s. 

This isn’t an insular history though – it is one that speaks to the wider world in both connected and comparative ways.

These are the hidden histories of the Irish revolution

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