Connell James (Musician)
1852 - 1929
Born at Kilskyre, Crossakiel, County Meath in 1850,
he was a Fenian and a Land Leaguer who had a varied career as a labourer, a sheep farmer, a journalist and a self taught lawyer.
He became secretary of the
Workmen's Legal Friendly Society
after he went to London and joined the Social Democratic Federation.
He wrote "The Red Flag " which became the socialist anthem, which was set to air by a Mr. Headingly, the air being the same as the German song " Tanenbaum ".
"Did I think the song would live? ... yes I did - the last line shows I did.
"This song shall be our parting hymn". I reflected that in writing the song I gave expression to not only my own best thoughts and feelings but also those of every genuine socialist I know... I decided that the line should stand."
In 1924 the Labour Prime Minister tried to oust it and had a competition to find a suitable anthem, but the judges said that none of the 300 songs entered for the competition could match " The Red Flag ", thus keeping it as their anthem.
Connell died on 8th February 1929 in London where he had lived for many years.
(left) Monument in memory of
was erected in 1998
in Crossakiel, at the spot
where James Connell
spoke to a crowd of 600 in 1918.