It is good to be wet

May 27th, 2008 | By | Category: International

It was the third Sunday in July and the rain was lashing down.

The annual Tolpuddle Martyrs Memorial rally was drenched. Dampness permeated everything. Even with its poles resting on the ground, as the rally gathered around the platform for the speeches, the banner had become heavy; the fiery yellow colours at the centre of the banner had been dulled by the soaking. Standing in the rain, even the cheery notes of the brass band had ceased as the speakers began their addresses.

It came the turn of a government minister to speak.

“Are you all wet?”

“Yes”, shouted the crowd.

“Are you all soaked to the skin?”


“Don’t you think the men from this village who were transported to Australia would have loved to have stood here? As they laboured in the heat, don’t you think they would have loved to have felt the falling rain? Don’t you think they would have loved to have stood under grey Dorset skies instead of being on the other side of the world, sent there for no reason other than trying to organize themselves?”

The crowd roared its approval.

Ever since that Sunday afternoon, being wet has brought thoughts of the men from Tolpuddle.

It is a cold, windy, wet Dublin morning, and the overwhelming majority of the people in the world would love to be here for it.

Any rain at all would be welcome for many people.


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  1. Very true Ian. Whilst we’ve had plenty of rain this summer and autumn on the eastern seabord,you only have to travel a couple of hundred kms to see that the drought still rages over inland regions. The hay I feed my horses is $29 a bale due to shipping costs, imagine feeding your sheep at that expense? Until this year, there were many 7 year olds who had never sploshed in a puddle! Water restrictions here are now permanent. If only we, and indeed those LESS fortunate than us, could import it from the Emerald Isle?

  2. @ Baino:

    My geography/history of Oz is minimal. Did those deported work on land which is now occupied by major cities?

  3. I imagine so. Even today, the majority of the population is on the coast although convicts were given to farmers and settlers who moved to country and once emancipated, they were given grants of land to farm for themselves. Kellyville where I live is renown for an Irish convict rebellion in the mid 1890’s. The road to windsor was built on Irish convict labour and this would have been considered very rural in the day.

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