Chapter 4: Lorcán Ó hUiginn and the Movement from 1930 to 1933
Lorcán Ó hUiginn was born in 1910 and began studying Esperanto when he was 16 years old. In 1927 he became a member of the Irlanda Esperanto-Asocio, whose President at that time was F R A McCormack. When he himself became President of the Association he did a lot of lecturing and campaigning for Esperanto.
For a long time Lorcán was a stenographer in the Dáil [Irish parliament]. He taught Esperanto to other stenographers. At that time there was an Esperanto group in Leinster House, seat of the Dáil.
In the period 1937 –1939 he broadcast a series of talks from Radio Eireann in Esperanto, about the life, customs and well-known people of Ireland. Many letters were received from various European countries praising the programmes. Often the programmes were enlivened with music and songs and they improved as time passed.
Unfortunately he emigrated to Canada, where he continued his work for Esperanto and published some books. He was named as one of the best Esperantists in Canada and awarded a bouquet of roses and a prize.
Before he died (6th December 1985) Lorcán gave the following advice to Irish Esperantists:
1. Don’t change the Zamenhofian language, i.e. don’t introduce new root-words or grammatical innovations without the agreement of the Lingva Komitato [Language Committee of the World Esperanto Association - KK].
2. Set up a fund, even if only a small one, for special purposes.
3. Arrange the sale of Esperanto books in a city-centre bookshop.
4. Continually inform official authorities about Esperanto.
In July 1932, because of a request from the Irish League of Catholic Esperantists, the weekly paper The Irish Catholic began to publish a column about Esperanto and Esperanto affairs. It continued uninterrupted until the end of 1937.
In 1931 the first Esperanto club for Scouts was set up. It was called La Sankta Patrika Klubo [the St Patrick Club]. In September 1932 the paper The Catholic Scout began publishing a series of Esperanto lessons. In the same month many Girl Guides began to study Esperanto and set up the Girl Guides’ Esperanto Section. In October 1932 the Scouts started an Esperanto course.
In November 1932 the second club for Scouts, La Sankta Aŭgustina Klubo [the St Augustine Club], was started. In 1933 the Catholic Scout carried articles in Esperanto, and in the same year the Scout administration announced that Esperanto was now acknowledged as one of the languages for the Scouts’ interpreter badge. During that period an enthusiastic young Esperantist, Mr Sean Mullarney, was made official reporter on Esperanto affairs and greatly helped the scouting Esperanto movement.
The Esperanto movement also made progress outside the Scouts in 1932-33. A club was started in Mallow, and in August 1932 The National Club, in Ely Place, Dublin, was started, only for “fluent Esperanto speakers”. There were Delegates [local representatives of the UEA] in Ballyshannon, Mallow and Belfast, and it was announced that Esperanto books, and “keys” in 25 languages, were available in Browne & Nolan’s bookshop. The Linguaphone Institute (Ireland) Ltd had a good course available from 3 Grafton Street, Dublin.
It was in those years that Lorcán Ó hUiginn also used Esperanto for commercial affairs and translated correspondence for businesses. He founded Komerca Klubo [Commercial Club] for this work.
In 1933 the National Club met regularly in Berni’s Cafe, O’Connell Street. On the 9th January 1933 Sean Mullarney addressed the club and received a diploma for Esperanto speaking.
Around that time the Irish League of Catholic Esperantists divided into three clubs – those for younger people, for older people, and for Scouts & Guides. Its President, Father Gaffney, had to move to Sligo but the work continued. An interesting experiment was started, the Cirkulantaj Gazetoj [circulating periodicals]. The Head Office sent out periodicals free to an Esperantist, who in turn sent them to another member, and that one to another, and so on. Competitions were arranged as well. For one essay competition the prize was an aeroplane flight over Dublin.
In April 1933 an eminent Esperantist, Dr Solzbacher from Cologne, visited Dublin and met the Lord Mayor and Eamon De Valera, the Taoiseach (prime minister). In December 1933 Lorcán Ó hUiginn began teaching an Esperanto course in the School of Commerce, Parnell Square. The same December, on the 12th, was the Annual General Meeting of the Irlanda Esperanto-Asocio with a large attendance.