5: 1934/35 – The Golden Years
Early in 1934 ILKE started awarding Diplomas to students of Esperanto. There were three Diplomas – the First, the Second and the Full. It was announced that six shops were selling Esperanto books. Browne & Nolan, Nassau Street, opened a special Esperanto Section in its shop. The Dublin College, Merrion Row, decided to add Esperanto to its list of courses. Meanwhile, the regular Notes in The Irish Catholic advised readers who corresponded with Esperantists in European countries that the number 7 should be written with a little dash across it.
ILKE then had an office at 1 Wellington Quay, Dublin. It printed articles by Sean Mullarney about the Slovakian Catholic Scouts.
In 1934 new Esperantists joined from Killarney, Cork, Drogheda, Dublin and Ballyhaunis. Mr M J Waldron from Ballyhaunis published regular notes about Esperanto in The Connaught Telegraph. In Dublin the Annual General Meeting for 1934 was held on 12th December in Wynn’s Hotel, Lower Abbey Street. On 15th December the birthday of Dr Zamenhof was celebrated and it was announced that 14 shops were now selling Esperanto books. A beautiful Irish Esperanto Annual was published in that year.
In 1935 ILKE was very active. Its office remained at Wellington Quay, but it often met at 3 Ely Place. Its new committee for 1935 was: President – Fr. P Parker; Treasurer – Mr Dawson; Secretary – J M Rae; other committee members – H McNeill, H Macaulay, Lorcán Ó hUiginn.
The Irish Catholic already had a whole column every week, with lessons and news. A long-lasting Easy Course of Esperanto began in this column on 26th January 1935.
In February 1935 the Esperanto classes started again in the School of Commerce, Parnell Square, Dublin, and there were exams for the First and Second Diplomas in Dublin and Waterford. The Irish Esperanto Association announced an Esperanto/English, English/Esperanto translation service for commercial firms.
On 2nd February 1935 a Grand Dance and Whist Drive for Esperantists was held in The Country Shop, 23 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin.
On 9th March 1935 a new meeting place was found at 39 Westmoreland Street. It stayed open for information all day. In March the examinations of the Royal Society of Arts were held in all the principal towns of Ireland. They included Esperanto exams, which many people took.
In April a lecture was held at the Catholic University School, 89 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin, entirely in Esperanto. The committees of ILKE and EAI met on the first Wednesday of every month. On 18th May it was announced that the EAI had “hundreds of members”. The membership subscription was two shillings and sixpence (€0.16) per year.
A Grand Excursion by train to Bettystown was held on 7th July 1935. The weather was beautiful, the sun shone. Six days later we heard that Hitler had completely banned Esperanto in Germany.
It was announced that meetings were to be held every Monday in Westmoreland St, but it was also announced that there was “lack of money”.
In The Irish Catholic the Easy Esperanto Course finished at lesson 33, and was replaced by “Easy Reading”. A course was started in the Technical School, Parnell Square, Dublin, preparing people for the RSA diploma examination.
On 5th October 1935 Mr D Ó hEachaidh was made Administrator of the Irish-language department of ILKE, and on the 19th of the same month another Whist Drive and Dance was held, with a large attendance. Another lecture was held in Dublin on 22nd October. Sean Ó hEideain, from Naas, spoke.
In Belfast, on 2nd November 1935, an Esperanto class was started at the CYMS Hall, St Paul’s Parish, with 17 pupils. Mr Hugh Campbell taught it. In Dublin a “Turkey Tournament” was held in The Country Shop on 23rd November. There were 21 prizes.
In December Zamenhof’s Birthday was celebrated on the 14th, and on the 18th the fourth AGM was held in Wynn’s Hotel. Father Parker presided, and afterwards a good dinner was enjoyed.
So, the years 1934-35 ended with lots of activity and lots of members – the golden years.
Chapter 6: 1936-39 and the Second World War