Recollections: Log na Coille

As strangers from across the length and breadth of this country met for the first time, there was a sense of ease from the very moment we arrived. We had all gathered in Wicklow for one of the many hikes that Party members organise each year. We arrived not as simple members from Mayo and Tipperary, Dublin and Roscommon. We arrived as Irish Nationalists, looking to aspire to something greater than ourselves, and we found it in the valleys, mountains and streams of Wicklow.

That beautiful scenery and landscape nurtured amongst us all a sense of belonging, it reaffirmed our sense of self and fidelity. Climbing Log na Coille was easier for some, more difficult for others, but ultimately we all made it safely to the top and safely back down. It could be exhausting, tiring, draining. We picked up scrapes and cuts and bruises. But we picked up more than just that, we picked up a sense of comradery, a sense that we were involved in more than just a simple hike. What we forged in those mountains was a fraternity, a deeper understanding of ourselves, our nature, and how we fit into the greater machine that is the National Idea. We came to understand that we were all integral parts of a whole, that we all had our roles to play to achieve what we commonly desire. Whether that was members who had been involved for years, or those involved only a few weeks, we were all equals on those rocky outcrops.

Later on, as we laughed and socialised, a general sense of the benefits of this hike permeated the group. Benefits that went deeper than just going on holiday for a weekend, benefits that helped young people conquer fears and deal with depression or anxiety or just the general noise and malaise of modern Ireland. In a society plagued by youth suicide, it is sobering to imagine how many young lives could’ve been saved, if they had found a group like ours that would embrace them for who they are and not what they could give in return? How many lives will we save from those cold clutches of disillusion? Even one will justify the very existence of this Party and what we are doing today.

The National Party is more than just electoral politics, it’s more than just a political party. What we have built, and what we are building, is redemption. Redemption for those who feel lost or atomised, redemption for those who feel nationless in their own nation, safe harbour for all the men and women born into this beautiful Irish race. I am imploring you, the reader, to do more than just join the Party. I am asking you to get involved, to come to events, to join us on outings. To find your feet amongst likeminded nationalists and find a home worth fighting for. We have only ever promised, and we only ever will promise, suffering and hardship, pain and struggle. But by God will you be surrounded and accepted by the greatest men and women this country has to offer. And we’re all going to struggle through it together.

Ar dheis ar aghaidh.