Archive for December 8, 2018

There are many ways to go mad…

Posted in History, Music with tags , , , on December 8, 2018 by telescoper

The clip below is of a live performance by Irish folk artist Lisa O’Neill (who is from Cavan) of her own song, `Violet Gibson’. I heard the studio version from her CD on the radio the other day and the first line really caught my attention. The Youtube version is preceded by a lengthy spoken by Lisa O’Neill which is worth listening to but if you want to jump to the point where the song starts, that’s about 5:27.

The story of Violet Gibson is both bizarre and tragic. She was in 1876 into a well-to-do family living in Merrion Square in Dublin. Her father, Edward Gibson, was made Baron Ashbourne in 1886. To cut a long story short, at 11am on 26th April 1926, Violet Gibson turned up in Rome where she attempted to shoot Fascist Leader Benito Mussolini with a pistol. She only failed in this task because Mussolini moved his head at the instant she pulled the trigger, and the bullet just grazed his nose. She tried to fire again, but her gun jammed. She was then seized by the angry mob of fascist supporters with whom she had mingled to get close enough to shoot. She was almost lynched but saved by the police. Eventually, the authorities came to the conclusion that she was insane and she was sent back to England. She spent the rest of her life in a psychiatric institution in Northampton. She died in 1956, at the age of 79.

P.S. If you want to find out more about Violet Gibson, I recommend a book about her life called The Woman Who Shot Mussolini by Frances Stonor Saunders.

P.P.S. Cavan is the county town of County Cavan, which is in the Irish Border Region. Although part of the province of Ulster, it is in the Republic of Ireland.