Did you know that Zorro was an Irishman?
The latest documentary from Documentary on Newstalk tells the story of an extraordinary Irishman whose life reads like chapters from an adventure book.
In Man and Myth, producer J.J. O`Shea takes a look at the life of an extraordinary Irishman whose life reads like an adventure book, and whose political stand saw him burnt at the stake by the Mexican Inquisition in 1659…
This programme examines the influential and colourful life of William Lamport (1615-1659), an extraordinary Irishman who deserves to be better known. It has been said that Lamport, who was the son of wealthy Wexford merchants, was an inspiration behind the fictional character of Zorro, but the life of this child prodigy, pirate, soldier, poet, astrologer, spy and polemicist, who was burned at the stake by the Mexican Inquisition, is as strange as any fictional hero.
A statue of Lamport stands inside the vestibule of Mexico City`s Monumento a la Independencia, Mexico`s most important monument to national independence. It`s there in recognition of the part he played in the long journey towards Mexican Independence. It was Lamport who wrote the first Proclamation of Mexican Independence in 1642 in a document which also advocated the freedom of African Slaves and the return of lands to the indigenous Indian population at a time when such egalitarian concepts were not at all common. He also attempted to defend the Portugese or “Crypto” Jews against the persecution they suffered under the Inquisition.
Historians chart the significant events in Lamport`s life leading up to his death at the hands of the Inquisition and we hear excerpts from his political writings and his poetry which was written in prison and which he titled “psalms.” Ambassador Barbara Jones of the Irish Embassy in Mexico explains why she feels William Lamport is still a relevant figure for us in today`s political climate and she comments on the motivations behind the 400th anniversary events in 2015 celebrating Lamport`s birth that was initiated by the Irish Embassy.
BROADCAST/PODCAST: Man and Myth by JJ O’Shea will air on Newstalk 106-108fm on Sunday June 2nd at 7am, with a repeat broadcast on Bank Holiday Monday June 3rd at 11am. Podcast available on www.newstalk.com after first broadcast.
CREDITS: "Man and Myth: The Story of William Lamport" was Produced and Presented by J.J. O`Shea. Translations of Lamport`s writings were taken from “An Irish Rebel in New Spain” by Andrea Martinez Baracs and “The Irish Zorro” by Gerard Ronan. This programme was supported by a grant from the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, as part of the Sound and Vision Scheme.