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Sunday, 30 April 2017


30‭ ‬April‭ ‬1916:‭ ‬The Rising in Dublin fizzled out on this day.Sniping had continued overnight as the Rising came to an end.‭ ‬The captured insurgents who were held outside the Rotunda over the night were marched off to Richmond Barracks,‭ ‬Inchicore.‭ ‬Here they were screened and questioned by detectives of the DMO‭ ‘‬G‭’ ‬Division under military supervision.


In his Prison Cell Padraig Pearse wrote out a brief note reiterating his instructions of the previous day that was forwarded on to the Republican Garrisons that still held out:

In order to prevent further slaughter of the civil population and in the hope of saving the lives of our followers,‭ ‬the members of the Provisional Government present at headquarters have decided on an unconditional surrender,‭ ‬and commandants or officers commanding districts will order their commands to lay down arms.‭ ‬
P.H.‭ ‬Pearse.‭ ‬Dublin‭ ‬30th April‭ ‬1916.


This brought about the surrender of the various outlying Insurgent positions as orders were brought to them to lay down their arms.‭ However at first the various garrison Commanders refused to believe that the Rising was over and had deep suspicions that the messages brought to them were genuine. But by late afternoon it became apparent that the fighting had stopped and further confirmation arrived that the messages were indeed genuine.


By last light that day the Rising in Dublin was effectively over.


The cost had been high, some 485 people were dead and over 2,500 wounded. The centre of the City of Dublin was in ruins and the financial cost ran into the millions. It estimated that about half the casualties of Easter Week were innocent civilians. Nothing would ever be the same again after the most seminal event in modern Irish History.





Saturday, 29 April 2017


29‭ ‬April‭ ‬1916:‭ Padraig Pearse decided to cease fighting on this day. ‬Nurse Elizabeth O’Farrell was allowed into the British lines carrying an offer to lay down arms. General Lowe offered only Unconditional Surrender and at‭ ‬3.30‭ ‬pm that afternoon Pearse agreed and handed over his sword to the General in token of the acceptance of terms.‭

It was about‭ ‬3.30‭ ‬pm when General Lowe received Commandant Pearse at the top of Moore Street,‭ ‬in Parnell Street.‭ ‬One of the officers that had been a prisoner in the GPO was asked to identify Pearse and he could not‭ ‬-‭ ‬he said he did not see him in the GPO.‭ ‬He asked Commandant Pearse was he in the GPO,‭ ‬and he said he was‭ ‬-‭ ‬the officer said:‭ '‬I did not see you there‭'‬.‭ ‬Commandant Pearse then handed his sword to General Lowe.‭"

Nurse Farrell

After meeting General Maxwell at British Army HQ at Parkgate St beside the Phoenix Park orders were sent out by Pearse to the various Republican garrisons still holding out to lay down their arms and surrender:

In order to prevent the further slaughter of Dublin citizens,‭ ‬and in the hope of saving the lives of our followers now surrounded and hopelessly outnumbered,‭ ‬members of the Provisional Government present at headquarters have agreed to an unconditional surrender,‭ ‬and the commandants of the various districts in the city and county will order their commands to lay down their arms.‭ (‬Signed‭) ‬P.H.‭ ‬Pearse,‭ ‬29‭ ‬April,‭ ‬1916,‭ ‬3.45‭ ‬pm

James Connolly also countersigned the surrender order,‭ ‬but only for men under his command in Moore Street and the St Stephen's Green area.‭

Commandant Ned Daly was allowed to lead a march of his men from the Four Courts to the surrender point at the Gresham Hotel in Upper O’Connell St.‭

One of the prisoners from Moore St recalled:

We filed out onto Moore Street and were lined up into fours and were marched up O'Connell Street and formed into two lines on each side of the street.‭ ‬We marched up to the front and left all our arms and ammunition and then went back to our original places.‭ ‬Officers with notebooks then came along and took down our names‭…

JOSEPH SWEENEY

That night the Insurgents who surrendered were held under armed guard on open ground beside the Rotunda at the top of O’Connell St.


We were ordered to dump as much stuff as we could in the houses…We laid down arms between the Gresham and Parnell Monument.‭ ‬I don't remember any white flag.‭ ‬We were herded into the Rotunda Gardens,‭ ‬in a patch of grass in front.‭ ‬We were lying on top of one another.‭ ‬I was quite near Collins and Joe Plunkett.‭ ‬I remember the British officer threatening to shoot the whole lot of us,‭ ‬and Collins saying to this officer,‭ '‬This is a very sick man‭; ‬will you leave him alone‭' ‬-‭ ‬or words to that effect.‭ ‬He was,‭ ‬of course,‭ ‬referring to Joe Plunkett.

Eamon Bulfin

Pearse’s surrender that day in Dublin was by a twist of fate one that to the day matched with a far greater surrender of soldiers to their enemies. Far away on the plains of Mesopotamia a British Army under Major General Townsend was forced to surrender to the Turks after a four month siege in the town of Kut on the banks of the Tigris river. Some 13,500 British and Indian troops were taken prisoner, many of whom were to die in captivity. It was Britain’s greatest military defeat of the War.




28‭ ‬April‭ ‬1916:‭ ‬The Insurrection continued in Dublin on this day.

General Sir John Maxwell arrived by boat from England.‭ ‬He came with orders to crush the Rising by whatever means were necessary.‭ ‬He was previously the GOC Egypt and a veteran of Britain’s Colonial Wars.‭ ‬He had recently suppressed a revolt of the Senussi People in Western Desert.‭ ‬He issued a Proclamation:


The most vigorous measures will be taken by me to stop the loss of life and damage to property which certain misguided persons are causing in their armed resistance to the law.‭ ‬If necessary I shall not hesitate to destroy any buildings within any area occupied by the rebels and I warn all persons within the area specified below,‭ ‬and now surrounded by HM troops,‭ ‬forthwith to leave such area.

By Friday morning much of the GPO was on fire and sections of the roof were collapsing.‭ ‬It was obvious to the men inside that they would have to evacuate the building sooner or later.‭ ‬One plan being considered was to tunnel through to the adjoining buildings and join up with the Four Courts garrison.‭ ‬However,‭ ‬this was not possible because of the worsening military situation.‭ ‬The British now had most of the streets around the GPO well covered with snipers and machine guns.

At around‭ ‬8‭ ‬pm Padraig Pearse decided to evacuate the GPO,‭ ‬which was aflame and under constant bombardment.[above] ‬He decided‭ ‬to try to escape via Henry Street and establish a new headquarters somewhere near there.‭ ‬The narrow streets around Henry Street and Moore Street were filled with smoke from the burning buildings.‭ ‬There was a great deal of confusion.‭ ‬In addition,‭ ‬nobody was quite sure exactly what the exact locations of the British Army were.‭ ‬Several groups of garrison tried to make their way down Henry Street but came under heavy fire.‭ ‬One of the casualties was The O’Rahilly who had come to Liberty Hall on Easter Monday to join the Rising even though he had initially tried to stop it going ahead.‭

Elizabeth O'Farrell,‭ ‬had been one of only three women‭ (‬all members of Cumann na mBan‭) ‬left in the GPO after Pearse had ordered the others to leave that morning.‭ ‬She recalled‭

We left in three sections,‭ ‬I being in the last.‭ ‬Commandant Pearse was the last to leave the building.‭ ‬He went round to see that no one was left behind.‭ ‬We immediately preceded him,‭ ‬bullets raining from all quarters as we rushed to Moore Lane.

Eventually Pearse,‭ ‬Connolly,‭ ‬Plunkett,‭ ‬Clarke and MacDermott halted in a house at‭  ‬Moore Street,‭ ‬number‭ ‬16,‭ ‬where they planed to make their way through back streets to the Four Courts for a last stand.

However the British were not much the wiser of their opponents movements and continued to attack the GPO even after it was evacuated.

British troops killed up to a dozen innocent civilians on North King St in heavy fighting.‭ ‬At least some of these were killed in cold blood.‭ ‬But here only a handful of fighters remained and the British effectively controlled the area by nightfall.

In the north of County Dublin a Volunteer column under Thomas Ashe ambushed a convoy of RIC men.‭ ‬A running battle between members of the RIC and the insurgents took place,‭ ‬lasting‭ ‬five hours.‭ ‬The police casualties were heavy:‭ ‬the Meath‭ ‬County and District Inspectors,‭ ‬two sergeants and four‭ ‬constables were killed,‭ ‬and‭ ‬16‭ ‬constables wounded.‭ ‬Ashbourne barracks was captured but‭ ‬Volunteers Thomas Rafferty and John Crennigan lost their lives.

Thursday, 27 April 2017



27 April 1916:  Irish soldiers gassed at Hulluch on this day. As fighting raged in Dublin troops from Ireland serving in the British Army suffered terrible casualties at a place called Hulluch in northern France. The little village is situated just north of the town of Lens in northern France in the pas de Calais region.

The troops were part of the 16th (Irish) Division of the British Army who were targeted by the II (Bavarian) Corps of the German Army to be subjected to a Gas attack. The Irish knew an attack was imminent but the question was when? Early in the morning of the 27th the Germans struck and the deadly concoction of Chlorine & Phosgene was released from over 3,000 gas cylinders hidden along the German front lines. This caused soldiers to choke to death or to be so incapacitated that they could not resist an enemy attack. For whatever reason, faulty respirators, or just being caught off guard the men of the 8th Royal Dublin Fusiliers suffered particularly badly that day. In two days the 8th Battalion lost 368 men from all causes out of 946 recorded as present at the battle.

An officer of the 7th Leinster regiment, Lieutenant Lyon, had the terrible task of gathering the dead. ‘They were in all sorts of tragic attitudes, some of them holding hands like children in the dark.’ He and his men found themselves pestered for the next few days by ‘half-poisoned rats by the hundred.’

The Chaplain to the Dublin Fusiliers (Father Willie Doyle) described the scenes after the attack in a letter home to his father:

Many men died before I could reach them and were gone before I could pass back. There they lay, scores of them (we lost 800, nearly all from gas) in the bottom of the trench, in every conceivable posture of human agony; the cloths torn off their bodies in a vain effort to breathe while from end to end of that valley of death came one long unceasing moan from the lips of brave men fighting and struggling for life.

Two days later the Germans struck again and this time the 7th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers were the main target and they also suffered huge casualties. Out of 647 present they lost 263 most of them gassed. Ironically the wind then turned and the deadly cloud drifted back on the German lines and inflicted similar punishment on their own men.

The Official History of the War quotes casualties for this attack for 27th and 29th April, as 570 killed (232 from shelling, 338 from gas) and 1,410 wounded (488 from shelling, 922 from gas).


27‭ ‬April‭ ‬1916:‭ ‬The Insurrection continued in Dublin on this day.

The British commenced a bombardment of the GPO from close range.‭ ‬Buildings on the street were soon on fire and many were engulfed by the flames.‭ ‬.‭ ‬While supervising the erection of a barricade in a nearby street,‭ ‬James Connolly was wounded in the ankle and had to be helped back into the GPO.

Supplies in the City began to run short and many civilians became desperate for food.

‭"‬Thursday,‭ ‬April‭ ‬27th,‭ ‬after lunch‭ ‬-‭ ‬In the forenoon I was down at Morehampton Road shop.‭ ‬All there was normal but supplies somewhat limited.‭ ‬Afterwards down at Baggot St.‭ (‬Upper‭)‬.‭ ‬Many shops were closed and supplies in many were running out.‭ ‬No meat.‭ ‬Got the last Oxtongue and‭ ‬2‭ ‬Mutton Kidneys at Butchers,‭ ‬all meat commandeered by military.‭ ‬Carried home,‭ ‬2‭ ‬stone Potatoes and meat,‭ ‬everybody out carrying home their own stores.‭"
Alfred Fannin‭ ‬Letters from Dublin,‭ ‬Easter‭ ‬1916


In North King Street there was intense house to house fighting and armoured cars were used to back up the British assaults.‭ ‬Further up the river the Four Courts,‭ ‬held by Commandant Edward Daly and his men,‭ ‬came under attack from the British artillery.‭ ‬Over at the South Dublin Union Cathal Brugha was wounded in the continued fighting.

At about‭ ‬10‭ ‬pm that Thursday evening,‭ ‬an oil depot opposite the GPO exploded sending flames high into the night sky.

This night also was calm and beautiful,‭ ‬but this night was the most sinister and woeful of all those that have passed.‭ ‬The sound of artillery,‭ ‬of rifles,‭ ‬machine guns,‭ ‬grenades,‭ ‬did not cease for a moment.‭ ‬From my window I saw a red flare that crept to the sky,‭ ‬and stole over it and remained there glaring‭; ‬the smoke reached from the ground to the clouds,‭ ‬and I could see great red sparks go soaring to enormous heights‭; ‬while always,‭ ‬in the calm air,‭ ‬hour after hour there was the buzzing and rattling and thudding of guns,‭ ‬and,‭ ‬but for the guns,‭ ‬silence.

James Stephens‭ ‬The Insurrection in Dublin




Wednesday, 26 April 2017


26‭ ‬April‭ ‬1916:‭ ‬Field guns from Trinity College and the gunboat‭ ‬Helga on the River Liffey bombarded the Irish Citizen’s Army HQ at Liberty Hall and demolished it.‭ ‬Buildings in O’Connell St were also targeted and destroyed.‭ ‬The upper floor of the GPO was evacuated as the men there came under sustained attack from British snipers and guns.

Wednesday,‭ ‬April‭ ‬26th,‭ ‬9.30‭ ‬a.m.‭ ‬-‭ ‬While we were dressing a terrific bombardment with field guns began‭ ‬-‭ ‬the first we had heard‭ ‬-‭ ‬and gave me cold shivers.‭ ‬The sound seemed to come from the direction of the G.P.O.,‭ ‬and we concluded they were bombarding it.‭ ‬It went on for a quarter of an hour‭ ‬-‭ ‬awful‭! ‬big guns and machine-guns‭ ‬-‭ ‬and then ceased,‭ ‬but we hear they were bombarding Liberty Hall,‭ ‬the headquarters of Larkin and the strikers two years ago,‭ ‬and always a nest of sedition.‭ ‬It is now crammed with Sinn Feiners.‭ ‬The guns were on H.M.S.‭ ‬Helga,‭ ‬that came up the river and smashed it from within about three hundred yards.‭ ‬It made me feel quite sick.‭
 ‭
Mary Louisa Hamilton Norway‭ ‬The Sein Fein Rebellion as I saw it

The Battle of Mount Street Bridge:‭ ‬British soldiers from the Sherwood Foresters regiment came under fire from a handful of Republican positions as they approach the Bridge there as they made their way up‭  ‬Northumberland Rd.‭ ‬Despite repeated attempts they were driven back sustaining over‭ ‬200‭ ‬casualties.‭

They were raw troops just off the boat from England.‭ ‬While the Officers and men showed great bravery they were tactically naïve and constantly launched full frontal attacks that cut down scores of them at a time.‭ ‬The defenders of the Bridge put up an equally heroic resistance against overwhelming odds and managed to hold their positions.‭ 

 Eventually the British troops took Clanwilliam House by storm.‭ ‬Three of the twelve defenders were killed.‭ ‬The Insurgents were men drawn from the garrison at Boland’s Mill under the orders of Commandant Eamon De Valera.

British forces entered O’Connell St.‭ ‬and took up positions to cover the GPO and suppress the garrison within.‭ ‬A concentrated fire was opened on the GHQ of the Rising and the effects began to tell.

I was looking on O‭' ‬Connell Bridge and Sackville Street,‭ ‬and the house facing me was Kelly's‭ ‬-‭ ‬a red-brick fishing tackle shop,‭ ‬one half of which was on the Quay and the other half in Sackville Street.‭ ‬This house was being bombarded.‭
I counted the report of six different machine guns,‭ ‬which played on it.‭ ‬Rifles innumerable and from every sort of place were potting its windows,‭ ‬and at intervals of about half a minute the shells from a heavy gun lobbed in through its windows or thumped mightily against its walls.‭
For three hours that bombardment continued,‭ ‬and the walls stood in a cloud of red dust and smoke.‭ ‬Rifle and machine gun bullets pattered over every inch of it,‭ ‬and unfailingly the heavy gun pounded its shells through the windows.‭"‬

James Stephens‭ ‬The Insurrection in Dublin





Monday, 24 April 2017

Image result for 1916 proclamation
24‭ ‬April‭ ‬1916:‭ ‬The Easter Rising/‭ ‬Amach na Cásca‭ ‬began.‭ ‬The Irish Volunteers and the Irish Citizen Army seized various locations around the centre of Dublin including:

The GPO‭; ‬The Four Courts‭; ‬Boland's Mill,‭ ‬Jacob’s biscuit factory‭; ‬St.‭ ‬Stephen's Green and strategic buildings such as the South Dublin Union‭ (‬now St.‭ ‬James‭' ‬Hospital‭) ‬as well as important approaches to the city such as Mount Street Bridge.‭ ‬Outbreaks of street fighting in the City commenced as the insurgents engaged members of the Crown Forces and endeavoured to secure their positions.

About noon outside the GPO Padraig Pearse read out the Proclamation of the Irish Republic:

IRISHMEN AND IRISHWOMEN:‭ ‬In the name of God and of the dead generations from which she receives her old tradition of nationhood,‭ ‬Ireland,‭ ‬through us,‭ ‬summons her children to her flag and strikes for her freedom‭…‬.

‭ ‬signed by Thomas J.‭ ‬Clarke‭; ‬Sean Mac Diarmada‭; ‬Thomas MacDonagh P.‭ ‬H.‭ ‬Pearse,‭ ‬Eamon Ceannt‭; ‬James Connolly and Joseph Plunkett.

Apart from the GPO the other garrisons of the insurgents were distributed as follows:

First battalion:‭ ‬Under Commandant Edward Daly,‭ ‬took possession of the Four Courts.
Second battalion:‭ ‬Commandant Thomas McDonagh‭ – ‬occupied Jacob’s Biscuit factory.
Third battalion:‭ ‬Commandant Eamon de Valera‭ ‬-‭ ‬occupied Boland’s flour mills and the railway line from Westland Row to Lansdowne Road.
Fourth Battalion:‭ ‬Commandant Eamon Ceannt occupied the South Dublin Union.‭[‬James Street Hospital‭]‬.
The Citizen Army commanded by Michael Mallin and Countess Markievizc occupied St.‭ ‬Stephen’s Green.

That day the men in the GPO fired upon patrol of British Lancers making their way down Sackville St,‭ ‬killing some of them and forcing the others to flee.‭ ‬There was also fighting at St Stephens Green,‭ ‬Dublin Castle,‭ ‬O’Connell St.‭ ‬and the North Wall.‭ ‬Commandant Daly seized the British Army’s Linen Hall Barracks in north central Dublin.

Overall the armed clashes on Easter Monday were little more than skirmishes as the British were dumbfounded by the day’s events.‭ ‬However they quickly rallied and desperate measures were implemented to hurry reinforcements to the City to regain Dublin from the Irish‭ ‘‬Rebels‭’‬.‭  






Sunday, 23 April 2017


23‭ ‬April‭ ‬1014:‭ ‬The Battle of Clontarf‭ ‬/Cath Cluain Tarbh,‭ (‬The Pasture of the Bulls‭) ‬was fought on this day‭ – ‬Good Friday.‭ ‬The victors were the forces of King Brian Boru of Munster leading a force primarily of the men of Munster and south Connacht along with a small contingent of Limerick and perhaps Waterford Vikings.‭ ‬His erstwhile ally‭ ‬Mael Sechnaill of Meath held back on the day of the Battle.‭ ‬Thus Brian’s men alone faced the Vikings of Dublin and the Isles and their allies the Leinstermen under King Maelmorda.‭ ‬The result was a great Victory for King Brian but as the day ended he was killed himself while praying in his camp.‭ ‬Clontarf was the greatest and bloodiest battle of the Viking age in Ireland.

The location of the actual battle site has been open to dispute,‭ ‬some of it convoluted in argument,‭ ‬but there is no conclusive proof that it was not at the location of the place we know today as Clontarf,‭ ‬now a suburb of Dublin City.‭ ‬The indications are that both armies were divided into‭ ‘‬Battles‭’ ‬that were led by the most prominent Leaders of their respective contingents.

Those the side of the Vikings were Brodar the Manxman,‭ ‬Earl Sigurd from the Orkneys,‭ ‬King Sitric of Dublin and the forces of King Maelmorda of Leinster.‭ ‬It’s possible that around‭ ‬5,500‭ ‬men were available to fight against Brian’s Army on the day.


King Brian brought a formidable Army to Dublin to do Battle.‭ ‬He had his own core group made up of the‭ ‬Dal Cais (east Co Clare) from his Home Territory,‭ ‬& the contingents of the men of Munster who owed him allegiance.‭ ‬From south Connacht there were the soldiers of two minor kingdoms related through family ties.‭ ‬He had too the services of perhaps some Vikings drawn from Limerick and Waterford.‭ ‬However around‭ ‬7,000‭ ‬warriors would be probably the maximum that Brian had available to bring to Dublin.‭ ‬There was also the Army of the King of Meath,‭  ‬Mael Sechnaill II,‭ ‬who would have at a maximum around‭ ‬2,500‭ ‬men to line out alongside Brian Boru.

The battle began at daybreak with challenges and shouts from both sides no doubt.‭ ‬Famous warriors would have been to the fore,‭ ‬eager to meet men of their own calibre in single combat.‭ ‬To the mass of combatants these epic struggles were just a prelude to the main‭ ‬Battles charging at each other and trying their best to emulate their own heroes.‭ ‬As the day wore on the Irish slowly gained the upper hand.‭ ‬The fighting was heavy on what appears to have been a sunny but somewhat windy Spring day.‭ ‬As the numbers of warriors dwindled on each side the fight started to concentrate around the standards and banners of the more important men.


With sunset approaching Victory was finally in the grasp of the Irish.‭ ‬King Brian had been left with just a few men to guard him in his Camp,‭ ‬no doubt men unfit for open combat and a few boys.‭ ‬The excitement of such a great Victory must have had this little Band on edge and they were keen to have a go themselves to finish off any stragglers that they could catch.‭ ‬News of all this was of course reaching Brian so he must have had the grim satisfaction of knowing the day was his.‭ ‬However he received a shattering blow in the closing stages of the battle for his aides had to inform him that Murchad’s Banner could no longer be seen and Brian knew that meant in all probability his beloved son and heir Murchad had fallen.‭

With Victory within sight the Irish pushed the Foreigners onto the seashore,‭ ‬their boats too far out to get to as the tide reached its high water mark.‭ ‬Many were drowned in desperate attempts to reach sanctuary onboard.‭ ‬The Manxman Brodar however was not amongst these forlorn fugitives.‭ ‬His‭ ‬Battle had been situated on the right flank of the Viking line and in the confusion of the final rout he and a few companions headed inland to avoid being trapped against the shore.‭ ‬As fate would have it his flight led him to Tomar’s Wood.‭ ‬Seeing a tent of some worth situated there he decided to find out to which worthy soul it might belong.‭ ‬Inside he saw just an old man with only a boy to protect him.‭ ‬He did not know who it was but one of his men had once served with the Vikings of Limerick and assured him it was actually King Brian who was inside.‭ ‬Brodar did not hesitate but set about the occupants with his weapon.‭ ‬He slew the King and fled the tent,‭ ‬exultant that his name would now live forever in memory of his bloody deed.‭ ‬ Soon however word spread that a Viking had killed Brian and a search was organised to track him down.‭ ‬The pursuers surrounded the wood and in a circle of warriors moved towards the centre of the enclosure to find the killer.‭ ‬Brodar was eventually cornered and ritually disembowelled in a gruesome and bloody execution.

So ended the Battle of Clontarf and Brian’s career.‭ ‬Tactically the battle was a great Irish Victory that smashed the invading force and Strategically it did mark the end of the threat of further Viking interference from overseas.‭ ‬However the cost of Victory had been high.‭ ‬King Brain was dead as was his heir Murchad and in turn his son Turlough.‭ ‬Many of the lesser kings of Munster had also fallen,‭ ‬including Brian’s son in law Cian.‭ ‬On the opposing side Earl Sigurd was dead and Brodar who met such a terrible end.‭ ‬King Maelmorda of Leinster was also killed on the field of battle,‭ ‬probably by Conaig,‭ ‬the nephew of Brian,‭ ‬who died of his wounds in turn.‭ ‬King Sitric of Dublin,‭ ‬if he was ever on the battlefield,‭ ‬returned to the city in time to view the final stages of the Munstermens Victory.

Brian was the most successful King to control Ireland prior to the Anglo-Norman invasion.‭ ‬He had shown that a King could indeed bring the whole island under personal sway.‭ ‬The battle of Clontarf unfortunately undid much of Brian’s work,‭ ‬not just in the fact of his death but also in the loss of his favourite son and heir,‭ ‬Murchad and in turn his son Turlough.‭ ‬Thus on one day three generations of Brian’s family had fallen.‭ ‬Brian was an old man and his death was not far off anyway.‭ ‬Within a few years his son Murchad,‭ ‬had he lived,‭ ‬would have had to face the challenge of imposing his will on the recently united island.‭ ‬He might just have pulled it off if Brian had lived long enough to secure commitments from the other kingdoms to recognise Murchad as his rightful successor to the Kingdom of Ireland.‭


* Battle of Clontarf, oil on canvas painting by Hugh Frazer, 1826

Friday, 21 April 2017


21 April 1916: The capture of Sir Roger Casement at Banna strand, Tralee Co Kerry on this day. He had been a distinguished member of the British consular service before the War but had become increasingly disillusioned with the British Empire and its role in the World, none more so on how Ireland was treated within it. On the outbreak of War he made his way to Germany to enlist its help to overthrow British rule in Ireland. But he felt that what help was on offer would not be enough to be successful. He requested a boat to take him back home and had decided within himself to use his powers to try and convince the IRB not to go ahead with a Rising. However if one were to take place he felt it his duty to be in Ireland at that time.

After a series of mishaps he and his companions were transported to the Irish coast by the submarine U19 and  near to where the SS Aud was attempting to land arms for the Rising to take place. But the U19, failing to find the ‘Aud Norge’, eventually landed Casement & his companions Monteith and Bailey by dinghy on the Irish shore. The dinghy overturned in surf on Banna Strand, near Ardfert Co Kerry. Casement had been ill for some time before the journey and was far too weak to travel or run. He took refuge in ‘McKenna’s Fort’ while Bailey and Monteith tried to make contact with the local IRB. However the local Irish constabulary were alerted & Casement was arrested, as were Monteith and Bailey shortly afterwards .

“When I landed in Ireland that morning (about 3 am) swamped and swimming ashore on an unknown strand, I was happy for the first time for over a year. Although I knew that this fate waited on me, I was for one brief spell happy and smiling once more. I cannot tell you what I felt. The sand hills were full of skylarks rising in the dawn, the first I had heard in years—the first sound I heard through the surf was their song as I waded through the breakers and they kept rising all the time up to the old rath at Currshone where I stayed and sent the others on and all round were primroses and wild violets and the singing of the skylarks in the air and I was back in Ireland again.”
Roger Casement to his sister, Mrs Nina Newman from Pentonville Gaol 25 July 1916

They were taken to Tralee RIC barracks for questioning before being dispatched to Dublin.‭ ‬From here Casement was rushed on to London and imprisoned in Pentonville Prison.‭ ‬He was charged with‭ ‘‬Treason‭’‬.‭ ‬Put on trial his defence team put up a formidable set of arguments against his conviction but the evidence from the British perspective was damning.‭ ‬In addition the notorious‭ ‘‬Black Diaries‭’ ‬detailing his alleged Homosexual activities were used to undermine his reputation.‭ ‬He was hanged at Pentonville in August‭ ‬1916.‭ ‬His remains was returned to Ireland in‭ ‬1965‭ ‬and he was given a State Funeral in Glasnevin Cemetery,‭ ‬Dublin.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Image result for "Hanna" Sheehy Skeffington

20 April 1946: Johanna Mary "Hanna" Sheehy Skeffington Suffragette, Republican and political activist died on this day. She was born in 1877 in Kanturk Co Cork, the daughter of the future Nationalist MP David Sheehy &. Elizabeth "Bessie" McCoy. From an early age she was imbued with the spirit of political activity to free Ireland from British Rule and to improve the lot of women in Irish Society. Whilst still very young her family moved to Dublin.

When Hanna was a teenager, the Sheehys held an open house on the second Sunday night of each month. They encouraged young people to visit them and their six children. The Sheehys were fond of singing and playing games, and would ask their guests to sing. Hanna was sent to Germany for a short period when she was 18 years old to get treatment for tuberculosis. After graduating from the Royal University of Ireland, she moved to Paris to work as an Au Pair and returned to Ireland in 1902. She sat for examinations at Royal University of Ireland and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1899, and a Master of Arts Degree with first-class honours in 1902. This led to a career as a teacher in Eccles Street and an examiner in the Intermediate Certificate examination

Hanna married Francis Skeffington on June 3, 1903 at University Chapel in St. Stephen's Green, Dublin. The couple wore their graduation gowns as a substitute for a traditional wedding gown and suit. Both husband and wife took the surname Sheehy Skeffington as a symbol of their honour for one another.

It was this point on that her political activity really took off as her husband was as a committed activist as she was. In 1908 she was a founder member of The Irish Women's Franchise League dedicated to ensuring Votes for Women in Parliamentary elections. On 13 June 1912, she, along with seven other women, were arrested for smashing the glass windows of Dublin Castle. They served a month long sentence in Mountjoy Prison alongside another month after they refused to pay a fine. They were granted the privileges of political prisoners. Sheehy Skeffington was fired in 1913 from her job as a teacher at Rathmines School of Commerce for her continued involvement in feminist militancy.

When the Great War broke out in 1914 she became involved in the anti-recruiting campaign and was prevented by the British government from attending a conference held in The Hague in April 1915 on Women’s Rights. The watershed in her life came during the Easter Rising 1916 when her husband Francis was brutally murdered by a deranged British Officer. She did not find out about his death until two days had passed.

She joined Sinn Fein in the aftermath of the Rising. In December 1916 she went to the US to raise awareness of Ireland’s Cause and she attended some 250 meetings there across America. She was later imprisoned by the British in Holloway Prison London for actively opposing the War. In 1920 she joined a Dublin corporation as a councillor. She resumed work on The Irish Citizen and in 1919 became organising secretary of Sinn Fein.

She opposed the Treaty in 1921 and again toured the USA in 1922 to raise funds to help Republican prisoners. In 1926 she joined Fianna Fáil as an executive, however she only kept this position for one year. She was disillusioned with the new Irish Free State and felt that women had not yet achieved their rightful place in Society especially in the new Irish Constitution of 1937. She stood for election to the Dáil in 1943 but was not returned.

Her daughter in law Andrée Sheehy-Skeffington (wife of her only son Owen Sheehy-Skeffington) recalled Hanna with great affection:

‘She was very helpful, but she could also be quietly critical. When I told her that I and some friends were forming the Irish Housewives Associations she said, “You’re not wedded to the house, you know!”’.

‘She was very fond of animals and also of flowers, particularly the orange lily. People used to raise an eyebrow at this, and she would say, “I will not allow Orangemen to have a monopoly of this beautiful flower!”’.

‘It was startling to see on her mantelpiece a photo of a British officer in uniform. This was Major Sir Francis Vane, who had ordered an enquiry into the murder of her husband. He did all he could to see that justice was done, and it cost him his position in the British Army’.

http://www.historyireland.com

She died on 20 April 1946 and is buried alongside her husband in Glasnevin cemetery in Dublin.


Wednesday, 19 April 2017


19‭ ‬April‭ ‬1741:‭ ‬In a letter to Dr.‭ ‬Thomas Prior,‭ ‬Dublin,‭ ‬the Bishop of Cloyne,‭ ‬Dr.‭ ‬George Berkeley,‭ ‬wrote of the Famine which was then raging:

The distresses of the sick and poor are endless.‭ ‬The havoc of mankind in the counties of Cork,‭ ‬Limerick and some adjacent places hath been incredible.‭ ‬The nation,‭ ‬probably,‭ ‬will not recover this loss in a century.‭ ‬The other day I heard one from the county of Limerick say that whole villages were entirely dispeopled.

The Great Famine of‭ ‬1741‭ ‬had its origins in the‭ ‘‬Great Frost‭’ ‬of January‭ ‬1740‭ ‬when an intense and bitter cold that emanated from the Artic and not experienced in living memory swept across Western Europe.‭ ‬So cold was it that birds dropped from the sky and seed was destroyed in the ground.‭ ‬Trade came to a halt as ports froze up and travel became almost impossible.‭ ‬In the Springtime the expected rains did not come,‭ ‬and though the Frost dissipated,‭ ‬the temperatures remained low and the northerly winds very strong.‭ ‬By the Summer of‭ ‬1740,‭ ‬the Frost had decimated the potatoes and the Drought had wrought havoc with the grain harvest and the herds of cattle and sheep had suffered huge losses.

In the Autumn a meagre harvest commenced and prices in the towns started to fall.‭ ‬Cattle began to recover,‭ ‬but in the dairying districts,‭ ‬cows had been so weak after the Frost that at least a third of them had failed to‭ “‬take bull‭”‬.‭ ‬Then blizzards swept along the east coast in late October and more snow fell several times in November.‭ ‬A massive downpour of rain fell on‭ ‬9‭ ‬December causing widespread flooding.‭ ‬A day after the floods,‭ ‬the temperature plummeted,‭ ‬snow fell,‭ ‬and rivers and other bodies of water froze.‭ ‬Warm temperatures followed the cold snap,‭ ‬which lasted about ten days.‭ ‬Great chunks of ice careened down the River Liffey and through the heart of Dublin,‭ ‬overturning light vessels and causing larger vessels to break anchor.‭ ‬The price of foodstuffs rocketed and people began to starve.‭

The Spring of‭ ‬1741‭ ‬went down in popular memory as the‭ ‬Black Spring of‭ ’‬41‭ ‬as the impact of two very hard Winters and the destruction of so much livestock and grain supplies began to be felt.‭ ‬This was especially so amongst the rural and urban poor of whom there were very many in Ireland at that time.‭ ‬Diseases swept the Country:‭ ‬Dysentery‭; ‬Smallpox and Typhus took the lives of many thousands.

Sir Richard Cox wrote from Cork in April that year:‭ 

Mortality is now no longer heeded‭; ‬the instances are so frequent.‭ ‬And burying the dead,‭ ‬which used to be one of the most religious acts among the Irish,‭ ‬is now become a burthen…In short,‭ ‬by all I can learn,‭ ‬the dreadfullest civil war,‭ ‬or most raging plague never destroyed so many as this season.‭ ‬The distempers and famine increase so that it is no vain fear that there will not be hands to save the harvest.

Eventually in the Summer of‭ ‬1741‭ ‬the Crises abated and while the situation was still very hard the plagues and starvation eased off.‭ ‬The next Harvest while not abundant was sufficient to ensure that enough food would be available to avert a similar situation the following year.

So ended what was the worst set of recorded climate related disasters to hit Ireland since at least the‭ ‬14th Century.‭ ‬Nobody knows how many people died as a result of this Great Famine of‭ ‬1741‭ ‬and the hardships that preceded its apogee.‭ ‬Out of an overall estimated population at the time of around‭ ‬2.4‭ ‬million it seems probable that between‭ ‬300,000‭ ‬and‭ ‬450,000‭ ‬of the people died as a result‭ – ‬a mortality rate that stands comparison with if it did not actually exceed the more infamous events of the‭ ‬1840s.‭ 

Picture: http://antarcticspring.deviantart.com/art/Vanitas-famine-284255931

Tuesday, 18 April 2017


18 April 1939: Ishbel Maria Gordon, Lady Aberdeen (1857-1939) died on this day. Her husband Lord Aberdeen held the Viceroyalty of Ireland in 1886 and again from 1906 to 1915.

Born Ishbel (Gaelic for Isabel) Maria Marjoribanks, she was the third daughter of the 1st Baron Tweedmouth and Isabella Weir-Hogg (daughter of Sir James Weir Hogg). On 7 November 1877 she married the Liberal politician the 7th Earl of Aberdeen (later the 1st Marquess of Aberdeen and Temair), in St. George's Church, St. George Street, Hanover Square, London.

Both were fervent Home Rulers, and they were aware of the imbalance between urban poverty and the new rural prosperity. Lady Aberdeen founded the Women's National Health Association which established playgrounds in the Dublin slums and a depot to supply milk to the city's sick children. The Association, also opened sanatoriums and organised exhibitions, which travelled round Ireland as part of an intensive campaign against tuberculosis.

The Aberdeens were keen to see the revitalisation of Dublin's inner city and they twice brought a Town Planning Exhibition to Dublin and organised a civic exhibition attended by all municipal and local authorities. Although well intentioned, the new town plan was never implemented. Lady Aberdeen, later wrote:

'If we could have persuaded some of the Cabinet Ministers to come across to see things for themselves, the result might have been different ... To turn from rural to the urban districts of Ireland would have surely convinced [them] that the housing conditions of the cities and towns of Ireland remained a blot and a menace, culminating in Dublin ... '

A keen feminist, she did not endear herself to the social establishment by her efforts to promote women's rights, democratic attitudes, and religious and ethnic tolerance. She caused a social scandal while in Canada when she joined her servants to take high tea. The Aberdeens were given a huge farewell on their departure from Ireland in 1915.

Lady Aberdeen was president of the International Council of Women for thirty-six years (1893–1936) and the National Council of Women of Canada for six years (1893–1899). When her husband was Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, she took up the fight against tuberculosis, starting the Woman's National Health Association.

'The Earl and Countess of Aberdeen had a greater impact on Dublin society than any Vice Regal couple since the Clarendons - but for very different reasons. They inspired some affection and a great deal of ridicule in the nine years that they spent in Vice-Regal Lodge. There was something faintly ridiculous about their appearance, described by Leon O'Broin as:

"he bearded and small and polite, she disproportionately large, matronly and masterful."

Lady Aberdeen had a genius for getting things a little wrong, for meddling in matters that had nothing whatsoever to do with her and for an apparent inability to recognise rebuff....

However all recognised that she had a heart of Gold and a strong dislike of Injustice in this World. If she had faults they were far outweighed by her qualities of organising and basically cajoling the powers that be to improve the lot of the ordinary people.

However while very well meaning the good Lady was not the most tactful of people in all situations, the story goes that back in 1886 at the time of Gladstone's first Home Rule Bill she was dining in Dublin Castle when she remarked to Lord Chief Justice Morris:

"I suppose everyone but yourself is a Home Ruler here tonight."

"Not at all, Your Excellency", he replied frostily. "Barring yourself and the waiters there's not a Home Ruler in the room."

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Áras an Uachtaráin

Monday, 17 April 2017



17‭ ‬April‭ ‬1876:‭ ‬The whaling vessel‭ ‬Catalpa rescued six Irish prisoners from British Captivity on this day.‭ ‬The ship under Captain George S.‭ ‬Anthony carried out one of the most daring and long distance rescues in history when she was used to spirit away the six Fenian prisoners from Freemantle,‭ ‬Australia.‭ ‬Even though the British quickly realised the men had fled and gave chase the ship could not be boarded as she flew the American flag.‭ ‬The rescued men‭ (‬Thomas Darragh,‭ ‬Martin Hogan,‭ ‬Michael Harrington,‭ ‬Thomas Hassett,‭ ‬Robert Cranston and James Wilson‭) ‬were brought safely to New York City.‭ ‬The Fenians John Devoy and John J.‭ ‬Breslin planned the rescue operation from America and Breslin was dispatched to Australia to co-ordinate the rescue.

In July‭ ‬1874‭ ‬the Clan na Gael Organisation in the USA decided to rescue the six prisoners who were excluded from a conditional pardon for all civilian Fenian prisoners.‭ ‬These men had been members of the British Army and thus considered outright‭ ‘‬Traitors‭’ ‬by the British.‭ ‬John Devoy was assigned to co-ordinate this rescue.‭ ‬He saw that funds were raised and a Captain George S.‭ ‬Anthony was‭ ‘‬head hunted‭’ ‬to undertake the dangerous mission.‭ ‬When it was put to him he was willing to take the risk.‭ ‬It was then decided that the voyage must look like a whaling voyage,‭ ‬thus Captain Anthony went looking for a suitable ship.‭ ‬In the port of Boston he found one that suited his needs and purchased the‭ ‬Catalpa,‭ ‬a three-master whaler,‭ ‬for‭ ‬$5200.

The ship set out from New Bedford,‭ ‬Massachusetts,‭ ‬USA,‭ ‬in April‭ ‬1875.‭ ‬The Voyage was undertaken with the deliberate intention engaging in a daring a yearlong mission of international rescue.‭ ‬On‭ ‬28‭ ‬March‭ ‬1876‭ ‬the Catalpa arrived off Bunbury Harbour,‭ ‬Western Australia and a meeting was set up between Captain Anthony and John Breslin.‭ ‬At this meeting they agreed the rescue date should be on‭ ‬6‭ ‬April.‭ ‬However due to the presence of a British gunboat at the Harbour and the information that another gunboat was due to arrive they rescheduled the rescue for‭ ‬17‭ ‬April.

With the help of the prison chaplain,‭ ‬the six men escaped to the coast where Captain Anthony was waiting with a small whaleboat that would take them to the Catalpa.‭ ‬The resistance they overcame,‭ ‬both from armed British vessels and a furious sea storm,‭ ‬made their escape the stuff of legend.‭ ‬The British attempted to capture the Catalpa but Captain Anthony had the Flag of the United States raised and warned the prospective boarders that such a move would be viewed as an Act of War.‭ ‬They thought the better of it and the Catalpa made good her escape.‭

The Catalpa landed the‭ ‘‬Freemantle Six‭’ ‬in New York Harbour on‭ ‬19‭ ‬August‭ ‬1876.‭ ‬Though Captain Anthony would never again put to sea in open waters for fear of arrest by the British,‭ ‬his rescue voyage,‭ ‬made mostly without the use of a functioning chronometer,‭ ‬is one of the greatest feats of seamanship ever recorded in nautical annals.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

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16 April 1958: Margaret Burke Sheridan the famous Soprano died on this day. At the height of her fame she was ranked amongst most famous Prima Donnas’ of the World of Opera. She came from a modest but respectable background in the town of Castlebar Co Mayo where her father was the Postmaster.

However tragedy struck her early in life and by the time she was 11 she was an orphan. To further her education she was packed off to Dublin and placed in the care of the Dominican nuns at Eccles Street, Dublin. It was there that she received her first singing lessons from Mother Clement who was a noted music teacher. Margaret won a gold medal at the Feis Ceoil [Festival of Music] in 1908 and showed so much musical promise that a benefit concert was given in the old Theatre Royal in Dublin to help fund her studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London.

It was there that her career really took off as was given leading roles in some of the leading Operas of the day. She quickly became known as ‘La Sheridan’ as her fame spread. It was there that the great inventor Marconi heard her sing and proclaimed “yours is the voice I’ve been waiting to hear all my life”. He decided that she must go to Italy to further her career.

She became a singing sensation in Italy as audiences were captivated by her rich and lyric soprano voice. The conductor Toscanini dubbed her “the Empress of Ireland” and she was chosen to sing at the wedding of the Italian Crown Prince, Umberto. Margaret made numerous recordings including the first ever complete recording of Madame Butterfly in 1930. In the 1920’s People said there were only three people known outside of Ireland, Eamon De Valera, John McCormack and Margaret Burke Sheridan.

But Margaret’s time at the pinnacle was to be a short one. In 1936 she developed throat problems that stymied her career. She had an operation but it was limited in its success. In an Art where perfection is paramount she realised that her time was up and chose retirement over ridicule.

She returned to Dublin and while she kept away from the Limelight she did continue to sometimes sing, notably her interpretations of Moore’s Melodies and her rendition of Balfe’s “I Dreamt I Dwelt in Marble Halls”. She sang in public on and off but basically she just socialized around the town where she was known as quite a character. She kept a small flat near Fitzwilliam St and was a ‘regular’ in the exclusive Shelbourne Hotel. Her end came in April 1958 when she died in the Pembroke Nursing Home on Leeson Street. She is buried in Glasnevin Cemetery Dublin.




Saturday, 15 April 2017


15/16 April 1941: The Luftwaffe Bombed Belfast on this night. The city’s first major attack of War was on Easter Tuesday night, 15-16 April. An estimated 180 aircraft participated in the assault, which lasted for five and a half hours (11:30 pm–4:55 am). Bombs fell on average at a rate of two per minute. There was virtually no resistance from the ground. Due to blast damage to the city’s telephone exchange the anti-aircraft guns fell silent from 1:45 am onwards. By the time of the “all clear” it had to be rung by hand-bells because of a power failure.

An Observer from Dublin, Major Sean O’Sullivan noted that:

In the Antrim Road [North Belfast] and vicinity the attack was of a particularly concentrated character and in many instances bombs from successive waves of bombers fell within 15-20 yards of one another … In this general area, scores of houses were completely wrecked, either by explosion, fire or blast, while hundreds were damaged so badly as to be uninhabitable … In suburban areas, many were allowed to burn themselves out and during the day wooden beams were still burning … During the night of 16-17, many of these smouldering fires broke out afresh and fire appliances could be heard passing throughout the night…
The Air Raid killed some 745 people, injured 1,500 and destroyed about 1,600 houses with many more damaged to a greater or lesser extent. It was the bloodiest day of violence in Modern Irish History.


Friday, 14 April 2017

14 April 1794 General Arthur Dillon, a French soldier of Irish descent, was guillotined in Paris on this day. The Dillon family were amongst the most famous of the ‘Wild Geese’ who served in the armies of France in the 17th and 18th Centuries. He was born in 1750 and had a distinguished military career, seeing action in the West Indies and in the American Revolutionary War. He was briefly Governor of the Caribbean island of St Kitts and also of Tobago. He was the representative of the island of Martinique in the National Assembly.

In June 1792 he received command of the Army of the North but fell into political disfavour with the Jacobins and was reduced to a subordinate position where he distinguished himself. However he compromised his security by offering the Austrians a chance to withdraw unhindered and was arrested and imprisoned. He was eventually accused of being involved in a plot behind bars called the Luxembourg Prison Plot. He was executed with 20 others including his intimate friends Lucile Desmoulines whose own husband was executed just days before. He was twice married and had two daughters. His daughter Fanny married General Bertrand and was with Napoleon on Elba and St Helena.



Thursday, 13 April 2017


13‭ ‬April‭ ‬1742:‭ ‬George Frederic Handel conducted the first performance of his‭ ‬Messiah,‭ ‬in the New Music Hall,‭ ‬Fishamble Street,‭ ‬on this day.‭

In the late summer of the year‭ ‬1741‭ ‬the Duke of Devonshire,‭ ‬the Viceroy of Ireland,‭ ‬invited Handel to Dublin.‭ ‬Moreover,‭ ‬the Governors of Mercer's Hospital,‭ ‬and of the Charitable Infirmary,‭ ‬had asked Handel to compose something‭ ‬special in aid of the Dublin sick.‭ ‬This special work,‭ ‬the immortal‭ ‬Messiah,‭ ‬was finished by Handel on September‭ ‬14th,‭ ‬1741,‭ ‬having been written in three weeks--a marvellous‭ ‬tour de force.‭ ‬On November‭ ‬18th,‭ ‬1741,‭ ‬Handel arrived in Dublin and spent the Winter in giving performances in the City and working on drafts of Messiah.‭ ‬He took a house in Abbey Street near Liffey Street where he received visitors.‭

Handel's first concert was on December‭ ‬23rd,‭ ‬consisting of‭ ‬L'Allegro,‭ ‬with two concertos for several instruments,‭ ‬and a concerto on the organ.‭ ‬But it had become known that Handel was planning something special to mark his Season in Dublin and expectation grew that it would be a musical event of great importance.‭ ‬An open air Rehearsal Concert some days prior to the formal opening drew large crowds and was met with open approval.

In apprehension of overcrowding at the performance,‭ ‬posted‭ ‬The Dublin Journal on this day the following notice:

‭ ‬The Stewards of the Charitable Music Society request the Favour of the Ladies not to come with Hoops this Day to the Musick-Hall in Fishamble Street:‭ ‬The Gentlemen are desired to come without their Swords.

In its Edition of‭ ‬17‭ ‬April‭ ‬1742‭ ‬the publication wrote that:‭

On Tuesday last Mr.‭ ‬Handel’s Sacred Grand Oratorio,‭ ‬the MESSIAH,‭ ‬was performed at the New Musick-Hall in Fishamble-street‭; ‬the best Judges have allowed it to be the most finished piece of Musick.‭ ‬Words are wanting to express the exquisite delight it afforded to the admiring,‭ ‬crowded audience.‭ ‬The Sublime,‭ ‬Grand and Tender,‭ ‬adapted to the most elevated,‭ ‬majestick and moving Words conspired to transport and charm the ravished heart and ear.‭ ‬It is but Justice to Mr.‭ ‬Handel that the World should know,‭ ‬he generously gave the money arising from this grand performance,‭ ‬to be equally shared by the Society for relieving Prisoners,‭ ‬the Charitable Infirmary and Mercer’s Hospital...

This great opening Performance was carried out with the help of the choirs from St.‭ ‬Patrick's and Christ Church.‭ ‬The‭ ‬£400‭ ‬proceeds were given to Mercer's Hospital,‭ ‬the Charitable Infirmary and for the relief of prisoners.

Handel spent the rest of the Summer giving repeat performances of his many works including the‭ ‬Messiah.‭ ‬He also spent some time in the City of Cork.‭ ‬He left Ireland on Friday,‭ ‬August‭ ‬13th,‭ ‬never to return but his time here marked one of the highest points of his later career as a Musician.‭ ‬He died in London in‭ ‬1759‭ ‬and was buried in Westminster Abbey.‭

Handel is the greatest composer who ever lived.‭
‬I would bare my head and kneel at his grave.‭

Beethoven‭



Wednesday, 12 April 2017


12/13 April 1928: The Bremen [above]  became the first aircraft to make the East – West crossing of the Atlantic. The crew was Colonel James Fitzmaurice, Captain Kohl (Pilot), and Baron von Heunfeld (Owner). They departed from Baldonnel Airfield outside Dublin City and then flew all the way non stop to Greenly Island, Newfoundland.

Fitzmaurice was chosen probably because of his experience and his position of Commanding Officer at Baldonnel. Von Hunefeld later wrote:

The welcome given to us by the Irish military and civil authorities was most hearty. We were made guests of the Irish Air Corps and soon it was settled between Koehl and me to invite Commandant Fitzmaurice to accompany us as second pilot on our flight to North America. And so our 'German-Irish Crew' as we came to call it was formed and none of us ever regretted the pact which proved itself so trustworthy in the course of extreme danger.

The aircraft to be used was a Junkers W.33 named Bremen. It carried 520 gallons of petrol, enough for forty-four hours in the air. Fully loaded the plane weighed 5 tons.


Fitzmaurice took every opportunity to acquaint himself with the Bremen and many trial runs were undertaken. The big take-off was delayed because of bad weather but following a favourable North Atlantic weather report Thursday 12th April was set as the date for the Bremen's departure. When news of the intended departure got out, thousands of people made their way from Dublin out to Baldonnel to wish the flyers well and to see the historic take-off.

Michael Burgess, a Garda on duty there that day recalled that the crowd were "very excited but well behaved, many of them had Rosary beads, and some of them were shaking holy water at the plane and its crew.

The huge crowd of sightseers cheered as the Bremen took off for their unintended destination of Newfoundland.

There they had to make a forced landing after a flight of 2,300 miles in just over 36 hours. Though they made a perfect landing it proved impossible to restart the plane due to propeller damage and the fact that it had landed on a thin crust of ice on a on a shallow, ice-covered, water reservoir.

They enjoyed a hero’s welcome in the USA & Canada and undertook a two month tour across North America before returning across the Atlantic by ship, landing at Bremen. There they under took more engagements and in July the three flyers came back to Ireland where the names of the three flyers were added to the "Roll of the Honorary Freedom of the City of Dublin".

James Fitzmaurice was born in Dublin on January 6th, 1898. His father was a prison officer and the family moved to Portlaoise when James was five years old. His nickname was 'Fitz'. While growing up, he became interested in the idea of flight and he spent a lot of time in Aldritt's garage trying to build an airplane. His first attempt crash-landed in a field. He joined the British Army and fought in the Battle of the Somme in World War I. He then joined the RAF but resigned in 1921 to take up a position in the Irish Free State’s Air Corps. He eventually became its Officer-in-command before he was offered the chance of a Lifetime to partake in this historic flight.

The flight of the Bremen across the Atlantic Ocean remains one of the greatest feats in Aviation History.

http://www.askaboutireland.ie/readin...st-to-west-tr/


Tuesday, 11 April 2017


11‭ ‬April‭ ‬1951:‭ ‬Dr.‭ ‬Noel Browne resigned from John A.‭ ‬Costello’s Coalition Government as Minister of Health on this day.‭ ‬It was seminal moment in Modern Irish Politics.‭ ‬To many people it looked like the Catholic Church was dictating Government policy from the outside.‭

Browne had been elected a TD in‭ ‬1948‭ ‬and was appointed the Minister of Health on his first day in the House.‭ ‬Given his medical background and his work in sanatoriums both in Ireland and England he was the right man in the right place at the right time.‭ ‬He was a survivor of TB himself‭ – ‬a disease of the lungs that had claimed both his parents.‭ ‬Though the previous Government had already laid much of the groundwork it was Browne who provided the drive and energy to ensure that the job of eradicating the disease as a killer of thousands of Irish people every year was properly carried out.‭ ‬The late‭ ‬1940s also saw the availability of powerful new drugs that could save many sufferers from death.‭ ‬Never a man to worry too much about trodden toes and ruffled feathers he brought a single-minded determinism to the problem that got results.‭

But while he had many qualities Browne also had quite a few faults especially as a Party colleague.‭ ‬He was not a good team player and not a master of the art of compromise.‭ ‬He alienated many of his fellow members of the Cabinet including his Party Leader Sean McBride of‭ ‬Clann na Poblachta.‭ ‬His Nemises was his mishandling of the controversial‭ ‘‬Mother and Child‭’ ‬scheme which was intended to provide State support for mothers and children.‭ ‬

This raised the hackles of many within the Catholic Hierarchy and the powerful Irish Medical Association.‭ ‬Many of them saw it as undermining their power and influence though quite a few were sympathetic to the gener trust of the propoes Legislation is it was done right to their eyes.‭ ‬However Browne’s hamfisted attempts to influence the Church and Archbishop Charles McQuaid in particular backfired.‭ ‬When he turned to his colleagues at the Cabinet table for support little or none was forthcoming and he felt he was being hung out to dry.

Monday, 10 April 2017

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10‭ ‬April‭ ‬1981:‭ ‬The IRA Hunger Striker Bobby Sands was deemed elected to the British House of Commons on this day.‭ ‬When the votes were counted it emerged that he had gained‭ ‬over‭ ‬30,000‭ ‬votes with over‭ ‬52%‭ ‬of the vote in the by-election compared to‭ ‬49%‭ ‬for the candidate of the Official Unionist party,‭ ‬Harry West.‭ ‬It was a straight fight between the two men with most political experts not rating Sands chances very high of being elected.‭ ‬Most analysis completely underestimated the strength of feeling within the Nationalist Community over what was happening in the H Blocks.‭ ‬Sands election though was met with consternation,‭ ‬anger and almost disbelief by the Unionists and within both the British and Irish Establishments.‭

His election was a huge boost to himself and his comrades within Long Kesh as he led the Hunger Strike to secure Political Status from the British.‭ ‬News teams from around the World covered this story and the unfolding drama within the H Blocks moved from being National to International News.‭

Bobby Sands‭' ‬election agent,‭ ‬Owen Carron,‭ ‬said when interviewed that day that the British Government had been sent a message.‭

The nationalist people have voted against Unionism and against the H blocks.‭ ‬It is time Britain got out of Ireland and put an end to the torture of this country.‭

It was hoped that such an emphatic Election Victory would force Mrs Thatcher to arrange a compromise that would allow for an honourable settlement and avoid the embarrassment of an MP dying on Hunger Strike while the World looked on.‭ ‬But this challenge to her authority only strengthened her resolve not to be seen to back down to people she viewed as dangerous enemies.‭ ‬Bobby Sands died on‭ ‬5‭ ‬May on the‭ ‬66th day of his Hunger Strike.