Google+ Followers

Sunday, 20 May 2018


20 May 1311: The Battle of Bunratty/Bun Raite on this day.
Civil War raged in north Thomond (today's Co Clare) in the year 1311, a war that had been going on and off for decades as the O'Briens of that part of Ireland fought with one another to control their own territory. The chief antagonists at the time of this battle were King Dermot O'Brien[Clan Brien] and King Donough O'Brien [Clan Turlough].

The King of England's Justicar in Dublin was worried about the situation in Thomond and in May 1311 issued instructions that:
The war in the parts of Thomond between Richard Clare and Donatus Obreen, who calls himself prince of the Irish of Thomond, disturbs the peace throughout Ire. by its continuation. ORDER to prohibit Richard and Donatus from continuing that war and cause them to keep the peace for life.
Patent Roll 4 Edward II | CIRCLE
Which both sides ignored!

Donough O'Brien had the support of the Anglo-Norman DeBurghs of Connacht while Dermot O'Brien had the support of Anglo-Norman Richard de Clare based in Bunratty Castle.

The DeBurghs, led by William DeBurgh himself, invaded Clare to support their protege and clashed with Richard de Clare's men near Bunratty Castle. While the DeBurghs won the tactical battle disaster befell them when William was taken prisoner and Donough O'Brien fled the field of battle as a result.

Lord William de Burgh was captured. On the day of the Ascension of the Lord lord john de Crok* was killed with many others in the battle of Bunratty with a great deal of booty given up in battle.
Annals of Ireland by Friar John Clyn
*He was deBurgh’s Standard bearer.

However the hapless Lord was most unfortunate as another account of this Battle relates:
A great hosting by William Burk into Mumha, against the Clarach;
and they gave battle to each other,
and the Clarach was worsted, and a great defeat was inflicted on him there.
William Burk was himself taken prisoner in the rere of his people, whilst he was following up the rout;
and although he was there taken prisoner,
it was he that had the triumph of that battle.

Annals of Loch Cé

None of this ended the War and even though King Donough was treacherously killed later that year and Dermot died in 1313 the dispute lingered on for many more years.


Saturday, 19 May 2018

Image result for lord edward fitzgerald

19 May 1798: Lord Edward Fitzgerald was shot and arrested at the home of the Merchant NicholasMurphy at whose house (now 151 Thomas Street, Dublin) he was taking refuge in.
Lord Edward Fitzgerald was a most unlikley 'Rebel'. He was born on 15 October 1763 at Carton House, Co Kildare, one of the most prestigous stately homes in the Country. He was the son of the Duke of Leinster, the most senior Aristocrat in Ireland. He was later brought up at Frascati House, Blackrock, Co Dublin.

He recieved a Commission in the British Army at an early age and served with the distinction in the American Revolutionary War with the the 19th Regiment of Foot in South Carolina, taking part in the Battle of Eutaw Springs (1781) where he was wounded.

In 1783 FitzGerald returned to Ireland, where his brother, the 2nd Duke of Leinster, had procured his election to the Irish Parliament as a Member for Athy, a seat he held until 1790. He represented then Kildare County from 1790 to 1798. He continued his Army career and served in Canada and then travelled extensively across eastern Canada and down the Missisippi before sailing for home through New Orleans.

However it was the events of the French Revolution that proved the turning point in his life. In 1792 he went to Paris and stayed with Thomas Paine. He sat in the observers gallery to listen to the debates of the French Convention and was impressed with what he heard. While there he married Pamela, who was the love child of Madame de Genlis herself by Louis Philippe II, Duke of Orléans. The future King of the French, Louis Phillipe, was among the witnesses.

At a convivial gathering on the 18 November, after the French victory at Jemappes, he offered at a public dinner a toast to: ''The armies of France: may the example of its citizen soldiers be followed by all enslaved countries, till tyrants and tyrannies be extinct.'' He also proposed a toast to “the speedy abolition of all hereditary titles and feudal distinctions”, and gave proof of his zeal by expressly repudiating his own title. For his actions in Paris he was cashiered from the British Army.

On his return to Ireland his views both private and public became more Radical. However he did not join the revolutionary United Irishman until 1796 when he quickly immersed himself in the military plans for a Rising. He travelled as far as Hamburg to secure funds and military assistance from the French. Some of the United Irishmen wanted to wait until this was guaranteed but Lord Edward was of the opinion that it was better to strike sooner rather than later.

By early 1798 it was obvious that further delay would prove fatal and a Rising must come soon. The British Government was using forceful methods to disarm people of any weapons they might have that could used against them. However Martial Law had not yet been declared. The forces of the State also ran a very effective network of spies and informers that had infiltrated the United Irishmen or those who were on familiar terms with them.

On 23 March the military swept on the Dublin Committee of the revolutionaries and captured nearly all of them. Forewarned Lord Edward escaped the net but was now a hunted man.

In the aftermath the British declared Martial Law and it could be only a matter of time till things exploded. In response the date for the Rising was brought forward to be launched on 23 May 1798. However on 9 May, with Lord Edward till at large, a bounty of £1,000 was put on his head for information leading to his capture - a huge sum in those days.

Lord Edward was hiding in Thomas Street, Dublin but had just been involved in a skirmish with his pursuers and it was decided that his original place of refuge must have been compromised. He then moved on the night of the 18th to the home of the Feather Merchant Nicholas Murphy at what is now 151 Thomas Street. He was ill and under the weather but at breakfast the next morning was seen to recover. Murphy was apprehensive of having such a well known fugitive under his roof and (rightly) feared that his betrayal and arrest was only a matter of time.

That evening, at around 7pm Murphy went to Lord Edward's room to call him down for tea and remembered:

He was in bed. It was, at this time, about seven o’clock. I asked him to come down to tea. I was not in the room three minutes when in came Major Swan and a person following him with a soldier’s jacket, and a sword in his hand; he wore a round cap. When I saw Major Swan, I was thunderstruck. I put myself before him, and asked his business. He looked over me and saw Lord E. in the bed. He pushed by me quickly, and Lord E., seeing him, sprang up instantly and drew a dagger which he carried about him, and wounded Major Swan slightly, I believe. Major Swan had a pistol which he fired without effect; he immediately turned to me and gave me a severe thrust of the pistol under the left eye, at the same time desiring the person that came in with him to take me into custody. I was immediately taken away to the yard ; there I saw Major Sirr and about six soldiers of the Dumbarton Fencibles. Major Swan thought proper to run as fast as he could to the street, and I think he never looked behind him till he got out of danger, and he was the parading the flags, exhibiting his linen, which was stained with blood. Mr. Ryan supplied Major Swan’s place and came in contact with Lord E., and was wounded seriously. Major Sirr at that time came upstairs and keeping a respectful distance, fired a pistol shot at Lord E., in a very deliberate manner, and wounded him in the upper part of the shoulder. Reinforcements coming in, Lord E., surrendered after a very hard struggle. Lord Edward was imprisoned in Newgate....

Lord Edward had fought like a lion agianst those sent to lead him into captivity, killing Capitan Ryan and wounding Major Swan. However with him badly outnumbered by men in arms his heroic defense could only last but a short time. Desperately wounded in the struggle he was taken in a closed sedan chair first to Dublin Castle and then to prison. There he lingered for a number of days in agony as sceptocemia took its toll. He died on the 4th of June 1798 as the Rising he had so long planned for was well underway.

Thus died one of the bravest of men, from a conviction, I believe, that he wished to ameliorate the condition of his country.

Lord Edward’s remains were placed in a vault under the East end of St. Werburgh’s Church in Dublin, near to the house he was taken in.

Years later the outcome that Murphy had feared was finally revealed - Betrayal!

The two informers implicated in the betrayal of Lord Edward were Francis Higgins (proprietor of ‘The Freeman’s Journal’), at that time a paper in the interest of Dublin Castle, the seat of British rule in Ireland, and Francis Magan, M.A., Barrister at Law. On the 20th of June 1798, Francis Higgins was paid his reward of £1,000 for Lord Edward’s capture.



Thursday, 17 May 2018


17 May 1974: The Dublin and Monaghan Bombings on this day. Three car bombs exploded in Dublin, immediately killing 23 people and injuring more than 100 others during the rush hour. Five more people died and another 20 were hurt in a blast, which hit the town of Monaghan an hour later. The final death toll was 34 people. The bombings were the work of a UVF gang that had links to elements within the British Army Intelligence services. No one has ever been charged with these attacks.

It was a hot day in early summer when the terrorists launched their attacks. The City centre of Dublin was full of shoppers and workers heading home that Friday afternoon, little suspecting that such a murderous deed was about to be inflicted upon them.

In the North a huge Loyalist Strike was underway with the aim of bringing down the Power Sharing Executive that had been formed in January that year. Its aim was to allow both sides a share in the Government of the North so that no side would feel excluded. It also had as one of its terms the formation of an All Ireland Council. To many Unionists this was a step too far and a possible 'foot in the door' to a United Ireland without their consent.

The perpetrators of these bombings knew that the Executive at Stormont was in grave danger of collapse. It was clear the British Government under Harold Wilson was dithering with indecision as to what to do in the face of such a massive level of civil disobedience by most of the Unionist Community in Ulster. This was backed by widespread intimidation of those who tried to go about their business regardless.

Only the Dublin Government under the Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave stood firm against any collapse of what they had tried so hard in negotiations to have set up and running. While the Troubles had claimed hundreds of lives north of the Border the south had escaped relatively unscathed up until then - but not entirely free of atrocities either.

Clearly the aim of the attackers was to jolt the people of the South, and the Dublin Government in particular, out of any sense of complacency that they could escape the consequences (as they saw it) of unwarranted interference in Ulster.

At approximately 17:30 on Friday 17 May 1974, without prior warning, three car bombs exploded almost simultaneously in Dublin's city centre at Parnell Street, Talbot Street, and South Leinster Street during rush-hour. According to one of the Irish Army's top bomb disposal officers, Commandant Patrick Trears, the bombs were constructed so well that one hundred per cent of each bomb exploded upon detonation.

The explosives used in the attacks were of the type used by the Provisional IRA and were probably from a haul that members of the Crown Forces had captured and that rogue elements had got their hands on to launch these attacks.

The first of the three Dublin car bombs went off at approximately 17:28, in a parking bay outside the Welcome Inn pub and Barry's Supermarket and close to a petrol station, in Parnell Street near its southwestern intersection with Marlborough Street. Ten people were killed in this explosion, including two infant girls and their parents, and a World War I veteran.

The second of the Dublin car bombs went off at approximately 17:30 at number 18 Talbot Street near the northwestern Lower Gardiner Street intersection, outside O'Neill's shoe shop opposite Guineys department store. At least four bodies were found on the pavement just outside Guineys.

The third bomb went off at approximately 17:32 in South Leinster Street near the railings of Trinity College, Dublin. Two women were killed instantly in that explosion; they had been very close to the epicentre of the blast.

Ninety minutes later, at approximately 18:58, a fourth bomb (weighing 150 pounds) exploded outside Greacen's pub in North Road, Monaghan. This bomb killed five people initially, and another two died in the following weeks.

On the evening of the bombings, the Taoiseach, Liam Cosgrave, said in a TV and radio broadcast that he wanted to express 'the revulsion and condemnation felt by every decent person in this island at these unforgivable acts.' He said it would help 'to bring home to us here what the people of NI have been suffering for five long years.' He added 'everyone who has practised violence, or preached violence or condoned violence must bear a share of responsibility for today's outrage'.

In Belfast, the UDA and the UVF denied responsibility for the explosions and in Dublin a statement issued by the Provisional IRA called the explosions 'vile murder'. Mr. Brian Faulkner, NI Chief Executive, sent a message to Mr. Cosgrave expressing 'deepest regret' from himself and his colleagues. The UDA Press Officer, Mr. Samuel Smyth, said: 'I am very happy about the bombings in Dublin. There is a war with the Free State and now we are laughing at them'.

But within days the official attitude had changed and the feeling in Government ranks was to play down this huge atrocity to avoid heightening tensions and giving credibility to the Provisional IRA. As the weeks rolled by the Garda investigations were wound down and then effectively stopped. It has been rumoured that names of the killers were known to the police forces in both parts of Ireland even if it could never be proved. The event was buried by the forces of Officialdom over the years and forgotten about. No one has ever been charged with these crimes on that terrible day.

LOST LIVES

Dublin and Monaghan Bombings - 17th May 1974:

Patrick Askin (44) Co. Monaghan

Josie Bradley (21) Co. Offaly

Marie Butler (21) Co. Waterford

Anne Byrne (35) Dublin

Thomas Campbell (52) Co. Monaghan

Simone Chetrit (30) France

Thomas Croarkin (36) Co. Monaghan

John Dargle (80) Dublin

Concepta Dempsey (65) Co. Louth

Colette Doherty (20) Dublin

Baby Doherty (full term unborn) Dublin*

Patrick Fay (47), Dublin & Co. Louth

Elizabeth Fitzgerald (59) Dublin

Breda Bernadette Grace (34) Dublin and Co. Kerry

Archie Harper (73) Co. Monaghan

Antonio Magliocco, (37) Dublin & Italy

May McKenna (55) Co. Tyrone

Anne Marren (20) Co. Sligo

Anna Massey (21) Dublin

Dorothy Morris (57) Dublin

John (24), Anna (22), Jacqueline (17 months) & Anne-Marie (5 months) O'Brien, Dublin

Christina O'Loughlin (51), Dublin

Edward John O'Neill (39), Dublin

Marie Phelan (20), Co. Waterford

Siobhán Roice (19), Wexford Town

Maureen Shields (46), Dublin

Jack Travers (28), Monaghan Town

Breda Turner (21), Co. Tipperary

John Walsh (27), Dublin

Peggy White (44), Monaghan Town

George Williamson (72), Co. Monaghan

*Baby Doherty was recognised as the 34th victim of the Bombings by the Coroner for the City of Dublin during the course of the Inquests held in April and May 2004

http://www.dublinmonaghanbombings.org/index2.html



Image result for peg plunkett

17 May 1797: The death of ‘Peg Plunkett’ in Dublin was reported on this day. Her journey through this Life was not an easy one but nevertheless it was one of her own choosing. She at an early age chose the profession of prostitution as her path to riches. She was the most famous ‘Madame’ of 18th century Dublin who wrote a sensational set of memoirs of her life.

Originally from Killough in Co. Westmeath she was christened Margaret and when her father and mother died she fell under the dominating will of her brother who abused her. She took leave of the family home and headed up to Dublin to seek her fortune. After a series of liaisons she took up with a Mr Leeson Wine Merchant whose name she took even though they never married. ‘Peg Plunkett’ was a later adoption to cover her real identity.

Dublin in the middle of the 18th Century was a rapidly expanding City with a burgeoning population. The metropolis was a mixture of great wealth and great poverty. A girl like Margaret with no connections faced limited choices as to how to make her way in the world. The choice she made was not an uncommon one for a girl of wit intelligence and beauty which she apparently was. She took up living with various wealthy men as their mistress. But the lure of ready money proved too big a temptation for her and she sold herself readily to those with the means to pay for her charms.

Eventually after years of being reliant on others to put a roof over head ‘Peg Plunkett’ decided that it was more lucrative to provide for her own accommodation and ply her Trade from there. While better than the Streets it was still a shoddy life. Her first establishment, run in partnership with friend and fellow-courtesan Sally Hayes, was in Drogheda Street. However her Brothel was vandalized by the Pinking-dindies – a group of high class rabble rousers. She then moved to Wood Street, before settling, most notoriously, in Pitt Street, on the site of the present Westbury Hotel, just off the then as now fashionable Grafton St in Dublin’s City Centre.

As well as the rich (a Bank of Ireland Governor and a Lord Lieutenant were among her clients), she served lawyers, theatre-folk and petty villains amongst others. She refused service to the Earl of Westmorland because he treated his second wife ‘shabbily’, and she insulted the Prince Regent twice whilst visiting London. After 30 years she decided to reform but found her cache of IOUs valueless and ended up in a debtors’ prison, run by a former client, Captain Mathews. To raise cash she decided to publish her memoirs, documenting her life as a madam and the vicissitudes of her later life. Her end though was a rather sordid one as she was apparently gang raped when in her 60s and eventually died of venereal disease.



Wednesday, 16 May 2018


16 May 1926: The inaugural meeting of the Fianna Fáil Party was held in La Scala theatre in Dublin on this day. Among the founding members were Seán Lemass, Gerry Boland, Countess Markievicz and Frank Aiken. The Party was founded and led by Eamon de Valera - the ex President of the Sinn Fein. Among the founding members were Seán Lemass, Gerry Boland, Countess Markievicz and Frank Aiken.

De Valera had led a walkout of his followers from Sinn Féin in the previous March. He was dissatisfied with that Party’s continued adherence to a policy of abstention from the Leinster House parliament in Dublin that was the seat of Government of the Irish Free State. Dev wanted to find a way through the ‘Oath’ that committed all members of the House to take an Oath of Fidelity to the King of England (King George V). He knew he could not do that unless he had full command of his own Party.

His gamble paid off as he led Fianna Fáil into Leinster House the following year by taking the Oath - but denying its moral force! He led it into Government in 1932. Under his continued leadership the Party held power until 1948 and again in 1951-1954 and from 1957-1959. In that year he became President of Ireland until he relinquished that Office in 1973. Known to his loyal followers as ‘the Chief’ he was the most popular yet also the most divisive political figure in 20th century Ireland.





Tuesday, 15 May 2018



15‭ May 1847: The death of Daniel O’Connell  ‘The Liberator’ at Genoa in Italy while making his way to the Holy City of Rome on this day. He died at 9.35 p.m. in the evening. His heart was taken on to Rome (now lost) and his body was returned to Dublin for internment in Dublin’s Glasnevin Cemetery. He tomb was eventually capped by a replica Irish Round Tower that is the centrepoint of the necropolis and is still visited by thousands of people every year.

On May‭ ‬15, 1847, Father Miley, O'Connell's companion on his last journey, wrote from Genoa: “The Liberator is not better. He is worse – ill as ill can be. At two o'clock this morning I found it necessary to send for the Viaticum and the holy oil. Though it was the dead of night, the cardinal archbishop (he is eighty-eight years old), attended by his clerics and several of the faithful, carried the Viaticum with the solemnities customary in Catholic countries, and reposed it in the tabernacle which we had prepared in the chamber of the illustrious sufferer. Though prostrate to the last degree, he was perfectly in possession of his mind whilst receiving the last rites. The adorable name of Jesus, which he had been in the habit of invoking was constantly on his lips with trembling fervour, His thoughts have been entirely absorbed by religion since his illness commenced. For the last forty hours he will not open his lips to speak of anything else. The doctors still say they have hope. I have none. All Genoa is praying for him. I have written to Rome. Be not surprised if I am totally silent as to our own feelings. It is poor Daniel who is to be pitied more than all.”
Henry Peel OP - St Martin de Porres Magazine,‭ a publication of the Irish Dominicans.

He was the greatest Irish political figure of the 19th century but curiously not the most revered. A great orator and a man of impressive appearance and political acumen he was considered too cute by half by both allies and opponents. However he rose a People off their knees and showed that it was possible to build a mass political movement in Ireland that could only be defeated when faced by Force of Arms and not the Force of Argument.






Monday, 14 May 2018

Image result for robert nairac

14 May 1977: The strange death and disappearance of Captain Robert Nairac on this day. In one of the most bizarre and deadly incidents of the Conflict in the North in the 1970s this British Officer (in Mufti at the time he was armed with a 9mm Browning pistol )  was set upon  in the carpark of The Three Steps pub in Dromintee, South Armagh. He is said to have told regulars of the pub that he was Danny McErlaine, a motor mechanic and member of the Official IRA.

At around 11.45 p.m., he was abducted following a struggle in the and taken across the border into the Republic near Ravensdale Wood in Co Louth. Here he was set upon and brutally interrogated but would admit to nothing. When he knew the game was up and he going to be executed his last words were ‘Bless me Father for I have sinned’.

Nairac was an experienced Intelligence Officer who began his military career with the Grenadier Guards before switching to Intelligence duties. He was used to taking chances - indeed he was known for taking exceptional risks to gather information on the IRA.

 Had he been an SAS member, he would not have been allowed to operate in the way he did. Before his death we had been very concerned at the lack of checks on his activities. No one seemed to know who his boss was, and he appeared to have been allowed to get out of control, deciding himself what tasks he would do.
Ghost Force by Former SAS Warrant Officer Ken Connor

His disappearance trigged a huge manhunt North and South of the Border when news of his abduction broke. But despite the best efforts of the Crown Forces and An Garda Siochana his remains were never located.

Was there a darker side to Captain Robert Nairac? He has been linked to some of the more murkier operations that happened at that time along the Border and it was known he was prepared to countenance taking on the IRA ‘at their own game’. But nothing has ever been substantiated and with the passage of time probably never will.

He was posthumously awarded the George Cross in 1978. In part the Citation reads as follows:

Captain Nairac's exceptional courage and acts of the greatest heroism in circumstances of extreme peril showed devotion to duty and personal courage second to none.

To this day he is counted amongst the Disappeared whose bodies have never been found.


Saturday, 12 May 2018


12 May 1916: Seán MacDiarmada and James Connolly were executed on this day. They were the last of the Leaders of the Easter Rising to be executed in Ireland. By this stage public revulsion at the continuing executions was boiling over. When the British Prime Minister Herbert Asquith arrived in Dublin that day he immediately ordered that no more executions were to take place here. But it was a damage limitation exercise as the men shot became modern day heroes in the eyes of many of the Irish People. And they still are.

Seán MacDiarmada: Born in 1884 in Leitrim, MacDiarmada emigrated to Glasgow in 1900, and from there to Belfast in 1902. A member of the Gaelic League, he was acquainted with Bulmer Hobson. He joined the Irish Republican Brotherhood in 1906 while still in Belfast, later transferring to Dublin in 1908 where he assumed managerial responsibility for the I. R. B. newspaper Irish Freedom in 1910. Although MacDiarmada was afflicted with polio in 1912, he was appointed as a member of the provisional committee of Irish Volunteers from 1913, and was subsequently drafted onto the military committee of the I. R. B. in 1915. During the Rising MacDiarmada served in the G. P. O. He was executed on 12 May 1916.

James Connolly (1868-1916): Born in Edinburgh in 1868, Connolly was first introduced to Ireland as a member of the British Army. Despite returning to Scotland, the strong Irish presence in Edinburgh stimulated Connolly’s growing interest in Irish politics in the mid 1890s, leading to his emigration to Dublin in 1896 where he founded the Irish Socialist Republican Party. He spent much of the first decade of the twentieth century in America, he returned to Ireland to campaign for worker’s rights with James Larkin. A firm believer in the perils of sectarian division, Connolly campaigned tirelessly against religious bigotry. In 1913, Connolly was one of the founders of the Irish Citizen Army. During the Easter Rising he was appointed Commandant-General of the Dublin forces, leading the group that occupied the General Post Office. Unable to stand to during his execution due to wounds received during the Rising, Connolly was executed while sitting down on 12 May 1916. He was the last of the leaders to be executed.
- See more at: http://www.taoiseach.gov.



Friday, 11 May 2018


11 May 1745: The battle of Fontenoy was fought on this day. It occurred in what was then part of the Austrian Netherlands but is now in present day Belgium. The French under Marshal De Saxe defeated the British - Dutch Army under the Duke of Cumberland.

The Allied Army was on the advance to relieve the siege of Tournai when they encountered the French under Marshal De Saxe drawn up in prepared positions. In all the French army numbered 93 battalions, 146 squadrons and 80 cannon, some 70,000 troops, of which 27 battalions and 17 squadrons were left to cover Tournai. In support of this position was a reserve of picked infantry and cavalry regiments, including the Irish Brigade, the “Wild Geese’’.

Cumberland reconnoitred the French position on 10th May and decided to pin down the French right wing by attacking with the Austrian and Dutch contingents between Antoing and Fontenoy. While these attacks were being made the British and Hanoverians would advance between Fontenoy and the Bois de Bary across what appeared to be open ground. His so called ‘Pragmatic Army’ comprised 56 battalions of infantry and 87 squadrons of cavalry supported by 80 cannon, in all around 53,000 men
The French Army however put up a formidable defence and the Allies found the advance heavy going, taking many casualties as they attempted to break their opponents line. But Cumberland pressed on and eventually forced his way into the centre of the French position. The troops opposing him began to buckle. It was the critical moment of the battle.

It was at this point that Marshal De Saxe unleashed his reserve who enveloped the flanks of the British Column. The Irish Brigade (approx. 4,000 men) and dressed in Redcoats was in the thick of it, the men fired up by thought of revenge against their Country’s Oppressor. The Irish Regiments advanced upon the British lines to the cry: 'Cuimhnigidh ar Liumneac, agus ar fheile na Sacsanach’ – ‘Remember Limerick and British faith!’

It consisted that day of the regiments of Clare, Lally, Dillon, Berwick, Roth, and Buckley, with Fitzjames' horse. O'Brien, Lord Clare, was in command. Aided by the French regiments of Normandy and Vaisseany, they were ordered to charge upon the flank of the English with fixed bayonets without firing…

The fortune of the field was no longer doubtful. The English were weary with a long day's fighting, cut up by cannon, charge, and musketry, and dispirited by the appearance of the Brigade. Still they gave their fire well and fatally; but they were literally stunned by the shout, and shattered by the Irish charge. They broke before the Irish bayonets, and tumbled down the far side of the hill disorganized, hopeless, and falling by hundreds. The victory was bloody and complete. Louis is said to have ridden down to the Irish bivouac, and personally thanked them…
George the Second, on hearing it, uttered that memorable imprecation on the penal code, 'Cursed be the laws which deprive me of such subjects.' The one English volley and the short struggle on the crest of the hill cost the Irish dear. One-fourth of the officers, including Colonel Dillon, were killed, and one-third of the men. The capture of Ghent, Bruges, Ostend, and Oudenard, followed the victory of Fontenoy."
STORY OF IRELAND
By A. M. Sullivan

It was the Irish Brigade’s most famous Victory - though it came at a high cost, with hundreds of men dead and wounded. The Pragmatic Army lost almost 10,000 men, while the French suffered between 6,000-7,000 casualties.

Painting: https://orloprat.deviantart.com/art/Fontenoy-1745-409044521

Thursday, 10 May 2018


10‭ ‬May‭ ‬1318: The Battle of Dysert O'Dea was fought on this day. It took place near near Corofin, Co Clare. The battle occurred during the Bruce Invasion of Ireland.

The Anglo Norman Lord Richard De Clare‭ ( ‬a descendant of Strongbow‭) ‬attacked the Irish chieftain Conor O’Dea, chief of the Cineal Fearmaic people and the ally of  King Muircheartach O’Brien of Thomond.

De Clare made the mistake of dividing his army in three in the face of the enemy and he led the van towards Castle Dysert O’Dea‭ – ‬the home of the Irish Chieftain.‭ ‬O’Dea held them at the ford of Fergus and sent messengers out to bring up reinforcements as De Clare charged at his opponents only to be surrounded and cut down by the axe of Conor O’Dea himself.‭ 

As the rest of the Anglo Norman force came up they waded into the Irish and were on the point of extracting a bloody revenge when‭ ‬Felim O'Connor's troops charged down the hill of Scamhall (Scool) and cut a path through the English to join the battle. De Clare's son then arrived on the scene and was cut down and killed by Felim O'Connor.

As the two forces were locked in this deadly struggle both expected reinforcements to arrive and as King Muircheartach O'Brien’s men galloped onto the scene Conor O’Dea almost lost heart not knowing who they were until he heard the Irish war cries and knew the victory was won.‭  Soon Lochlann O'Hehir and the MacNamaras joined the fight and it was all over for the Anglo Normans who sold their lives dearly and went down fighting.

The power of one of the great Anglo Norman families - the De Clares - was shattered forever.‭ ‬In the wake of this victory King Muircheartach O'Brien advanced upon the environs of Bunratty Castle, home of the De Clare Family to find much of the surrounding dwellings burnt by De Clare’s widow who promptly fled to England. The Castle though held out for a couple of weeks and the Irish completely destroyed it in 1322. The De Clare’s never returned and Thomond west of the Shannon remained under Irish rule until the early 17th Century.‭ ‬It was the greatest Gaelic victory of the Bruce War.


Wednesday, 9 May 2018


9 May 1916: Thomas Kent/ Tomás Ceannt was executed in Cork Detention Barracks on this day: Born in 1865, Kent was arrested at his home in Castlelyons, Co. Cork following a raid by the Royal Irish Constabulary during which his brother Richard was fatally wounded. It had been his intention to travel to Dublin to participate in the Rising, but when the mobilisation order for the Irish Volunteers was cancelled on Easter Sunday he assumed that the Rising had been postponed, leading him to stay at home.  In 1966 the railway station in Cork was renamed Ceannt Station in his honour.
- See more at: http://www.taoiseach.gov.

When the Kent residence was raided they were met with resistance from Thomas and his brothers Richard, David and William. A gunfight lasted for four hours, in which an RIC officer, Head Constable William Rowe, was killed and David Kent was seriously wounded. Eventually the Kents were forced to surrender, although Richard made a last minute dash for freedom and was fatally wounded.

Along with Roger Casement he was the only other person to be executed outside of Dublin for their part in the Easter Rising.

In September 2015 he was given a State funeral  after his remains were identified via DNA genetic testing thanks to samples supplied by Kent family descendants still living in the Castlelyons and Fermoy areas of north Cork. Following the requiem mass, Thomas Kent, who was 50 when he was executed, was buried in his family's crypt alongside the remains of his brothers William, Richard and David.




Tuesday, 8 May 2018



8 May 1916: Con Colbert, Michael Mallin and Seán Heuston were all executed by firing squad on this day for their part in the Easter Rising. They were executed in the Stonebreakers Yard of Kilmainham Jail Dublin.

Con Colbert: Born in 1888, Colbert was a native of Limerick. Prior to the Easter Rising he had been an active member of the republican movement, joining both Fianna Éireann and the Irish Volunteers. A dedicated pioneer, Colbert was known not to drink or smoke. As the captain of F Company of the Fourth Battalion, Colbert was in command at the Marrowbone Lane distillery when it was surrendered on Sunday, 30 April 1916.

Michael Mallin: A silk weaver by trade, Mallin was born in Dublin in 1874. Along with Countess Markievicz, he commanded a small contingent of the Irish Citizen Army, of which he was Chief of Staff, taking possession of St. Stephen’s Green and the Royal College of Surgeons.

Seán Heuston: Born in 1891, he was responsible for the organisation of Fianna Éireann in Limerick. Along with Con Colbert, Heuston was involved in the education of the schoolboys at Scoil Éanna, organising drill and musketry exercises. A section of the First Battalion of the Volunteers, under the leadership of Heuston, occupied the Mendicity Institute on south of the Liffey, holding out there for two days. Heuston Railway station in Dublin is named after him.
www.taoiseach.gov.ie

Prior to his execution Heuston was attended by Father Albert, of the Capuchin Order in his final hours. Father Albert wrote an account of those hours up to and including the execution:

“… I had told him in his cell that I would anoint him when he was shot. We now proceeded towards the yard where the execution was to take place; my left arm was linked in his right, while the British soldier who had handcuffed and blindfolded him walked on his left. As we walked slowly along we repeated most of the prayers that we had been saying in the cell... Having reached a second yard I saw there another group of military armed with rifles... A soldier directed Seán and myself to a corner of the yard, a short distance from the outer wall of the prison. Here there was a box (seemingly a soap box) and Sean was told to sit down upon it. He was perfectly calm, and said with me for the last time: ‘My Jesus, mercy.’ I scarcely had moved away a few yards when a volley went off, and this noble soldier of Irish Freedom fell dead. I rushed over to anoint him; his whole face seemed transformed and lit up with a grandeur and brightness that I had never before noticed.”
Father Albert concluded:

“Never did I realise that men could fight so bravely, and die so beautifully, and so fearlessly as did the Heroes of Easter Week. On the morning of Sean Heuston's death I would have given the world to have been in his place, he died in such a noble and sacred cause, and went forth to meet his Divine Saviour with such grand Christian sentiments of trust, confidence and love.
Piaras F. Mac Lochlainn, Last words : letters and statements of the leaders executed after the rising at Easter 1916, Dublin: Stationery Office.







8 May 1987: In an ambush at Loughgall Co Tyrone eight members of the IRA were shot dead on this day. It was the greatest loss of life suffered by the IRA since 1921. The attack was carefully planned and carried out by members of the British SAS Regiment and a small number of the RUCs Mobile Support Unit. They assembled over 30 soldiers well hidden behind roadside bushes and armed with an array of weapons incl. heavy machine guns in order to take out  the Active Service Unit that intended to attack and blow up Loughgall RUC Station.

How they managed to crack the IRA plans for that day has never been revealed. But the IRA modus operandi was not a new one and it was a reasonable surmise on their part that an isolated outpost like the one at Loughgall would be on a list of IRA targets. As in all operations of this sort a detailed reconnaissance would have been necessary to scout out the weakest points and best escape routes. The most likely explanation is that at this stage the operation was compromised - though an informer in the ranks or plain ‘loose talk’ could well have undermined what was afoot.

On the evening in question the plan was to drive a digger up to the gates of the station with a  400lb bomb hidden in its bucket and blow them open and at that stage IRA Volunteers hidden in a van would leap out & then rush the building and kill the RUC Officers inside. But by then the regular garrison had been withdrawn and a small but well armed group of SAS and RUC men were inside ready to repel any such attempt to take the place by storm.

As soon as the digger was in place the IRA blew it and caused considerable damage to the the building as well as injuring some of those inside. At that moment the SAS opened up with a massive hail of gunfire that swept through the men on the digger and inside the van. Some of them made a run for it but were cut down and killed. Unbeknownst to the British there were at least two scout cars in the immediate vicinity that were there to ferry the IRA members away to safe houses but despite that they were able to drive away in the aftermath without being intercepted.

The IRA men who died that day were: Volunteers Declan Arthurs, Seamus Donnelly, Tony Gormley, Eugene Kelly, Paddy Kelly, Jim Lynagh, Padraig McKearney and Gerard O’Callaghan were members of the East Tyrone Brigade IRA. Civilian Anthony Hughes was also killed that evening when he and his brother inadvertently drove into the SAS ambush.








Monday, 7 May 2018

Image result for lusitaniaImage result for lusitania

7 May 1915: The liner Lusitania (New York to Liverpool) was torpedoed off the Old head of Kinsale by the German submarine U20 on this day. She sank within 18 minutes. (Two explosions rocked the ship. The first was clearly caused by a torpedo from U-20. The cause of the second explosion has never been definitively determined and remains the source of much controversy.) Of those on board, 761 were rescued, while 1,198 perished, including 115 US Citizens.

On the 7th September 1907 under the command of Captain James B. Watt, the RMS Lusitania sailed on her maiden voyage to New York. She carried over 3,000 passengers and crew. Her passengers were delighted with the new ship. The standards of accommodation and services were well documented. Most third class passengers enjoyed the voyage. Dinning on her was like eating in the best restaurants or hotel anywhere.

In August 1914 World War One broke out. The day of anticipation finally arrived when the British Navy needed the ship for wartime service. The Lusitania had to be refitted for the purpose. Her four funnels were fully painted black to conceal her identity from enemy ships.
On May 1, 1915, the ship departed New York City bound for Liverpool. Unknown to her passengers but probably no secret to the Germans, almost all her hidden cargo consisted of munitions and contraband destined for the British war effort. As the fastest ship afloat, the luxurious liner felt secure in the belief she could easily outdistance any submarine. Nonetheless, the menace of submarine attack reduced her passenger list to only half her capacity.

Following the loss of the Titanic, the Lusitania was fitted with 48 boats (22 wooden and 26 collapsible). Every boat was fitted with 2 chains to anchor them to the deck. This would prove disastrous when the ship sank because the chains would have to be released before the boats could be swung clear of the ship. When the Lusitania was sinking many of the chains were not released and thus preventing the boats from being launched successfully. Many boats went down with the ship.

On Friday 7th May 1915 she had reached the War Zone. The usual precautions of blackening out the portholes and doubling the watch were obeyed.The lookouts were tentatively at their posts. At about 1.30 p.m. Leslie Morton saw the torpedo heading towards the Starboard side travelling at about 22 knots. He gave the alarm stating "Torpedo coming in the Starboard side". The Bridge was slow in reacting to his warnings.Another lookout, Thomas Quinn also said that the torpedo and sounded the alarm. It was too late. The torpedo struck the ship and detonated before Turner could do anything. Power was suddenly lost. The watertight door could not be closed. Radio distress signals had to be sent using battery power.

At 2.10 p.m. after lunch the passengers were eagerly waiting for their desserts when they heard:
"the sound of an arrow entering the canvas and straw of a target magnified a thousand times" or and "a pearl of thunder" and "the slamming of a door".

A second explosion came within seconds. Suddenly the ship took a 15º list to Starboard, which began to sharpen to 16º then 17º etc until the list reached 25º - a point at which the ship could not survive. The list had become so severe that the Officers could not swing the lifeboats clear of the ship.Panic had set in amongst the passengers. Some jumped into the water trying to flee for their lives. Captain Turner jumped into the water when the Bridge was flooding. He swam for three hours before finding a lifeboat to climb into. Within 18 minutes the ship had rolled over and sunk with 1,195 passengers. Only 289 bodies were recovered. 764 people survived.

The survivors were landed at Cobh (Queenstown) in Co Cork. It was here too that the bodies were brought ashore or washed up in the days after the sinking. The corpses, men, women and children, were placed in coffins and lined up along the Cunard Line’s dock. A huge funeral procession made its way through the streets of Cobh to the cemetery. Many of the dead were buried in mass graves, marked by two crudely hewn stones. Others victims, likely the more affluent, were buried in individual graves with headstones noting their death on the Lusitania.

The loss of the Lusitania was to reverberate on the World stage as the USA was shocked and stunned by the actions of the German Navy in sinking what was to all appearances a civilian Liner engaged in peaceful commerce. It pushed US public opinion firmly in the direction of the Allies and helped to bring the USA into the War against Germany in April 1917.

RMS LUSITANIA