Thursday, 25 February 2021
Wednesday, 24 February 2021
24 February 1943: Thirty five girls and their 80 year old cook were killed when fire swept through their dormitory at St. Joseph's Orphanage & Industrial School in Cavan Town on this day.
In the early hours the morning a fire broke out in the basement laundry of the Orphanage. The Institution was run by the enclosed order of Poor Clare nuns who were charged with the protection of the girls. The fire & smoke spread very rapidly and quickly took hold. Local people did their best to try and rescue those within. When entry was finally gained it was too late to reach many of the terrified screaming children trapped in the top floor dormitories.
The children who died were on the top floors of the building and on the night in question the three dormitories there contained 67 souls incl. 3 adults. On the next floor down there was one dormitory in which were 22 individuals incl.1 adult who all escaped the conflagration. In total 89 persons were present on the night in the actual Orphanage.
The local fire service was totally overwhelmed and by the time they had brought their inadequate equipment to bear the flames had taken hold, the roof had caved in and the building was soon firmly ablaze. Thirty five children and an elderly lay woman were burned to death when the roof of the building collapsed. The following day what remained of the thirty six bodies were recovered from the blackened ruins. They were put in just eight coffins and buried subsequently in a mass grave.
An Official State enquiry was held that reached the conclusion that in all probability the origin of the fire was a faulty flue in the chimney that set a clothes hanger on fire in the Laundry room and that those who died could have been brought to safety in time if they had been brought down to safety immediately instead of their supervisor going to get help & being unable to return to her charges before the smoke took hold.
REPORT OF THE
Tribunal Of Inquiry Into The Fire
AT ST. JOSEPH'S ORPHANAGE, MAIN STREET, CAVAN found:
That the loss of life was caused by combination of circumstances, namely,
(a) fright or panic resulting in faulty directions being given;
(b ) want of training in fire-fighting, including rapid
evacuation of personnel and movement in smoke laden atmosphere
(c ) lack of proper leadership and control of operations;
(d) want of knowledge of the lay-out 'of the premises on the part of persons from outside;
(e) inadequate rescue and firefighting service at the proper time;
(I) the absence of light at a critical period
The children who died were:
Mary Harrison -15 years of age from Dublin
Mary Hughes - 15 years of age from Killeshandra
Ellen McHugh -15 years of age from Blacklion
Kathleen & Frances Kiely - 12 & 9 years of age from Virginia
Mary & Margaret Lynch - 15 & 10 years of age from Cavan
Josephine & Mona Cassidy - 15 & 11 years of age from Belfast
Kathleen Reilly – 14 years of age from Butlersbridge
Mary & Josephine Carroll – 12 yrs & 10 years of age from Castlerahan
Mary & Susan McKiernan - 16 & 14 years of age from Dromard
Rose Wright – 11 years of age from Ballyjamesduff
Mary & Nora Barrett - 12 years of age -Twins – from Dublin
Mary Kelly - 10 years of age from Ballinagh
Mary Brady – 7 years of age from Ballinagh
Dorothy Daly – 7 years of age from Cootehill
Mary Ivers – 12 years of age from Kilcoole Wicklow
Philomena Regan – 9 years of age from Dublin
Harriet & Ellen Payne - 11 & 8 years of age from Dublin
Teresa White – 6 years of age from Dublin
Mary Roche - 6 years of age from Dublin
Ellen Morgan – 10 years of age from Virginia
Elizabeth Heaphy - 4 years of age from Swords
Mary O'Hara – 7 years of age from Kilnaleck
Bernadette Serridge - 5 years of age from Dublin
Katherine & Margaret Chambers - 9 & 7 years of age from Enniskillen
Mary Lowry – 17 years of age from Drumcrow, Cavan
Bridget & Mary Galligan - 17 & 18 years of age Drumcassidy, Cavan
Mary Smith 80 years of age employed as Cook
Tuesday, 23 February 2021
23 February 1886: Lord Randolph Churchill of the Conservative Party spoke at a meeting in Belfast in which he is said to have uttered the phrase ‘Ulster will fight and Ulster will be right’
The Liberals had won the General Election the previous year but had not secured an overall majority. Lord Churchill was anxious to undermine the rapport that had developed between the Liberal Party under William Gladstone and the Irish Parliamentary Party under Charles Stewart Parnell. They thus relied on Parnell to secure their hold on the House of Commons. The price for such support was Gladstone committing himself to bring forward a Bill for Home Rule for Ireland in the current session of Parliament.
Churchill was fundamentally opposed to Home Rule and planned to use his name in Ulster to give heart to those within the ranks of the Orange Order that were prepared to resist by any means the bringing in of such a measure. He had written to a friend some days previously what his plan was:
I decided some time ago that if the G.O.M.* went for Home Rule, the Orange card would be the one to play. Please God it may turn out to be the ace of trumps and not the two.
* Grand Old Man – Mr Gladstone
The revitalised Orange Order had sponsored meetings for all who were against Home Rule. It arranged the meeting in the Ulster Hall at which the main speaker was to be Lord Randolph Churchill himself. He gave, to a wildly enthusiastic audience, this slogan that was to become their rallying cry in the years ahead...
Thus began the close association between the Conservative Party and the Unionists in Ireland that was to such a feature of Anglo-Irish relations for decades to come. It should be noted though that he may not have actually uttered these words - but he never actually denied saying them either!
His more famous son Sir Winston Churchill was twice Prime Minister of Gt .Britain & led her to Victory in the Second World War.
Monday, 22 February 2021
22 February 1832: Glasnevin (Prospect) Cemetery, Dublin opened its gates on this day. The first internment was of Michael Carey, aged 11, of Francis Street.
Michael Carey was born in Dublin’s Francis Street in 1821. His father was a scrap metal dealer. Michael has the auspicious legacy of being the very first burial in Glasnevin cemetery when it opened its gates. He died aged 11 on the 22nd February 1832. His gravestone by the original gate into the cemetery points out that he was the first to be interred. From that day to now, over 1 ½ million Irish people, from politicians to poets, revolutionaries to railway engineers, from shoemakers to soldiers, have been laid to rest under the same earth as this young boy.
This place of burial was established to allow the Catholic population of the City to have a place to bury their dead without impediment. The old Penal Laws had meant that all bodies had to be interred in Protestant graveyards. With the coming of full Catholic Emancipation in 1829 the imperative to establish a graveyard free from religious connotations took hold. When Glasnevin opened it was for the use of every person of regardless of Religion. The establishment of Prospect Cemetery coincided with burial reform and the rise of the 'garden cemetery' movement in Britain and Europe.
It now holds the graves of some 1.2 million people including those of many famous Irishmen and women. Amongst those were laid to rest within its walls are Daniel O'Connell, Charles Stewart Parnell, Eamon De Valera, James Larkin, Maud Gonne MacBride, Countess Markievicz, Ann Devlin, Brendan Behan, Michael Collins, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and many victims of the Great Famine.
There is now a full Museum on the site that tells the story of the establishment of the institution and the stories of some of the famous and indeed infamous people interred within.
Sunday, 21 February 2021