Saturday, 30 April 2016

 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.

Friday, 29 April 2016

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…


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.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

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.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

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

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

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 has 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, 25 April 2016

25‭ ‬April‭ ‬1916:‭ ‬A statement was issued from the Insurgent HQ in the GPO Dublin on this day.


The Provisional Government of the Irish Republic salutes the Citizens of Dublin on the momentous occasion of the proclamation of a SOVEREIGN INDEPENDENT IRISH STATE,‭ ‬now in course of being established by Irishmen in arms.

The Republican forces hold the lines taken up at twelve noon on Easter Monday,‭ ‬and nowhere,‭ ‬despite fierce and almost continuous attacks of the British troops,‭ ‬have the lines been broken through.‭ ‬The country is rising in answer to Dublin’s call,‭ ‬and the final achievement of Ireland’s freedom is now,‭ ‬with God’s help,‭ ‬only a matter of days.‭ ‬The valour,‭ ‬self-sacrifice and discipline of Irish men and women are about to win for our country a glorious place among the nations.

Ireland’s honour has already been redeemed‭; ‬it remains to vindicate her wisdom and her self-control.‭ ‬All citizens of Dublin who believe in the right of their country to be free will give their allegiance and their loyal help to the Irish Republic.‭ ‬There is work for everyone:‭ ‬for the men in the fighting line,‭ ‬and for the women in the provision of food and first aid.‭ ‬Every Irishman and Irishwoman worthy of the name will come forward to help their common country in this her supreme hour.‭ ‬Able-bodied citizens can help by building barricades in the streets to oppose the advance of the British troops.‭ ‬The British troops have been firing on our women and on our Red Cross.‭ ‬On the other hand,‭ ‬Irish Regiments in the British Army have refused to act against their fellow-countrymen.

The Provisional Government hopes that its supporters which means the vast bulk of the people of Dublin—will preserve order and self-restraint.‭ ‬Such looting as has already occurred has been done by hangers-on of the British Army.‭ ‬Ireland must keep her new honour unsmirched.‭ ‬We have lived to see an Irish Republic proclaimed.‭ ‬May we live to establish it firmly,‭ ‬and may our children and our children’s children enjoy the happiness and prosperity which freedom will bring.

Signed on behalf of the Provisional Government,‭ ‬P.‭ ‬H.‭ ‬PEARSE,

Commanding in Chief of the Forces of the Irish Republic,‭ ‬and President of the Provisional Government.

Meanwhile the British continued their preparations to crush the Rising.‭ ‬Lord French,‭ ‬the Commander of the British Army in Britain organised for an Expeditionary Force to be immediately despatched to Ireland.‭ ‬Within the Country General Lowe sent reinforcements from the Curragh to Dublin by train.‭ ‬More arrived from Belfast to bolster their positions.‭ ‬The General decided to seal off and isolate the various strongpoints and await further reinforcements.‭ ‬He established a tightening cordon in the outskirts of the City to stop any further support reaching the Volunteers and to guard against any breakout.

About‭ ‬100‭ ‬or so British soldiers seized the Shelbourne Hotel overlooking St Stephens Green and forced the Irish Citizen Army to withdraw under fire to the adjacent College of Surgeons.‭ ‬Commandant Daly who had seized the Linen Hall Barracks in north central Dublin set it alight to stop the British from using it as a base of attack.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

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’‬.‭  

Saturday, 23 April 2016

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

Thursday, 21 April 2016

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.

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, Monteith and Bailey by dinghy. The dinghy overturned in surf on Banna Strand, near Ardfert. 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.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

20 April 1912: The death of Bram Stoker, author of the horror novel Dracula on this day in London England. Abraham "Bram" Stoker (8 November 1847 – 20 April 1912) was an Anglo-Irish novelist and short story writer. During his lifetime, he was better known as personal assistant of actor Henry Irving and business manager of the Lyceum Theatre in London, which Irving owned.

Stoker was born on 8 November 1847 at 15 Marino Crescent, Clontarf , Dublin. His parents were Abraham Stoker (1799–1876), from Dublin, and Charlotte Mathilda Blake Thornley (1818–1901), Stoker was the third of seven children. Abraham and Charlotte were members of the Church of Ireland and Bram was baptised in the local COI church.

Stoker was bedridden with an unknown illness until he started school at the age of seven, when he made a complete recovery. Of this time, Stoker wrote, "I was naturally thoughtful, and the leisure of long illness gave opportunity for many thoughts which were fruitful according to their kind in later years." He was educated in a private school run by the Rev. William Woods.

After his recovery, he grew up without further major health issues, even excelling as an athlete (he was named University Athlete) at Trinity College Dublin, which he attended from 1864 to 1870. He graduated with honours as a BA in Mathematics. He was auditor of the College Historical Society ('the Hist') and president of the University Philosophical Society, where his first paper was on "Sensationalism in Fiction and Society".

While manager for Irving and secretary and director of London's Lyceum Theatre, he began writing novels, beginning with The Snakes Pass in 1890 and Dracula in 1897. During this period, Stoker was part of the literary staff of The Daily Telegraph in London, and wrote other fiction, including the horror novels The Lady in the Shroud (1909) and The Lair of the White Worm (1911). In 1906, after Irving's death, he published his life of Irving, which proved successful.

Before writing Dracula, Stoker met Ármin Vámbéry who was a Hungarian writer and traveller. Dracula likely emerged from Vámbéry's dark stories of the Carpathian mountains. Stoker then spent several years researching European folklore and mythological stories of vampires . Dracula is written as a collection of realistic, but completely fictional, diary entries, telegrams, letters, ship's logs, and newspaper clippings, all of which added a level of detailed realism to his story, a skill he developed as a newspaper writer. At the time of its publication, Dracula was considered a "straightforward horror novel" based on imaginary creations of supernatural life. "It gave form to a universal fantasy . . . and became a part of popular culture."

After suffering a number of strokes, Stoker died on 20 April 1912 in London. He was cremated , and his ashes placed in a display urn at Golders Green Crematorium. After Irving Noel Stoker's death in 1961, his ashes were added to that urn. The original plan had been to keep his parents' ashes together, but after Florence Stoker's death, her ashes were scattered at the Gardens of Rest. To visit his remains at Golders Green, visitors must be escorted to the room the urn is housed in, for fear of vandalism.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

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 climatogical 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.‭ 


Monday, 18 April 2016

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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Sunday, 17 April 2016

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.

Saturday, 16 April 2016

16‭ ‬April‭ ‬1746:‭ ‬The Battle Culloden/Blàr Chùil Lodair was fought in Scotland on this day.‭ ‬This marked the final defeat of‭ ‘‬Bonnie Prince Charlie‭’ ‬by the British Army and thus to any realistic attempt by the Stuarts to regain the throne.‭ ‬Contingents from the Irish Brigade of France fought in the battle.‭ A composite battalion of over‭ ‬400‭ ‬men from six infantry regiments (the Irish Picquets) and a detachment of Fitzjames‭' ‬cavalry regiment joined the Prince in his bid to overthrow the Crown of Hanover.‭ ‬Though hundreds more were turned back by England’s Royal Navy as they attempted to reach Scotland.‭ ‬Many of Irish veterans had been at the battle of Fontenoy the previous year, where they were instrumental in the defeat of the Duke of Cumberland’s* Army.‭  ‬Their late charge on the Duke of Cumberland's attacking force had been one of the decisive factors in turning the hotly fought encounter for Marshal De Saxe.‭

Though initially successful,‭ ‬by April‭ ‬1646‭ ‬Prince Charles and his army were clearly in trouble.‭ ‬As he confronted his enemies at Culloden,‭ ‬a large portion of his exhausted,‭ ‬freezing forces had melted away to their homes.‭ ‬Facing about‭ ‬9,000‭ ‬veteran British soldiers under the same Duke of Cumberland who had been defeated at Fontenoy less than a year earlier,‭ ‬Prince Charles‭' ‬army numbered about‭ ‬4,000.‭ ‬Retreat would seem to have been the best course of action.‭ ‬But Prince Charles just sat there on his horse and let Cumberland dictate the pace of events.‭ ‬The Prince should have closed on the Duke's Army before the English deployed their cannon.‭ ‬The one and only attack factor the Highlanders had‭
(‬besides raw courage‭) ‬was the‭ '‬Highland Charge‭' - ‬but clearly the tactical lay of the land was too open for its effective use.‭ ‬However in some respects the‭ '‬Young Pretender‭' ‬had not much choice but to stand and fight.‭ ‬His Army was demoralised and about to melt away as it was.‭ ‬At least by fighting a battle there was a chance,‭ ‬even if it was a slim one,‭ ‬that Fortune would smile on the Stuart cause that day.‭

Eventually Prince Charles ordered an attack but with moors on both sides,‭ ‬the Jacobites were forced into a narrow front.‭ ‬The British artillery was now deployed and the massed musketry of the enemy soldiers did tremendous damage to their formations.‭ ‬The Prince's army was soon in full retreat.‭ ‬Colonel O'Shea,‭ ‬with‭ ‬60‭ ‬troopers of Fitzjames‭' ‬horse stopped‭ ‬500‭ ‬British dragoons who came dangerously close to capturing the Prince,‭ ‬and on the left of the line,‭ ‬the men of the combined Irish regiments,‭ ‬under the command of the enigmatic Brigadier Stapleton,‭ ‬were the last off the field,‭ ‬covering the retreat of Prince Charles and the remnants of his army.‭ ‬Stapleton was mortally wounded during that action.‭ ‬The Irish had given their blood to the cause of a Stuart King for the last time.‭

Between 1,500 and 2,000 Jacobites were killed or wounded in the brief battle. British Army losses were lighter with around 50+ dead and 259 wounded soldiers. That night as Prince Charles fled the field of battle the victorious Duke  William Augustus dined in the town of Inverness to the toasts of his officers. Any of the wounded Jacobites left on Culloden Moor was not so lucky, for the following day the English Army returned and dispatched those they found alive at the point of the bayonet. It was the beginning of a brutal campaign to crush the Highlanders from ever again raising the flag of revolt against the House of Hanover.

Most of the surviving Irish surrendered at Inverness.‭ ‬Some months later the Prince himself managed to make his escape to France.‭ ‬His later life was a sorry one as he fell to pieces and drowned his sorrows.‭ ‬He is buried in the Crypt of St Peters in the Vatican.‭ ‬Ironically he was not the Stuart 'King' at the time of his audacious expedition but acting in the name of his father‭ ‬-‭ ‬James III‭ (‬aka‭ ‘‬the old Pretender‭’)‬.‭

Thursday, 14 April 2016

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 and her husband. He was twice married and had two daughters. His daughter Fanny married General Bertrand and was with Napoleon on Elba and St Helena.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

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.‭


Tuesday, 12 April 2016

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.

Sunday, 10 April 2016

10‭ ‬April‭ ‬1923:‭ ‬The Death of Liam Lynch on this day.‭ ‬This legendary IRA Chief of Staff was killed as a result of an encounter with Free State forces in the Knockmealdown Mountains on the border of counties Tipperary and Waterford.‭ ‬Realising that Free State columns were closing in on their position Lynch and a number of other Republican Officers decided to escape across the exposed slopes of the Knockmealdown Mountains.‭ ‬It was while attempting to avoid capture that a Column of opposing forces fired upon this small band and Lynch was hit.‭ ‬Realising that his wound was fatal he ordered his comrades to proceed without him and was captured.‭

A Lieutenant Clancy of the Free State Army soon reached the spot where Lynch was lying and he asked him to identify himself Lynch gave his name and rank,‭ ‬Chief of Staff Irish Republican Army.‭ ‬The soldiers then dressed his wound and placed him on a stretcher made from rifles and coats and carried him down the mountain.‭ ‬A priest,‭ ‬Fr Hallinan,‭ ‬arrived on the scene and administrated last rites to the dying Leader.‭ ‬He was taken to‭ ‬St.‭ ‬Joseph’s Hospital in Clonmel and died there about‭ ‬8.45pm that evening.‭

Liam Lynch was a veteran of the War for Independence and had carried out numerous attacks on the British Army.‭ ‬He had kidnapped the British General Lucas and had captured Mallow Barracks and set it alight.‭ ‬While he initially welcomed the Truce he rejected the Treaty.‭ ‬When the Civil War came he was in Dublin and captured but was allowed to walk free.‭ ‬He reorganised the IRA in Munster and did his best to slow the advance of the Free State Forces into that Province.‭ ‬But as they were pushed back the calls from both without and within the IRA were for a Ceasefire or a negotiated settlement.‭ ‬Liam Lynch rejected both and was determined to fight on.‭ ‬His death marked a watershed in the Civil War as without his influence demoralisation within the IRA increased and all hope of Victory in the War dissipated.‭  ‬Frank Aiken became Chief of Staff and on the‭ ‬3‭ ‬April he ordered a Ceasefire.‭ ‬On the‭ ‬24‭ ‬May he issued the order to‭ ‘‬Dump Arms‭’‬.‭  ‬The Civil War was over.

Saturday, 9 April 2016

9 April 1916: The Voyage of the Aud began on this day. The ship was originally a British merchant ship the SS Castro that had been seized by the Germans on the outbreak of the War in 1914. She was renamed Libau but remained inactive until 1916, when she was designated as the vessel to carry a cargo of arms to Ireland under the nom de guerre of Aud.

It was decided to fit her out as a Norwegian vessel as Norway was a neutral country and would attract less suspicion as she made her way to the coast of Ireland. The Aud was a pre-existing Norwegian ship in their Merchant Navy but the Germans reckoned that this would help their doppleganger to escape detection.

She left the port of Lubeck on 9 April under the command of Captain Karl Spindler with a crew of 4 officers and 21 men. She had on board some 20,000 rifles, 1,000,000 rounds of ammunition, 10 machine guns, and explosives under a camouflage of a timber cargo. The rifles and much of the ammunition originated in Russia. They were captured as a result of the rout of Russian forces at the battle of Tannenburg in 1914. To avoid the British Naval Blockade Spindler sailed along the coast of Norway into Artic waters before turning south again for Ireland. Despite some close shaves Spindler sailed through the British patrol lines unscathed.

Making the coast of Kerry on the 20 April Captain Spindler awaited the signal from the Irish coast that would indicate that the Irish were ready to come out and unload the cargo. However after 24 hours of holding his position it became clear that the plan had mislaid. As Spindler had no radio aboard he was unaware that the initial date for the rendezvous had been changed and he had arrived too early. To make matters worse the men who were sent to meet the ship had suffered a tragic accident on the coast road and one of their motor cars had gone over the cliffs and into the sea below. Three of them were drowned.

Not knowing what was happening on land the Captain decided to hove to off the coast and await developments. But staying in the same location could only attract attention and the Royal Navy was sent to investigate. The Aud was stopped on the evening of 21 April and told to proceed to the port of Queenstown (Cobh) under escort by HMS Bluebell where she was to be searched. In the early hours of the morning of 22 April as she made her way towards Cork harbour Captain Spindler gave the order to scuttle the Aud and abandon ship. The men made it ashore safely but were quickly captured by British shore parties. They spent the rest of the War in captivity but Spindler was exchanged in April 1918. Thus ended the most serious attempt to import arms into Ireland in the Great War in order to overthrow British rule.

Friday, 8 April 2016

8‭ ‬April‭ ‬1886:‭ ‬British Prime Minister William Gladstone [above] introduced the‭ ‬1st Home Rule Bill in the House of Commons on this day.‭ ‬He did so with the intent of giving Ireland a limited control of her own internal affairs.‭ ‬His intention was to prove to the House that since the Act of Union in‭ ‬1800‭ ‬all efforts to govern Ireland through the Parliament at Westminster had failed,‭ ‬and to propose for that reason a system of governing her through a legislative body sitting in Dublin.‭

In a long and winding speech he outlined the historical background to Ireland’s grievances and the attempts by the Crown to suppress Discontent.‭ ‬All concessions had failed to satisfy the Irish and the reason was that they wished to govern their own affairs.‭ ‬He proposed a limited form of self Government or‭ ‘‬Home Rule‭’ ‬to resolve the issue:

Law is discredited in Ireland,‭ ‬and discredited in Ireland upon this ground especially—that it comes to the people of that country with a foreign accent,‭ ‬and in a foreign garb‭…‬.
These Coercion Bills of ours…are stiffly resisted by the Members who represent Ireland in Parliament.‭

The case of Ireland,‭ ‬though she is represented here not less fully than England and Scotland,‭ ‬is not the same as that of England and Scotland‭…‬.The consequence is that the mainspring of law in England is felt by the people to be English‭; ‬the mainspring of law in Scotland is felt by the people to be Scotch‭; ‬but the mainspring of law in Ireland is not felt by the people to be Irish.

Gladstone however was determined that any devolution of political power to an Irish Legislature would of limited extent:

Everything that relates to the Crown—Succession,‭ ‬Prerogatives,‭ ‬and the mode of administering powers during incapacity,‭ ‬Regency,‭ ‬and,‭ ‬in fact,‭ ‬all that belongs to the Crown.‭ ‬The next would be all that belongs to defence--the Army,‭ ‬the Navy,‭ ‬the entire organisations of armed force.‭ ‬I do not say the Police Force,‭ ‬which I will touch upon by-and-by,‭ ‬but everything belonging to defence.‭ ‬And the third would be the entire subject of Foreign and Colonial relations.‭ ‬Those are the subjects most properly Imperial,‭ ‬and I will say belonging,‭ ‬as a principle,‭ ‬to the Legislature established under the Act of Union and sitting at Westminster.

While he ruled out a separate Parliament for the North he stated that:

We propose to provide that the Legislative Body should not be competent to pass a law for the establishment or the endowment of any particular religion.

He concluded with the lofty words:

The best and surest foundation we can find to build upon is the foundation afforded by the affections,‭ ‬the convictions,‭ ‬and the will of the nation‭; ‬and it is thus,‭ ‬by the decree of the Almighty,‭ ‬that we may be enabled to secure at once the social peace,‭ ‬the fame,‭ ‬the power,‭ ‬and the permanence of the Empire.

But for all Gladstone’s fine words his attempt to accommodate Ireland’s claim to legislate for her own affairs was to result in a political fiasco and the downfall of his own Government.‭ ‬Two months later to the day the Home Rule Bill was defeated in the Commons by‭ ‬341‭ ‬votes to‭ ‬311.‭  ‬The‭ ‬Parliament was quickly dissolved,‭ ‬and elections were held in early July.‭ ‬Gladstone’s hopes were dashed—the Liberals won‭ ‬191‭ ‬seats,‭ ‬the Home Rulers won‭ ‬85‭ ‬but the Tories and Liberal Unionists won‭ ‬317.‭ ‬With his very comfortable majority,‭ ‬Lord Salisbury formed a government,‭ ‬which remained in power until‭ ‬1892.

Thursday, 7 April 2016

7 April: 1973 - John Charles McQuaid [above], the old Archbishop of Dublin, died on this day . He was head of the Dublin Diocese from 1940 to 1972 and a man who ruled his fiefdom with an Iron Hand.

He was born in Cootehill, Co. Cavan, on 28 July 1895, to Dr. Eugene McQuaid and Jennie Corry. His mother died a week later and his father, a doctor, signed her death certificate. A little over a year later he married a woman named Agnes, who raised John and his sister Helen as her own. In his teens John learned that Agnes was not his real mother. Further children were born to Eugene and Agnes McQuaid.

Educated at Blackrock College and Clongowes, two of the top private Catholic schools in the Country, he went on to complete his University Education at UCD where he mastered on the Life of the Roman pagan philosopher Seneca. He then took up his studies for the priesthood and was was ordained at Kimmage in Dublin in 1924.

After a brief stay in Rome he returned to Ireland and was appointed to the staff of Blackrock College in 1925. He served as Dean of Studies from 1925–1931 and President of the College from 1931–1939. In this time he ran the school with a strict hand and encouraged the boys in Sport, Rugby in particular and also in classical studies.

However it was in his role as advisor to the President Eamon De Valera that he is best known for ensuring that a strong Catholic ethos was written into the new Irish Constitution of 1937, where the ‘Special Position’ of the Church was specifically recognised. Though recent commentators have pointed out that this had no actual legal meaning as such. It was removed from the Constitution in 1972 in a Referendum.

In 1940 McQuaid was appointed Archbishop of Dublin and from the start he had some overiding concerns. He wanted to ensure that the Church remained dominant in Irish Society and that a Catholic education was given to the children of the Diocese He also had great concerns about the widespread poverty in the city and encouraged acts of Charity towards the poor.

He was basically a typical Irish Archbishop in religiosity but with a lot more intelligence, drive and determination than most. His most controversial moment came in 1951 when he became embroiled in the legislation for a Bill that was before the Irish Parliament ( the Dail) that was known as the Mother & Child Scheme. McQuaid opposed it as giving more power to the State as against the Church. He was not the only one and the Irish Medical Organisation also rowed in against it for reasons of their own. The popular Minister of Health, Noel Browne, was forced to resign. But it proved a Pyrrhic Victory for the Church and for McQuaid in particular as public opinion slowly moved away from accepting the Church as the primary source of moral authority.

Further controversy dogged him in 1955 when he voiced opposition to the visit of the Communist soccer team from Yugoslavia (where in fairness Catholics were given a hard time) to Dublin yet over 20,000 people turned up to see them!

But Ireland was changing and even more so after 1960 when increased social prosperity brought into being new ways of thinking. The arrival of Television and foreign travel meant that people had a broader view of the World and its many and varied ways than heretofore.

It was though the opening of the Second Vatican Council in Rome in 1962 that put the cat amongst the pidgons as many of the Faithful saw hope for fundamental change in the strict and outdated modes of operation of the Church. McQuaid was deeply suspicious of change and made it pretty clear where he stood on the issue. He will always be remembered for his attempt to reassure his flock at the end of the Council that "No change will worry the tranquility of your Christian lives".

His eminent position in the decision making process of the Irish State became an increasing anachronism as the 1960's wore on. Politicians offering him public deference became a source of embarrassment and indeed anger to many voters, particularly in the upwardly mobile classes in South Dublin, where McQuaid lived himself.

He was a shy and reserved man who lived frugally and alone. He visited the sick in hospitals nearly every night and ensured that the Church’s works of Charity continued unabated. But these are now almost forgotten and his errors of judgement remembered.

Dr. McQuaid formally relinquished the government of the Archdiocese of Dublin when his successor was ordained Archbishop in February 1972.

‘On Saturday 7 April 1973 McQuaid was too ill to get up at his usual time of 6.30am to say Mass at his private residence in Killiney Co. Dublin. He was taken to Loughlinstown Hospital where he died within an hour. Shortly before his death he asked nurse Margaret O'Dowd if he had any chance of reaching heaven. She told him that if he as Archbishop could not get to heaven, few would. This answer appeared to satisfy him and he lay back on the pillow to await death. He died at about 11am. He is buried in St. Mary's Pro-Cathedral in Dublin, the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese.’

Monday, 4 April 2016

April‭ ‬4‭ ‬1774:‭ ‬Oliver Goldsmith [above]*,‭ ‬Irish novelist,‭ ‬playwright and poet,‭ ‬died in London on this day.‭ ‬He was born in the Irish Midlands in about‭ ‬1730‭ ‬the son of an Anglican clergyman.‭ ‬At the age of eight he had a severe attack of smallpox which disfigured him for life.‭ ‬He studied Theology and Law at Trinity College in Dublin during the‭ ‬1740s and eventually graduated from there as a Bachelor of Arts in‭ ‬1749.‭ ‬While a student he picked up a taste for the good life of drinking,‭ ‬singing and playing cards.‭ ‬He spent some time studying Medicine in Edinburgh and in Leiden in the Austrian Netherlands but gave it up.‭ ‬He then drifted about and wandered on foot across Flanders,‭ ‬France,‭ ‬Switzerland and Northern Italy.‭ ‬He survived on his wits and‭ ‘‬busked‭’ ‬for a living when he could.

‭ ‬He settled in London in‭ ‬1756‭ ‬and started to earn an income by the pen.‭ ‬Necessity being the mother of invention he produced much low grade material but some gems too as he honed his art.‭ ‬His fortunate inclusion in‭ ‘‬the Club‭’ ‬of Samuel Johnson gave him an introduction to many of the City’s literati.‭ ‬Though Boswell depicted him as a ridiculous,‭ ‬blundering,‭ ‬but tender hearted and generous creature.

His most famous works are his novel‭ ‬The Vicar of Wakefield‭ (‬1766‭) ‬a‭  ‬humorous melodrama and his short and ironic poem‭ ‬An Elegy on the Death of a Mad Dog of the same year‭ ; ‬his poem‭ ‬The Deserted Village‭ (‬1770‭) ‬a lament on a fictional Irish village in the Midlands and his play‭ ‬She Stoops to Conquer‭ (‬1773‭) ‬a comedy of manners,‭ ‬all made his name.‭ ‬He also turned out many works of lesser importance including Histories and works on Philosophy which helped give him a lucrative income.

He was known as a very generous man but with extravagant tastes and when he died he owed‭ ‬£2,000‭ – ‬a small fortune in those days.‭ ‬He had a close relationship with Mary Horneck,‭ ‬with whom he fell in love in‭ ‬1769‭ ‬but they never married.‭ ‬He died after a short illness in‭ ‬1774‭ ‬and was buried in the Church of St Mary or‭ ‘‬The Temple‭’‬.‭ ‬His Latin Epitaph by Johnson was praise indeed:‭

Oliver Goldsmith:‭ ‬A Poet,‭ ‬Naturalist,‭ ‬and Historian,‭ ‬who left scarcely any style of writing untouched,‭ ‬and touched nothing that he did not adorn.‭ ‬Of all the passions,‭ ‬whether smiles were to move or tears,‭ ‬a powerful yet gentle master.‭ ‬In genius,‭ ‬vivid,‭ ‬versatile,‭ ‬sublime.‭ ‬In style,‭ ‬clear,‭ ‬elevated,‭ ‬elegant.

A statue of him stands outside the front doors of his old Alma Mater,Trinity College Dublin.‭ ‬

* Oliver Goldsmith by Sir Joshua Reynolds

Sunday, 3 April 2016

3‭ ‬April‭ ‬1925:‭ ‬The amalgamation of the Dublin Metropolitan Police‭ (‬DMP‭) ‬with‭ ‬An Garda Síochána‭ ‬ took place on this day.‭

The Capital’s own Police Force had been established under an Act of the British Parliament in‭ ‬1836‭ ‬and the force had become operational in January‭ ‬1838.‭ ‬It was closely modelled on the London Metropolitan Police founded by Sir John Peel.‭ ‬While never a greatly popular force with Dubliners the DMP had nevertheless proved to be a magnet to men‭ (‬mostly countrymen‭) ‬in search of secure employment in the city with a guaranteed pension at the end of their service.‭ ‬Its members were unarmed unless on specific duties and the individual members relied on their formidable physical strength [as above] to settle affairs on the street when necessary.‭ ‬Among the generally undersized citizenry of Dublin they certainly stood out as men not to be trifled with.‭

Things started to turn sour for the DMP in‭ ‬1913‭ ‬when there was serious labour unrest in Dublin.‭ ‬In a fight for Trade Union recognition the employers resorted to locking out the workers till they dropped their demand for the right to belong to one.‭ ‬The DMP as a result found itself involved in upholding the interests of the employers at the expense of the workers rights.‭ ‬Vicious street battles developed with the police involved in sometimes fatal baton charges,‭ ‬which lost them a lot of credibility and respect with the public.‭ ‬Of course the DMP men suffered too‭! ‬Then the events of‭ ‬1914,‭ ‬when the DMP and the British Army tried unsuccessfully to block the distribution of the weapons landed at Howth,‭ ‬further weakened their morale and general standing.‭ ‬Indeed as a result of this incident the Assistant Commissioner had to resign.

The outbreak of the Great War saw a considerable number of the men volunteer for war service from which,‭ ‬no doubt,‭ ‬a high proportion never returned.‭ ‬The Easter Rising of‭ ‬1916‭ ‬was yet another shock to its morale.‭ ‬By the time the War of Independence started in‭ ‬1919‭ ‬the force was at a low ebb,‭ ‬which the events of the next two and a half years did nothing to alleviate.‭ ‬By and large they escaped the deadly fate of so many of their counterparts in the RIC simply because of their unarmed status.‭ ‬So long as they turned a blind eye to the activities of the IRA then they were allowed to proceed with the enforcement of the civil law.‭ ‬Not so the men of the‭ ‘ ‬G‭ ’ ‬Division.‭ ‬They were armed and were tasked by the British with hunting down Republicans in the city.‭ ‬Michael Collins had his own answer to them:‭ ‬the men of‭  ‘ ‬the Squad‭ ‘‬,‭ ‬a select group of gunmen who were given the job of eliminating especially dangerous opponents of the Republic in Dublin.‭ ‬In this they succeeded brilliantly,‭ ‬and effectively put a stop to the flow of intelligence to the British administration in Dublin Castle.

By the Summer of‭ ‬1921‭ ‬Irish recruitment to the DMP was at a standstill and the ranks had to be filled by taking on men from across the water,‭ ‬many of them British ex-servicemen.‭ ‬With the Truce of July‭ ‬1921‭ ‬the DMP was left hanging in the air,‭ ‬not knowing whether they would be kept on or swept aside in the impending change of government.

When the new Government took over they decided to retain the DMP at least temporarily as the only fully trained Police Force in the State.‭ ‬In Irish the Force was known as‭ ‬Políní Átha Cliath‭ ‬and cap badges were issued to reflect this.‭

In‭ ‬1923‭ ‬Major General W.R.E.‭ ‬Murphy DSO,‭ ‬MC was appointed to command as Chief Commissioner and he was able to instil a sense of purpose back into the Force.‭ ‬He had numerous difficulties to contend with both internal and external.‭ ‬Many of the men wished to retire and Jim Larkin had returned from America and organised a series of Strikes across the City.‭ ‬On the other hand Murphy was instrumental in ensuring that Frank Duff’s efforts to shut down the notorious Red Light district known as the Monto succeeded.‭ ‬In sport the DMP continued to enjoy great success their crowning glory being winning the World Tug of War Championship in London in‭ ‬1924.

‭ ‬However Kevin O’Higgins had decided that two police forces in one State was one too many and in‭ ‬1925‭ ‬the DMP was amalgamated into the Garda Siochana.‭ ‬Murphy became a Deputy Commissioner of the Garda under General O’Duffy with whom he had served in the Irish Civil war.‭ ‬Thus after a run of‭ ‬87‭ ‬years Dublin’s own Police Force and its formidable Constables came to be seen no more on the streets of the Fair City.

Saturday, 2 April 2016

2‭ ‬April‭ ‬1878:‭ ‬The assassination of Lord Leitrim on this day.‭ ‬William Sydney Clements,‭ ‬3rd Earl of Leitrim was born in Dublin‭ ‬1806.‭ ‬He had a successful career as an Officer in the British Army.‭  ‬On his father's death in‭ ‬1854,‭ ‬Clements succeeded him as‭ ‬3rd Earl‭  ‬and he retired from the Military in‭ ‬1855.‭  ‬Over the next two decades,‭ ‬his overbearing behaviour as a landlord brought him much hatred from his tenants.‭ ‬He personally took on many of the legal cases of Eviction against his tenants and was a very hard taskmaster.‭ ‬His oppression of his tenants and his rumoured seduction of some of the local girls made him a marked man in the eyes of many of the local people.‭ ‬He had already survived a number of attempts on his life before his luck ran out.

He was finally shot dead in an ambush at Cratlagh Wood while making his way to Manorhamilton,‭ ‬County Leitrim.‭ ‬His‭ ‬clerk and driver were killed along with him so there would be no witnesses.‭

It was reported that there was:

an open encounter,‭ ‬in which the assassins closed with their victims and deliberately put them to death.‭ ‬That there was a struggle the appearance of the ground seems to establish.‭ ‬Besides,‭ ‬Lord Leitrim's head has been shockingly battered,‭ ‬both his arms are broken,‭ ‬and the shattered stock of a gun was found close to his body.‭ ‬We are also told that one of his two attendants was shot through the mouth.

Manchester Guardian,‭ ‬April‭ ‬4‭ ‬1878

His assassins,‭ ‬Michael Hegarty,‭ ‬Michael McElwee and Neil Shields all escaped detection by the British.‭ ‬The Earl’s remains were conveyed to Dublin for burial in the family vault of St Michan’s Church where they can be viewed to this day [above].

Leitrim’s death was a prelude to the Land war,‭ ‬which broke out one year later.‭

Friday, 1 April 2016

1‭ ‬April‭ ‬1129 AD:‭ ‬The death of Cellach mac Aeda on this day.‭ ‬This famed and holy man was the Bishop of Armagh.‭ ‬His status as head of the Irish Church had been recognised at the Synod of Rathbressail/Ráth Breasail  in the year‭ ‬1111.‭ ‬It marked an important step in the transition of the Irish Church from a monastic to a diocesan and parish based church. Many Irish present day dioceses trace their boundaries to decisions made at the synod. Cellach was born in the year‭ ‬1080‭ ‬and was an advocate of reform in the Irish Church to put it on a more formal and set lines that matched similar moves on the Continent.‭

While on a visit to Munster‭ (‬Mumu‭) ‬he took ill and died at the religious settlement of Ard Patrick near Limerick.‭ ‬He was buried at his own request at Lismore.‭ ‬Shortly before he died he designated the future Saint Malachy as his successor.‭ ‬However his protégé was to be frustrated in his attempts to secure the see of Armagh by Muirchertach mac Domnall who installed himself at Armagh before Malachy could get there.‭ ‬The situation was only resolved in‭ ‬1134‭ ‬after much political and ecclesiastical power politics had been played out.

We see in his ‘Obituary’ in the Annals of Ulster [sample above] an eulogy that sets out the kind of person a great ecclesiastic was expected to be:

Cellach,‭ ‬successor of Patrick,‭ ‬a virgin and the chief bishop of western Europe,‭ ‬and the only head whom Irish and foreigners,‭ ‬lay and clergy,‭ ‬obeyed,‭ ‬having ordained bishops and priests and all kinds of cleric also,‭ ‬and having consecrated many churches and churchyards,‭ ‬having bestowed goods and valuables,‭ ‬having exhorted all,‭ ‬both laity and clergy,‭ ‬to uprightness and good conduct,‭ ‬after a life of saying the hours,‭ ‬saying mass,‭ ‬fasting,‭ ‬prayer,‭ ‬after being anointed and having made excellent repentance,‭ ‬sent forth his soul to the bosom of angels and archangels in Ard Pátraic in Mumu on Monday,‭ ‬the Kalends‭ ‬1st of April,‭ ‬the twenty-fourth year of his abbacy and the fiftieth year of his age.‭

His body was brought on the third of the Nones‭ ‬3rd of April to Lis Mór of Mo-Chutu in accordance with his own testament,‭ ‬and was waked with psalms and hymns and canticles,‭ ‬and buried with honour in the burial-ground of the bishops,‭ ‬on the day before the nones‭ ‬4th of April,‭ ‬that is,‭ ‬Thursday.‭ ‬Muirchertach son of Domnall was appointed to the successorship of Patrick on the Nones‭ ‬5th of April.

Annals of Ulster‭