Sunday, 31 January 2021
Saturday, 30 January 2021
30 January 1972: Bloody Sunday – British soldiers shot 26 people taking part in a Civil Rights March in Derry City. 13 were killed outright and another man died of his wounds later. Widespread condemnation followed throughout Ireland and abroad. The British Army claimed that its soldiers had fired at identifiable gunmen and bombers. The participants and survivors of the March and many independent witnesses refuted this.
The shootings took place as a major Civil Rights March was coming to an end. Sporadic rioting had broken out involving some hundreds of youths and members of the British Army. These developments were not unexpected and not seen as out of the ordinary at the time.
Then for some reason never satisfactorily explained members of the 1st Battalion, the Parachute Regiment who were deployed in the City that day opened indiscriminate fire on rioters and innocent bystanders alike, shooting many people and arresting many more. At the time panic and fear were then quickly replaced by anger and grief. These gruesome events were a watershed for many Irish People and undermined any conception they had that the British were neutral in the North of Ireland.
To add insult to injury the subsequent Widgery Tribunal in April 1972 exonerated the soldiers involved of any wrongdoing saying that at most the firing from the soldiers was 'bordering on the reckless'!
After many years of campaigning by the victims & relatives of that day there was a Full Public Inquiry held at the Guildhall in Derry which led in 2010 to the then British Prime Minister David Cameron to issue a Full Apology for what happened on Bloody Sunday 1972:
But the conclusions of this report are absolutely clear. There is no doubt, there is nothing equivocal, there are no ambiguities. What happened on Bloody Sunday was both unjustified and unjustifiable. It was wrong.
The men shot dead that day were:
Patrick ('Paddy') Doherty ( 31)
Gerald Donaghy (17)
John ('Jackie ') Duddy (17)
Hugh Gilmour (17)
Michael Kelly (17)
Michael McDaid (20)
Kevin McElhinney (17)
Bernard D('Barney') McGuigan (41)
Gerald McKinney (35)
William ('Williee') McKinney (26)
William Nash (19 )
James ('Jim') Wray (22)
John Young (17)
John Johnston (59 ) – died 16 June 1972.
Friday, 29 January 2021
Thursday, 28 January 2021
Wednesday, 27 January 2021
Tuesday, 26 January 2021
Monday, 25 January 2021
Sunday, 24 January 2021
24 January 1957: Sir Alfred Chester Beatty became the first Honourary Irish Citizen for his distinguished service to the Nation on this day.
Born in New York in 1875 Chester Beatty made his Fortune as a Mining Engineer. He set up a highly successful mining consultancy firm in that city in 1908. By pioneering a new method of extracting copper from low-grade ore he made a Fortune in international mining operations. He was known as 'the king of Copper' and was a millionaire by his early '30s.
However tragedy struck in 1911 when his wife died and he then moved London where he began anew. He remarried in 1913 and visited Egypt on the eve of the Great War where his already considerable interest in Oriental artefacts was whetted when they bought ancient Koranic scripts in the bazaars of Cairo. The dry climate there suited Beatty and he wintered in Egypt on many occasions.
In 1917 he went further East and developed a deeper interest Chinese and Japanese paintings. In the inter war years he became one of the World’s greatest collectors of non western fine arts and was renowned for his great collections of Objects de Art that he amassed. He became a naturalised British in 1933. During the Second World War he materially helped the Allied cause by ensuring that vital supplies of raw materials were shipped to the relevant destinations where they could be used in the War Effort. For these services he was Knighted by the British.
In 1950 he decided to move to Ireland and it was here he decided to set up a museum for his collection of priceless artefacts. In 1953 he purchased a large house on Shrewsbury Road in Dublin and it was here that the collection stayed for many years. He was made an honourary Citizen in 1957 and when he died in 1968 was accorded a State Funeral. His great collection is today housed in the grounds of Dublin Castle where it is permanently open to the Public - or was!
Saturday, 23 January 2021
23 January 1803: The death of Arthur Guinness on this day. He founded a Brewing empire in 18th century Dublin whose products have spread around the World.
At 27, in 1752, Guinness's godfather the Archbishop of Cashel, bequeathed him £100 in his will. Guinness invested the money and in 1755 had a brewery at Leixlip, just 17 km from Dublin. He married his wife Olivia Whitmore in Dublin in 1761 and they had 21 children, 10 of which survived till adulthood. He wrote years later that:
"..one of my sons* is grown up to be able to assist me in this Business, or I wd not have attempted it, tho' prompted by a demand of providing for Ten Children now living out of one & twenty born to us, & more likely yet to come..."
* Arthur - his 2nd son
His big break came in 1759 when he came to Dublin City and set up his own business. He took a 9,000-year lease on the 4-acre brewery at St. James's Gate Dublin for an annual rent of £45. Dublin was then one of the great cities of Europe and expanding rapidly. There was a growing population of thirsty souls and a demand for cheap good ale to slake their thirst and drown their sorrows in a city of great wealth and abject poverty. Ale was overwhelmingly a drink of the lowers orders though. A good businessman had to come up with a product that would attract the attention of its customer base and sell at a price they could afford to spend on it. Ten years later, on 19 May 1769, Guinness first exported his ale: he shipped six-and-a-half barrels to Great Britain.
At the time Red Ales were all the rage and at first that is what Arthur Guinness produced. But a beverage dubbed ‘porter’ was becoming increasingly popular. It was a beer the company has become most famous for – porter stout – which was based on a London ale, a favourite of the street porters of Covent Garden and Billingsgate markets in that city. Arthur tried his hand at it from 1778 and it took off - it made Arthur a very wealthy man.
Arthur Guinness was not just a businessman though but took an active if not prominent part in the commercial and local government of the city of Dublin. He was one of the four brewers' guild representatives on Dublin Corporation from the 1760s until his death. Politics in Ireland was highly volatile at the time and Arthur Guinness steered a middle path through the dramatic and eventually bloody events of those years. He favoured Catholic Emancipation - but opposed the United Irishmen who wanted a complete break with Britain through Revolution.
When he died in 1803 he left a thriving business that continues to this day. But the direct involvement of the Guinness family came to an end in the 1980s and it is now part of an international conglomerate known as Diago. It is still produced at St James Gate Brewery Dublin and the Guinness Visitor Centre there is the most popular tourist attraction in the Country - well it was!
Friday, 22 January 2021
22 January 1901: The death of Queen Victoria on this day. She died at her Royal home at Osborne on the Isle of White, England. Her playboy son, Edward The Prince of Wales, Earl of Dublin etc, succeeded her as King Edward VII.
Her relation with Ireland was always problematical. She became known as the ‘The Famine Queen’ after the disastrous events of 1845-1849 and during which she appeared so detached from the terrible sufferings of so many of her ‘Subjects’. She donated the miserly sum of just £2,000 towards Relief out of her ample personal Fortune. Queen Victoria visited Ireland three times in the early part of her reign: firstly in 1849 during the Great Famine; again in 1853 when she attended the Exhibition of Art and Industry at Leinster Lawn, Dublin, and the third time in 1861 when the royal family stayed at Killarney. It was to be 39 years before she returned again to visit this part her Realm!
Her last tour was a three week affair and generally considered a success when she made a formal visit to Dublin between 3 and 27 April 1900. During this time she drove in state through the decorated streets of the city and carried out a number of official engagements. As on each of these visits she was greeted with great enthusiasm by large crowds of well wishers as well as idle curiosity seekers. However it would seem there was a direct correlation between those who welcomed her presence and those who held political and social power in this Country at the time. The Ascendancy, the Gentry, the Protestant Churches and the followers of those denominations were the most enthusiastic. Amongst the Catholics of Ireland her reception was more lukewarm but not actively hostile either, at least at a personal level. The ‘Castle Catholics’ and certain sections of the Hierarchy were eager to ingratiate themselves but most kept their distance or were there for appearances only.
While she had affection for the Irish People as individuals she never seemed able to comprehend Ireland’s desire to manage her own affairs. Though reasonably tolerant in religious matters she was a reactionary in politics, viewing for instance the members of the Irish Parliamentary Party as ‘low disreputable men, who were elected by order of Parnell.’ As regards the Repeal of the Union she opposed it on the grounds that to countenance it would be repugnant to her Coronation Oath.
Her death was greeted in Ireland with regret by some but indifference by most. The Victorian Era was not one in which Ireland’s lot had improved but if anything declined - while there was no doubt that the converse had happened in her Other Island.
Thursday, 21 January 2021
21 January 1919: The Declaration of Irish Independence on this day. The first meeting of Dáil Éireann was held in Dublin to bring together all the T.D.s still at liberty to attend. Assembling in the Round Room of the Mansion House, those members elected the previous month in the General Election and not held prisoners by the British or on the run unanimously voted in favour of the Independence of Ireland. Of the 73 Sinn Féin MPs elected only 27 TDs present, 36 were “Fé ghlas an Gallaibh” (prisoner of the Foreigner) including Eamon De Valera and Arthur Griffith.
The Declaration was as follows:
''Whereas the Irish people is by right a free people: And Whereas for seven hundred years the Irish people has never ceased to repudiate and has repeatedly protested in arms against foreign usurpation: And Whereas English rule in this country is, and always has been, based upon force and fraud and maintained by military occupation against the declared will of the people: And Whereas the Irish Republic was proclaimed in Dublin on Easter Monday, 1916, by the Irish Republican Army acting on behalf of the Irish people: And Whereas the Irish people is resolved to secure and maintain its complete independence in order to promote the common weal, to re-establish justice, to provide for future defence, to insure peace at home and goodwill with all nations and to constitute a national polity based upon the people's will with equal right and equal opportunity for every citizen...
We claim for our national independence the recognition and support of every free nation in the world, and we proclaim that independence to be a condition precedent to international peace hereafter: In the name of the Irish people we humbly commit our destiny to Almighty God who gave our fathers the courage and determination to persevere through long centuries of a ruthless tyranny, and strong in the justice of the cause which they have handed down to us, we ask His divine blessing on this the last stage of the struggle we have pledged ourselves to carry through to Freedom.''
A Ministry pro tempore [Temporary Cabinet] was then selected to run the Country for the time being and attempt to bring effect to the Independence of Ireland so proclaimed:
Cathal Brugha was the First President, Professor Eoin MacNeill was Minister of Finance, Michael Collins of Home Affairs, George Noble Count Plunkett of Foreign Affairs and Richard Mulcahy in charge of National Defence.
21 January 1919: Dan Breen and Sean Treacy carried out an ambush on an RIC escort at Soloheadbeag, Co. Tipperary. They were members of the South Tipperary Brigade of the Irish Volunteers (IRA). The cart the RIC were escorting was carrying gelignite for a quarry in the Soloheadbeag area (about four miles from Tipperary Town and about one mile from Limerick Junction). In the ambush, the two RIC men, guarding the consignment, Constables James McDonnell and Patrick O'Connell, were shot dead. It was the start of the Irish War for Independence.
We expected there would be an escort of about six armed police and we had the full intention not alone of taking the gelignite they were escorting but also of shooting down the escort, as an assertion of the national right to deny the free passage of an armed enemy.
The moral aspect of such a decision has been talked about since and we have been branded as murderers, both by the enemy and even by some of our own people, but I want it to be understood that the pros and cons were thoroughly weighed up in discussion between Treacy and myself and, to put it in a nutshell, we felt that we were merely continuing the active war for the establishment of an Irish Republic that had begun on Easter Monday 1916.
Wednesday, 20 January 2021
20 January 1973: A Loyalist no warning bomb went off in Sackville Place Dublin on this day. The bomb killed a bus conductor and injured 17 other people. It exploded at 3.20 pm on a Saturday afternoon, as Ireland were playing the All-Blacks Rugby team at Lansdowne Road. The man killed was Thomas Douglas (21), originally from Stirling, Scotland. He had been living in Dublin for just four months. His mother was a native of Achill Island, Co. Mayo.
The car used in the bombing had been hijacked at Agnes Street, Belfast. While no organisation claimed responsibility for this attack it was generally accepted that a Loyalist gang carried it out. The location of the explosion was almost at the same spot of a bomb the previous month, which killed two other members of Dublin’s bus service. A man with an English accent telephoned a warning to the main telephone exchange stating that a bomb would explode on O'Connell Bridge. But the warning given was ten minutes before the actual explosion and the Gardaí concluded afterwards that it was a diversionary tactic.
The car, a Vauxhall Victor, which had been hired, was hijacked from its hirer that morning at Agnes Street, off the Shankill Road in Belfast. The driver was reported to have been held until shortly after 3 pm, about the time the bomb exploded. In almost all the details, the hijacking of the car that exploded in South Leinster Street, Dublin on 17th May 1974, resembled this earlier hijacking. There was a report that the car had been seen passing through Drogheda at about midday. However, many Northern registered cars were travelling south that day on their way to the rugby international.
No one was ever caught for this crime. But ‘deniability’ was the modus operandi of this operation and to this day the identities and whereabouts of the perpetrators are unknown - as is who it was who sent them here.
Tuesday, 19 January 2021
19 January 1787: Mother Mary Frances Aikenhead was born on this day at Daunt's Square off Grand Parade, Cork, Ireland. She was a frail child and was adopted out in her native city of Cork to a woman called Mary Rourke. Though baptised into the Church of Ireland it is thought that Mary was secretly baptised a Catholic from this early age by Mary Rourke who was a devout Catholic. However she was not formally received into the Catholic Faith until she was 15 years old on 6 June 1802. From an early age she was a devout disposition and wished to pursue a religious Life.
In 1808, Mary went to stay with her friend Anne O’Brien in Dublin. Here she witnessed widespread unemployment and poverty and soon began to accompany her friend in visiting the poor and sick in their homes. From this experience she believed it would be her vocation to help the sick and the poor as a member of a religious Community. She trained for 3 years (1812-1815) in a convent in York, England in order to become a Nun. When she returned to Dublin she set up the Religious Sisters of Charity in Ireland.
On 1 September 1815, the first members of the new institute took their vows, Sister Mary Augustine being appointed Superior General. Added to the traditional three vows of poverty chastity & obedience, was a fourth vow: to devote their lives to the service of the poor. For the next 15 years Mother Mary worked very hard to alleviate the sufferings of the less well-off but it took a terrible toll on her own Health.
During the Great Cholera Epidemic that swept across Europe from Asia and into Ireland in the year 1832 she organised Relief for the victims who were rendered helpless by this crippling waterborne parasite.
Following a request from the Archbishop of Dublin Daniel Murray, a group of women known as the "Walking Nuns" entered the hospital to care for those who were sick and dying.
The women took a huge risk to undertake this task. They worked four-hour shifts, four people at a time. They washed, cleaned, fed, and offered emotional and spiritual support to those who were sick or dying. When they left the hospital, they washed both themselves and their clothes in lime and water thus reducing and even eliminating the risk of contagion. Only one of these ladies contracted the disease from which she recovered and none died. The "Walking Nuns" were some of the original sisters who followed the vision of Mary Aikenhead and who are now known as the Irish Sisters of Charity. The order work in the area to this day.
Following the experiences of the sisters in Grangegorman, and realising the importance of nursing, Aikenhead sent three sisters to Paris to the Hospice de la Pitie to be trained in nursing and hospital management. By the time they returned, Aikenhead had secured £3,000 and opened St. Vincent's Hospital on St Stephen’s Green fulfilling her wish to have a hospital for the poor of Dublin.
Fr Alan Hilliard
However she did not let her own personal misfortune get her down:
“Low spirits and dreads of evil to ourselves or Congregation, or even to the church, are actually the beginnings of despair. If all the rest of the world goes wrong, we should still persevere in trying to serve our God with faith and fervour.” (7 November 1834)
Confined to bed or a wheelchair she continued to direct her charges and set up new institutions both at home and abroad. Her Sisters were particularly active during the great Cholera outbreak in 1832. She died in Dublin, aged 71 on 22 July 1858 in Our Lady’s Mount Harold’s Cross and was buried in in the cemetery attached to St. Mary Magdalen's, Donnybrook, Dublin 4.
Monday, 18 January 2021
18 January 1978: Britain was found Guilty by the European Court of Human Rights of the inhuman and degrading treatment of internees on this day under Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights. This decision was reached after a submission to the Court by the Irish Government of the day that Britain had tortured prisoners taken at the time Internment was introduced in August 1971. While many men so taken were roughed up and indeed beaten one particular group was singled out for particularly harsh treatment.
The British had learnt from their contacts behind the Iron Curtain that robust and brutal interrogation methods if applied in a specific and methodological way could prove effective in breaking a prisoner into confessing. It was decided that when Internment was brought in that a select group of Internees would be used as ‘Guinea Pigs’ to see if it was possible to gain information otherwise not forthcoming through other ways of interrogation.
More than 1,000 people would be interned, but just 14 men would be brought to the secret compound in Ballykelly, Co Derry. They did not see it, for they were hooded, and they did not know for many years where they had been.
Their names were Jim Auld, Pat Shivers, Joe Clarke, Michael Donnelly, Kevin Hannaway, Paddy Joe McLean, Francie McGuigan, Patrick McNally, Sean McKenna, Gerry McKerr, Michael Montgomery, Davy Rodgers, Liam Shannon and Brian Turley.
The methods used were:
In depth interrogation with the use of hooding, white noise, sleep deprivation, prolonged enforced physical exercise together with a diet of bread and water.
Deceiving detainees into believing that they were to be thrown from highflying helicopters. In reality the blindfolded detainees were thrown from a helicopter that hovered approximately 4 feet above the ground.
Forcing detainees to run an obstacle course over broken glass and rough ground whilst being beaten.
They had been secretly moved from the internment clearing centres to a destination unknown to them and held for seven days. They had hoods on their heads throughout, and had no idea where they were. They were continually beaten throughout the time they were being subjected to this. Many of the men subjected to such an ordeal never fully recovered from their experience. Eventually word got out as to what was afoot and Ted Heath, the British Prime Minister had no alternative but to tell his Intelligence Services to back off as a Public Outcry gathered apace.
Sunday, 17 January 2021
Her life began as the daughter of a British Officer in Ireland circa 1820. She claimed to be from County Limerick but her birth cert says she was born in County Sligo in 1821. She was baptized at St Peter's Church in Liverpool on 16 February 1823, while her family was enroute to her father's post in India. Shortly after their arrival in India, Edward Gilbert died of cholera.
Her mother married again and it was decided that Eliza would be sent to boarding school in England. She attended a series of educational establishments in England for young ladies but while intelligent it was noticed that Miss Eliza was a very wilful young woman with a mind of her own. On one occasion, she stuck flowers into the wig of an elderly man during a church service; on another, she ran through the streets naked...or so Legend has it.
In 1837, 16-year-old Eliza eloped with Lieutenant Thomas James, and they married. The couple separated five years later. In Calcutta and she became a professional dancer under a stage name. This is where her career as a Sex Symbol really took off and made her name. She returned to London to continue her stage career and had affairs with numerous men of wealth and talent. She appears to have spent some months in Spain to master the arts of that Country’s dancing technique. On return she passed herself off as ‘Lola Montez -Spanish Dancer’. After performing in various European capitals, she settled in Paris, where she was accepted in the rather Bohemian literary society of the time, being acquainted with Alexandre Dumas with whom she was rumoured to have had a dalliance. She is said to have also had an affair with the famous pianist/composer Franz Liszt.
Her really big break came in 1846 when King Ludwig of Bavaria - who had an eye for the Ladies- fell for her. Today I saw Lola Montez dance. I am bewitched. In this Spanish woman [SIC] alone have I found love and life! (Ludwig's letters). The rumour was, at the time they met, Ludwig had asked her in public if her bosom was real, to which her response was to tear off enough of her garments to prove that it was!
Her arrogant and temperamental ways made her unpopular with the locals but the King was madly in love with her and made her Countess of Landsfeld on his next birthday, 25 August 1847. Along with her title, he granted her a large annuity. But in early 1848 a series of Revolutions began to sweep across Europe and Ludwig was overthrown. Lola was nearly lynched but she kept her demeanour before the mob and sailed through them with her head held high. Her aplomb probably saved her life and she made it out of Bavaria alive but penniless.
She returned to London via Switzerland and then another marriage to a wealthy British Army officer George Heald. The Healds resided for a time in France and Spain, but within two years, the tempestuous relationship was in tatters, and George reportedly drowned. She then set off to seek her Fortune in the USA.
From 1851 to 1853, she performed as a dancer and actress in the eastern United States, one of her offerings being a play called Lola Montez in Bavaria. In May 1853, she arrived at San Francisco. Her performances there created a sensation. She married Patrick Hull, a local newspaperman, in July but her marriage soon failed; a doctor named as co-respondent in the divorce suit brought against her was shortly after murdered.
Next came Australia which took by Storm - basically by upping her act into even more erotic gyrations on the stage.
‘In September 1855 she performed her erotic Spider Dance at the Theatre Royal in Melbourne, raising her skirts so high that the audience could see she wore no underclothing at all. Next day, The Argus thundered that her performance was 'utterly subversive to all ideas of public morality'. Respectable families ceased to attend the theatre, which began to show heavy losses.'
Michael Cannon, Melbourne After the Gold Rush
But her life on the road and in various beds began to catch up with her. She began to noticeably age and decided to try her luck once again in America. She went back there in 1856 but her best days were behind her. However in the late 1850's she returned on a triumphant tour to Ireland with a lecture at Dublin's Rotunda Rooms (now the Ambassador). The announcement of her Dublin lecture created a degree of interest unparalleled. The platform was regularly thronged by admirers giving Madame Montez barely space to stand.
She then returned back to New York where she spent her time helping fallen women and regretting her own fall from grace:
How many years of my life had been sacrificed to Satan and my own love of sin! I dare not think of the past. I have only lived for my passions. What would I not give to have my terrible experience given as an awful warning to such natures as my own!
In November 1859, the Philadelphia Express reported that Lola Montez was:
"living very quietly up town, and doesn't have much to do with the world's people. Some of her old friends, the Bohemians, now and then drop in to have a little chat with her, and though she talks beautifully of her present feelings and way of life, she generally, by way of parenthesis, takes out her little tobacco pouch and makes a cigarette or two for self and friend, and then falls back upon old times with decided gusto and effect. But she doesn't tell anybody what she's going to do."
By then she was showing the effects of possibly syphilis and her body began to waste away. She died at the age of 39 on 17 January 1861. She is buried in Green Wood Cemetery in New York City where her tombstone states: Mrs. Eliza Gilbert / Died 17 January 1861.
Her name has featured in many novels and biographies and Lola Montez has two lakes (an upper and lower) named after her in the Tahoe National Forest USA. There is also a mountain named in her honour, Mount Lola. At 9,148 feet, it is the highest point in Nevada County, California.
Saturday, 16 January 2021
16 January 1939: The Irish Republican Army, led by Sean Russell, declared War on Britain on this day. Russell had already sent a formal letter of intent to the British Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain stating that:
I have the honour to inform you that the government of the Irish Republic, having as its first duty towards the people the establishment and maintenance of peace and order, herewith demand the withdrawal of all British armed forces stationed in Ireland.
The IRA man had given the British Leader 96 hours to reply before the DOW would take effect.
Copies were also dispatched to Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini and Lord Brookborough in the North. Soon afterwards IRA bombs started to go off in England and eventually about 200 devices exploded causing limited material damage, many injuries and a few deaths. The worst such incident occurred in the City of Coventry in August 1939 when seven innocent people were killed and nearly a 100 injured in a no warning attack.
The Bombing Campaign though eventually petered out. The IRA never really had sufficient numbers of Volunteers nor enough trained personnel to conduct a sustained campaign in Britain to other than annoy the British. Nothing they could realistically achieve would have made them change their minds over their presence in that part of Ireland.
Ironically when Britain declared War on Germany in September 1939 the Ultimatum presented by Neville Chamberlain to the German Chancellor bore more than a few passing echoes to the one Sean Russell had sent to the very same British Prime Minister at the beginning of that fateful year. At least Russell had given Britain 96 hours grace to end their Occupation in Ireland but Chamberlain had in effect given Hitler less than 48 hours in which to end his one in Poland!
Picture: Statue of Sean Russell in St Anne’s Park Raheny, Dublin.
Friday, 15 January 2021
15 January 1860: The birth of Eleanor Hull, historian and translator on this day. She was born in England to a family from Co Down. The biography of her early life is somewhat sketchy but at some stage she or her family must have moved to Dublin where she attended what was then one of the most prestigious girls schools in the Country - Alexandra College. It was perhaps there that her interest in ancient Irish manuscripts & the Gaelic Language took hold?
We know that at the inaugural general meeting of the Irish Texts Society on 26 April 1898 which was held at the rooms of the ILS in London. Douglas Hyde was unanimously elected president, and Frederick York Powell chairman of the executive council.
Norma Borthwick and Eleanor Hull were appointed honorary secretaries and R.A.S. Macalister became honorary treasurer.
The other members of the executive council included Goddard Orpen, Alfred Nutt, Thomas Flannery, J.G. O’Keeffe, Daniel Mescal, G.A. Greene and M. O’Sullivan. Eight vice-presidents were elected and the consultative council included many of the most distinguished scholars in the field of Celtic studies.
She certainly was a prolific writer on early Irish History and Legends:
Her published works include:
The Cuchulain Saga in Irish Literature (1898)
Pagan Ireland (Dublin, 1904 & 1923)
Early Christian Ireland
A Text Book of Irish Literature (2 volumes) (1906)
The Poem-Book of the Gael (London, 1912)
The Northmen in Britain (New York, 1913)
Folklore of the British Isles (1929)
A History of Ireland and her People (2 volumes) (1926)
The last of these being probably the one that has stood the test of time. Indeed it is a work (thanks to the wonders of the Internet) that I regularly consult for articles on this site:
She died in Wimbledon England on 13 January 1935, two days shy of her 75th birthday.
Thursday, 14 January 2021
14 January 1965: For the first time since the partition of Ireland the two current leaders of the respective parliaments on this island, Sean Lemass and Terence O’Neill, met in person. The meeting was held over cups of tea at Stormont, site of the Northern Parliament. O’Neill had approached Lemass through T. K. Whitaker, Secretary of the Department of Finance, and invited the Taoiseach to travel North.
On the face of it this was a most unlikely encounter. Sean Lemass was a veteran of the Easter Rising, the War of Independence and the Civil War. A long time member of Fianna Fail he held Ministerial Office for many years until he came to power as Taoiseach in 1959 on Eamon De Valera’s election as President of Ireland.
Terence O’Neill, despite his Irish name, was a true son of the British Empire. He had been educated at Eton and served with the Irish Guards in World War Two. He was later elected an MP and served as a Minister of Government in the North. A dyed in the wool Aristocrat he had taken over the top job as Prime Minister of Northern Ireland when Lord Brookborough retired in 1963.
Both men were however anxious to bring about a thaw in North –South relations and thus it was agreed that they meet to break the ice on this day. However not everyone was happy with this development and a certain Reverend Ian Paisley organised a group of followers to protest at this perceived outrage. Upon the Taoiseach’s motorcade arrival at Stormont they threw snowballs at his car. The following month the Reverend gentleman denounced O’Neill as a ‘Traitor’, but such an outburst did not stop the leader of the Unionist Party from paying a complimentary return call on Sean Lemass in Dublin later in the year that was meant to further cement the relationship.
However events precluded a further development of such contacts. Lemass retired the following year and Jack Lynch, who had little interest in the idea, replaced him. O’Neill then thought better of pursuing such contacts, which he knew clearly upset such a wide body of the Unionist opinion. He was well aware that Paisley was all too ready to make use of any further such episodes to undermine him at a time when the political situation in the North was becoming increasingly fragile.
Wednesday, 13 January 2021
13 January 1800: Daniel O’Connell made his first public speech at the Royal Exchange, Dublin opposing the idea of a Parliamentary Union of Britain and Ireland.
O’Connell was concerned on two grounds, one professional and the other political. He knew, as did others, that the end of parliamentary sittings in the Capital of Ireland and the removal of the MPs to Westminster would rob Dublin of much of its vigour and political and monetary rewards. As an up and coming member of the Legal profession he well foresaw the pecuniary consequences of such a transfer of power and patronage out of the Country.
On the other hand Daniel O’Connell was as Irish as they come and as proud of the land of his birth and her People as the next man. He rightly suspected that the British Ministers would attempt to pay even less attention to Ireland once the Union had taken place and a thorn in their side removed.
‘On 13th January, 1800, he attended a meeting in the Royal Exchange convened by a number of influential Roman Catholics for the purpose of protesting against the insinuation that the Union was favourably regarded by them. Being induced to speak, he opened his mind freely on the subject. It was the first time he had addressed a public gathering; but the diffidence with which he began soon wore off before the approving cheers of his audience. Were the alternative offered him, he exclaimed, of union or the re-enactment of the penal code in all its rigour, he would without hesitation prefer the latter as the lesser and more sufferable evil, trusting to the justice of his brethren, the Protestants of Ireland, who had already liberated him rather than lay his country at the feet of foreigners. To this opinion he continued faithful through life. It is the key-note of his whole political creed — union amongst Irishmen of every religious and political persuasion for national objects an Irishman first and then only a Roman Catholic.’
It is a curious thing enough, he afterwards re-marked to O'Neil Daunt, that all the principles of my subsequent political life are contained in my very first speech.
‘Daniel O Connell’
By Robert Dunlop.
Tuesday, 12 January 2021