May 9: TODAY in Irish History:
Today in Irish History: Curated by Conor Cunneen IrishmanSpeaks
ON THIS DAY
1671: Clare born Colonel Thomas Blood (1618-1680) steals the Crown Jewels from the Tower of London, but is captured very soon after. Blood was an interesting character by any standard. He was an adventurer, a double agent during the Civil War between the Royalist and Roundheads and of course thief.
Following the theft, he refused to speak to anyone except King Charles who not only agreed to meet with him, but also pardoned the Irishman and provided him with land in Ireland AND a pension. It has never been satisfactorily been explained how he was able to turn what should have been a treasonous act (and death penalty) into lifetime Crown generosity.
1828: Charles Kickham, rebel, novelist, poet, journalist and member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood is born in County Tipperary. Kickham was a contributor to the Irish People, the organ of the Fenian movement, the Irish Republican Brotherhood which the English authorities deemed seditious. He also authored a number of novels including the critically acclaimed Knocknagow. Kickham was involved in the failed (some might say farcical) Young Ireland Rebellion of 1848. In 1865, following another effort at rebellion, he was sentenced to 14 years penal servitude. A man of great intelligence, at his sentencing he stated “I believe, my lords, I have said enough already. I will only add that I am convicted for doing nothing but my duty. I have endeavoured to serve Ireland, and now I am prepared to suffer for Ireland.”
Kickham was released from prison due to ill health in 1869. He continued to work with the Irish Nationalist movement until his death in 1882.
1916: James Connolly’s wife and daughter visit him in Kilmainham jail where he lies seriously wounded. Nora wrote later in Portrait of a Rebel Father
“On Tuesday I went with mother. There were soldiers on guard at the top of the stairs and in the small alcove leading to Papa’s room. They were fully armed and as they stood guard they had their bayonets fixed. In the room there was an R.A.M.C. officer with him all the time. His wounded leg was resting in a cage. He was weak and pale and his voice was very low. Mother asked was he suffering much pain. “No, but I’ve been court-martialled today. They propped me up in bed. The strain was very great.” She knew then that if they had court-martialled him while unable to sit up in bed, they would not hesitate to shoot him while he was wounded. Asked how he had got the wound he said: “It was while I had gone out to place some men at a certain point. On my way back I was shot above the ankle by a sniper. Both bones in my leg are shattered. I was too far away for the men I had just placed to see me and was too far from the Post Office to be seen. So I had to crawl till I was seen. The loss of blood was great. They couldn’t get it staunched.” He was very cheerful, talking about plans for the future, giving no sign that sentence had been pronounced an hour before we were admitted.
He was very proud of his men. “It was a good clean fight. The cause cannot die now. The fight will put an end to recruiting. Irishmen will now realize the absurdity of fighting for the freedom of another country while their own is enslaved.”
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For the Love of Being Irish written by Chicago based Corkman Conor Cunneen and illustrated by Mark Anderson which is an A-Z of all things Irish. This is a book that contains History, Horror, Humor, Passion, Pathos and Lyrical Limericks that will have you giving thanks (or wishing you were) For the Love of Being Irish
This history is written by Irish author, business keynote speaker and award winning humoristIrishmanSpeaks – Conor Cunneen. If you spot any inaccuracies or wish to make a comment, please don’t hesitate to contact us via the comment button.
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