Archive for December 15th, 2011

December 15,

Today in Irish History: Irish Fight Irish at Colenso. Yeats Nobel Prize. Anglo Irish Pact 1993

Dec 15: TODAY IN IRISH HISTORY (published by For the Love of Being Irish)

1899: The American Civil War was not the only campaign where Irish fought Irish in foreign lands. During the Battle of Colenso (Second Boer War,) members of The Irish Transvaal Brigade under John MacBride fought British forces that included the 1st Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and the Royal Dublin Fusiliers. MacBride would be executed in 1916 as one of the leaders of the Easter Rising. MacBride’s son, Sean would receive the Nobel Peace Prize in 1974.


1923: William Butler Yeats accepts the Nobel Prize for Literature. His Nobel Lecture is a fascinating insight into the mind of early 20th century Ireland. Lady Gregory’s play The Rising of the Moon, The Rising of the Moon “could not be performed for two years because of political hostility. A policeman discovers an escaped Fenian prisoner and lets him free, because the prisoner has aroused with some old songs the half forgotten patriotism of his youth. The players would not perform it because they said it was an unpatriotic act to admit that a policeman was capable of patriotism. One well known leader of the mob wrote to me, ‘How can the Dublin mob be expected to fight the police if it looks upon them as capable of patriotism?’ ”

When Yeats suggested “that we would like to perform ‘foreign masterpieces’, a Nationalist newspaper declared that ‘a foreign masterpiece is a very dangerous thing’ !


1993: Taoiseach Albert Reynolds and Prime Minister John Major sign a Joint Declaration of Peace at Downing Street. The agreement allowed for Loyalist and Republican paramilitaries to take part in formal negotiations if they abided by a three month ceasefire. While the declaration was another step to peace in Northern Ireland, it was denounced initially by both sides. It would be August 1994 before the IRA announced a ceasefire followed by loyalist forces in October. The ceasefires would not hold.

Joint Declaration of Peace Major and Reynolds

John Major and Albert Reynolds


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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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