Irish Famine Narrative. Civil War General Michael Corcoran. Samuel Beckett.

December 22: TODAY IN IRISH HISTORY (published by IrishmanSpeaks)

1849: The horrifying recollections of Famine sufferer Brigid O’Donnel were published in the London Illustrated News:

“I lived on the lands of Gurranenatuoha. My husband held four acres and a half of land, and three acres of bog land; our yearly rent was £7 4s.; we were put out last November; he owed some rent.

We got thirty stone of oats from Mr. Marcus Keane, for seed. My husband gave some writing for it: he was paid for it. He paid ten shillings for reaping the corn. As soon as it was stacked, one “Blake” on the farm, who was put to watch it, took it away to his own haggard and kept it there for a fortnight by Dan Sheedey’s orders. They then thrashed it in Frank Lellis’s barn. I was at this time lying in fever.

Dan Sheedey and five or six men came to tumble my house; they wanted me to give possession. I said that I would not; I had fever, and was within two months of my down-lying (confinement); they commenced knocking down the house, and had half of it knocked down when two neighbours, women, Nell Spellesley and Kate How, carried me out. I had the priest and doctor to attend me shortly after. Father Meehan anointed me. I was carried into a cabin, and lay there for eight days, when I had the creature (the child) born dead. I lay for three weeks after that.

The whole of my family got the fever, and one boy thirteen years old died with want and with hunger while we were lying sick. Dan Sheedey and Blake took the corn into Kilrush, and sold it. I don’t know what they got for it. I had not a bit for my children to eat when they took it from me.”

Irish Famine Victim Brigid O'Donnel and starving children

Irish Famine Victim Brigid O’Donnel and starving children

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1863: Civil war Union General Michael Corcoran born in Ballymote, Co. Sligo is killed when his horse falls on him. He was just thirty-six years old. Corcoran was a Confederate prisoner of war for a period but was released as part of a prisoner exchange. Although his father was an officer in the British army, Michael Corcoran had strong nationalist feelings. Emigrating from Ireland in 1849, he became colonel of the 69th New York Militia in 1859. He lost that position and was due to be court-martialed for refusing to parade the regiment before the visiting Prince of Wales. The advent of the Civil War ensured his reinstatement.

Brigadier Michael Corcoran 69th_New_York_Militia

Sligo Born Brigadier Michael Corcoran on left with 69th_New_York_Militia

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1989: Samuel Beckett dies in Paris at age of eighty-nine. An often cynical man, he left us with many words of wisdom including “Dance first. Think later. It’s the natural order.”


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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.

Visit Conor’s YouTube channel IrishmanSpeaksto Laugh and Learn. Tags: Best Irish Gift, Creative Irish Gift, Unique Irish Gifts, Irish Books, Irish Authors, Today in Irish History

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