Archive for January 9th, 2012

January 9,

Irish at Gallipoli. De Valera Resigns. Brian Friel.

January 9: TODAY IN IRISH HISTORY (published by IrishmanSpeaks)

1916: Final evacuation from the ill-advised Gallipoli invasion which saw the death of 3,500-4,000 Irish soldiers fighting either in Australian, New Zealand or British uniform. An estimated 44,000 allied soldiers died. As with most Irish who fought in WWI, their sacrifice received scant recognition by parochial Irish government until 2010.

Of the 1,100 of the 1st Royal Dublin Fusiliers who landed on April 25th where “the water of the bay ran red with blood,” the Military History Society of Ireland, states that only 11 would survive the entire campaign unscathed. The botched campaign forced the resignation of Winston Churchill as First Lord of the Admiralty.

Clancy and Makem’s version of Eric Bogle’s song And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda sums up the horror of the campaign.

1922: In Dail Eireann, Eamonn De Valera resigns as President of the Republic stating: “In view of the vote that was taken here on Saturday and which I had definitely to oppose as one that was tending to subvert the Republic which I was elected to my present position to defend and maintain; and as it appeared to me also to be a vote which would tend to subvert the independence of the country, I could no longer continue—as I was beaten in that —I could no longer continue in my present office feeling I did not have the confidence of the House. I therefore wish to place my resignation in the hands of the Assembly.”

A motion to re-elect De Valera as President is defeated along pro and anti-treaty lines by 60 votes to 58.

arthur griffith

Arthur Griffith

Following the vote, De Valera opponent and former colleague Arthur Griffith said: “Before another word is spoken I want to say: I want the Deputies here to know, and all Ireland to know, that this vote is not to be taken as against President de Valera. It is a vote to help the Treaty, and I want to say now that there is scarcely a man I have ever met in my life that I have more love and respect for than President de Valera. I am thoroughly sorry to see him placed in such a position. We want him with us.”

1929: Brien Friel is born in Omagh, County Tyrone.

Brien Friel

Brien Friel

Friel is one of the most successful Irish playwrights ever. His work includes Philadelphia, Here I Come and Dancing at Lughnasa which won three Tony Awards in 1992 including Best Play.

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