The Molly Maguires, Oliver Cromwell, The Siege of Kilkenny

March 27: TODAY in Irish History (by IrishmanSpeaks) Twitter Icon

1650:The Siege of Kilkenny ends with the city and residents surrendering to Oliver Cromwell. In an unusual act of generosity and civility by one of the most hated men in Irish history, Cromwell, Sir Walter Butler and the garrison were allowed to leave the city still bearing their weapons. Following the siege of Drogheda the previous September, Cromwell’s forces massacres soldiers and civilians after their surrender.

The Lord Protector of Ireland! Oliver cromwell

1839:  John Ballance is born in County Antrim. Between 1890-93, he would serve as the 14th Prime Minister of New Zealand.

New Zealand PM John Ballance 1891-1893

1846: In a letter to his mentor William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglass writes about the poverty and famine he sees in Ireland:

“The limits of a single letter are insufficient to allow any thing like a faithful description of those painful exhibitions of human misery, which meet the eye of a stranger almost at every step. I spent nearly six weeks in Dublin, and the scenes I there witnessed were such as to make me “blush, and hang my head to think myself a man.” I speak truly when I say, I dreaded to go out of the house. The streets were almost literally alive with beggars, displaying the greatest wretchedness—some of them mere stumps of men, without feet, without legs, without hands, without arms—and others still more horribly deformed, with crooked limbs, down upon their hands and knees, their feet lapped around each other, and laid upon their backs, pressing their way through the muddy streets and merciless crowd, casting sad looks to the right and left, in the hope of catching the eye of a passing stranger—the citizens generally having set their faces against giving to beggars.”


1876: The murder trial of Edward Kelly, a member of the militant Irish labor group The Molly Maguires begins in Pennsylvania. In total, twenty member of the group were found guilty of murder and executed. While the Molly’s were responsible for a large number of violent incidents, a number of those executed were likely innocent. The Dubliners were responsible for reminding us of this group with a stirring rendition of The Molly Maguires a song composed by Phil Coulter and Bill Martin

1987: U2 record the video for Where the Streets Have No Name on the rooftop of the Republic Liquor Store in Los Angeles. The video shows police advising U2 crew that they will shut down the performance due to crowd safety. While this apparently is actual footage, U2 manager Paul McGuinness later stated this was what U2 were hoping for to garner publicity. The soundtrack for this superb video is the studio recorded version of the song.

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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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