George Bush in Ireland. First Home Rule Bill. Pulitzer Prize Winner Paul Muldoon on this day in Irish History

April 8: TODAY in Irish History (by IrishmanSpeaks) Twitter Icon

1886: Liberal Prime Minister William Gladstone’s government introduces the First Home Rule Bill (The Government of Ireland Bill 1886) in the British Parliament. The bill was designed to create a devolved Irish assembly, allow elements of autonomy for Ireland which had been under direct English parliamentary rule since the 1800 Act of Union. The initial introduction (of the subsequently failed bill) was seen as a victory for Home Rule advocates like Charles Stewart Parnell.

The bill engendered fierce loyalist resistance who feared “Rome rule.” The bill was defeated by 341 votes to 311 on June 8th.

William Gladstone

PM William Ewart Gladstone 1808-1898

1941: In general, Ireland escaped most of the ravages of WWII. The Irish Free State (to Allied fury) remained neutral while Northern Ireland was a stretch for German bombers. However on the night of 7-8 April, Belfast experienced the first of a number of bombing raids killing 13 people. Belfast was a “legitimate” target as it did provide munitions for the Allied cause.

2003:George Bush leaves Belfast after a two trip involving meetings with British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Irish Taoiseach Bertie Ahern. It was the President’s first visit to Northern Ireland. Agenda items revolved around the Iraq War and the Northern Ireland peace process. At the end of the summit, the three leaders issued a statement stating  Northern Ireland must abandon paramilitarism.

Bush meeting with blair and aherne

George Bush, Tony Blair and Irish Taoiseach Bertie Ahern at Northern Ireland summit, Hillsborough 2003. While history still has to decide on the tenure of Bush and Blair, Bertie Ahern has been cited by the Mahon Tribunal as one of a long line of ethically challenged Fianna Fail government ministers. Ahern resigned from the party that adored him for most of his political career, before a formal move to expel him could be implemented.

2003: Paul Muldoon wins the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for his work Moy Sand and Gravel.

Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger (left) presents Paul Muldoon with the 2003 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry. source

Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger (left) presents Paul Muldoon with the 2003 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry.

In the following clip, you can see Muldoon and Steven Colbert sparring on the Colbert Nation where they recite Muldoon’s poem Tea.

Want to learn more about Ireland? See these images and more in the acclaimed For the Love of Being Irish
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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

Watch For the Love of Being Irish author Conor Cunneen – IrishmanSpeaks on his Youtube channel IrishmanSpeaks. Laugh and Learn.


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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