Today in Irish History: Curated by Conor Cunneen IrishmanSpeaks
The Irony of 1916
At a time Irish rebels were fighting and dying to overthrow British rule in Ireland, hundreds of Irish soldiers were fighting and dying with the British army at the Battle of Hulluch when German troops unleashed one of the most devastating chlorine gas attacks of World War I. Irish nationalist leader John Redmond had encouraged participation in the British army in 1914 in the belief that it would guarantee Home Rule for Ireland and of course everyone “knew” the war would be short lived. Over 1,ooo soldiers of the 16th “Irish division” suffered dreadful death and injury from the Hulluch gas attack April 27-29.
In an example of revisionist history that would have done Stalin proud, Irish authorities ignored the thousands of Irish men who fought and died in World War I for most of the 20th century.
Easter Rising: British Authorities Blundered and Media Reaction
While the execution of rebel leaders some days after the Rising was a “legitimate” response to “traitors” at a time Britain was involved in a war, the executions proved to be probably THE greatest single mistake Britain made in its time in Ireland. The rebellion was not initially popular and the destruction of Dublin brought odium on the rebels from Irish media including the Irish Independent which wrote:
“No terms of denunciation that pen could indict would be too strong to apply to those responsible for the insane and criminal rising of last week. Around us in the centre of Ireland’s capital, is a scene of ruin which it is heartrending to behold. Some of the proudest structures in what was one of the finest streets in Europe are now reduced to shapeless heaps of smouldering ashes.”
1916: Day 3 Easter Rising Dublin: As British authorities get to grips with the situation in Dublin, fierce street to street fighting takes place in parts of Dublin. James Connolly is severely wounded while involved in an action close to the GPO. He manages to crawl back to the rebel conclave which is now completely cut off from other rebels. Learning from the debacle at Mount Street bridge, British troops did not attempt a full scale assault on the GPO>
British troops finally take Mount Street bridge at the cost of over two hundred casualties incurred by seventeen Irish rebels, five of whom were killed.
Witness James Stephens wrote of Thursday’s events: “At 11.30am there came the sound of heavy guns firing in the direction of Sackville Street. I went on the roof, and remained there for some time. From this height the sounds could be heard plainly. There was sustained firing along the whole central line of the City, from the Green down to Trinity College, and from thence to Sackville Street, and the report of the various types of arm could be easily distinguished. There were rifles, machine guns and very heavy cannon.”
Other Events on this Day in Irish History
1822: Ulysses S. Grant, 18th President of the United States is born Hiram Ulysses Grant to a mother of Scots-Irish ancestry in Point Pleasant, Ohio. His maternal grandfather John Simpson, was born in County Tyrone, and immigrated to America in 1760. Grant visited Ireland in 1879.
1880: A Royal Charter is issued creating The Royal University of Ireland an examining and degree-awarding university based on the model of the University of London.
1904: Poet Cecil Day-Lewis is born in Stradbally, Co. Laois. The father of Daniel Day-Lewis was Poet Laureate from 1968-1972. Below is illustration of son Daniel in For the Love of Being Irish
Want to learn more about Ireland? See these images and more in the acclaimed For the Love of Being Irish
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
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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