May 31: TODAY in Irish History:
Today in Irish History: Curated by Conor Cunneen IrishmanSpeaks
ON THIS DAY
1922: Official disbandment in the Irish Free State of the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) to be replaced by the Civic Guard, later renamed An Garda Síochána. In Northern Ireland, it would be a few months before the RIC would be replaced officially by the RUC (Royal Ulster Constabulary).
The RIC had suffered terribly during the Irish War of Independence. Many ordinary Irish police officers (mostly Catholic) were caught in a conflict of loyalty between maintaining law and order for a British institution and the IRA’s efforts to force England out. In one three month period in 1920, over 600 men resigned their commission out of a force of 9,500. Those who stayed were deemed legitimate targets by the IRA who killed an estimated 200 policemen during the conflict. Following the Treaty, many opted to join the respective new police forces on both sides of the border.
The Royal Ulster Constabulary website quotes historians W.J.Lowe and E.L. Malcolm on the RIC:
“That the R.I.C. held up as well as it did in the difficult years after 1918 is remarkable when one takes into account that barracks were managed by large numbers of middle aged men with families to support. Their long careers signified experience, loyalty and knowledge, as well as a maturity that bolstered discipline under duress. But in both organizational and personnel terms, the R.I.C. was a civil police force and not a light infantry. And this presented a problem when confronted by a determined guerilla army.”
1945: German planes drop bombs over Dublin during the night. The bombs killed 28 people, injured 90, destroyed or damaged approximately 300 houses, and left 400 people homeless. Although the rationale for the bombing of a neutral country has never been properly clarified, the bombing was most likely a navigational error.
1970: Death of Arkle the wonder horse, probably the greatest steeplechase horse ever and an animal that absolutely captured the hearts of the Irish population during the 1960s. Jockey Pat Taffe rode Arkle to victory in three Cheltenham Gold Cups between 1964 and 1966, the King George VI Chase, two Hennessy Gold Cups, an Irish Grand National and a Whitbread Gold Cup. In a relatively drab Ireland of the 60s, Taffe and Arkle became rock stars, even having a chart topping song, sung by Dominic Behan called after the wonder horse.
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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
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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