Archive for July 2nd, 2012

July 2,

Father Murphy of Boolavogue. Irish at Gettysburg. 1800 Act of Union on this day in Irish History

July 2: TODAY in Irish History:


Today in Irish History: Curated by Conor Cunneen IrishmanSpeaks

Chicago Motivational Humorous Business Speaker, Author and History buff.


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1798: After enduring dreadful torture, Father John Murphy is executed and his decapitated head displayed on a pike for his part in the 1798 Rebellion.

Father John Murphy

Murphy is an iconic figure in Irish rebel history who is celebrated in the song Boolavogue.

“Then Father Murphy from old Kilcormack

Spurred up the rocks with a warning cry:

‘Arm! Arm!’ he cried, ‘For I’ve come to lead you;

For Ireland’s freedom we’ll fight or die!”

Murphy, like most of the Catholic clergy did not support the original uprising, but following a skirmish where two English yeoman were killed, he realized it was “fight or die.” Over a five week period, he led a scattered, brave and ultimately futile insurrection against an increasingly vicious English response which involved murder and mass rape. The Irish rebels were no saints themselves indulging in sectarian outrages including burning of Protestants to death. Murphy was not directly involved in these atrocities, some of which were reactive and some borne from a deep hatred of English occupation.

The rebel priest was an effective leader of the 5,000 plus rebels winning a number of battles against the English including famously taking Enniscorthy on May 28th. The rebels suffered a fatal defeat at the Battle of Vinegar Hill on June 21 which effectively ended the rebellion.



1800:  The Act of Union is passed which united the Kingdom of Great Britain and the Kingdom of Ireland to create the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The act mean Ireland lost its own independent Parliament and was now to be ruled from England. It would be 1922 before Ireland regained legislative independence.

1863: More than six hundred men of the Irish Brigade fight at Gettysburg, losing one third of their number in The Wheatfield. The Irish Brigade suffered severe losses during the Civil War, initially starting with over 2,500 volunteers. The Brigade distinguished itself in numerous conflicts including Chancellorsville, Fair Oaks and Fredericksburg.

Irish Brigade monument at Gettysburg


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