38 IRA Escape Maze Prison. Death of Thomas Ashe. Shamrock Rovers V Manchester United. Sonia O’Sullivan. Today in Irish History

September 25: TODAY in Irish History:

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Curated by Conor Cunneen IrishmanSpeaks Chicago Motivational Humorous Business Speaker, Author and History buff.

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September 25: TODAY in Irish History:

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Death of Thomas Ashe Following Force Feeding

1917: Thomas Ashe, republican activist, 1916 volunteer died after being forcibly fed by prison authorities while on hunger strike.

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thomas ashe hunger strike force feeding death

Thomas Ashe 1885-1917

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Ashe was born in Kerry in 1885 and at an early age got involved in nationalist politics. He joined the Irish Volunteers in 1913 and was involved in the 1916 Rising fighting in Ashbourne where the Irish rebels did have some success.

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READ: The Battle of Ashbourne

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Ashe was released from British custody in June 1917 as were most 1916 volunteers. He quickly got arrested for anti-British activity again and was sentenced to two years jail. When he was refused political status in jail, he went on hunger strike. Aggressive force feeding by his jailers went badly wrong and he died on this day in 1917.

For an Ireland that deeply despised British actions in executing the 1916 leaders, the death of Tom Ashe generated another huge surge of nationalist emotion and anti-British feeling.

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THOMAS ASHE FUNERAL

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While in prison in England, Ashe wrote Let me Carry your Cross for Ireland, Lord

Let me carry your Cross for Ireland, Lord

The hour of her trial draws near,

And the pangs and the pains of the sacrifice

May be borne by comrades dear.

But, Lord, take me from the offering throng,

There are many far less prepared,

Through anxious and all as they are to die

That Ireland may be spared.

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READ: Let me Carry your Cross for Ireland, Lord

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Shamrock Rovers Play First Euro Tie against Manchester United

1957: Shamrock Rovers is first Irish team to play in European soccer competition. It was an interesting debut as they are hammered by a pre-Munich Manchester United. The Busby Babes slammed six goals past Rovers without reply in Dublin. Rovers acquitted themselves much better in the return leg in Manchester losing just 3-2. Less than five months later, most of the Manchester United team was wiped out at Munich including Dubliner Liam Whelan. Whelan who did not play against Rovers.

Click here or Program image below for PDF of the wonderful match program at ShamrockRovers.ie. Given the tragedy that was soon to befall United, the program notes on the likes of Duncan Edwards, Roger Byrne and others are particularly poignant.

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shamrock rovers V Manchester United 1957

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1961: Liverpool and Ireland soccer player Ronnie Whelan is born. Whelan played for Ireland 53 times scoring three goals including the memorable one below. He played the bulk of his career with the great Liverpool team of the 1980s winning six league championship medals, two FA Cup and one European Cup medal.

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RONNIE WHELAN SCORES AGAINST USSR

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1983: 38 IRA prisoners break out of the Maze Prison (Long Kesh.) 15 were captured on the first day. It was the largest prison break in British history.

The official report on the escape details how the prisoners were able to get control of a lorry which took them out of the prison:

“At 3.25 p.m. the kitchen lorry, driven by Officer *** accompanied by prison orderly Armstrong, arrived at the outer gate to the compound with the food. McFarlane and his companions admitted the lorry without arousing the driver’s suspicion and then, as Officer *** and Armstrong started to unload the food-containers at the entrance to the Block, seized them at gunpoint and took them inside. The driver was taken into the medical treatment room where he was told that the kitchen lorry was to be used in the escape and that he was to drive it. The prisoners gave him precise instructions about the route he was to follow and how he should behave if challenged. Armstrong was told to travel in the lorry in the normal way.

At 3.50 p.m., when the prisoners had been in control of H7 for about an hour, Officer *** and Armstrong were taken back to the lorry. The driver’s left foot was tied to the clutch and his door lock was jammed. From beneath his seat a cord was attached to what he was told was a hand grenade – in fact it was tied to the frame of the seat. Kelly, in officer’s uniform, lay on the floor of the cab on the passenger side and trained his gun on Officer ***. Thirty-seven prisoners then climbed into the back of the lorry, the shutter was lowered and the vehicle drove off.

The escapers left behind a rear party, armed with chisels and screwdrivers, to guard the captured staff and prevent the alarm from being raised prematurely. They appear to have remained at their posts until they judged that the escapers were clear of the prison, then they returned quietly to their cells.”

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DOCUMENTARY ON MAZE ESCAPE


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Not surprisingly, the escape was an enormous political coup for the IRA. A number of the escapees were killed in IRA/British firefights over following years.

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READ: Report of an Inquiry by HM Chief Inspector of Prisons into the security arrangements at HM Prison, Maze

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2000: Cobh born Sonia O’Sullivan won an Olympic  silver medal in the women’s 5,000 meters race in Sydney. O’Sullivan’s career included five gold medals at World and European Championships and World Cross Country Championships.

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** . 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 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 IrishmanSpeaks to Laugh and Learn. Tags: Best Irish Gift, Creative Irish Gift, Unique Irish Gifts, Irish Books, Irish Authors, Today in Irish History TODAY IN IRISH HISTORY (published by IrishmanSpeaks)

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