Archive for December, 2012

December 28,

Anti-Catholic Discrimination – United Irishman William Salmon – Augustus Nicholas Burke at Today in Irish History

Dec 28: TODAY in Irish History:

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Snippets of Irish History by Conor Cunneen IrishmanSpeaks

Conor is a Chicago based Motivational Humorous Business Speaker, Author and History buff.

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1795: Anti-Catholic Discrimination

The rationale for the 1798 Rebellion and the logic behind the cause of the United Irishmen can be seen in a document signed by Lord Gosford, Governor of Armagh who railed against anti-Catholic discrimination in a document dated on this day in 1795

“It is no secret that a persecution, accompanied with all the circumstances of ferocious cruelty which have in all ages distinguished this calamity, is now raging in this country; neither age, nor sex, nor even acknowledged innocence, is sufficient to excite mercy or afford protection. The only crime which the unfortunate objects of this persecution are charged with, is a crime of easy proof indeed; it is simply a profession of the Roman Catholic faith. A lawless banditti have constituted themselves judges of this species of delinquency, and the sentence they pronounce is equally concise and terrible; it is nothing less than a confiscation of all property and immediate banishment—a prescription that has been carried into effect, and exceeds, in the number of those it consigns to ruin and misery, every example that ancient or modern history can supply. These horrors are now acting with impunity. The spirit of justice has disappeared from the country; and the supineness of the magistracy of Armagh has become a common topic of conversation in every corner of the kingdom.”

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1836: William Sampson – United Irishman

Death of United Irishman, Lawyer and author William Sampson in New York. Born in well-to-do Protestant ascendancy, Sampson was one of many non-Catholics who were disturbed by the level of discrimination and violence against members of the Catholic faith. As a lawyer, he defended United Irishmen for anti-British actions before being arrested himself. Expelled from Ireland, he settled in American in 1806. His most lasting impact on American judicial law was when he won a judgment accepting the confidentiality of the confessional.

The opening lines of Salmon’s Memoirs read:

“At length, I take up my pen….. to give you the history of my extraordinary persecution. From it you may form a judgment of that system of government which drove the unhappy people of Ireland to revolt. But, to judge rightly, you should also be aware, that of many thousand such cases, mine is one of- the most mild.”

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READ FREE eBOOK: Memoirs of William Salmon

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1891: Death of Painter and Artist Augustus Nicholas Burke

Augustus Nicholas Burke 1828-1891 at today in Irish history famous Irish painters

Augustus Nicholas Burke 1828-1891

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Born in 1828 in County Galway, he was a regular exhibitor at the Royal Academy in London and the Royal Hibernian Academy in Dublin. He resided in Holland and Brittany for a number of years before returning to Dublin.  His portraits include a Breton Farmyard; The Feast-day of Notre Dame de Tremala, Brittany and a View in Connemara. Burke’s brother was murdered along with Lord Frederick Cavendish, Chief Secretary for Ireland in the infamous Phoenix Park Murders of 1882.
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Connemara Girl by Augustus Burke at today in Irish history

Connemara Girl by Augustus Burke

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

Irish gift ideas. Best selling Irish booksRonnie Drew and Luke Kelly - Musical Irish Gifts to the worldJoyce Image in For the Love of Being IrishMichael Collins: Image from For the Love of Being Irish

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This history is written by Irish author, business keynote speaker and award winning humorist IrishmanSpeaks – 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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December 27,

Dan Breen – Lady Jane Wilde – Loyalist Billy Wright Murdered at Today in Irish History

Dec 27: TODAY in Irish History:

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Snippets of Irish History by Conor Cunneen IrishmanSpeaks

Conor is a Chicago based Motivational Humorous Business Speaker, Author and History buff.

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1821:Birth of Oscar Wilde’s Mother

Lady Jane Wilde - Sperenza at Chicago Motivational Business Speaker

Lady Jane Wilde – Sperenza

Jane Francesca Agnes, later Lady Wilde and mother of Oscar is born. She became famous in her own right as a writer and poet under the name of “Sperenza.” Sperenza was an ardent nationalist in addition to being a staunch feminist. Her most famous poem is probably The Famine Year.

Weary men, what reap ye?—Golden corn for the stranger.
What sow ye?— human corpses that wait for the avenger.
Fainting forms, hunger–stricken, what see you in the offing?
Stately ships to bear our food away, amid the stranger’s scoffing.
There’s a proud array of soldiers — what do they round your door?
They guard our masters’ granaries from the thin hands of the poor.
Pale mothers, wherefore weeping— would to God that we were dead;
Our children swoon before us, and we cannot give them bread.

SEE complete poem The Famine Year at very bottom of this post

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READ: Speranza, The Hope of the Irish Nation by Professor Christine Kinealy

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1969:Death of Dan Breen

Dan  Breen was an iconic IRA figure in both the War of Independence and also the Civil War. Breen was involved in what is accepted as the first action of the War of Independence 1919-1921 when with Sean Treacy and others, he ambushed and killed two RIC (Royal Irish Constabulary) constables James McDonnell and Patrick O’Connell, both of them Catholic and reputedly popular in the community in what has become known as the Soloheadbeg Ambush (Co. Tipperary.) The action was unauthorized by Irish leadership at the time, but shortly after all British armed forces and policemen were deemed legitimate targets.

Dan Breen Wanted Poster IRA

In his memoir, My Fight for Irish Freedom Breen outlines what happened at the ambush:

‘Hands up!’ The cry came from our men who spoke as if with one voice. ‘Hands up!’ In answer to our challenge they raised their rifles, and with military precision held them at the ready. They were Irishmen, too, and would die rather than surrender. We renewed the demand for surrender. We would have preferred to avoid bloodshed; but they were inflexible. Further appeal was useless. It was a matter of our lives or theirs. We took aim. The two policemen fell, mortally wounded.”

The British government offered a reward £1,oo0 for Breen and later raised it to  £1o,o00. Breen writes “Nobody ever tried to earn it with the exception of a few members of the RIC. They failed; many of them never made the second attempt.”

Breen was seriously wounded on a number of occasions during the conflict. Following the Irish Civil War where he fought  on the Anti-Treaty side, he was elected to Dail Eireann in Jan 1927, lost his seat later that year, but went on to represent Tipperary from 1932 through 1965.

READ EXCERPT from My Fight for Irish Freedom is an interesting memoir about the escapades of a man who like many of his compatriots could often be chillingly brutal in a brutal war. The following interview shows the mindset of the IRA during the War of Independence.

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1997: Loyalist Leader Billy Wright Murdered in Prison

In custody in the Maze Prison, Loyalist para-military Billy Wright is murdered by three members of the Republican Irish National Liberation Army who managed to smuggle a gun into the prison. The INLA issued a statement justifying their action. “Billy Wright was executed for one reason and one reason only, and that was for directing and waging his campaign of terror against the nationalist people from his prison cell.” Northern Ireland security forces believe Wright was involved in as many as twenty sectarian killings. He was never charged with any of them. Wright’s killers, Christopher McWilliams, John Glennon and John Kennaway were jailed for life but later released under the Good Friday Agreement.

Billy Wright on Left. Loyalist Mural Belfast

Billy Wright on Left. Loyalist Mural Belfast

Wright was known as King Rat. In mural above Swinger is another Loyalist paramilitary Mark Fulton (1961-2002) who allegedly was responsible for a dozen killings. Fulton took command of the Loyalist Volunteer Force following the death of Wright.

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

Irish gift ideas. Best selling Irish booksRonnie Drew and Luke Kelly - Musical Irish Gifts to the worldJoyce Image in For the Love of Being IrishMichael Collins: Image from For the Love of Being Irish

___________________________________

This history is written by Irish author, business keynote speaker and award winning humorist IrishmanSpeaks – 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)

THE FAMINE YEAR by Sperenza

Weary men, what reap ye?—Golden corn for the stranger.
What sow ye?— human corpses that wait for the avenger.
Fainting forms, hunger–stricken, what see you in the offing?
Stately ships to bear our food away, amid the stranger’s scoffing.
There’s a proud array of soldiers — what do they round your door?
They guard our masters’ granaries from the thin hands of the poor.
Pale mothers, wherefore weeping— would to God that we were dead;
Our children swoon before us, and we cannot give them bread.

Little children, tears are strange upon your infant faces,
God meant you but to smile within your mother’s soft embraces.
Oh! we know not what is smiling, and we know not what is dying;
We’re hungry, very hungry, and we cannot stop our crying.
And some of us grow cold and white — we know not what it means;
But, as they lie beside us, we tremble in our dreams.
There’s a gaunt crowd on the highway — are ye come to pray to man,
With hollow eyes that cannot weep, and for words your faces wan?

No; the blood is dead within our veins — we care not now for life;
Let us die hid in the ditches, far from children and from wife;
We cannot stay and listen to their raving, famished cries—
Bread! Bread! Bread! and none to still their agonies.
We left our infants playing with their dead mother’s hand:
We left our maidens maddened by the fever’s scorching brand:
Better, maiden, thou were strangled in thy own dark–twisted tresses—
Better, infant, thou wert smothered in thy mother’s first caresses.

We are fainting in our misery, but God will hear our groan:
Yet, if fellow–men desert us, will He hearken from His Throne?
Accursed are we in our own land, yet toil we still and toil;
But the stranger reaps our harvest— the alien owns our soil.

O Christ! how have we sinned, that on our native plains
We perish houseless, naked, starved, with branded brow, like Cain’s?
Dying, dying wearily, with a torture sure and slow—
Dying, as a dog would die, by the wayside as we go.

One by one they’re falling round us, their pale faces to the sky;
We’ve no strength left to dig them graves— there let them lie.
The wild bird, if he’s stricken, is mourned by the others,
But we— we die in a Christian land—we die amid our brothers,
In the land which God has given, like a wild beast in his cave,
Without a tear, a prayer, a shroud, a coffin or a grave.