Ballinglass Evictions – 1948 Grand Slam – At Swim-Two-Birds – U2 Hall of Fame at Today in Irish History

March 13: TODAY in Irish History:

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Ireland Famine Eviction 1879

Snippets of Irish History by Conor Cunneen IrishmanSpeaks 

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

WATCH: A Short History of Ireland




1846: Ballinglass Famine Evictions

Ireland Famine Eviction 1879

Famine Eviction 1879

This was an incident that highlighted vividly the injustices that Irish tenant farmers suffered during the 19th century. Many tenants were evicted for inability to pay rent during the famine, but quite often the evictions were at the ruthless whim of landlords. Over 300 people in the village of Balinglass, County Galway are evicted by their landlord a Mrs. Gerrard who wanted to use the land for grazing purposes. Following the eviction, all the housing was destroyed by army and police. The tenants slept in the ruins overnight but the next day, police and army returned to evict them permanently.

Even the London Times, never a supporter of Irish rights railed against this particular injustice.

“How often are we to be told that the common law of England sanctions injustice and furnishes the weapons of oppression? How long shall the rights of property in Ireland continue to be the wrongs of poverty and the advancement of the rich be the destruction of the poor?


1939: At Swim-Two-Birds published.

At Swim-Two-Birds, a book by Irish satirist and commentator Flann O’Brien (Brian O’Nolan) is published. In 2005, critics Lev Grossman and Richard Lacayo picked the book as one of  the 100 best English-language novels published since 1923—the publication date of the first TIME magazine.

Brian O’Nolan is of Ireland’s finest writers and satirists, but maybe not as well known as he should be. Born in Strabane, County Tyrone, he spent most of his career working in the civil service. Much of his work was published in the Irish Times  under the pseudonym Myles na gCopaleen


Eamon Morrissey: Excerpt from At Swim Two Birds by Brian O’Nolan


Flann O'Brien - one of the great irish gifts to literature


READ: Irish Times Profile of Brian O’Nolan


Eamonn Morrissey recites Brian O’Nolan’s A Pint of Plain


1944: Britain Suspends  Travel from Ireland

Britain suspends all travel from Ireland to UK. Ireland maintained neutrality during the second world war which was a major bone of contention with the allies. Axis diplomats had free passage in Ireland. A frustrated London government eventually decided to prevent entry from Ireland as it suspected Germany was using it as a launch pad for spying missions.


1948: Ireland Wins Rugby Grand Slam

Ireland wins the rugby “Grand Slam” for first time defeating England, Scotland, France and finally Wales in international test matches. It would take 61 years for Ireland to repeat the Grand Slam. Journalist Eddie Butler of The Guardian newspaper writes lovingly about the man who scored the winning try for Ireland in Belfast on that famous day John “Jack” Daly

“The loose-head prop from Cobh, near Cork, was a rare character. “I changed next to him that game,” says Kyle. “He thumped one fist into another and shouted: ‘I’m mad to get at ’em.’ We all thought Jack was a bit mad.”

Daly was a telephone lineman working in London. He had spent the second world war lugging wireless equipment across northern Italy. Here in Northern Ireland he carried on O’Brien’s work, plus three or four Welsh defenders over the line. “If Wales don’t score again, I’ll be fucking canonised,” he shouted as he ran back. (The official quote was: “It was well worth the effort.”) Did Ireland celebrate? “I suppose we did, but quite a few of us were tee­total,” says Kyle.

Not all. Daly’s shirt on the final whistle had been ripped from his back, cut up into a hundred pieces and sold off. Back in Dublin, legend has it that he spotted a girl sporting one of those pieces and together they disappeared, “cavorting,” for a week, an absence that cost him his job. He signed for rugby league and went on to play in the 1952 Challenge Cup final for Featherstone Rovers. Oh that we could all, and not just Ireland, be defined by the lads of ’48.”


READ: Ireland Grand Slam by Guardian Journalist Eddie Butler


1960: U2 bass player Adam Clayton is born in England. His family moved to the beautiful little village of Malahide, Co. Dublin when he was five years age. He was friendly with U2’s Edge (Dave Evans) from childhood. The two would eventually form U2 with Larry Mullen and Paul Hewson (Bono).

Adam Clayton


2005: U2 Inducted to Rock n Roll Hall of Fame

On Adam Clayton’s birthday U2 are inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame by another great performer with Irish roots Bruce Springsteen.



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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)


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