Birmingham Six Freed after Sixteen Years – Robert Emmet at Today in Irish History

March 14: TODAY in Irish History:

** ** **

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



shamrock shamrock

1778: Robert Emmet

Robert Emmet is born into a wealthy Protestant Dublin family. He would go on to become one of Ireland’s most famous (but also pretty incompetent) rebels who would be executed for high treason.


Robert Emmet 1778-1803


In 1803, Emmet would be  captured in Dublin on August 25th following a hopelessly unsuccessful attempt at insurrection. In one sense, Emmet’s rebellion deserves little more than a footnote in history. The rebellion itself was more a riot than a full scale insurrection, but it garnered major publicity when the Lord Chief Justice of Ireland was killed in the affray.

Robert Emmet’s place in history is primarily due to his powerful speech from the dock where he said:

“Let no man write my epitaph; for as no man who knows my motives dare now vindicate them, let not prejudice or ignorance, asperse them. Let them and me rest in obscurity and peace, and my tomb remain uninscribed, and my memory in oblivion, until other times and other men can do justice to my character. When my country takes her place among the nations of the earth, then and not till then, let my epitaph be written. I have done.”

Emmet’s burial place is unknown.

READ: Full Text of Robert Emmet’s Speech from the Dock.

shamrock shamrock

1864: Menomen O’Donnell – Medal of Honor Recipient

Irish born Lieutenant Menomen O’Donnell is involved in action at Fort DeRussey  on this day and also at Vicksburg for which he receives the Medal of Honor. His citation reads:

The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to First Lieutenant Menomen O’Donnell, United States Army, for extraordinary heroism on 22 May 1863 while serving with Company A, 11th Missouri Infantry, in action at Vicksburg, Mississippi. First Lieutenant O’Donnell voluntarily joined the color guard in the assault on the enemy’s works when he saw indications of wavering and caused the colors of his regiment to be planted on the parapet. At Fort DeRussey, Louisiana, on 14 March 1864, he voluntarily placed himself in the ranks of an assaulting column (being then on staff duty) and rode with it into the enemy’s works, being the only mounted officer present, was twice wounded in battle.

Menomen O'Donnell headstone  irish medal of honor winners

shamrock shamrock

1921: Six IRA Volunteers Executed

British authorities hang six IRA volunteers for crimes of high treason and murder. There is some strong evidence to suggest at least some of the men were innocent of the crimes they were accused of although all had been involved in violent acts against British forces in Ireland.

shamrock shamrock

1923: Irish Government Executes Sixteen Rebels

More executions on this date in Irish history. This time the new Irish government which has taken a strong stance against anti-treaty activists executes sixteen anti-Treatyites between March 12-March 14.

shamrock shamrock

1991: Birmingham Six Freed

The "Birmingham Six"

The “Birmingham Six”

Birmingham Six are freed after 16 years in jail. The six innocent men – Paddy Joe Hill, Hugh Callaghan, Richard McIlkenny, Gerry Hunter, Billy Power and Johnny Walker had been found guilty of placing bombs in Birmingham pubs in 1974 that killed 21 people and injured more than 100. At a time when public fury was at its height following the bombings, an over-zealous West-Midland police force beat confessions out of the innocent men and fabricated / altered notes of the confessions. One of the six Paddy Hill stated on his release “”The police told us from the start they knew we hadn’t done it. They didn’t care who had done it.”

As early as 1976, Fathers Denis Faul and Raymond Murray published a detailed document questioning the men’s convictions.


READ: The Birmingham Framework: Six Innocent Men Framed for the Birmingham Bombings by Fr. Denis Faul and Fr. Raymond Murray (1976)


SEE: ITV Program on Birmingham Six.


The Provisional IRA had planted bombs in two pubs: The Mulberry Bush bomb was followed minutes later by a bomb in the nearby Tavern in the Town. The IRA had phoned a warning twelve minutes before the first bomb went off, but the bombs went off as police were trying to clear the pubs. One of the ironies of the murderous attack was that a number of the victims were second-generation Irish.


SEE: ITV Program on Birmingham Six

shamrock shamrock

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)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: