March 20: 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.
WATCH: A Short History of Ireland
Mitchel wrote for The Nation and was founder of The United Irishman newspaper which openly preached rebellion against England returns to Ireland. Convicted of treason in 1848, Mitchel was sentenced to fourteen years transportation in Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania.) In 1853, he escaped to America, where he published his Jail Journal.
While in America, he was editor of the Richmond Examiner and was a strong advocate of Confederate rights. He was imprisoned for several months after the Civil War ended. His return to Ireland, evoked huge enthusiasm amongst an Irish population devastated by the Famine and emigration.
1920: Killing of Lord Mayor of Cork Tomás Mac Curtain
Sinn Féin Lord Mayor of Cork Tomás Mac Curtain is killed by disguised RIC / Black and Tans in his home in front of his wife and children. The killing was apparently in retaliation for the death of RIC Constable Murtagh some hours earlier in Cork. Mac Curtain was an active member of the IRA and O.C. of Cork No.1 Brigade Irish Volunteers.
Some weeks later, a Cork coroner’s court will return a verdict of willful murder in the death of Tomas MacCurtain. The senior RIC officer who either participated or approved the operation District Inspector Oswald Swanzy would be killed by the IRA in August.
Funeral of Tomás Mac Curtain
READ: Detail on District Inspector Oswald Swanzy
1964: Brendan Behan RIP
The short life of playwright, novelist, poet and enfant terrible, Brendan Behan (b. 1923) ends in Dublin. Behan had found fame as writer of plays like The Quare Fellow, The Hostage and best selling books including Borstal Boy which was basically a memoir of his time in Hollesley Bay Borstal for republican activities in England. Behan succumbed to the curse of many Irish artists – alcohol, providing much copy for media and press about his drunken antics which in his later life simply became sad anecdotes in a brilliant writer’s life.
Brendan Behan Quotes
Critics are like eunuchs in a harem; they know how it’s done, they’ve seen it done every day, but they’re unable to do it themselves.
If it was raining soup, the Irish would go out with forks.
I only take a drink on two occasions – when I’m thirsty and when I’m not.
1989: Jonesborough Ambush. IRA Kills Senior RIC Officers. Security Collusion Alleged
Two senior RIC officers, Chief Superintendent Harry Breen and Superintendent Bob Buchanan are ambushed by the IRA in County Armagh after they have traveled from Dundalk where they had a meeting with An Garda Síochána (Irish police force). Prior to driving to Dundalk, Breen had expressed concern that there was an IRA mole in the Garda whom he named to his staff officer.
Although never conclusively proven, there is compelling evidence that an IRA supporter within the Garda provided information to IRA in Northern Ireland. Breen and Buchanan were the two highest ranking RIC officers to be killed in the conflict. Their deaths also strained relations between RIC and Irish police.
The Irish Government set up a tribunal of inquiry to determine the facts of the case. As with all tribunals in Ireland, it’s determinations have taken substantially longer than first planned. Headed by Mr. Justice Peter Smithwick, the tribunal’s terms of reference are:
Tribunal of Inquiry into suggestions that members of An Garda Síochána or other employees of the State colluded in the fatal shootings of RUC Chief Superintendent Harry Breen and RUC Superintendent Robert Buchanan on the 20th March, 1989.
The lengthy opening statement of the tribunal is a fascinating profile of the time and the security issues involved.
Want to learn more about Ireland? See these images and more in the acclaimed 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.
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