William Butler Yeats – De Valera Taoiseach – Tim Russert at Today in Irish History

June 13: TODAY in Irish History:

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W. B. Yeats

W. B. Yeats illustration in                               For the Love of Being Irish

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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1865: W. B. Yeats

Birth of William Butler Yeats in Dublin, the son of painter John Butler Yeats. He spent much of his childhood in County Sligo which was a huge source of inspiration for him, not least the beautiful Lake Isle of Inisfree.

In For the Love of Being Irish, author Conor Cunneen writes:

WB Yeats in For the Love of Being Irish

Illustration of W.B. Yeats in        For the Love of Being Irish

YouTube has the following  radio recording of Yeats presenting this great poem and explaining how he came up with idea for Inisfree.

Yeats was a major player in the Celtic Revival which endevored (successfully) to raise awareness of the culture of Ireland, much of which had been decimated by English rule. His personal and political life was as interesting as his poetry. The love of his life Irish revolutionary Maud Gonne rebuked his marriage proposals on a number of occasions although they were lovers.

Yeats is buried in Drumcliff, County Sligo.




1951: Dev becomes Taoiseach

Eamonn De Valera becomes Taoiseach for the second time a position he had previously held between 1937-1948. De Valera was (is) a divisive figure in Irish politics. He fought in the 1916 rebellion, but spent much of the War of Independence in America garnering funds and support for an independent Ireland. He and his supporters voted against the Anglo-Irish Treaty precipitating a vicious civil war that saw the death of the other 20th century giant of Irish politics Michael Collins. A strong believer in the purity of Irish culture (even though he was New York born) and “maidens dancing at the crossroads,” his most infamous moment was when he offered condolences to Germany on the death of Adolf Hitler. His decision to maintain Ireland’s neutrality during World War II made him something of a pariah among the Allies. Whether his views on neutrality were purely philosophical or purely anti-British is difficult to discern.  Politically, a vote to fight with Britain irrespective of the validity of the cause would have been hard for many Irish to bear less than a generation after the 1916 execution, the War of Independence and the the horror of the Black and Tans.

William Butler Yeats was one of those not totally convinced by De Valera “I was rather disappointed—A living argument rather than a living man, all propaganda, no human life, but not bitter hysterical or unjust…… He will fail through not having enough human life to judge the life of others.”

In For the Love of Being Irish, author Conor Cunneen quotes JFK’s humorous reference to De Valera and their respective ancestry when he spoke in Dail Eireann.

Illustration of JFK by Mark Anderson in For the Love of Being Irish




2008: Death of  TV and political journalist Tim Russert Russert. In 1950 he was born in Buffalo, New York to Irish American Catholic parents.

Tim Russert 1950-2008





WATCH: A Short History of Ireland

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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