Irish at the Battle of Trafalgar – Gerry Adams Election at Today in Irish History

October 21: 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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1805: Irish at Battle of Trafalgar

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The Battle of Trafalgar, by JMW Turner.

Over 4,000 Irish fight in British forces at the Battle of Trafalgar where Lord Nelson famously declared, “England confides that every man will do his duty”.

In The Fighting Life of H.M.S. Victory, author Iain Ballantyne writes about the death of one young Irishman –  twenty-one-year-old Irish Midshipman William Ram,who died from “multiple injuries that left him in indescribable agony.” Twenty-five different nationalities fought on behalf of Nelson at Trafalgar.

In 1808, Nelson’s Pillar was erected in Dublin which generated conflicting insights from Irish parties.

Nelson’s victory was greeted with praise by certain sectors of the Irish population.

“Our country, but more particularly the metropolis on the arrival of a period, which, while it commemorates the achievements of a great naval commander, fully evinces that the Irish people entertain as lively a sense as their fellow subjects, of the gratitude they owe to the memory of Lord Nelson” (The Freeman’s Journal, 16th February 1808).

An alternative view was provided by The Irish Magazine in 1809.

We have changed our gentry for soldiers, and our independence has been wrested from us, not by the arms of France, but by the gold of England. The statue of Nelson records the glory of a mistress and the transformation of our senate into a discount office.


READ: Building of Nelson’s Column


Nelson’s Column was blown up by Irish nationalists in 1966.


Nelson's Pillar Dublin




1879:  The Irish National Land League is founded at the Imperial Hotel in Castlebar, Mayo. Charles Stewart Parnell was elected president of the league. Its primary aim was to provide basic rights for tenant farmers and allow them to purchase the land they worked on.




1982: Gerry Adams wins Election

In the first time, Sinn Fein contests elections in Northern Ireland since The Troubles began, Gerry Adams is elected MP for West Belfast. Martin McGuinness wins election in Derry. Sinn Fein continued its abstentionist policy in terms of parliamentary attendance and neither Adams nor McGuinness took their seats.

Adams is one of the most divisive figures in Irish politics, loved and loathed, adored and distrusted with a passion by respective sides. He is currently TD (member of Irish parliament – Dail Eireann) for Co. Louth and President of socialist Republican party Sinn Fein. Although he absolutely and consistently denies it, there is a general acceptance in Ireland that Adams was a senior figure in the IRA during much of the troubles. The most damning allegation against Adams were made by deceased IRA veteran Brendan Hughes who in an interview with journalist Ed Moloney for his 2010 book Voices from the Grave said “I never carried out a major operation without the OK or the order from Gerry.” The allegations that Adams was leader of an IRA hit squad continue to haunt his political career.

Adams was one of the first militant Republican leaders to push for democratic activities and a ceasefire during the troubles. In 1988, while still a persona non-grata in mainstream political circles (and to many he still is), Adams (on behalf of the IRA political wing Sinn Fein) commenced secret discussions with John Hume of the SDLP about the possibility of peace negotiations. Ten years later, the Good Friday agreement which brought political stability to Ireland was signed.

Adams has proved himself to be an extremely capable political leader and a charismatic orator building Sinn Fein into one of the largest political parties in the Republic of Ireland. The political minefield of IRA membership and involvement in numerous killings will not go away. On September 29, 2012, Taoiseach Enda Kenny stated “”From all the evidence I have read and from all the evidence I have heard, I believe Gerry Adams was a member of the IRA and I was led to believe he was also a member of the army council.”

READA Battle for IRA Secrets

READ: Sinn Profile of Gerry Adams

READ: IRA Member Dolores Price Slams Adams





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

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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.

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