Larne Gunrunner Frederick Crawford – Richard Nixon

November 5: TODAY in Irish History:

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Fred Crawford Larne Gun Runner

Fred Crawford Larne Gun Runner

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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1940: Churchill Bemoans Loss of Irish Ports

In the House of Commons Churchill bemoans the fact that the Irish ports had been returned to the Free State government in 1938.

“The fact that we cannot use the South and West Coasts of Ireland to refuel our flotillas and aircraft and thus protect the trade by which Ireland as well as Great Britain lives, is a most heavy and grievous burden and one which should never have been placed on our shoulders, broad though they be.”

READ: Hansard November 5 1940

The question of the ports would prove to be a contentious issue throughout the war, but giving Britain access to them would almost certainly have doomed Ireland’s efforts to maintain neutrality.

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1952: Death of Larne Gunrunner Frederick Crawford.

Crawford is one of the lesser known figures in Ulster Unionist history but one who was hugely influential because of his involvement in what is known as the Larne gun running incident when he was responsible for smuggling over 25,000 guns into the North on the night of April 24 1914.

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Fred Crawford Larne Gun Runner
Fred Crawford Larne Gun Runner

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By 1912, Ulster Unionists were prepared to take desperate measures to ensure Ireland (or at least Ulster) stayed under English rule and not, as Loyalists saw it, be taken over by a Catholic dominated “foreign” culture which is how Unionists saw the general Irish nationalist movement.

Crawford summed up  this sentiment in his book Guns for Ulster when he wrote about the Scottish Protestant immigrants who settled in Ulster in the 1600-1700s.  ” From these settlers sprang a people, the Ulster-Scot, who have made themselves felt in the history of the British Empire and, in no small measure, in that of the United States of America.” (See for instance Andrew Jackson.)  He went on to write “I am ashamed to call myself an Irishman. Thank God I am not one. I am an Ulsterman, a very different breed.”

Crawford was strongly supported by other Loyalist politicians including Edward Carson who ironically was born in Dublin. The weapons went to arm The Ulster Volunteer Force in very public defiance of the rule (ironically) of British law. Some weeks after the Larne incident, Irish nationalists led by Countess Markievicz would land guns at Howth, Co Dublin  literally in view of English authorities who failed to understand the nuances of a nation where Loyalists were prepared to fight Britain to stay part of Britain and Nationalists were prepared to fight Britain to gain independence from Britain.

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1968: Richard Nixon elected President of the United States.

Although, it is not something that we brag about as much as other Irish American presidents, Richard Nixon did have Irish connections on both sides. Nixon’s maternal ancestor, Quaker Thomas Milhouse of Timahoe emigrated to Pennsylvania in 1729 probably due to religious persecution.  Nixon visited Ireland in 1970..

King Timahoe - Nixon Dog
The Nixon family with Irish Setter King Timahoe, named after his ancestor’s birthplace in Ireland.

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Listen: Richard Nixon – The Forgotten Visit

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1987: Death of Eamonn Andrews

Andrews was the consummate broadcaster and television personality who was a regular and popular face on Irish and UK television for many years. Andrews is most famous for This Is Your Life which he hosted for 19 years. This writer’s favorite episode of the show featured Andrews interviewing Muhammad Ali (who just happens to have Irish blood!) in an often hilarious program that showcased Ali at his very best. Andrews was also a gifted boxing commentator for the BBC.

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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

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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.

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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