Union General Michael Kelly Lawler – Ireland’s Oldest Olympian – Actor Siobhán McKenna

November 16: 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




1814: Union General Michael Kelly Lawler

Michael Kelly Lawler  who served as a Brigadier General in the Union army in the civil war is born in County Kildare. He  fought in the Mexican War of 1846-1848 when he quite possibly fought against some fellow Irishmen – the famous San Patricios, the Saint Patrick’s Battalion who fought as part of the Mexican Army against the United States in the Mexican-American War.


Irish born Union General Michael Kelly Lawler
Union General Michael Kelly Lawler 1814-1882


In his memoirs, Ulysses S. Grants writes of Lawler’s bravery during the Vicksburg campaign and specifically at Big Black. “(A)n officer from Banks’ staff came up and presented me with a letter from General Halleck, dated the 11th of May. It had been sent by the way of New Orleans to Banks to be forwarded to me. It ordered me to return to Grand Gulf and to co-operate from there with Banks against Port Hudson, and then to return with our combined forces to besiege Vicksburg. I told the officer that the order came too late, and that Halleck would not give it now if he knew our position. The bearer of the dispatch insisted that I ought to obey the order, and was giving arguments to support his position when I heard great cheering to the right of our line and, looking in that direction, saw Lawler in his shirt sleeves leading a charge upon the enemy. I immediately mounted my horse and rode in the direction of the charge, and saw no more of the officer who delivered the dispatch; I think not even to this day.”




1931: Ireland’s Oldest Olympian? Joshua (Jerry) Millner

Death of Olympic gold medalist Joshua (Jerry) Millner. Millner was born in Dublin in 1847 and represented Britain in 1908 in the free rifle event which he won at the age of 61!


Joshua (Jerry) Millner
Joshua (Jerry) Millner 1847-1913


READ: Biography of Jerry Millner




1986: Death of Abbey actress Siobhán McKenna

Siobhán McKenna
Siobhán McKenna 1923-1986


Siobhán McKenna was twice nominated for Broadway’s Tony Award as Best Actress (Dramatic): in 1956, for “The Chalk Garden,” and in 1958, for “The Rope Dancers.” Her movie roles included Dr. Zhivago, King of Kings, Of Human Bondage. McKenna was married to actor Dennis O’Dea. Their son Donncha is a professional poker player who swam for Ireland in the 1968 Olympic games. Donncha is the first Irishman to swim the 100 metres in less than one minute. O’Dea’s son (McKenna’s grandson) is also a professional poker player who reached the final 9 in the World Series of Poker Championship in Las Vegas in 2011.



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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.

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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