Cork Born VC Recipient – Birmingham Six Arrested – Erskine Childers – Lord Craigavon

November 24: TODAY in Irish History:

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James Adams Cork born VC winner

James Adams Cork born VC winner

 

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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WATCH: A Short History of Ireland

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1839: Cork Born Victoria Cross Recipient James William Adams

James Adams is born in Cork. Adams who is one of only five civilians and the first clergyman to be awarded the Victoria Cross for his bravery during an action 1n 1879

James Adams Cork born VC winner
James Adams 1839-1903

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Adams’ commanding officer General Roberts wrote of Adams bravery.

“Our Chaplain ( Adams ), who had accompanied me throughout the day, behaved in this particular place with conspicuous gallantry. Seeing a wounded man of the 9th Lancers staggering towards him, Adams dismounted, and tried to lift the man onto his own charger. Unfortunately, the mare, a very valuable animal, broke loose and was never seen again. Adams, however, managed to support the Lancer until he was able to make him over to some of his own comrades.

Adams rejoined me in time to assist two more of the 9th who were struggling under their horses at the bottom of the ditch. He was an unusually powerful man, and by sheer strength dragged the Lancers clear of their horses. The Afghans meanwhile had reached Bhagwana, and were so close to the ditch that I thought my friend the padre could not possibly escape. I called out to him to look after himself, but he paid no attention to my warnings until he had pulled the almost exhausted Lancers to the top of the slippery ditch.”

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1922: Execution of Erskine Childers

Robert Erskine Childers 1870-1922
Robert Erskine Childers 1870-1922

Irish nationalist Robert Erskine Childers*, author of Riddle of the Sands, arms smuggler, father of the fourth president of Ireland Erskine Childers is executed by Free State government for carrying an unlawful weapon. Childers supported the Anti-Treaty forces in the vicious Irish civil war which bedeviled the country 1921-1923. Ironically, the weapon in question was allegedly a gift from one time friend and colleague Michael Collins**. In his book The Riddle of Erskine Childers, Andrew Boyle states that Childers’ final words to his executioners, before he was to be shot were “Take a step or two forward, lads. It will be easier that way.” Although, the Free State government was within its legislative authority to execute Childers, it is often seen as a simple act of revenge for the killing of Michael Collins.

* Childers was born in London 1870

** Although Childers vehemently disagreed with the signing of the Treaty by Michael Collins, he was still able to say positive things about “The Big Fella” during the vitriolic Treaty debate in December 1921.”I think everybody will agree that we have listened to a most able and eloquent speech. I most heartily agree to it, though I am in profound disagreement with the conclusions of the speaker. He has said many things which I admire and respect, he has said others that I profoundly regret. All of us agree, I think, that we have listened to a manly, eloquent, and worthy speech from the Minister for Finance.”

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READ: Biography of Erskine Childers at National Archives

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1940: Death of James Craig, 1st Viscount Craigavon. First Prime Minister of Northern Ireland

James Craig Northern Ireland PM
James Craig Northern Ireland PM 1871-1940

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Craig was a dominant and domineering figure in Irish politics during the first half of the 20th century and particularly during and after the partition of Ireland. An avid loyalist and member of the Orange Order, who boasted of Northern Ireland “a Protestant Parliament and a Protestant State.” To be fair, this comment was not that different to De Valera’s view that the Free State was a “Catholic nation.” As Prime Minister of Northern Ireland from 1921-1940, he oversaw a concerted program of blatant discrimination against Catholics, almost all of whom were of Nationalist (anti-English) persuasion.

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READ: Profile of James Craig

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1883: Bold Fenian Men Composer Peadar Kearney is born in Dublin

Peadar Kearney The bold fenian men
Peadar Kearney with son

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READ: Bio of Peadar Kearney

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The Bold Fenian Men (Rio Grande)

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Note: Despite this wonderful rendition and tribute to General Philip Sheridan, the song itself was not composed until 1916 by Peadar Kearney!

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1974: Birmingham Six Charged

British police charge six people for the murderous bombings in Birmingham on November 21 that killed twenty-one people.  Hugh Callaghan, Paddy Hill, Gerry Hunter, Richard McIlkenny, Billy Power, and Johnny Walker were convicted of the bombings in 1975. It took sixteen years for the British legal system to accept that the convictions were unsafe. At a time when public fury was at its height following the bombings, an over-zealous West-Midland police force beat confessions out of the innocent men and fabricated / altered notes of the confessions. One of the six Paddy Hill stated on his release “”The police told us from the start they knew we hadn’t done it. They didn’t care who had done it.”

While the establishment was publicly confident about the convictions, there was huge disquiet in many circles. As early as 1976, Fathers Denis Faul and Raymond Murray published The Birmingham Framework: Six Innocent Men Framed for the Birmingham Bombings

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SEE: ITV Program on Birmingham Six.

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The Provisional IRA had planted bombs in two pubs: The Mulberry Bush bomb was followed   minutes later by a bomb in the nearby Tavern in the Town. The IRA had phoned a warning twelve minutes before the first bomb went off, but the bombs went off as police were trying to clear the pubs. One of the ironies of the murderous attack was that a number of the victims were second-generation Irish.

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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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