December 20: 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
1862: Thomas Francis Meagher on The Battle of Fredericksburg
In the report penned on this date, Brigadier General Thomas Frances Meagher wrote about the day after the terrible battle.
“Two hundred and eighty men only appeared under arms to represent the Irish Brigade. This little band, unswerved and undeterred, still full of heart, inspired by a bright sense of duty, sorrowful for their comrades, but prouder and still more emboldened that such men had fallen bravely as they did, awaited the word that was once again to precipitate them against the batteries and defenses of the enemy.”
Over twelve hundred men of the Irish Brigade started that battle.
1891 Annie Moore – First Ellis Island Immigrant
Fifteen year old Annie Moore departs Queenstown (now Cobh) with her two brothers. On January 1, she would be the first immigrant to be processed through Ellis Island.
1921: Vitriolic Treaty Debate Continues.
Passions continue to rise during a debate that will tear the country asunder. In general despite the emotions involved, the quality of the debate was substantially better than anything we see today in Dail Eireann.
MR. SEAN ETCHINGHAM (anti-Treaty): …. “Yes, they might hold up their heads, but they are holding up their hands, for this is a Treaty of surrender of the principles they are here to uphold. I have heard gentlemen speak of the dead—let the dead rest. I can well understand that, for the boy Kevin Barry marched to the gallows with his head up, but his hands were pinioned to his side, and other men faced the firing parties, and other men faced the hangman with their heads up but their hands pinioned to their sides…… Let us go in with our heads up, but this I say to you finally, if you do vote for this thing, that posterity—the Assistant Minister of Local Government says he does not mind posterity—will denounce you, for if you do it it will be a renunciation of your principles, of your allegiance to the Irish Republic. Nay, it is more, it is the burial service over the grave of the Irish Nation, and there is to be no firing party.”
FINIAN LYNCH (pro-Treaty): Deputy Etchingham is trying to tell this House and trying to tell the people of Ireland that Lloyd George, shaking a paper in front of the face of Michael Collins was able to put the wind up Michael Collins. Let the people of Ireland judge whether it is so easy to put the wind up Michael Collins. That kind of eyewash is not going to go down with me or with any man who has soldiered with Collins, or with any person in Ireland who knows what he has done……………..
Now I stand for this Treaty on four grounds, and the one I mention last is the one that will mean the most to me. I stand for it because it gives us an army, because it gives us evacuation, because it gives us control over the finances of the country, and lastly, and greatest of all to me, because it gives us control over our education.
- Finian Lynch, second from right during Civil War
MRS. KATHLEEN O’CALLAGHAN (anti-Treaty): For myself, since girlhood I have been a Separatist. I wanted, and I want, an independent Ireland, an Ireland independent of the British Empire, and I can assure you that my life in Limerick during 1920, culminating in the murder of my husband last March—my life and that event have not converted me to Dominion status within the British Empire. I would like to say here that it hurts me to have to vote against the Minister for Foreign Affairs. He was a friend of my husband. Every night in my home, as in most Irish homes, prayers went up for him, and for the President, and for all who were standing by the country. I have the greatest admiration for him, but this is not a matter of devotion to a leader, or devotion to a party, it is a matter of principle, and you may sneer at principle, some of you. It is a matter of principle, a matter of conscience, a matter of right and wrong.
- Kathleen O”Callaghan
MR. SEAN T. O’CEALLAIGH (anti-Treaty): I cannot bear to live to see such a man as Arthur Griffith, who has been an inspiration to us all, or even younger men who have won fame the wide world over for a heroism that is peculiar to Ireland, men such as Michael Collins, Dick Mulcahy, Seán MacKeon, and many, many of their associates—I cannot bear to see these men acting as Ministers and Generals in the name of his Majesty King George V. in Ireland supported by time-servers, surrounded by shoneens, West Britons, and all the shallow toadies and place-hunters that Ireland produces in as much abundance as any other country. For it is not making much of a prophecy to say that the loyal, true-hearted, genuine Irishman will not rally round them. The Irish Ireland in which they grew up, for which they fought so valiantly will soon know them no more. We should all throw back at England this instrument of our subversion
- Sean T. O’Ceallaigh
READ: FASCINATING New York Times Report on Debate
1976: Death of Richard J. Daley
- Richard J. Daley 1902-1976
“Da Mare” of Chicago. Daley twenty one years in office (a period only surpassed by his son Richard M. Daley). Daley was a controversial figure who regularly mangled the English Language. In For the Love of Being Irish, author Conor Cunneen references one of Daley’s more memorable quotes. “They have vilified me, they have crucified me; yes, they have even criticized me.”
Daley is often credited for stealing the election for John Fitzgerald Kennedy in 1960 by ensuring the democratic candidate won Illinois. While there may be some truth that a number of Kennedy supporters voted early and often, Illinois was not critical. Even had the vote gone the other way and the states 27 Electoral College votes had gone to Nixon, Kennedy would still have had sufficient electoral college votes as he won 303 to Nixon’s 219. After all, Lyndon Johnson ensured Texas voted Democratic and there was a man who was never associated with electoral rigging in his life!!
Richard J. Daley Telephone Conversation with JFK
Daley’s ability to make things happen are evidenced in a telephone conversation he had with JFK on October 28th, 1963 in relation to civil rights legislation the President was pushing.
JFK: (IL. Democratic Congressman) Roland Libonati is sticking it right up us.
Daley: Is, he is?
JFK: Yeah, because he’s standing with the extreme liberals who are gonna end up with no bill at all. Then when we put together, uh, he’ll, gonna vote for the extreme bill. Then I asked him, “If you’ll vote for this package which we got together with the Republicans which gives us about everything we wanted,” and he says, “No.”
Daley: Daley: He’ll vote for it. He’ll vote for any goddamned thing you want….. That’s better. But he’ll do it. The last time I, I told him, “Now look it, I don’t give a goddamned what it is, you vote for, for anything the President wants and this is the way it will be and this is the way we want it and that’s the way it’s gonna be.”
- Daley and JFK – 1963 AP
An insightful, realistic, yet humorous book on the job search process by Today in Irish History Curator Conor Cunneen
Want to learn more about Ireland? See these images and more in the acclaimed 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.
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