Dan Breen – Lady Jane Wilde – Loyalist Billy Wright Murdered

December 27: TODAY in Irish History:

** ** **

Dan Breen Wanted Poster IRA

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





1821:Birth of Oscar Wilde’s Mother

Lady Jane Wilde - Sperenza at Chicago Motivational Business Speaker
Lady Jane Wilde – Sperenza

Jane Francesca Agnes, later Lady Wilde and mother of Oscar is born. She became famous in her own right as a writer and poet under the name of “Sperenza.” Sperenza was an ardent nationalist in addition to being a staunch feminist. Her most famous poem is probably The Famine Year.

Weary men, what reap ye?—Golden corn for the stranger.
What sow ye?— human corpses that wait for the avenger.
Fainting forms, hunger–stricken, what see you in the offing?
Stately ships to bear our food away, amid the stranger’s scoffing.
There’s a proud array of soldiers — what do they round your door?
They guard our masters’ granaries from the thin hands of the poor.
Pale mothers, wherefore weeping— would to God that we were dead;
Our children swoon before us, and we cannot give them bread.

SEE complete poem The Famine Year at very bottom of this post


READ: Speranza, The Hope of the Irish Nation by Professor Christine Kinealy




1969:Death of Dan Breen

Dan  Breen was an iconic IRA figure in both the War of Independence and also the Civil War. Breen was involved in what is accepted as the first action of the War of Independence 1919-1921 when with Sean Treacy and others, he ambushed and killed two RIC (Royal Irish Constabulary) constables James McDonnell and Patrick O’Connell, both of them Catholic and reputedly popular in the community in what has become known as the Soloheadbeg Ambush (Co. Tipperary.) The action was unauthorized by Irish leadership at the time, but shortly after all British armed forces and policemen were deemed legitimate targets.

Dan Breen Wanted Poster IRA

In his memoir, My Fight for Irish Freedom Breen outlines what happened at the ambush:

‘Hands up!’ The cry came from our men who spoke as if with one voice. ‘Hands up!’ In answer to our challenge they raised their rifles, and with military precision held them at the ready. They were Irishmen, too, and would die rather than surrender. We renewed the demand for surrender. We would have preferred to avoid bloodshed; but they were inflexible. Further appeal was useless. It was a matter of our lives or theirs. We took aim. The two policemen fell, mortally wounded.”

The British government offered a reward £1,oo0 for Breen and later raised it to  £1o,o00. Breen writes “Nobody ever tried to earn it with the exception of a few members of the RIC. They failed; many of them never made the second attempt.”

Breen was seriously wounded on a number of occasions during the conflict. Following the Irish Civil War where he fought  on the Anti-Treaty side, he was elected to Dail Eireann in Jan 1927, lost his seat later that year, but went on to represent Tipperary from 1932 through 1965.

READ EXCERPT from My Fight for Irish Freedom is an interesting memoir about the escapades of a man who like many of his compatriots could often be chillingly brutal in a brutal war. The following interview shows the mindset of the IRA during the War of Independence.




1997: Loyalist Leader Billy Wright Murdered in Prison

In custody in the Maze Prison, Loyalist para-military Billy Wright is murdered by three members of the Republican Irish National Liberation Army who managed to smuggle a gun into the prison. The INLA issued a statement justifying their action. “Billy Wright was executed for one reason and one reason only, and that was for directing and waging his campaign of terror against the nationalist people from his prison cell.” Northern Ireland security forces believe Wright was involved in as many as twenty sectarian killings. He was never charged with any of them. Wright’s killers, Christopher McWilliams, John Glennon and John Kennaway were jailed for life but later released under the Good Friday Agreement.

Billy Wright on Left. Loyalist Mural Belfast
Billy Wright on Left. Loyalist Mural Belfast

Wright was known as King Rat. In mural above Swinger is another Loyalist paramilitary Mark Fulton (1961-2002) who allegedly was responsible for a dozen killings. Fulton took command of the Loyalist Volunteer Force following the death of Wright.



NEW                    NEW

Product Details

SHEIFGAB! Staying Sane, Motivated and Productive in Job Search.

An insightful, realistic, yet humorous book on the job search process by Today in Irish History Curator Conor Cunneen

Special accessible price for job seekers on Kindle of $2.99



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


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)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: