Kilkenny VC Winner – Fenian Invasion of Canada – James Craig, Northern Ireland PM – Whiddy Ireland Disaster

January 8: TODAY in Irish History:

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Kilkenny born John Barry VC

Private John Barry VC 1873-1901

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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 1871: Northern Ireland’s First Prime Minister

James Craig, 1st Viscount Craigavon,the first Prime Minister of Northern Ireland is born in Belfast.

James Craig, First Prime Minister Northern Ireland
James Craig

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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 famously said “I have always said that I am an Orangeman first and a politician and a member of this parliament afterwards…All I boast is that we have 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. In 1929, Northern Ireland abandoned proportional representation. Given the aggressively Gerrymandered constituencies in the North, this ensured that Protestants had a majority in almost every local government area even where Catholics were in the majority.

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1878: Death of Fenian General John O’Neill

John O'Neill 1834-1878
John O’Neill 1834-1878

John O’Neill was born in Clontibret, Co Monaghan, Ireland in 1834 and emigrated to the United States at age fourteen. He fought with the Union Army during the civil war where he attained the rank of Captain.  He then became involved with the Fenian Brotherhood and was involved in the abortive Fenian raids (half baked invasion) on Canada in 1866.

Following a short prison term for his involvement in another Fenian incursion into Canada in 1871 raid, O’Neill became a land speculator and settled in Nebraska where he founded the town of O’Neill. 

READ: Bio of John O’Neill 

READ: John O’Neill at Nebraska History

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1901: Kilkenny-born John Barry VC

Kilkenny born John Barry VC
Private John Barry VC 1873-1901

Death of Kilkenny born Private John Barry during a Boer War action for which he was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross. The London Gazette reported on Barry’s bravery

“During the night attack on the 7th and 8th January, 1901, on Monument Hill, Private Barry, although surrounded and threatened by the Boers at the time, smashed the breach of the Maxim gun, thus rendering: it useless to its captors, and it was in doing this splendid act for his country that he met his death.”

DID YOU KNOW: Kilkenny is home to FIVE Victoria Cross winners?

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1922: Intermittent sectarian violence continues in Belfast. Two Catholics are killed in separate incidents on this day, but both sides (Catholic and Protestant) are involved in ongoing vicious and fatal attacks.

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1979: The Whiddy Island Disaster – Belelgeuse Explosion
Fifty people are killed when the oil tanker Betelgeuse explodes at the oil terminal Whiddy Island while discharging oil

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2009: The Celtic Tiger suffers one of many blows as Dell announces it is cutting 1,900 jobs at its manufacturing plant in Limerick. Dell opened its first manufacturing plant in Ireland eighteen years previously.

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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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