Kevin Barry – Civil War Executions – JFK and Reagan Inaugurations at Today in Irish History

January 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.

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WATCH: A Short History of Ireland

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 1902: Kevin Barry is born in Dublin. Just eighteen years later, he would become the first Irish rebel to be executed by British authorities in the 1919-1921 War of Independence.

Kevin Barry in rugby jersey
Kevin Barry in rugby jersey

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Undoubtedly a brave young man, he is often seen through heroic rose tinted glasses as for instance in this Wikipedia reference. “On the morning of 20 September 1920, Kevin Barry went to Mass, and received Holy Communion; he then joined a party of IRA volunteers on Bolton Street in Dublin. Their orders were to ambush a British army truck as it picked up a delivery of bread from the bakery, and capture their weapons. The ambush was scheduled for 11:00 A.M., which gave him enough time to take part in the operation and return to class in time for an examination he had at 2:00 P.M.”

Barry is also commemorated in an eponymously titled song that every Irish school boy had drilled into him by the Christian Brothers. The song has been covered by numerous Irish bands including Wolfe Tones and the Dubliners.

This version of Kevin Barry by Leonard Cohen lacks the passion of an Irish band, but in its own way is a soulful rendition by a man who can sing about pain and despair as well as any Irishman.

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Leonard Cohen sings Kevin Barry

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READ: Detailed Profile of Kevin Barry

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1921: Glenwood Ambush

Over thirty men of the East Clare Brigade of the IRA ambush an RIC patrol at Glenwood near Sixmilebridge, Co. Clare killing six policemen. The well organized rebels suffering zero casualties and capturing significant amount of guns and ammunition. Numerous houses in the general area were burned by the RIC that evening in reprisal for the attack. In County Cork, the IRA executes two “informers.”

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READ: Glenwood Ambush Commemoration

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192311 Anti-Treaty prisoners are executed.

In what was now becoming a brutal civil war between pro and anti-Treaty parties, the pro-treaty government had instituted in October 1921 an aggresive policy of execution of Republican prisoners or “Irregulars.” Here, you can read the final letter from Patrick Hennessy on the eve of his execution. The Government’s view was that anti-Treaty irregulars were rebels fighting against a legitimate Irish authority, elected by the people. 77 official executions occured, 34 in January. Most of the people shot would have fought on the same side as their executioners in the War of Independence against Britain.

Patrick Hennessy IRA volunteer
Patrick Hennessy IRA volunteer

The brutal reaction of the Irish government did bring a swift response with anti-treaty forces laying down their arms in April, but the bitterness of the civil war permeated Irish politics and society for much of the twentieth century.

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1961JFK is inaugurated as 35th President of the United States.

JFK in For the Love of Being Irish

JFK in For the Love of Being Irish

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In For the Love of Being Irish, author Conor Cunneen writes of Kennedy and Reagan:

“The two most “Irish” of Presidents were Jack Kennedy and Ronald Reagan. Kennedy was born into somewhat ill-gotten wealth generated by the Catholic, but not very saintly Joe Kennedy while Reagan was born in relatively poor circumstances to an alcoholic father and caring mother. Kennedy was a charmer with strong family relationships, although not always bound by marriage vows. Reagan was a great raconteur, often of ethnic, profane stories that he liked to share with other Irish American politicians including Daniel Patrick  Moynihan. Paradoxically, the “Great Communicator” Reagan who exuded warmth and care to the American people had poor relationships with family members.
Kennedy visited Ireland immediately after his “Ich Bin Ein Berliner” speech at the Berlin Wall. Although Reagan has never been as embraced as warmly by the Irish, he received rapturous reception when he visited his ancestral home at Ballyporeen, Co. Tipperary in 1984.”

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1981: Ronald Reagan is sworn in as 40th President of the United States.

Ronald Reagan in For the Love of Being Irish

Ronald Reagan in For the Love of Being Irish

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Product Details

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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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