Horror of Irish Famine – Hugh Leonard – Belfast Riots

February 12: TODAY in Irish History:

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irish famine image

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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1847: Eyewitness Report on Famine Horror

irish famine image

 Eyewitness report on the famine by James Mahoney in The Illustrated London News:

“I started from Cork, … for Skibbereen and saw little until we came to Clonakilty, where the coach stopped for breakfast; and here, for the first time, the horrors of the poverty became visible, in the vast number of famished poor, who flocked around the coach to beg alms: amongst them was a woman carrying in her arms the corpse of a fine child, and making the most distressing appeal to the passengers for aid to enable her to purchase a coffin and bury her dear little baby. This horrible spectacle induced me to make some inquiry about her, when I learned from the people of the hotel that each day brings dozens of such applicants into the town.

“After leaving Clonakilty, each step that we took westward brought fresh evidence of the truth of the reports of the misery, as we either met a funeral or a coffin at every hundred yards, until we approached the country of the Shepperton Lakes. Here, the distress became more striking, from the decrease of numbers at the funerals, none having more than eight or ten attendants, and many only two or three.”

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1860: Sir Willliam Francis Patrick Napier

Kildare born William Francis Patrick Napier
Kildare born William Francis Patrick Napier

Death of Co Kildare born William Francis Patrick Napier, who rose to the rank of General in the British Army aged seventy-four. He was also a respected historian and wrote a six volume History of the Peninsular War.

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1922: Sectarian Riots in Belfast

Sectarian riots erupt in Belfast over a three day period causing the deaths of at least 30 people. 1922 was an especially violent year in the capital of the new Northern Ireland. An estimated 200 people died in a cycle of violence between February and June. The Belfast Telegraph provides excellent photo library of 1922 riots.

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2009:Hugh Leonard 1926-1909

Death of Irish playwright Hugh Leonard.

Hugh Leonard 1926-2009

The famous Abbey Theatre turned down an early play of his under his real name of John Byrne, featuring a character named Hughie Leonard.  As a joke or otherwise his next play, “The Big Birthday,”  was submitted by “Hugh Leonard.” Thus was the name born.  Just to confuse things further, he was known to his friends as “Jack.”  His most famous plays are Da and A Life.

Leonard was a fine raconteur but also a notoriously prickly character who took easy offense. Some of his own biting wit ranks with the best of acerbic Irish authors including labelling theater critic Michael Ross of the Sunday Times as a ” diarrhoeal horse’s backside.”!!

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READ: Hugh Leonard Obituary

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2012: Actor David Kelly 1929-2012

Death of the very popular Irish actor David Kelly, who played everything from Beckett to Shakespeare but is best known for his roles in light comedy works.

David Kelly with Johnny Depp in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Source: Warner Brothers
David Kelly with Johnny Depp in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Source: Warner Brothers

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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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