August 3: 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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1823: Meagher of the Sword
One of the most iconic figures in nineteenth century Irish history, Thomas Francis Meagher (Meagher of the sword) is born in Waterford – Fenian, Irish Nationalist, leader of the Young Irelanders in the Rebellion of 1848. Sentenced to death for sedition (commuted) Meagher was transported to Australia following the 1848 rebellion but escaped to America in 1852. When the Civil War started, he was instrumental in forming the Irish Brigade, which fought so valiantly in numerous conflicts including Chancellorsville, Fair Oaks and Fredericksburg. Meagher was a brave leader, loved by his men even though he often appeared quite callous in driving them forward to certain death. A sense of indiscipline (some might suggest alcohol) saw him ultimately fall foul of the not exactly abstemious Ulysses S. Grant. When the war ended, he was appointed Acting Governor of the (then) Territory of Nevada.
Meagher is credited with the origination of the Irish flag.
Following a visit to Paris, “the gay and gallant land of the tricolor” he presented a flag to attendees. “I present it to my native land, and I trust that the old country will not refuse this symbol of a new life from one of her youngest children. I need not explain its meaning. The quick and passionate intellect of the generation now springing into arm 3 will catch it at a glance. The white in the centre signifies a lasting truce between the Orange and the Green, and I trust that beneath its folds the hands of the Irish Protestant and the Irish Catho lic may be clasped in generous and heroic brotherhood.”
1916: Roger Casement Execution
Roger Casement is executed for “High Treason.” The Dublin born Casement was seen as a traitor by the British establishment for his efforts to import arms from WWI opponents Germany for the 1916 Rising. Captured after disembarking from a German submarine at Banna Strand, Co. Kerry, he was sentenced to death June 29, 1916. Casement’s crimes were seen as being particularly egregious as he had worked for many years in the British Diplomatic Service and had been conferred a Knight This title was stripped from him before his execution.
Former UK Chancellor Norman Lamont choose Casement’s speech from the dock as his “greatest speech of all time.” In it, Casement did not deny his activities but he did question England’s right to try him.
“This charge of high treason involves a moral responsibility, as the very terms of the indictment against myself recite, inasmuch as I committed the acts I am charged with to the “evil example of others in like case”. What was the evil example I set to others in the like case, and who were these others? The “evil example” charged is that I asserted the right of my own country and the “others” I appealed to, to aid my endeavour, were my own countrymen. The example was given, not to Englishmen, but to Irishmen, and the “like case” can never arise in England, but only in Ireland. To Englishmen I set no evil example, for I made no appeal to them. I asked no Englishman to help me. I asked Irishmen to fight for their rights. The “evil example” was only to other Irishmen, who might come after me, and in “like case” seek to do as I did. How, then, since neither my example, nor my appeal was addressed to Englishmen, can I be rightfully tried by them?”
WATCH: A Short History of Ireland
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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.
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