Archive for ‘Famous Irish People’

January 7,

The Saddest Day in Irish History?

January 7: TODAY in Irish History:

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De Valera

Former allies: Civil War foes, Michael Collins and Eamonn De Valera

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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1922: Dail Approves Treaty – Civil War Looms

January 7th 1922 is possibly the saddest day in Irish history when a vote on the Treaty unfortunately set the scene for the Irish Civil War.

Thirty-two days after Michael Collins and Arthur Griffith sign the treaty in London  granting Ireland legislative and financial independence for the first time since 1800, the divided Dail votes on the Treaty: sixty-four for approval and fifty-seven against.

De Valera and his supporters’ refusal to accept the democratic vote of the Dail meant civil war was inevitable.

The debate took a huge emotional toll on the participants. The official Dail record states that at the end of the debate, when De Valera knew he had lost the vote:

“PRESIDENT DE VALERA: I would like my last word here to be this: we have had a glorious record for four years; it has been four years of magnificent discipline in our nation. The world is looking at us now——

(The President here breaks down).”

Civil war was now just months away between men who fought side by side during the War of Independence.
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First Dail Eireann – Happier Times

first dail eireann
Front Row: From Left to Right: Second Left Michael Collins (pro-Treaty), Cathal Brugha (anti), Arthur Griffith (pro) Eamonn De Valera (anti)

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The vote followed a vitriolic debate were each side accused the other of bad faith. Michael Collins—who when he signed the Treaty wrote “I have signed my death warrant—was a significant target for personal attacks from anti-Treaty members of the House.

Pro-Treatyite Cathal Brugha commented: “While the war was in progress I could not praise too highly the work done by the Head Quarters’ Staff. The Chief of Staff and each of the leaders of the subsections—the members of the Head Quarters’ Staff—were the best men we could get for the positions; each of them carried out efficiently, so far as I know, the work that was entrusted to him they worked conscientiously and patriotically for Ireland without seeking any notoriety, with one exception; whether he is responsible or not for the notoriety I am not going to say (cries of “Shame” and “Get on with the Treaty”). There is little more for me to say. One member was specially selected by the Press and the people to put him into a position which he never held; he was made a romantic figure, a mystical character such as this person certainly is not; the gentleman I refer to is Mr. Michael Collins.”

The Treaty vote may well have signaled the saddest day in Irish History.

READ: The Treaty Debate January 7th 1922

A brief timeline:

1916: Easter Rising. Michael Collins, Eamonn De Valera, Cathal Brugha take part in the Rising.

1918: Sinn Fein wins massive majority (73 seats) in General Election and refuses to take its seats in UK Parliament

1919: January 21: Sinn members meet in Dublin proclaiming the first Dail and declaring an Irish Republic (not recognized by Britain)

On the same day in 1919 in a totally unconnected incident, two Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) are ambushed and killed at Soloheadbeg, Co. Tipperary by IRA men including Dan Breen and Sean Treacy. The unauthorized attack is now accepted as the first incident in the brutal War of Independence which would eventually force Britain to the negotiating table.

1921: December 6thThe Anglo-Irish Treaty is signed in London. The following debate in Dail Eireann primarily centered on whether Collins, Griffith and company had the authority to sign an agreement on behalf of the Irish people.

1922: Dail Eireann votes to ratify the treaty. De Valera and anti-Treaty members refuse to accept the vote. Senior members of the IRA who had fought so hard to oust Britain from Ireland were now on different sides. The pro-Treaty side included Richard Mulcahy, Eoin O’Duffy, Michael Collins, Emmet Dalton, Piaras Bealsai. The  anti- Treaty side included Rory O’Connor,  Liam Mellows,  Cathal Brugha,  Austen Stack, Countess Markievicz and President of the Dail Eamonn De Valera.

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Happier Times: Kevin O’Higgins Wedding

Kevin O'Higgins and best man Rory O'Connor Wedding
De Valera, Kevin O’Higgins and Best Man Rory O’Connor. O’Higgins would approve  the execution of his friend O’Connor during the Civil War

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June 28th: Opening act of what would prove to be a vicious civil war when Irish government forces bombard the Four Courts in Dublin which anti-Treaty forces had taken by force.

Four Courts Bombardment

August 22ndMichael Collins killed in Cork by anti-Treaty forces.

December 6th: Irish Free State is formally established consisting of the whole Ireland of Ireland

December 7th: Six counties of Northern Ireland opts out of the Irish Free State and becomes a separate political entity with allegiance to England.

1923: Late May: Civil War ends with complete victory for Irish government forces. Atrocities had been carried out by both sides.

1926: Eamonn De Valera founds Fianna Fail

1927: Fianna Fail wins 44 seats in the general election and De Valera now enters Dail Eireann, prepared to take an Oath of Allegiance that he railed against during the Treaty debate now describing it merely as an “empty political formula.” Had he taken that view on January 7th 1922, it is quite likely there would have been no Civil War.

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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

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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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September 7,

Author Christy Brown – Speechwriter Peggy Noonan – The Republic of Ireland

September 7: TODAY in Irish History:

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Christy Brown at today in Irish History

Christy Brown 1932-1981

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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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

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1533: Elizabeth I – Queen of England and Ireland

Elizabeth I is born to Henry VIII and second wife Anne Boleyn. She would become Queen of England and Ireland from 1558-1603.

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queen elizabeth I at today in Irish History
Elizabeth – Regent of England and Ireland

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Elizabeth’s relationship with Ireland was a pretty rocky one as Wikipedia suggests:

“Although Ireland was one of her two kingdoms, Elizabeth faced a hostile—and in places virtually autonomous—Irish population that adhered to Catholicism and was willing to defy her authority and plot with her enemies. Her policy there was to grant land to her courtiers and prevent the rebels from giving Spain a base from which to attack England. In the course of a series of uprisings, Crown forces pursued scorched-earth tactics, burning the land and slaughtering man, woman and child. During a revolt in Munster led by Gerald FitzGerald, Earl of Desmond, in 1582, an estimated 30,000 Irish people starved to death. The poet and colonist Edmund Spenser wrote that the victims “were brought to such wretchedness as that any stony heart would have rued the same”. Elizabeth advised her commanders that the Irish, “that rude and barbarous nation”, be well treated; but she showed no remorse when force and bloodshed were deemed necessary.

Between 1594 and 1603, Elizabeth faced her most severe test in Ireland during the Nine Years’ War, a revolt that took place at the height of hostilities with Spain, who backed the rebel leader, Hugh O’Neill, Earl of Tyrone. In spring 1599, Elizabeth sent Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, to put the revolt down. To her frustration, he made little progress and returned to England in defiance of her orders. He was replaced by Charles Blount, Lord Mountjoy, who took three years to defeat the rebels. O’Neill finally surrendered in 1603, a few days after Elizabeth’s death. Soon afterwards, a peace treaty was signed between England and Spain.”

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1948: The Republic of Ireland

Taoiseach John A. Costello announces that the Irish Free State will become a republic with and break all dominion ties with Great Britain. The Republic of Ireland Act was signed into law December 21 1948 and came into effect April 1949.

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John Costello taoiseach at today in Irish history
Taoiseach John A Costello

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The Republic of Ireland Act, 1948
An Act to repeal the Executive Authority (External Relations) Act, 1936, to declare that the description of the State shall be the Republic of Ireland, and to enable the President to exercise the executive power or any executive function of the state in or in connection with its external relations. (21 December 1948)
Be it enacted by the Oireachtas as follows:—
1.—The Executive Authority (External Relations) Act, 1936 (No. 58 of 1936), is hereby repealed.
2.—It is hereby declared that the description of the State shall be the Republic of Ireland.
3.—The President, on the authority and on the advice of the Government, may exercise the executive power or any executive function of the State in or in connection with its external relations.
4.—This Act shall come into operation on such day as the Government may by order appoint.
5.—This Act may be cited as The Republic of Ireland Act, 1948.

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1950: Peggy Noonan, Reagan’s Speechwriter

Ronald Reagan speech writer and conservative columnist Peggy Noonan is born in New York, a second generation American.

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reagan speechwriter peggy noonan
Reagan speech writer Peggy Noonan

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As might be expected from a very competent wordsmith, Noon writes evocatively in the Wall Street Journal of her grandfather who emigrated in the early 20th century.

“I don’t know that when my grandfather Patrick Byrne and his sisters, Etta and Mary Jane, who had lived on a hardscrabble little farm in Donegal, on the west coast of Ireland, felt about America when they got here. I don’t know if they were “loyal to America.” I think they were loyal to their decision to come to America. In for a penny, in for a pound. They had made their decision. Now they had to prove to themselves it was the right one. I remember asking Etta what she’d heard about America before she got here. She said, “The streets were paved with gold.” All the immigrants of the late 19th and early 20th century used that phrase.

When I was in college in the 1970s, I got a semester abroad my junior year, and I took a boat from England to Ireland and made my way back to Donegal. This was approximately 55 years after my grandfather and his sisters had left. There I met an old man who’d been my grandfather’s boyhood friend. He lived by himself in a shack on a hill and was grateful the cousins I’d found had sent me to him. He told me he’d been there the day my grandfather, then a young man, left. He said the lorry came down the lane and stopped for my grandfather, and that his father said goodbye. He said, “Go now, and never come back to hungry Ireland again.”

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Ronald Reagan at Today in Irish History

The “Great Communicator” received a lot of good copy from Peggy Noonan.

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Above Image of Ronald Reagan by Mark Anderson in For the Love of Being Irish by Conor Cunneen. To Purchase author signed copy of For the Love of Being Irish.

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Noonan is best known for scripting Ronald Reagan’s powerful speech on The Boys of Pointe du Hoc which he delivered on the 40th anniversary of D Day. It was a masterful piece of writing, delivered by a masterful communicator.

“The Rangers looked up and saw the enemy soldiers at the edge of the cliffs, shooting down at them with machine guns and throwing grenades. And the American Rangers began to climb. They shot rope ladders over the face of these cliffs and began to pull themselves up. When one Ranger fell, another would take his place. When one rope was cut, a Ranger would grab another and begin his climb again. They climbed, shot back, and held their footing. Soon, one by one, the Rangers pulled themselves over the top, and in seizing the firm land at the top of these cliffs, they began to seize back the continent of Europe. Two hundred and twenty-five came here. After two days of fighting, only ninety could still bear arms.”

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READ: Full speech of The Boys of Pointe du Hoc

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Noonan was also the lead writer for Reagan’s emotional Challenger address.  The final lines of that address when Reagan said they “slipped the surly bonds of earth …. to touch the face of God” are from a poem by Irish American airman and poet John Gillespie Magee who was killed in 1941 while flying with the Royal Canadian Airforce.

For more on Ronald Reagan Irish Roots

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1982: Christy Brown

 Death of author and artist Christy Brown.

Christy Brown at today in Irish History
Christy Brown 1932-1981

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Brown is referenced by Conor Cunneen in For the Love of Being Irish.

“The film My Left Foot: The Story of Christy Brown encapsulates all that makes Irish acting, theater, writing and film making so compelling. Christy Brown was born into a poor, working class family in 1932 Dublin with severe cerebral palsy.
Encouraged by a loving mother, the incapacitated child learned to communicate through writing and painting with his left foot (and nearly unintelligible speech laced with numerous profanities!)
Christy developed a sufficient skill set to write his autobiography My Left Foot, published in 1954. This funny, poignant work was brought to the screen by Director Jim Sheridan, receiving Oscar nominations for Best Director and Best Screenplay. AND Dublin’s Brenda Fricker (Best Supporting Actress)  AND Daniel Day-Lewis (Best Actor) as Christy Brown took home the gold statuette. Daniel is son of Irish born Poet Laureate Cecil Day-Lewis.”

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shamrockshamrockshamrockshamrockshamrockshamrockshamrockshamrock

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WATCH: A Short History of Ireland

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)