Posts tagged ‘irish famine reports’

February 12,

200 die in Belfast Sectarian Riots. Famine Horror.

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1847: 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.”

1860: Co Kildare born William Francis Patrick Napier, who rose to the rank of General in the British Army dies aged seventy-four. He was also a  respected historian and wrote a six volume History of the Peninsular War.

1922: 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.

2009: Death of Irish playwright Hugh Leonard. 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.

Hugh Leonard 1926-2009

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Today in Irish History is edited by Chicago based business keynote speaker, author, award winning humorist and history buff Conor Cunneen – IrishmanSpeaks. As a Chicago based professional speaker, this Irishman’s client base ranges from Harley-Davidson to Helsinki, from Memphis to Madrid as he Energizes, Educates and Entertains his audience to grow their business, people, teamwork and productivity.

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