Posts tagged ‘irish writers’

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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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

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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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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

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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)

   

November 12,

Ellis Island Closes – James Curley Boston’s Irish Mayor – Wolfe Tone – John McGahern

November 12: TODAY in Irish History:

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Irish Family at Ellis Island

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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NEW                    NEW

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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1798: Wolfe Tone Execution Day

Due to be executed today, Irish nationalist Wolfe Tone attempts suicide by cutting his throat. Critically wounded he dies 7 days later on November 19th.

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Wolfe Tone
Wolfe Tone 1763-1798

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Tone was one of the founders of the United Irishmen. In efforts to free Ireland from English rule, he had encouraged a French invasion of Ireland which due to bad planning and bad luck was never successful. In October 1798, French forces consisting of eight frigates were intercepted by British ships off Buncrana, Co. Donegal.  Retreating French ships offered Tone escape but he allegedly said “Shall it be said that I fled, whilst the French were fighting the battles of my country?” He was captured on the ship Hoche.

Two years previously,  Wolfe Tone had attempted to land at Bantry Bay, Co. Cork on another French “invasion.” High winds and storms would mean the planned landing would be aborted some days later. He w wrote in his journal:

“We are now, nine o’clock, at the rendezvous appointed; stood in for the coast till twelve, when we were near enough to toss a biscuit ashore; at twelve tacked and stood out again, so now we have begun our cruise of five days in all its forms, and shall, in obedience to the letter of our instructions, ruin the expedition, and destroy the remnant of the French navy, with a precision and punctuality which will be truly edifying.”

In his final speech from the dock, Tone said “From my earliest youth I have regarded the connection between Great Britain and Ireland as the curse of the Irish nation, and felt convinced that, whilst it lasted, this country could never be free nor happy. My mind has been confirmed in this opinion by the experience of every succeeding year, and the conclusions which I have drawn from every fact before my eyes.”

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READ: Wolfe Tone Speech from the Dock

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READShort History of Wolfe Tone

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1847: Letter published in the Cork Examiner on The Famine

SIR– On Friday last, the day for distributing a scanty ration, a large body of those who have been looked upon as “able-bodied,” but who are now in reality infirm from hunger, assembled around the issue-shop, in the vain hope that a few “crumbs” might remain for them. Their hope was vain. Even some of those who were legally entitled to relief, did not get it; owing to the parsimonious economy of the Board of Poor-law Guardians in not passing the Relieving Officer’s estimate for the current fortnight.

On the relieving officer announcing to them that he had no more meat for the present, no one can describe their consternation. They were struck dumb for a moment. Soon after they burst forth into a cry which continued for several minutes; when, as if by common instinct, they proceeded to the residence of their parish priest, the Rev. Mr. Tuomy. There again theyrenewed their wailings with redoubled earnestness. These unusual sounds at such a late hour in the night (between 7 and 8 o’clock), at first startled the rev. gentleman. But on a moment’s reflection he judged the cause and proceeded forthwith to the door. There he saw numbers of his parishioners of all ages assembled, with the tears rolling down their emaciated cheeks, asking for bread. He could not be otherwise than deeply affected, and he divided amongst them his last shilling.

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1954: Ellis Island closes.

From 1892 to 1954, an estimated two million Irish immigrants entered the United States through the portal of Ellis Island, a small island in New York Harbor. The first official immigrant was 15 year old Annie Moore, accompanied by her two brothers from County Cork.

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Irish Family at Ellis Island
Irish Family Ellis Island (at EllisIsland.org)

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Ellis Island
Ellis Island

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1934: Author John McGahern

Birth of Irish author John McGahern in County Leitrim

john-mcgahern Irish author
john-mcgahern 1934-2006

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McGahern may not be as well known as other Irish authors, the Guardian newspaper suggested in his obituary that McGahern was arguably the most important Irish novelist since Samuel Beckett. His most famous novel The Dark was banned for a period of time by Irish censorship authorities.

Other  novels y McGahern include: The Barracks, The Leavetaking, The Pornographer, Amongst Women, That They May Face the Rising Sun.

His short stories include Nightlines, GettingThrough, High Ground

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Read: John McGahern

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1958: James Michael Curley

Death of four time Boston Mayor James M Curley, Congressman and one term Governor of Massachusetts.

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James Michael Curley
James Michael Curley1874-1958

Curley’s father emigrated from Ireland at age of fourteen. Curley first won the mayoralty in 1914, succeeding his arch-rival John “Honey Fitz” Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald was the maternal grandfather of John F Kennedy. Born in 1874 to an Irish immigrant and petty criminal father, Curley was no saint himself. Over a lengthy career, he served two jail terms, the latter being for corruption in 1947 while in his final term as mayor. Curley spent five months in jail before his sentence was controversially commuted by President Truman, who finally pardoned him in 1950. On his release from prison, Curley returned to the mayoral role until 1950.

At TrumanLibrary.org an oral history interview by Robert Fuchs with Federal Agent Harold G. Washington provides a fascinating glimpse into the shenanigans of Curley.

ROBINSON: He (Jim Curley) had this Engineer’s Group. Anybody that came down from Jim’s bailiwick would just go over to the Engineer’s Group, and they’d redesign your project or do a lot of shuffling of papers, and charge you a fee for it; and then they’d present it to the War Department and you’d get your contract.

FUCHS: What was the Engineer’s Group?

ROBINSON: It was a shakedown. Do you want it in plain, unvarnished language, that’s all it was.

FUCHS: Where were they headquartered?

ROBINSON: Back of the Mayflower Hotel.

FUCHS: Who were they supposed to be?

ROBINSON: Oh, they had a bunch of high-sounding names, but it was basically Jim Curley, and he was convicted of it. Did time in Danbury Reformatory, or prison, there at Danbury, and I don’t think he was out when they re-elected him Mayor,

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As his consistent election victories suggest, Curley was a master politician and media player who was exceptionally popular with his constituents. As the following graphic shows, he liked to convey a “Man of the People” image.

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James m curley election poster

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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)