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April 11,

JFK Refuses Irish Citizenship. Titanic at Queenstown. GAA Ban Revoked on this day in Irish History

April 11: TODAY in Irish History (by IrishmanSpeaks) Twitter Icon

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1912: The Titanic at Queenstown (now Cobh), Cork. The doomed ship actually anchored two miles off shore at Roches Point as the port could not accomodate a ship of that size. 123 mainly 3rd class passengers who had paid 15, 10 shillings for a one way trip embarked. 8 people who had boared at either Southampton or Cherbourg disembarked.  Only 48 of the Queenstown passengers would survive. Those who would die include 18 year old Mary Delia Burns from Sligo, 20 year old Katherine Buckley from Cork. One of the passengers who disembarked was Frank Brown, then training for Jesuit priesthood. Brown took the only photographs of the Titanic’s final stop that are known to survive. Brown had been gifted a ticket for the Southampton- Queenstown part of Titanic’s fateful voyage.

Father Brown

Father Frank Brown Titanic photographer

Frank Brown took the last published photograph of Titanic Capt Edward Smith. Following his ordination, he became a decorated chaplain with the Irish Guards during World War I.

Brown continued his passion for photography through his life and his tenure as Superior of St Xavier’s church. Frank Brown died in 1960.

Titanic Passengers wait at Queenstown, Cork

Titanic Passengers wait at Queenstown, Cork

1912: Liberal Prime Minister Herbert Asquith introduces Third Home Rule Bill which would provide self-government for Ireland, an apparent triumph for Nationalist leader John Redmond. The bill would never take effect due to Ulster Loyalist intransigence, the onset of World War I and the 1916 Easter Rising.

Nationalist Leader John Redmond

1963: JFK aide McGeorge Bundy advises Thomas J. Kiernan, Ireland’s Ambassador to the U.S. that the President would not be able to accept honorary Irish citizenship on his then putative visit to Ireland (which would occur June 1963). Kiernan recounts Kennedy’s comments about Irish citizenship during a conversation when presenting shamrock to the President for St. Patrick’s day.  “You know, the thing has to go through—there are all kinds of procedures and it probably will need legislation. The Senate would have to approve. In any case, he said, “It’s gone to my brother [Robert F. Kennedy]. He’s the main fellow and he may turn me down. I’d love it, but we’ll see what he says.” (source: JFK library)

JFK and Ambassador Kiernan

JFK and Ambassador Kiernan

1971: The GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association) finally revokes its infamous Rule 27, commonly known as “The Ban.”

The rule banned all GAA members from playing or watching in non-Gaelic games. Non-Gaelic included rugby, soccer, hockey and cricket. GAA members who broke Rule 27 were expelled from the GAA. This famously included Irish President and GAA-Patron Dr. Douglas Hyde who attended an international soccer match in 1938 prompting the Irish Times to write “The notion that the game by which a round ball is kicked only, and not punched as well as kicked, is detrimental to the national culture, is of course the most utterly childish form of humbug”.

The ludicrous rule ensured that Irish soccer international Liam Brady was expelled from his secondary school, St Aidan’s Christian Brothers school for captaining Ireland in an under 15 soccer international. Irish rugby international Moss Keane, played GAA under an assumed name in his youth to avoid being expelled while Waterford player Tom Cheasty was suspended for six months in 1963 for attending a dance organized by a soccer club.

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This history is written by Irish author, business keynote speaker and award winning humoristIrishmanSpeaks – 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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