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"Convict of Clonmel"
Prehistoric Ireland. Little remains of Irish dwellings that predates the sixth century a.d. The abundance of wood and the difficulty of working stone with primitive tools undoubtedly accounts in part for this. In addition, the primitive farming practice of depleting the fields and then moving on to new ones made the laborious erection of a permanent stone dwelling unfeasible. Moreover, livestock constituted a major part of the wealth of the time, and the pasturing of flocks required considerable mobility, since the animals lived as foragers and were not, for the most part, fed grain from the laboriously worked fields. Furthermore, there were at that time no towns or even villages where artefacts might accumulate over a considerable period of time. At the most there were quasi-permanent encampments such as the royal sites of Cruachan and Emain Macha.
Burial sites, however, are another matter. Court graves and passage graves can be found dating from as early 3,500 years b.c. (Harbison 5-ff). A court grave (or court tomb) was divided into two basic parts: a long chamber which contained smaller compartments in which remains were deposited, and a large open-space or court at the entrance to the chamber. The court was semi-circular and marked off by large standing stones. The chamber was roofed by a stone mound which tapered toward the back. Presumably the open court was used for rituals associated with burial.
Variations on these burial sites are portal tombs or dolmens and wedge tombs. Portal tombs consisted of three or more standing stones capped typically by a large monolith and, with the exception of the portal, buried under an earthen mound. Erosion over the millenia--these structures were built between 4,000 and 5,000 years ago--has laid the stone skeleton bare, and the resulting structure gave rise to the term dolmen or stone table. These constructions were once thought to be the altars of the ancient Druids. Wedge tombs were similarly constructed but distinguished by their wedge-shaped burial chamber. These tombs were constructed between 3,500 and 4,000 years ago.
Passage graves (or passage tombs) consist of a burial chamber communicating with the outside by a passage of considerable length. Typically the passage is walled with large standing stones and roofed by large flat stones. The burial chamber may likewise be walled by standing stones but may be roofed with large flat stones if the span is not wide or, in the case of wide spans may have a corbeled roof. In the case of large tombs, the burial chamber may have several side chambers. Both burial chamber and passage are contained within an earthen mound, with the burial chamber near the center of the mound. These mounds may be quite large. The famous passage grave at Newgrange is contained within an oval mound with a diameter of around 300 feet. Along with Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth, all located in the Boyne Valley near Drogheda, are perhaps the best known. Newgrange has been determined to be around 5100 years old (3100 b.c.) (Harbison 7). Other unexcavated mounds, mostly in the West, may also contain passage graves. Perhaps the best known of these is the massive one located on the top of Knocknarea, a mountain a few miles west of Sligo Town, which legend says contains the body of Queen Medb. This mound, like the passage graves of Newgrange, Knowth, and Dowth, is associated with the ruins of a number of smaller passage graves.
Early Christian Ireland. As has been noted elsewhere, there is little archaeological evidence, aside from graves and some grave goods concerning prehistoric Ireland. However, on the basis of what we have learned about Ireland in the early Christian period--and assuming that known practices have antecedents in that time about which we know little--we can make some guesses about the late pre-historic period.
One practice which spans the late pre-historic period and the early-Christian period is writing in ogham. The introduction of ogham is, in fact, one of the events which marks the transition of Ireland from a pre-historical period to an historical one. Ogham is a uniquely Irish form of writing, and the earliest record of it is around 300a.d., several hundred years before the large-scale introduction of Christianity into Ireland. Named after Ogmios, the Celtic god of writing, ogham's basic characters equate with (and probably are based upon) the Roman alphabet. The actual forms of the letters and their relationships to one another suggest that Ogham may have evolved from the use of a tally stick, that is a notched stick on which crude records of quantities of, for example, grain or cattle could be kept or a rudimentary calendar inscribed. Once the notion that certain notches or groups of notches could stand for phonemes, it would be a short step to using a tally stick as a form of rudimentary letter. In any case, it is ill-suited for conveying any but the briefest of messages. Carved on the corners of standing stones, which is the form in which it has survived to the present, ogham is read from the bottom up, with the angle of the corner being the baseline. If the message is too long to fit on one side, then it is continued down the opposite edge. These inscriptions are typically ceremonial or monumental in nature and are not used for ordinary communication. Over three hundred ogham stones have been found in Ireland, mainly in the south and the southwest.
The introduction of Christianity into Ireland resulted as well in the introduction of the Roman alphabet in which the Irish language was recorded by monks, and this alphabet, with its greater flexibility, soon replaced ogham.
The remains of thousands of ring forts or raths can still be found in Ireland, although in recent years many have been damaged or destroyed for agricultural or commercial reasons. A ring fort was a small settlement of some sort surrounded by one or more earthen embankments in a roughly circular shape. The interior diameter can range from 50 to over 200 feet. The interior is sometimes sited on a natural or artificial mound. There may also be a souterrain, a subterranean room used probably for storage. The term "fort" is somewhat misleading since most of them were probably farmsteads for which the embankments (probably supplemented by wooden palisades) served as enclosures for domestic animals and protection against wild predators as well as a deterrent to attack from human beings. Some sites (for example, Tara) were associated with royalty and/or had ceremonial purposes.
Associated buildings were wooden or wattle and daub and for the most part have not survived. Some of these constructions may possibly date from the Iron Age, although few can be identified as having been constructed before the fifth century a.d. Nevertheless, on the premise that they didn't spring into being unparented, one must conclude that some more ephemeral form, perhaps a simple wooden palisade, must have been in existence at an earlier time. Since the time of their appearance follows the introduction of improved agricultural methods , which tended to cause farmers to stay and improve land rather than exhausting it and moving on, there may have been as well a corresponding tendency to develop more elaborate sites for the placement of buildings and animals.
Stone-walled ring forts or cashels are essentially the same as Raths except that they are surrounded by drystone walls rather than earthen embankments. There are even a few sites on which both techniques are used. Cashels are more frequently found in the west of Ireland where stone is more easily acquired and excavation in the stony earth is correspondingly more difficult.
Hill forts are very similar to ring forts, differing in that they are sited on hills and use the natural slope of the hill as an addition to the embankment.
Promontory forts, like hill forts, incorporate the local topography into their construction. Located on promontories with sheer sides, these sites require a wall or walls only on the side on which approach is possible. Unlike ring forts and crannogs, there is considerable evidence that many of these were constructed during the Iron Age and were then occupied (or re-occupied) during the Medieval Period.
Crannogs (from crann = tree) are lake or marsh dwellings. They may be located wholly or in part on natural islands, but they were frequently constructed on artificial islands built up of brushwood, clay, timbers, and stone held in place by pilings. These were often topped by defensive palisades. They ranged in size from 50 to 150 feet in diameter. They are inherently defensive constructions. Since they could be reached only by boat or footbridge, they generally couldn't shelter animals which had to be left on nearby dry land even during attack. Rising waters frequently covered the sites of crannogs, and the resulting waterlogging preserved the remains of buildings. As a result, a clearer picture of the buildings and day-to-day activities of these lake dwellers is available than is the case with those living in ring forts. As in the case of ring forts, there is little convincing evidence that these constructions existed prior to the fifth century a.d.
The earliest Christian buildings (i.e, churches and monastic buildings) were, like the dwellings of the inhabitants, wooden, and have not survived. However, beginning sometime during the eighth century a few stone churches were constructed, and by the eleventh century these became common. Early stone churches were characterized by structurally unnecessary projections (antae) which appear to be imitations of the preceding wooden structures. Later stone churches began to take on Romanesque characteristics, and in the early twelfth century, Cormac's Chapel was constructed as part of the ecclesiastical complex on the Rock of Cashel. This building was fully Romanesque. Beginning sometime during the tenth century, stone round towers were sometimes built in association with churches and monasteries. These towers had multiple functions, places for the ringing of bells, s, places of refuge in times of attack, and places to store valuables.
Food and farming. Archaeological evidence in this matter is meagre before the Christian era, and depends at its earliest stages on the study of plant pollen. Cereal grains--oats, barley, wheat--were an important part of the diet. Sheep, goats, and swine were also raised for food and leather (and in the case of sheep and goats, milk and wool or hair). Cattle, however, were the most important domestic animals, with milk and other dairy products furnishing very important staple foods. Meat from cattle was also important, but the absence of refrigeration made the slaughtering of a large animal a more occasional matter. Hides, too, were an important byproduct. There is little mention of chickens in the earliest legal texts (Edwards 59), and in general the importance of domestic fowl and eggs in the diet of the time is unclear. The potato was unknown in Ireland until it was brought back from South America at a much later time.
It is difficult to determine how much of a role hunting played in the food supply. At higher social levels, hunting was definitely a sport and a test of skill; one can speculate that the hunting of small animals and wildfowl was an important supplement to the diet of the lower classes, but there is little proof of this. Cattle were the measure of wealth in pre-Christian and early-Christian Ireland. The importance of cattle not only economically but also in terms of status is central to the greatest of Irish epics, The Cattle Raid of Cúailnge. Horses and ponies, though not generally raised for food, were raised in large numbers for racing and battle, and for transportation and light hauling. They were not generally used for heavy hauling or plowing because the horse collar was unknown in Ireland until near the end of the first millenium a.d.
Agricultural implements. The first light wooden plough or ard may have appeared in Ireland during the late Bronze age (Edwards 60). This was incapable of doing more than scratching the surface of the soil and required an elaborate process of cross-ploughing to prepare the soil. Sometime during the iron age, the blade of this plough would have been sheathed with iron. Sometime during the early medieval period, a plough with an iron-sheathed blade and coulter was introduced, probably from Roman Britain. The coulter was a narrow, vertically mounted blade that sliced the soil in front of the heavier plough-share and reduced the effort of ploughing. Sometime shortly after the introduction of the coulter plough, a wooden mould-board was added to the top of the plough-share. The mould-board turns the soil as it is cut and makes cross-ploughing unnecessary, resulting in a considerable saving in time and energy.
Besides iron-based hand tools and domestic implements of various sorts (ladles, pins, needles, punches, saws, etc.), a most significant innovation (during the seventh century a.d.) was the introduction of the horizontal water-mill, which made the milling of grain a much less labor- intensive process.
Pottery and glass. There is little evidence of domestic pottery before the seventh or eighth centuries (Edwards 74). This souterrain ware (so called because of its frequent presence in fragmented form in the souterrains of ring-forts) was hand made, pots being built up from clay coils rather than being thrown on a wheel. Little ornamentation was used. Imported pottery can be dated no earlier than the fifth century. Much of this, particularly the amphorae and other containers, undoubtedly contained substances such as wine or oil when imported. These imports came from as far away as the eastern mediterranean, some of the pottery being of Turkish origin. Glass was used principally for ornaments such as beads and bangles. Most of the glass made in Ireland was recycled from broken imported objects.
Armor. Irish warriors were only lightly protected. They carried a small round shield, probably made of wood and hide, with a metal boss or knob at its center. According to The Tain, they also wore body armor of stiffened hide and a "crested battle helmet" (Kinsella 148-150). It is unclear if this battle helmet was also of leather or contained metal. In any case, this is a description of the armor of an exceptional man; it is unlikely that the ordinary soldier would have had even this sort of protection. Chariot horses apparently were covered with a blanket of metal plates (Kinsella 147). Ordinary soldiers carried metal-tipped lances or spears while the aristocrats carried short swords (less than two feet in length) for use in personal combat. After the Viking invasions began, the Irish adopted the longer, heavier slashing sword used by the Vikings.
Clothing. Because of its perishable nature in a damp climate such as that in Ireland, little clothing survives from early periods. However, from available scraps and examination of such implements as spindles, some conclusions can be reached. The wool of sheep and goat hair were woven into cloth. The wool was often dyed before spinning. Flax was grown and processed into linen cloth in early medieval times. Tanning and leather embossing were known from early times, and leather bags undoubtedly served as containers for liquids before the common introduction of pottery. Remains have been found of rawhide shoes of the simple one-piece kind known as pampooties (these were still made and worn in remote parts of Ireland into the twentieth century. Fragments of more complex, multi-part shoes have been dated from early medieval times.
Artwork and manuscripts. Fine art as we define the term didn't exist in ancient Ireland. Artwork was decorative and, in the case of religious artwork, sometimes instructive. Cups, plates, reliquaries, book covers, brooches, pins, and decorated combs all have been found. Metal, wood, horn, and bone were used alone or in combination as the materials of these objects. While they have practical use, some have been ornamented with twisted and cast metal and set with precious stones or glass beads (which were considerably more valuable at the time than at present). Animal and human figures, as well as vines and leaves were also carved, cast, or forged as a part of these objects. Enamelling, that is the fusion by heat of a colored, opaque substance to a metal surface, was also used for decoration. Some of the most famous pieces, such as the Ardagh Chalice and the Tara Brooch appear to have been made in the late seventh or early eighth century(Edwards 137, 141).
Early stone carving was done by incising on stone slabs, and the figure of the cross was an important element in these carvings. By the late eighth century free-standing stone crosses began to appear. The earlier ones were primarily ornamented with various native Irish devices, such as interlace and spirals, etc. In later ones, human figures and scenes began to take on more importance, with scriptural scenes eventually becoming more dominant,but never entirely replacing, for example, scenes of hunting or depictions of prominent ecclesiastics or royal patrons. The earliest figural carvings tended to be relatively simple and in low relief, but as time went on, the carvings became more elaborate and in higher relief. The cross at Dysert O Dea, Co. Clare, depicts a crucified Christ and a bishop in very high relief. Free- standing figures, however, do not appear to have been attempted during pre-Christian and early medieval times.
Ireland has been justly famous for the splendor of its medieval manuscripts. It is not always clear whether these manuscripts have been inscribed in Irish monasteries in Ireland or by Irish or Irish-trained monks in Irish founded monasteries in England (e.g., Lindisfarne in Northumbria), and on the continent (e.g., Bobbio in northern Italy and St. Gall in Switzerland). Two of the most famous are in the Trinity College Library, Dublin, the Book of Durrow and the Book of Kells. The Book of Durrow , was made around 675. The most likely site of composition was Iona, according to Edwards (152), though it possibly was done in Derry or Durrow. One of the most famous and beautiful books in the world, the Book of Kells , was probably begun at Iona in the late eighth century. It is possible that it was finished at Kells.
Examples of painting, aside from manuscript illumination, have not survived in Ireland's damp climate. However, as is true of continental statuary and carving, at least some Irish sculpture very likely was painted and thus much more colorful than the gray stone which can presently be seen. We do know that paintings were used as church ornamentation at least as early as the seventh century. Edwards cites Cogitosus' Life of St. Brigit regarding the then- existing wooden church at Kildare, which Cogitosus says was "adorned with painted tablets." He also says that one entire wall was "covered with linen curtains and decorated with paintings" (Edwards 122).
(Copyright 1995, by Michael Sundermeier, rev. Jan 2000, M.S.)
The Viking raids on Ireland in the 9th and 10th centuries were launched from Scotland and not from Norway as is commonly supposed, Prof Donnchadh Ó Corráin, of UCC's Department of History, claimed at the weekend.
At a conference on "Researching 9th Century Ireland" at Mount St Joseph Cistercian Abbey, Roscrea, Co Tipperary, he said the intensification of raids on the Irish coastline from 825 to the mid 900s could not have been co-ordinated from Norway. "You cannot manipulate a big fleet on the North Atlantic easily," he said.
He believed the Scandinavian raiders settled in north-west Scotland in the first quarter of the 9th century, which allowed the ruler there to send his sons to establish control over the independent Viking settlements in Ireland around 950. "In the second half of the 9th century they moved their headquarters to Dublin," he said.
From there, they continued their conquest of Scotland, taking over all of Pictland and capturing Dumbarton from the Britons. He said "Lochlainn", the name of the place they came from, was usually believed to refer to Norway. "But it means the Viking kingdom of Scotland. If you examine all the examples in the annals, the only area that features them all is the Viking kingdom of Scotland."
Dr Peter Harbison, an archaeologist and art historian, said the stone High Crosses may have come about as a result of the theft of metal crosses by the Vikings. "The stone High Crosses may have been put up, among other reasons, so that the Vikings could not run away with them."
The High Crosses, as well as carrying religious imagery, also have a political dimension, with inscriptions revealing the names of the high kings of the 9th and 10th centuries low down on the shaft. "The ruler who had the inscription put on crosses wanted to make sure it was seen by the people looking on the cross. And it was only in kneeling that they would get the political message, which is, 'Would you pray for me, the High King.' "
From December 31, 1862, to January 2, 1863, Irish-born Confederate Gen. Patrick Cleburne commanded a division at Murfreesboro (Stone's River), Tennessee, site of one of the fiercest battles of the Western theater of the American Civil War. In early December 1862, the transfer of Confederate Gen. Simon Bolivar Buckner had created a vacancy for a division command in Braxton Bragg's Army of the Tennessee. There was no man in that Army who could breath a word against the promotion of Patrick Ronayne Cleburne to that post, nor the promotion to major general that went with it. Usually the months of December and January were quiet times, with soldiers in winter camps, but Federal Gen. William S. Rosecrans intended to drive Bragg's army from Tennessee, winter or no. Bragg awaited his advance along Stone's River, just west of Murfreesboro. On the morning of the 31st, Cleburne's division was on the Confederate left. Attacking at dawn, Cleburne fell on the corps of Federal Gen. Alexander McCook, which held the Federal right, and drove the corps from the field. Federal Gen. Thomas Crittenden, observing from a distance, said it was the first time the Army of the Cumberland had ever seen such panic. A second line was formed by the Federals, but Cleburne's men drove them as well. They continued to drive the enemy until they ran out of ammunition and energy. Later, Confederate Corps commander William Hardee expressed his belief that if a fresh division had followed up Cleburne's, Rosecrans entire army would have been routed. Night fell, however, and the two armies brought in the New Year sleeping on their arms. Rosecran's army was badly whipped, but it stayed put on January 1st. Bragg was cautious and only probed to discover if the Federals were still there. The Federals had fortified their position to the west of the river, in front of Cleburne; Bragg decided to attack them east of the river. This attack, by Breckinridge, was successful at first, but was then met by 58 Federal artillery pieces and shredded. Bragg would retreat the next day. Though his army had abandoned the field, Cleburne's performance in his first battle as a major general had been outstanding. His eventual rise to corps command seemed certain, but factors away from the battlefield would prevent that.
On Jan. 5, 1871, the British in a general amnesty released 30 Fenian prisoners. Most of these prisoners were men who had either been swept up the British in 1865, when they suppressed the Fenian paper, The Irish People, taken part in the March 1867 rising, or been rounded up after the 'Smashing of the Van' rescue of Kelly and Deasy in September 1867. The British penal system of that time was brutal under normal circumstances, and the Fenians came in for much harsher treatment than the normal inmate did. Those Fenians still on the outside agitated constantly for the release of their comrades. The man most responsible for the release of 1871 was John 'Amnesty' Nolan, who thus earned his sobriquet. The names of many of the men released by William Gladstone's government are well known to those who have studied the Irish Republican movement. One of them was Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa, as steadfast an enemy of English rule in Ireland as any who ever lived. After Rossa's death his body was returned to Ireland for burial, and his funeral in 1915 included the famous eulogy by Patrick Pearse, one of the seminal moments in the renewal of armed struggle for Irish freedom. Another Fenian released that day was John Devoy, who perhaps more than any other man would keep the struggle for Irish freedom alive among Irish exiles in America. The British government released the Fenians on condition that they exile themselves to the country of their choice and not return until their sentences had expired. Many chose to go to Australia, but Rossa, Devoy, John McClure, Henry Mulleda and Charles Underwood O'Connell, who had all been imprisoned together, chose to go to America and shipped together from Liverpool on board the Cuba. The so-called Cuba Five arrived in New York to a hero's welcome from the city's large Irish community and even received a resolution of welcome from the U.S. House of Representatives.
On January 12, 1729, Edmund Burke, one of the greatest political writers and orators in history, was born in Arran Quay, Dublin. Burke was the son of a mixed marriage -- his mother was Catholic and his father Protestant. Burke himself would later marry an Irish Catholic woman. Perhaps it was these two factors which led him to advocate a lenient policy toward Ireland for most of his life. Burke graduated from Trinity College, Dublin, in 1748 and studied law at Middle Temple in London; however, he failed to secure a call to the bar and instead began a literary career. He wrote several books and was editor of the Annual Register before entering politics. In 1765, Earl Verney brought him into the House of Commons as a member for Wendover and within a short time his great speaking ability had transformed him into one of Parliament's most influential members. Burke was one of the leading advocates of compromise with the American colonies. His advice was not followed then, but after the British defeat at the Battle of Yorktown, he was one of the members who helped convince George III to end the conflict. Burke's view of the revolution in France was a much different story. He published Reflections on the Revolution in France in 1790, attacking the revolution's motives and principles. Many writers opposed his views, the most famous being Thomas Paine in his Rights of Man. Burke was a consistent advocate of Catholic emancipation, which politically damaged him, but he was never an advocate of self-rule for the Irish. Edmund Burke died in London on July 9, 1797. Many quotes from his writings and orations have come down through the years, perhaps one is most applicable to the situation in Ireland today: "All government, indeed every human benefit and enjoyment, every virtue, and every prudent act, is founded on compromise and barter."
On January 15, 1861, Young Irelander Terence Bellew MacManus died in San Francisco. MacManus was born in County Fermanagh in 1811. He later moved to Liverpool, England, where he began a successful shipping agency. In 1843 he returned to Ireland and joined the Repeal Association and the Young Ireland party. During the Young Irelanders' brief uprising in 1848, MacManus joined Smith O'Brien and John Blake Dillon at Ballingarry, County Tipperary, where the only substantial armed action occurred. After the rising's suppression, MacManus was captured by the British and put on trial. Like most of the other Young Ireland leaders, he was sentenced to death, which was then commuted to transportation for life to Van Dieman's Land (Tasmania). He arrived there in autumn 1849, but in 1852 he managed to escape to the United States along with Thomas Francis Meagher. While Meagher settled on the east coast, MacManus settled in San Francisco and decided to try his luck at his former business, working as a shipping agent. But MacManus' fell into poverty when his business failed, and his health rapidly failed as well. It was after his death, however, that he performed his most valuable service to the cause of Irish freedom. On learning of his death, American Fenian leaders decided to return his body to Ireland for burial. This would foreshadow the treatment given to Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa at his famous funeral in 1915 -- Irish Republicans rallying around the grave of a fallen comrade. Crowds of Irish gathered in New York as Archbishop John Hughes, like MacManus born in Ulster, blessed MacManus' body. Thousands greeted his body in Cork also, and crowds gathered at rail stations all the way to Dublin. But the church, in the person of Archbishop Cullen, refused permission for his body to lie-in-state at any church in Dublin. Thus, for a week MacManus' body lay in the Mechanics' Institute, while thousands passed by paying their respects. But Father Patrick Lavelle, a Fenian supporter, defied Cullen and performed the funeral ceremony on November 10, 1861. A crowd estimated at 50,000 followed the casket to Dublin's Glasnevin Cemetery, and hundreds of thousands lined the streets. The MacManus funeral was a seminal moment for the Fenian movement -- it invigorated the nationalist movement in Ireland, just as Rossa's would 54 years later.
On January 17, 1860, Dr. Douglas Hyde, Gaelic scholar and first President of Ireland, was born at Castlerea, Co. Roscommon. Hyde was the son of a Protestant minister and was educated at Trinity College, Dublin. He had a great facility for languages, learning Latin, Greek, Hebrew, French and German, but his great passion in life would be the preservation of the Irish language. After spending a year teaching modern languages in Canada, he returned to Ireland. For much of the rest of his life he would write and collect hundreds of stories, poems, and folktales in Irish, and translate others. His work in Irish helped to inspire many other literary lights, such as W.B. Yeats and Lady Gregory. In 1892 he delivered a paper to the National Literary Society, which he and Yeats founded earlier that year, titled 'The Necessity for de-Anglicizing the Irish people.' In 1893 Hyde founded the Gaelic League along with Eoin MacNeill and Fr. Eugene O'Growney; Hyde was its first president, holding the post until 1915. Under Hyde the League flourished, spreading across the island and revived not only the language, which was perilously close to disappearing, but also encouraged a rebirth of Irish dance and other aspects of Irish culture. With this rebirth of Gaelic pride came a rebirth in Irish nationalism. Hyde was also professor of Modern Irish at the National University from 1908 to 1932 and was the driving force behind the regulation making Irish a compulsory subject. Hyde did not want the Gaelic League to be a political entity, so when the surge of Irish nationalism that the Gaelic League helped to foster began to take control of many in the League and politicize it, Hyde resigned as president. Hyde took no active part in the armed upheaval of the 1910s and 1920s, but did serve as a Free State senator in 1925-26. In 1938 he was unanimously elected to the newly created position of President of Ireland, a post he held until 1945. Hyde died in Dublin on July 12, 1949. A common language is perhaps the most important bond any culture can possess, and more than any other person, Dr. Douglas Hyde was responsible for saving the language of the Irish people. And for that, all lovers of Irish culture must say, 'Ar dheis De go raibh sé.' (May he be at the right hand of God.)
'Gen. Cleburne has been a Brigadier under my command for about a year, and he has given unmistakable proofs of military talent of a high order. He unites the rare qualities of a strict disciplinarian, a brave and skillful leader and a popular commander.' -- Part of Gen. William Hardee's recommendation for Patrick Cleburne's promotion to division command. "all day long ... Sweeny's Hotel and the approaches to it were the scene of the most lively excitement, caused by the congregation of numerous sympathizers. The green flag was flying from the highest flagstaff on the roof of the hotel.'
-- The New York Herald describing the excitement created by the arrival of the Cuba Five in New York in January 1871.
January - Eanáir
1, 1818 - William Gamble (Union General - Co. Tyrone)
4, 1581 - James Ussher (Scholar and Archbishop of Armagh - Dublin)
6, 1794 - Frances Ball (Mother Mary Teresa - Founder of the Sisters of Loretto - Dublin.)
6, 1898 - Colonel James Fitzmaurice (Aviator - Dublin.)
8, 1871 - James Craig, Viscount Craigvon (Politician - Belfast)
12, 1729 - Edmund Burke (Political writer and orator - Arran Quay, Dublin.)
12, 1792 - Robert Patterson (Union General - Co. Tyrone)
17, 1860 - Douglas Hyde (First President of Ireland - Castlerea, Co. Roscommon)
19, 1787 - Mary Aikenhead (Mother Mary Augustine - Founder of Sisters of Charity - Cork City)
20, 1841 - James Armour (Presbyterian minister - Political activist - Ballymoney, Co Antirm)
20, 1902 Kevin Barry (Irish Republican) Dublin.
21, 1876 - James Larkin (Labor leader - Liverpool.)
26, 1799 - Thomas Charles Wright (Officer in Bolivar's army and founder of Eduadorian navy) Drogheda, Co. Louth.
26, 1904 - Séan MacBride (Revolutionary, Statesman - Paris.)
28, 1807 - Robert John Le Mesurier M'Clure (Explorer - Wexford.)
28, 1892 - David Mary Tidmarsh (WWI Ace, 7 kills - Limerick.)
30, 1845 - Katharine (Kitty) O'Shea (Mistress and later wife of Parnell - England.)
1, 1801 - Act of Union - Ireland and Great Britain form United Kingdom
1, 1892 - Ellis Island becomes reception center for new immigrants
2, 1602 - Spanish force in Ireland surrender to the English at Kinsdale
2, 1920 - Black and Tans are formed.
4, 1792 - First issue of Northern Star, organ of United Irishmen published in Belfast
4, 1969 - Civil rights marchers attacked at Burntollet Bridge, NI.
5, 1871 - 30 Fenian prisoners are released by the British in a general amnesty.
6, 1562 - Shane O'Neill submits to Queen Elizabeth, but rebels again within months.
6, 1946 - William Joyce (Lord Haw-Haw) hung by England.
7, 1922 - Anglo-Irish treaty approved by Dial Eireann.
8, 1873 - Home Rule Confederation of Great Britain founded.
9, 1708 - The Irish Brigade of France under Count O'Mahony helps capture the town of Alcoy in Spain.
10, 1922 - Arthur Griffith elected President of Irish Free State.
11, 1970 - IRA splits into Officials and Provisionals. (Provos)
13, 1800 - Daniel O'Connell makes his first public speech, opposing Union with England.
15, 1861 - Young Irelander Terence MacManus dies in San Francisco, CA.
16-17, 1871 - La Compagnie Irlandaise of the French "Regiment Etranger" fights with the French army at the Battle of Belfort in the Franco-Prussian War.
16, 1913 - Home Rule bill passes in Commons, defeated in House of Lords (Jan. 30)
16, 1939 - IRA bombing campaign begins in England.
17, 1815 - Marie-Louise O'Morphi, famous courtesan, dies in Paris.
17, 1861 - Lola Montez (Marie Gilbert), dancer and courtesan dies in New York.
19, 1920 - IRA attacks Drombrane barracks, Co. Tipperary.
20, 1773 - Don Hugo O'Conor named Commandant Inspector of New Spain.
20, 1897 - American Irish Historical Society established.
20, 1961 - John F. Kennedy inaugurated, first Irish Catholic US president
21, 1919 - First Dial Eireann meets, De Valera proclaimed Prime Minister though still in Lincoln Jail.
21, 1919 - War of Independence begins, 3rd Tipperary Brigade ambushes RIC patrol.
22, 1760 -Irish born Gen. Lally's French army, including his regiment of the Irish Brigade, is defeated by Irish born Sir Eyre Coote's English army at Wandewash, India.
22, 1972 - Éammon Broy, revolutionary, Police Commissioner, dies.
23, 1898 - United Irish League founded by William O'Brien.
26, 1942 - US expeditionary troops land in Northern Ireland.
27, 1975 - Mother Mary Martin, founder of the Medical Missionaries of Mary, dies in Drogheda.
28,1939 - William Butler Yeats dies in Monaco.
28, 1967 - Helena Moloney, republican and trade unionist, dies in Dublin.
29, 1794 - Archibald Hamilton Rowan, United Irishman, tried on charge of distributing seditious paper
30, 1863, Corcoran's Legion fights it first battle (battle of the Deserted House/Kelly's Story), near Suffolk, VA.
30, 1879 - Patrice de MacMahon retires as President of France.
30, 1900 - Irish Parliamentary Party reunites under John Redmond, incorporating United Irish League.
30, 1972 - "Bloody Sunday," thirteen killed by British paratroopers in Derry.
31, 1881 - Ladies Land League launched in Ireland.
31, 1913 - The Ulster Volunteer Force is founded by the Unionist Council.
On Nov. 22, 1919, Máire Drumm (nee McAteer), Republican activist, was born in Newry, County Armagh. Máire's family was strongly republican; her mother had been active in the War of Independence and the Civil War. When she moved to Dublin seeking employment in 1940 she joined Sinn Fein. Later, now living in Belfast, she became interested in camogie (the female form of hurling) and started a lifelong involvement with the sport in Ireland. Máire also became active in the republican movement in Belfast.
While visiting republican prisoners there she met James Drumm whom she married in 1946. When the IRA renewed the armed struggle in the late 50s, James was again interned without trial from '57 to '61. When the civil rights movement began in the late 60s Máire was actively involved in the efforts to rehouse the thousands of nationalists forced from the homes by Unionist intimidation.
Máire began to speak at many rallies and protest meetings and was elected to the Ard-Chomhairle of Sinn Fein. With her activities now high profile, Máire's family was targeted for government harassment. At one point her husband and son were interned by the government at the same time; James would become known as the most jailed republican in the six counties. Máire was also jailed twice for 'seditious speeches,' once along with her daughter.
Her house was constantly being raided by security forces, and she and her family were under constant threat of death from the powerful forces aligned against the reunification of Ireland, but Máire would not be intimidated. Finally the constant strain took its toll; her health began to fail and she was admitted to Mater Hospital, Belfast. On Oct. 28, 1976, as Máire lay in her hospital bed, Unionist thugs walked in and shot the tireless freedom fighter to death. In one of the most-quoted excerpts from Máire Drumm's speeches, she asserted that " The only people worthy of freedom are those who are prepared to go out and fight for it every day, and die if necessary."
JAMES BROWN ARMOUR
Armour was born at Lisboy, near Ballymoney, Co Antrim on 20 January 1841. A Presbyterian farmer's son, he entered Queen's College, Belfast, in 1860. His father wanted him to become a clergyman, but Armour had other ideas and taught for a time before completing his degree at Queen's College, Cork. Armour hoped to practise law, but after his father's death he promised a dying brother that he would study for the ministry. In 1869, he was called to the Second (now Trinity) Presbyterian Church in Ballymoney.
In 1883, Armour married Jennie Hamilton, whose great-grandfather had ministered to the United Irishman William Orr at his execution in 1797. A new church was begun in 1884; some saw its unusual octagonal spire as evidence of popery, and this may have contributed to Armour failing to become professor of church history at Magee College, Londonderry, in 1890.
Armour was an active Liberal; he advocated land reform, and believed Tories were exploiting Unionism for the benefit of Anglican landlords. In the 1892 general election, he supported a Liberal Home Ruler in North Antrim, but there and elsewhere Ulster's Protestants declared for the Union, and Armour faced ostracism and intimidation.
His own congregation remained almost entirely loyal however, respecting his adherence to principle even when they disagreed with him. When he collected over 3,500 Presbyterian signatures commending Gladstone's Home Rule policy, Unionists made every effort to discredit him. Always sympathetic to Catholic aspirations, he supported the founding of the National University (in effect, a successor to Newman's Catholic University) in 1908, despite preferring secular education.
Although warned of a heart condition, Armour remained an active opponent of Unionism, describing the signing of the 1912 Ulster Covenant as 'Protestant Fools' Day'. He laid much of the blame for the 1916 Easter Rising on the Unionists' gun-running and readiness to resist an Act of Parliament by force, and argued strongly against Partition. He died on 25 January 1928.
Read W. S. Armour, Armour of Ballymoney (1934).
The 1801 Act of Union said that Ireland was to be joined to Great Britain into a single kingdom, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. the Dublin parliament was abolished. Ireland was to be represented at Westminster by 100 MPs, 4 Lords Spiritual and 28 Lords Temporal (all were Anglicans). the Anglican Church was to be recognised as the official Church of Ireland. there was to be free trade between Ireland and Britain.
Ireland was to keep a separate Exchequer and was to be responsible for two-seventeenths of the general expense of the United Kingdom. Ireland kept its own Courts of Justice and civil service. no Catholics were to be allowed to hold public office. there was to be no Catholic Emancipation.
Ruling Ireland direct from Westminster solved nothing. The union was a political expedient in wartime, solving none of the grievances in Ireland over land, religion or politics. It had no social dimension at all. Ireland's economic problems were also ignored. The Act did increase the sense of grievance in Ireland however.
Submitted by: Steeler059
In the early morning hours of Dec. 6, 1921, representatives of the Irish government, appointed by President de Valera, and those negotiating for the British crown signed the Anglo-Irish Treaty, ending the Irish War of Independence against England. It was then, and remains to this day, one of the most discussed and debated moments in Irish history. The British negotiating team was composed of old masters at the game of politics -- Prime Minister Lloyd George and future Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
Arthur Griffith and Michael Collins led the Irish team; they were brave and intelligent, but had nowhere near the political acumen of the British side. De Valera, a shrewd, experienced politician, may have been the only man in all of Ireland who might have matched them, but he refused to join the negotiations With less reluctance about forcing their political opponents to negotiate "with a gun to their heads" than they appear to have developed recently, the British gave the Irish an ultimatum on the evening of Dec. 5: Sign the treaty as is, or face military annihilation in three days. (See quote below.) The treaty Collins and Griffith had signed contained several clauses that de Valera and his supporters would reject. Chief among them was the treaty's partition of the country and its requirement that Irish officials must swear an oath of allegiance to the Crown. The cabinet split 4 to 3 in favor of the treaty, and in January, the full Dáil Eireann accepted the treaty 64-57. The stage was set for the brutal Irish Civil War and the seeds of the tragic political mistake known as Northern Ireland were sown. Ever since, Irish historians have debated how events might have turned differently. Was Collins right to accept anything less than full Irish independence? Were the British bluffing? Did the world's -- especially America's -- revulsion at the atrocities of the Black and Tans make impossible the threat of Lloyd George's threatened siege of the Irish population? Would further resistance by the Irish have resulted in the dreamed-of 32-county republic, or might it have resulted in a continued 32-county colony? We will never know, and will always wonder
Immediately after he signed, Collins commented to a member of the British negotiating team that he had just signed his own death warrant. He would die at the hands of his former comrades in the IRA within the coming year
Article from Military History
Combining Yankee grit and Irish pluck, the Fenians sent a whaling bark to rescue political prisoners from Australia.
By George Skoch
By all appearances, there was nothing unusual about the departure of the 200-ton whaleship Catalpa from the harbor at New Bedford, Massachusetts, on the morning of April 29, 1875. Both Catalpa and her skipper, 30-year-old Captain George S. Anthony--a New Bedford man who had pledged his life to the sea at the age of 15--were sturdy, veteran sea rovers. Appearances can be deceptive, however. Under orders given to him two months earlier by three strangers in the darkened back room of an outfitter's shop in New Bedford, Anthony, with his lone, unarmed bark and a handful of sailors, was about to defy the mightiest naval power on Earth. The mission: rescue six Irish political prisoners from a British stockade in Western Australia and bring them safely to America.
A decade before Catalpa embarked on her perilous journey, the centuries-old struggle for Irish independence was brought to a crisis by the revolutionary 19th-century Fenian movement in Ireland and America. At the first signs of Fenian agitation, British authorities, aided by a network of spies and informers, clamped down hard. As early as 1865, they had suppressed the Fenian newspaper, Irish People, and had arrested its editor, James Stephens. A year later, the writ of habeas corpus was suspended in Ireland, and many Fenians, including scores of Irish soldiers serving in the British army, were incarcerated throughout the British Empire. One stockade was at Fremantle in Western Australia. Meanwhile, the Fenian movement had taken on a personality of its own in the United States, where it flourished under the banners of the Fenian Brotherhood and Clan na Gael. Membership surged after the Civil War as both Northern and Southern veterans joined. The influx was so great that a provisional Irish government blossomed in New York City in October 1865, and Fenian cells, or centers, sprouted in cities and towns from coast to coast.
By 1871, the British had issued conditional pardons to the last batch of civilian Fenian prisoners--under the condition that the former inmates must live outside Ireland. Seven remaining soldier-prisoners, however, were exempted from the pardon and remained jailed in Fremantle. "Releasing these Fenian soldiers," claimed the Duke of Cambridge, commander in chief of the British army, "would be subversive of discipline." Six of those men were now slated for rescue by Catalpa's crew; the seventh soldier, exposed as an informer by his comrades, would be left behind. Among the Irish expatriates who emigrated to the United States was John Devoy, once a fervent recruiter of Fenians from within the British army. Pardoned after serving five years of a 15-year sentence, the 29-year-old Devoy came to the United States in 1871 and became a reporter with the New York Herald, where he continued to champion Fenian causes.
In July 1874, a Clan na Gael convention in Baltimore named Devoy to oversee the rescue of the prisoners in Australia. Fund-raising was still unfinished in February 1875, when he traveled to New Bedford in search of a ship and crew. Devoy carried an introduction from John Boyle O'Reilly, a former inmate at Fremantle who had escaped by stowing away on a whaling ship in 1869, and contacted former whaler Henry Hathaway. Hathaway then introduced Devoy to John Richardson, a whaling agent and Fenian sympathizer who nominated his son-in-law, George S. Anthony, to command the rescue vessel.
Devoy explained the rescue plan. Under the guise of a whaling voyage, Anthony merely would have to sail to a given point off the coast of Western Australia on a certain date, take on several passengers, then make a beeline back to the United States. He would be well compensated. Anthony relished the chance to return to the sea, but it would mean leaving behind his wife of less than a year, his infant daughter and his invalid mother--not to mention the risk of capture and imprisonment by the British. To aggravate matters, the Irishmen had only given him 24 hours to make his decision. That night Anthony weighed the risks and decided to accept the command. Within days of his decision, Anthony and his father-in-law began to scour the wharfs of Boston for a ship. They finally purchased a three-masted bark, Catalpa, for $5,200--to be reimbursed with money raised by the Clan.
Anthony recruited 22 seasoned deckhands from New Bedford and nearby ports. A 23rd man, Dennis Dugan, was added to the roster by the Clan na Gael to look after its investment. Otherwise, the crew was comprised mainly of Pacific island natives and Africans. Catalpa slipped her moorings at New Bedford about 9 a.m. on April 29, 1875. Anthony then took a reading on the ship's chronometer--a time-keeping instrument that was vital to navigating the craft--and got bearings that placed the 90-foot whaler in the heart of New York state! Subsequent attempts at repair were unsuccessful, and the beleaguered captain was forced to rely on his instincts to navigate during most of the voyage.
The end of October found Catalpa docked at Fayal Island in the Azores, where she offloaded 210 barrels of sperm oil for transport back to New Bedford. The profits helped to finance the mission. Then, without warning or explanation, most of Catalpa's crew deserted at Fayal. Three more hands had to be discharged for medical reasons. Meanwhile, Irish agents who had been dispatched from the United States to "manage the land end of the rescue" were making their way off the southern coast of Australia toward Fremantle. They were led by John Breslin, a 40-year-old railroad agent and former hospital official who was posing as a wealthy American mining speculator named James Collins. He reached Fremantle in November. His companion was Thomas Desmond, a carriage maker who found work as a wheelwright in Perth, about 20 miles north of Fremantle.
Breslin and Desmond were able to travel freely, gathering important intelligence and plotting their course of action. The genteel Breslin managed to endear himself to the governor and was led on a tour of the Fremantle stockade by the prison superintendent himself. Five other Irish sympathizers aided Breslin and Desmond: William Foley, an ex-prisoner residing in the community; Denis McCarthy and John Durham, who volunteered to cut the telegraph wires after the prison break; John King, a New Zealander who turned up with nearly $4,000 that his countrymen had raised to help fund Breslin's operations; and Thomas Brennan, a Fenian who had traveled from the United States at his own expense.
Anthony, meanwhile, had deftly smuggled a new crew onto Catalpa, composed of native whalemen who had been stranded in port without passports, and then beat a path to Tenerife in the Canary Islands. On March 27, 1876, Catalpa reached the bluffs at Cape Naturaliste on the southwestern tip of Australia. Early the next day, Catalpa dropped anchor off Bunbury Harbor. Learning of Catalpa's landfall, John Breslin made the 100-mile trek to Bunbury from Fremantle via mail coach. He met Anthony on the afternoon of March 31. Breslin said that once the prisoners were free, he and Desmond would transport them to Rockingham, a settlement on the coast about 20 miles south of Fremantle. There, Anthony would meet them with a whaleboat and row the prisoners a dozen miles out to Catalpa. The jailbreak was set for April 6.
Their meeting ended, Anthony accompanied Breslin back to Fremantle aboard the mail steamer Georgette. The two departed Bunbury on April 1, but what they found upon arriving in Fremantle changed their plans completely. Riding menacingly at anchor in the harbor was Her Majesty's gunboat Convict. Another gunboat, they learned, was due to arrive any day. The rescue was rescheduled for April 17. During the interim, Anthony kept his crew occupied painting and overhauling the ship and severely restricted their shore leave. On April 11, a telegram from Breslin arrived: The British gunboats were gone.
A sudden storm and scrutiny by several customs officers delayed Catalpa's departure until Saturday, April 15. She arrived about a dozen miles offshore of Rockingham at noon on Sunday. Just an hour later, Anthony was at the tiller of a longboat, guiding five sailors toward the rendezvous site. The jailbreak commenced before dawn on Monday. At 5:30 a.m., Breslin alerted the stable to harness his horses to his carriage. At 6 a.m., Thomas Brennan left Fremantle with a wagonload of luggage and weapons and headed straight for the beach. An hour later, Desmond ordered his own team and carriage to be harnessed, and headed out to meet Breslin at a prearranged spot on the main route to Rockingham.
At about 8 o'clock, Breslin spotted three prisoners scurrying along the road toward him. James Wilson, Robert Cranston and Michael Harrington had slipped away from their morning work assignments outside the prison walls--a privilege granted them for their good behavior--and quickly made their way to the pick-up point, where they climbed onto Desmond's carriage. Not far behind, the three remaining prisoners--James Donagh, Thomas Hassett and Martin Hogan--clambered onto Breslin's carriage and soon were eating Desmond's dust. The time was about 8:15 a.m.
Brennan, first to arrive on the coast, hurried to stow the luggage and weapons on board Catalpa's whaleboat. At 10:30, the carriages with Desmond and Breslin at the reins rattled up. Passengers and crew boarded the whaleboat and shoved off none too soon. Anthony's little craft was barely a half-mile out when a squad of carbine-wielding lawmen galloped onto the scene. For some reason, however, the officers held their fire. Seven hours later, Anthony's oarsmen pulled within sight of Catalpa. Anthony had the whaleboat's small sail raised and claimed that with luck they would reach Catalpa in an hour. But luck deserted them on the winds of a sudden rain squall. "By the time we had the mast and sail stowed away," Breslin reported, "the ship [Catalpa] had disappeared in the increasing darkness." For nearly 12 hours more, the tortuous sea threatened to swallow the frail craft and its exhausted occupants.
By sunrise the gale had subsided and, at 7 a.m., Catalpa was in sight again. An hour later, though, Breslin spotted a curl of smoke in the distance, beneath which emerged the British steamer Georgette. For several hours, Georgette dogged Catalpa, forcing Anthony and his anxious passengers to keep their distance. When Georgette finally turned away and retraced her course toward Fremantle, Anthony steered for Catalpa and safety. But as the big ship changed course, a new threat was revealed. Advancing from the opposite direction was a police cutter bearing 30 to 40 armed men.
Anthony shouted for his rowers to redouble their efforts, and they won the grim race. As soon as their boat smacked Catalpa, the prisoners were scrambling up ropes. Moments later, the police cutter swept by, then turned and lingered briefly beside Catalpa before heading to shore. In Fremantle, the colonial governor determined to retake the six convicts by force if necessary. Georgette was recoaled, laden with scores of militiamen and police officers and re-embarked that night with a 12-pounder cannon fixed at her gangway. By early light on April 19, Georgette's lookouts had Catalpa in their sights bearing south-southeast under full sail, about 18 miles offshore.
At 8 a.m. the British ship overtook Catalpa and fired a shot across her bow. Anthony maintained his speed and course and raised the U.S. flag in defiance. Georgette pursued for some time, while a British officer tried unsuccessfully to threaten, bluff or cajole Anthony to stop. Finally, the British steamer veered away.
Although Catalpa was free, a wearisome four-month voyage ensued before she docked in New York Harbor to a tumultuous welcome on August 19, 1876. There, and at testimonials across America, the six Irishmen and the men who had liberated them were feted as celebrities. In England, the success of the Catalpa rescue became a humiliating cause célèbre in Parliament and the British press.
Catalpa suffered an inauspicious fate. Presented as a gift to Captain Anthony, John Richardson and Henry Hathaway, she eventually was sold and turned into a coal barge. Not of great value in this capacity, Catalpa was finally condemned at the port of Belize, British Honduras.
From Songs of the Irish in America, Meek
Now boys, if you will listen, a story I'll relate
I'll tell you of the noble men who from their foe escaped.
Though bound with Saxon fetters in the dark Australian jail,
They struck a blow for freedom and for Yankeeland set sail.
On the seventeenth of April last the Stars and Stripes did fly
On board the bark Catalpa, waving proudly to the sky;
She showed the green above the red as she did calmly lay
Prepared to take the Fenian boys in safety o'er the sea.
When Breslin and brave Desmond brought the prisoners to the shore,
They gave one shout for freedom; soon to bless them evermore.
And manned by gallant Irish hearts, pulled towards the Yankee shore,
For well they knew, from its proud folds, no tyrant could them drag.
They had nearly reached in safety the Catalpa taut and trim,
When fast approaching them they saw a vision dark and dim.
It was the gunboat Georgette, and on her deck there stood,
One hundred hired assassins, to shed each patriot's blood.
The gunboat reached the bounding bark and fired across her bow,
Then in loud voice commanded that the vessel should heave to.
But noble Captain Anthony in thunder tones did cry,
"You dare not fire a shot at that bright flag that floats on high."
"My ship is sailing peacefully beneath that flag of stars,
It's manned by Irish hearts of oak and manly Yankee tars;
And that dear emblem near the fore, so plain to be seen,
Is is the banner I'll protect, old Ireland's flag of green."
The Britisher he sailed away, from the Stars and Stripes he ran,
He knew his chance was slim to fight the boys of Uncle Sam;
So Hogan, Wilson, Harrington, with Darragh off did go;
With Hassett and bold Cranston, soon to whip the Saxon foe.
Here's luck to Captain Anthony who well these men did free,
He dared the English man-o'-war to fight him on the sea;
And here's to that dear emblem which in triumph shall be seen
The flag for which our heroes fought, old Ireland's flag of green.
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