June 2014

History Selection

Shane O'Neill murdered
of Shane O'Neill
 June 1567
Sack of Baltimore
of Baltimore
 June 1620
Battle of Vinegar Hill
of Vinegar Hill
 June 1798
Nora Barnacle
Nora Barnacle
met James Joyce
 June 1904
JFK in Ireland
visited Ireland
 June 1963
Veronica Guerin
of Veronica Guerin
 June 1996

Ireland in 2004

January 1st: Ireland took on the Presidency of the European Commission.

January 1st: Scouting Ireland was founded.

February: Former INLA member Bobby Tohill was targetted by an IRA 'nutting squad'.

February 28th: Five people were killed in a bus crash at Wellington Quay in Dublin.

March 16th: The cooling towers at Rhode Power Station in Co. Westmeath were demolished.

Bertie Ahern at an EU ceremony in 2004
Bertie Ahern at an EU ceremony in 2004
Smoking ban
Smoking ban
March 27th: Ireland's rugby team won the Triple Crown for the first time in 19 years.

March 29th: A smoking ban was introduced, which came into effect in all pubs, restaurants and work places.

April 23rd: Gerry Adams said he felt the peace process was in 'deep crisis' after a report into paramilitary violence.

April 28th: Loyalists protested on Sandy Row, calling for the eviction of nationalists.

May: Efforts were made to end a loyalist feud in Belfast.

May: An inquest ruled that the victims of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings were 'unlawfully killed' but did not determine who was responsible.

June 25th: American President George W. Bush arrived in Ireland for an EU-U.S summit.

June 30th: French President Jacques Chirac said Ireland had led 'the best presidency ever' of the European Commission.

July 10th: A diver died after surfacing too rapidly off the Co. Antrim coast.

July 20th: Minister for Finance Charlie McCreevy was appointed as Ireland's next European Commissioner.

Charlie McCreevy
Charlie McCreevy
Cathal Lombard
Cathal Lombard
August 7th: Irish runner Cathal Lombard was accused of taking performance enhancing drugs at the Olympic Games.

August 13th: Minister for Agriculture Joe Walsh retired from Cabinet after seven years. He had been the longest-serving agriculture minister in Europe.

August 27th: Cian O'Connor won a gold medal for Ireland in the Olympics.

September 8th: Former Taoiseach John Bruton was appointed E.U. Ambassador to the United States.

September 29th: Mary Coughlan was appointed Ireland's first female Minister for Agriculture.

September 30th: DUP leader Ian Paisley made an historic first visit to Dublin for political talks with the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.

October 1st: Mary McAleese was re-elected unopposed for a second term as Irish President

October 2nd: Ireland's second national TV channel, N2, reverted to the name RTÉ Two.

October 5th: The Irish Government issued an Irish passport to the British hostage Ken Bigley in a futile attempt to secure his release in Iraq.

October 16th: Taoiseach Bertie Ahern held talks with the Secretary-General of the UN, Kofi Annan, in Dublin.

October 19th: Dublin-born aid worker Margaret Hassan was kidnapped in Iraq.

Margaret Hassan
Aid worker Margaret Hassan
The Colombia Three
The Colombia Three
November 3rd: Fran Rooney resigned as chief executive of the Football Association of Ireland.

November 9th: Banned substances were found in the sample of Waterford Crystal, a racehorse.

November 15th: Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Éamon Ó Cuív was involved in a car crash.

November 16th: Margaret Hassan was murdered in Iraq.

December 8th: Talks in Northern Ireland over power-sharing broke down over the IRA's refusal to allow arms decommissioning to be photographed, while Ian Paisley refused to witness the disarmament himself.

December 16th: In Colombia, IRA men Niall Connolly, Martin McCauley and James Monaghan were handed long sentences for training Colombian Marxist rebels.

Magdalene Laundries

Between the eighteenth and late twentieth centuries, women who failed to live up to society's harsh moral rules or were simply the victims of abuse were incarcerated in institutions known as Magdalene asylums or Magdalene laundries. These asylums operated throughout Europe and North America. The first Irish asylum opened on Leeson Street in Dublin in 1765 and the last closed in 1996. Although originally intended to rehabilitate women, by the early twentieth century asylums were caring for unwed mothers and other 'wayward' girls. The regime was tough and exploitative.

A Magdalene Laundry

Women in a Magdalene Laundry

Women from Gloucester Street Laundry

Book Review

Lethal Allies: British Collusion in Ireland

Author:     Anne Cadwallader

Publisher: Mercier Press

Date published: 2013

Lethal Allies

In this important book, Anne Cadwallader explores the issue of collusion between security forces and loyalist paramilitaries, focusing on tragedies that took place in the 'murder triangle' of Co. Armagh and Tyrone during the mid-seventies. This was the era of the Glennane Gang, an alliance of UVF paramilitaries and agents of the state, who are said to have murdered around 120 people. Almost all of their victims were civilians. Not only were members of the the UDR and RUC proven to have taken part in incidents such as the Miami Showband massacre and the Rock Bar gun attack, there is documentary evidence that the security forces knew and accepted the presence of paramilitaries in their ranks. Cadwallader suggests that the police actively sabotaged investigations and bulied the relatives of victims. Prolific murderers such as Robin Jackson were permitted to kill with impunity; centres from which loyalists were known to operate escaped observation at crucial times. Cadwallader points out that the civilian targets of loyalists were not outspoken IRA sympathisers, but members of the growing Catholic middle class. This sectarian motivation went hand-in-hand, Cadwallader says, with the British tactic practised more explicity in other parts of the world of using native forces to suppress other natives. The British wanted not only to dissuade civilians from supporting republican paramilitaries, but also to force the co-operation of the Irish government. The bombings of Dublin and Monaghan in 1974, claimed by the UVF, were, Cadwallader argues, far too sophisticated for the loyalists at that time. The Irish government agreed to support the British in their fight against republican paramilitaries without demanding the truth about attacks carried out on their own soil.

Reminiscences of my Irish Journey in 1849

Thomas Carlyle

Thomas Carlyle

Thomas Carlyle

Wednesday 18th July

Damp morning, yet with struggling sunshine; rejected contributor of Duffy’s, sits at back table while we breakfast; speaks of Ld. Limerick, of Dolly’s Brae affair (quite new) – baddish fellow; forgotten all but his voice. Three coaches in the road; immense packing, get under way at last, towards Killarney and Shine Lawlor. Longish row of fellows sitting against the walls of houses on quay at the bridge end; very ugly in their lazzarone aspect under the sunshine. Spacious but half-waste aspect of streets as we roll upwards towards the hill country out of Cork. Windy, and ever more so; country bare. Put off hat (owing to head wind) at first stage, and took out cap from my carpet bag. – Bare commonplace country, - plenty of inequalities and “natural features,” but culture, and elegance of taste in possessors, much wanting. Blarney Castle, I remember it, among its bit of wood at the foot of dingy uncultivated heights in dingy bare country; a grey square tower mainly, visible in its wood which the big waste seemed to reduce to a patch.

A family during the Famine

Country getting barer, wilder; forgotten now, all details of it. Meet criminals, in long carts escorted by police; young women many of them, a kind of gypsey beauty in some of the witches, keen glancing black eyes with long coarse streams of black hair; “Cork for trial” – eheu! Saw at another point of the road, large masses of people camped on the wayside, (other side of Mallow I think?) “waiting for out-door relief;” squalid, squalid, not the extremity of raggedness seen at Kildare, however. Remember next to nothing of the country; hedgeless, dim – moory, tilled patches in moory wilderness of untilled; heights in the distance, but no name to them discoverable, nor worth much search; wind freshening and right ahead. Mallow perhaps about two o’clock; hollow with modicum of woods; green all, and fertile-looking, with pleasant slate roofs and promise of a goodish town soon. Town really not bad: swift yet darkish stream as we enter; ascending street, shops, air of some business; barrack (fails nowhere): we descend again swiftly, street narrower and winding but still handsome enough; have to turn to Limerick Railway Station, and then amid the tumult of men, horses, boxes, cars and multiplied confusion, wait long before we can return to hill-foot, and resume our road. Sheltered road for some miles; on our right over the hedge, runs ugly as chaos ditch of a futile “Canal.” This is the way to Ballygiblin (Sir W. and Lady Beecher’s), but I have given up that. Wind still higher, sunshine gone; haggard famine of beggars; (one stage I specially remember in this respect; poorest of hamlets, hungriest of human populations); dust, tempest, threatenings of rain; cigars are my one poor consolation: At “Millstreet” dine or lunch; pleasant village among woods on the hill-slope, as seen from the distance; interior, one mass of mendicancy, ruined by the “famine,” by the potatoe-failure. All towns here seem to depend for their trade on mere produce of the earth: mills, distilleries, bacon, butter, - what of “respectability with gig” could be derived from that has taken station in towns, and all is wrecked now. After lunch, street filled with beggars; people in another coach threw halfpence; the population ran at them like rabid dogs, dogs of both sexes, and whelps; one oldish fellow I saw beating a boy, to keep at least him out of the competition. Rain; “Hay-y-p!” down hill at a rapid pace, happily we get away. Duffy has taken refuge inside; and the rain now for about an hour becomes furious; - lasts in furious occasional showers, but briefer, till near the end of the journey. Desolate, bare, moory country; hanging now in clear wet; much bog, mainly bog; treeless and swept over by a harsh moist wind; ugly, ugly, and very cold; meet drove of horses, coming from (or going to?) some “fair.” Light clean-shanked cob-looking creatures, very cheap; I was told “£5” or so, for they are unbred and they are lean. Sharp-nosed pinched little Irishman with wild grey little eyes and dark hair has now ( I really don’t remember where) got upon the coach, is very explanatory, communicative; - a kind of caterer for some hôtel, as I gathered afterwards. That is “Mangerton” (a huge ugly hulk of a mountain truncated-pyramidal) with the Devil’s Punchbowl on the top of it; that is the lake country; and Macgillicuddy’s Reeks you see there (further westward, an irregular serrated ridge), the highest land in Ireland!” and so forth. A gentleman in dish-hat whom I had seen first in Mallow (Lawless, Lord Cloncurry’s son as I learned afterwards) came now up beside me: civil English dialect, “had got spoiled potatoes to dinner yesterday at Mallow.” Nothing memorable more. A fierce rain, where we changed horses, when he got up; wretched people cowering about to look at us, or beg, nevertheless: and this ended our rain for that evening. N.B. Lawless’s former coach was somehow connected with the London undertaking (new this season) to forward or frank man to Killarney for a certain sum: one or two frankers I think he told me, were in that coach. Dim to me all of it, - and unimportant!

Mangerton, streak of Killarney evening smoke, and Macgillicuddy’s serrated ridge, front of the mountain-country, handsomely fringed too with some wood, were now getting very visible; the moor changes itself into drained cultivated land, with gentlemen’s seats, and human, or more human farmhouses: - decidedly rather beautiful, by contrast especially. Rain gone, wind tolerably fallen; western sky clear as silver, but mostly still overhung with dark waving sheets of cloud. “Inn, and a cup of hot tea;” that is the grand outlook! Big mills (I think?) at crossing of some stream; we are near some castellated modern house up on the left, - name forgotten, proprietor (useful, slightly squinting young man, connected with Peoble O’Keefe’s territory) dined with us next day. High avenues, Lord Kenmare’s; steepish descent; paved street at least, and square-built open street (town of 6,000 you would have said, 12,000 I was told); chaos of hungry porters, inn agents, lodging-agents, - beggars, storming round you, like ravenous dogs round carrion; this is Killarney. Swift, O swift into the car for “Roche’s”, for anybody’s; and let us off!

Woman begging during the Famine

Roche’s, I find is a mile-and-a-half distant; at the lake side or near it; fine avenues all the way, and we go fast – the inn itself, a kind of general lodging house rather, did, in my experience, by no means correspond to our hope. Funeral overtaken by us; the “Irish howl;” - totally disappointing, there was no sorrow whatever in the tone of it. A pack of idle women, mounted on the hearse as many as could, and the rest walking; were hoh-hoh-ing with a grief quite evidently hired and not worth hiring. Swift, thro’ it! Here is “Roche’s,” a long row of half-cottage looking buildings; in the middle part is the inn proper and we get admitted talier qualiter. Bedrooms of the smallest ever seen “no private sitting room;” bread bad, tea lukewarm, & c: public room (which happily is nearly empty) has no window that will come down in it, and to shove any up (or support it up) you must have a stick: evidently not the best ventilated or the best in any respect of terrestrial inns. I walked out, to be free of the hot foul air; would fain have seen the lake or Mucruss Abbey at night without any guide, - but couldn’t, no admittance anywhere. Rain beginning, I came in; wrote a letter; went to bed.