June 2016

History Selection

Melesina Trench, poet
Melesina Trench
Mary Swanzy, artist
Mary Swanzy
Katherine Thurston, novelist
Katherine Thurston
Mother Kevin, missionary
Mother Kevin
Helen Waddell, poet
Helen Waddell
Sinéad de Valera, author and wife of politician Éamon de Valera
Sinéad de Valera

Ireland in 2008

January 1st: 19-year-old Philip Hogarty, chairman of the Irish Chess Union, died after being struck by a Garda car.

January 8th: Clare O'Leary became the first Irish woman to reach the South Pole.

January 13th: Aer Lingus completed their last Shanon to Heathrow flight.

January 21st: €4bn was wiped off the Irish Stock Exchange in the world stock market downturn.

January 23rd: The brother of a Real IRA leader was one of two Irish citizens arrested in Lithuania on suspicion of buying arms for the RIRA.

January 25th: Jacob's plant in Tallaght, Co. Dublin, closed with the loss of 220 jobs.

January 26th: 'The Viper', Martin Foley, was shot in Dublin as part of an ongoing feud between criminal gangs.

February 1st: The Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, travelled to Ballymena to meet the Northern Irish First Minister Ian Paisley.

February 4th: Paddy Doyle, a Dublin-based gangland criminal, was shot dead in Southern Spain

Martin Foley, 'The Viper'

Martin Foley, 'The Viper'

Brian Cowen in 2008

Brian Cowen in 2008

February 6th: A €250,000 grant was announced to allow Orange Lodges to employ a development officer.

February 23rd: Two Polish men were fatally attacked with screwdrivers by teenagers in Drimnagh.

March 5th: Brian Kearney was found guilty of killing his wife at their home in Goatstown in 2006.

March 12th: Libertas launched a campaign called Fact, not politics advocating a No vote in the Treaty of Lisbon referendum.

March 14th: The Economic and Social Research Institute predicated no new jobs and the lowest growth since 1988.

March 26th: Farmer Michael Hanrahan and his son Denis were found shot dead at their home in Moyvane, Co. Kerry.

April 2nd: Bertie Ahern announced his resignation from the position of Taoiseach.

April 8th: Brian Cowen was elected as the seventh leader of Fianna Fáil.

April 12th: Patrick Hillary, former Irish President and European Commissioner, died aged 84.

April 17th: Ciarán Cannon became the leader of the Progressive Democrats.

April 21st: It was revealed that four laptops belonging to the Bank of Ireland had been stolen, containing information for 10,000 customers.

May 6th: The Taoiseach Bertie opened a new visitors centre at the site of the Battle of the Boyne alongside Northern Ireland First Minister Ian Paisley.

May 7th: Brian Cowen was elected Taoiseach.

May 10th: A 16-year-old Ukrainian, Roman Vysochan, was found stabbed to death in Corbally.

May 11th: A man was killed in a small plane crash in Kilmovee.

May 14th: An excavation was carried out in the Slieve Bloom Mountains for the remains of Fiona Pender following the discovery of a cross with her name on it. Nothing was found.

May 20th: Dustin the Turkey failed to qualify for the Eurovision Song Contest.

May 30th: The Convention on Cluster Munitions was adopted after a diplomatic conference in Croke Park.

June 12th: The public voted on whether to ratify or reject the Treaty of the Lisbon Referendum.

June 13th: The Lisbon Treaty was rejected with 53% against.

Dustin the Turkey, Eurovision 2008

Dustin the Turkey, Eurovision 2008

Ger McDonnell

Denis Larkin

June 16th: The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Micheál Martin, met with EU leaders to discuss the Lisbon Treaty.

June 28th: A syndicate of workers at a concrete products plant in County Carlow won Ireland's biggest ever national lottery jackpot of €18,963,441.

June 30th: A law came into effect requiring learner drivers on a second provisional licence to be accompanied by a fully qualified driver.

July 1st: New vehicle registration tax rates based on carbon dioxide emissions were introduced.

July 8th: The Department of Finance announced a €440m spending cutback in the Government budget, which also affected the Department of Health and Children.

July 21st: The French President Nicolas Sarkozy visited Ireland to discuss the future of the Lisbon Treaty with Brian Cowen.

July 28th: Ryanair revealed its first profit loss since 1997.

August 3rd: Ger McDonnell, the first Irishman to reach the summit of K2, was presumed dead after being hit by falling ice on the descent.

August 9th: Chloe Magee became the first Olympian to win a badminton match at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

August 10th: Pádraig Harrington won the US PGA Championship.

August 16th: A Dublin to Cork train derailed south of Portarlington.

August 22nd: A bogslide displaced 30,000 people in Co. Kerry.

September: The Elysian was completed in Cork as the tallest storeyed building in the Republic.

September 3rd: Ireland's unemployment rate reached its highest rate since 1999, at 6.1%.

September 7th: Kilkenny beat Waterford in the final of the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship.

September 19th: Three people suffered minor injuries following a helicopter crash in a school playground in Bettystown.

September 21st: Tyrone beat Kerry to be crowned winners of the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship.

September 25th: It was announced that the Irish economy had officially entered recession in January, the first time since 1983.

September 21st: In a nighttime meeting, the Government decided to offer a €400 billion guarantee to six leading Irish banks to prevent their collapse.

October 2nd: For the first time in its history, Seanad Éireann began debate of a bill after midnight. The Credit Institutions (Financial Support) Act 2008 was passed at eight in the morning.

October 7th: Dave McDoald from observatory J65 discovered asteroid 2008 TM9. It was the first minor planet found by observation from Ireland since 1848.

A derailment at Portarlington

Waiting for Godot

Celine Cawley

Celine Cawley

October 14th: Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan unveiled Budget 2009. It was a tough, controversial budget. Over seventies would lose their automatic entitlement to a medical card and there would be an increase in college fees.

October 21st: Following national outrage, Brian Cowen changed the higher income thresholds to ensure that 95% of the elderly would retain their full medical cards.

October 22nd: Over 25,000 pensioners and students marched on Dáil Éireann to protest the budget.

October 25th: Two adults and two teenagers from England were killed in a plane crash in the Wicklow Mountains.

November 6th: €750 million worth of cocaine was seized off the Irish coast in Operation Seabright.

November 8th: Shane Geoghegan, a rugby player, was shot dead in Limerick in a case of mistaken identity.

December 6th: The Irish pork crisis led to all pork products being recalled following an announcement that animal feed used since 1st September might contain unsafe levels of dioxins.

December 11th: Irish pork was confirmed safe and returned to the market.

December 15th: Former Bond girl Celine Cawley was found murdered at her home in Howth.

December 20th: The Bishop of Cloyne, John Magee, was asked to resign after a report of child abuse in his diocese found that the Church had not responded appropriately.

December 31st: Three Nenagh teenagers became the final road traffic accident victims of 2008.

Muhammad Ali in Ireland, 1972


Muhammad Ali meets the public in Belfast

Hurling lesson

Muhammad Ali gets a hurling lesson from Kilkenny star Eddie Keher

Irish History on Film

The Easter Rising

Footage by British Pathé



Daniel Kelly, Irish Volunteer Organiser, Co. Donegal.

Group of IRA volunteers during the Irish War of Independence

When I received the information about the British troops travelling by train to the west. of Donegal, I contacted two Volunteers, James Lynch and George Doherty (now a commandant in the National Army). I got the two of them to cycle out to Manorcunningham at about ten o'clock that night and, when they arrived there, to get in touch with a lad named William Holmes, and to get him to send a dispatch to Letterkenny about this troop train. Lynch and Doherty cycled to Manorcunningham, but they arrived so late that Holmes could not get any man. Lynch and Doherty cycled on to Letterkenny where they contacted Jim Dawson (now a Superintendent in the Guards). Dawson, who had a motor-cycle, went to Creeslough and got in touch with the Captain of the Creeslough Section, who sent a couple of men in a motor car to contact Joe Sweeney of Burtonport (later a Major-General in the army). Joe Sweeney got a crowd together and put Peadar O'Donnell in charge. The Derry Column - McCann, Rogers and others - was operating around that district. Before the attack was to take place, O'Donnell ordered the Derry contingent to clear off. The Derry Battalion had supplied hand grenades, and any rifles they had down there were supplied by the Derry contingent. The Volunteers under O'Donnell controlled a cutting in the railway between Crolly and Kincasslagh. O'Donnell had boulders placed on the railway. The engine driver told me afterwards that he saw these boulders on the railway and he thought they were sheep. He slowed down the train until he came up to them. O'Donnell and his men were about fifty feet above the train and they hurled the bombs into the train. A report came to Derry that there were several soldiers killed.

A week afterwards, I met this British Major in the Northern Counties Hotel and he was telling me about this ambush. He said: "If the blighters had opened the pins of the bombs, there would not have been one of us left alive". He said they they just threw the hand grenades into the cutting the same as they would throw a stone. I asked him was anybody injured and he said one of the men got a cut from broken glass. The engine driver backed the train to Crolly to get into telephonic communication with the military. O'Donnell's men went off. At that time the railway officials did not know. They thought it was a fish train. There was a Scottish stationmaster named Reid, and a few other head men there, who were the only ones that knew.

A week after that event, troops were being conveyed by rail at about three o'clock in the day. I went to the guard on the train, Johnny Quinn, who was a member of the Volunteers (now deceased), and told him that the instructions were that he was not to go on any train that was carrying military. Quinn said: "I won't go anyway". The engine driver and the fireman on the train were two Protestants, and when they heard that Johnny Quinn would not go, the fireman said: "I'm damned if I'm going to go". He was from Letterkenny. The three of them did not go on that train and, as a result, they were suspended, but still they got their pay from the funds of the I.R.A. party. They were all afraid after that to drive the troops and the military had to get lorries of their own. Joe Sweeney was able to tap telephone wires and got messages intended for the R.I.C. When troops led by R.I.C. arrived in West Donegal by boat they made a few arrests, but whether they got arms or not I don't know.

Towards the end of 1920 there were such things as the raiding of houses. On one occasion we got four rifles in a raid on a Special's house. Three of us raided a few Specials' houses in Park Avenue, Derry, and got four rifles. These rifles were left in the house of Dan Doherty of Bogside, who was sympathetic. But Doherty got excited over the danger involved in keeping the rifles, so we had to remove them to Paddy Lafferty's house. Lafferty was our Quartermaster and looked after arms.

During that period, the end of 1920, we raided Craig's Engineering Works for hand-grenades. According as we were getting them they were shifted to Lafferty's house and this listed for about a week. These grenades were manufactured in Craig's and as it was a big Engineering Works the loss of them was not discovered until a week had elapsed. Paddy Lafferty and I were the two who dealt with the grenades that were taken. I cannot give any accurate estimate of the number of grenades taken by us but it was very considerable. Some of these munitions were sent to Dublin and some to Donegal. At the end of the week the raid was called off. A young postman in Derry named Dan McGandy, an active member of the Volunteers taking part in the raid, had not heard that the raid was called off so he went down to Craig's Foundry thinking the boys would be there and when he put his head in the window he got a smash on it and his body was thrown into the river.

A couple of weeks after this incident Joe Mahon, who was a checker in the Shipyards in Deny, arranged that we would have a raid on the shipyard on a Saturday at 12 noon.

Paddy Lafferty arrived at the shipyard with his horse and boxcart. I met Paddy and brought him to the back entrance gate to the yard. So I was posted at that entrance gate and Joe Mahon brought Lafferty up to this part of the yard where a lot of armoured plating for submarines was stored. So they loaded on to Lafferty's cart about three-quarters of a ton of this plating. In this oreration Joe Mahon was assisted by Joe Carr who was an Engineer employed in the Shipyard. When the load was complete I went along with Lafferty- and he wanted to take a near cut but his horse was unable to bring the load up this little hill. So we went along the Strand Road past two R.I.C. barracks and landed safely at Lafferty's house and deposited the plating in his yard. This plating was designed for plating round a lorry and we were getting this lorry from a petrol company. It was being handed over to us by the lorry driver, a Welshman, named Jones. It was arranged that Jones would hand it over to us when we would be ready to carry out our plan.