May 2014

History Selection

Lambert Simnel crowned in Dublin
of Lambert Simnel
 May 1487
Battle of Bantry Bay
of Bantry Bay
 May 1689
Phoenix Park Murders
Park Murders
 May 1882
Execution of Easter rebels
Easter rebels
 May 1916
Burning of the Custom House
House Fire
 May 1921
Hunger striker Patsy O'Hara
Hunger strike deaths
 May 1981

Ireland in 1960

January 10th: Birth of Brian Cowen, Taoiseach.

January 13th: The Broadcasting Authority Bill proposed to establish an authority to provide a national television service.

January 16th: The last regular ship on the Cork–Glasgow crossing ran. The service had been going for 103 years.

January 26th: The first staging of Sam Thompson's play Over the Bridge, took place in Belfast, at the Empire Theatre.

January: Miss Elizabeth Synnott’s employment agency advertised in the Irish Times for specifically Protestant staff.

Over the Bridge
Over the Bridge
Frederick Henry Boland
Frederick Henry Boland
January: Taoiseach Seán Lemass defended the sending of horses to foreign abattoirs for use in horse meat.

February 3rd: Irish candidate Frederick Henry Boland received the support of the United States for the presidency of the General Assembly of the United Nations.

February 5th: The film Mise Éire premiered at the Regal Cinema in Dublin.

February 17th: The Television Bill passed its final stage in Seanad Éireann.

March 13th: Birth of Adam Clayton, U2 star.

March 16th: The P & O liner Canberra was launched in Belfast.

April 6th: The Short SC.1 VTOL research aircraft made its first transition from vertical to horizontal flight and back, flying from Belfast Harbour Airport.

April 13th: MV Arlanza became the last passenger liner launched by Harland and Wolff in Belfast (for Royal Mail Line).

May 10th: Birth of Bono, lead singer with U2.

May 27th: The last barge on the Grand Canal left Dublin carrying Guinness to Limerick. The service had been going for 156 years.

Bono as a baby
Bono as a baby
Edna O'Brien
Edna O'Brien
June 1st: Radio Éireann was transferred from direct control of the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs to a separate public authority.

June 5th: Birth of singer Dominic Kirwan.

June 12th: Edna O'Brien's The Country Girls was banned in Ireland.

July 6th: The first Late Late Show was broadcast.

August 23rd: Samuel Beckett's play The Old Tune was first broadcast, by the BBC.

September 4th: Down beat Kerry in the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final.

September 20th: Frederick H. Boland became president of the United Nations Assembly

October 25th: Death of Harry Ferguson, inventor of the modern tractor.

November 8th: Nine Irish soldiers serving with the United Nations were killed in the Niemba Ambush in the Congo.

November 8th: Irishwoman Irene Ruth Kane came runner up in the Miss World pageant.

Funeral after the Niemba ambush
Funeral after the Niemba ambush
Kenneth Branagh (right) with his brother
Kenneth Branagh (right) with his brother
November 18th: The first Aer Lingus Boeing jet Padraig arrived at Dublin Airport.

November 30th: Birth of athlete Catherina McKiernan.

December 10th: Birth of actor Kenneth Branagh in Belfast.

December 12th: Birth of singer Daniel O'Donnell in Donegal.

December 13th: Aer Lingus’ first jet, the Boeing 707 ‘St. Patrick’ made its inaugural flight.

British armoured cars in Dublin
April 1916

British armoured car in Dublin, April 1916

British armoured car in Dublin, April 1916

British armoured car in Dublin, April 1916

Book Review

The Course of Irish History

Author:     T.W. Moody and F.X. Martin

Publisher: Mercier Press

Date published: 2001 [1967]

The Course of Irish History

One of the definitive introductions to Irish history, Moody and Martin's work, first published in 1967, begins its narrative in pre-history and takes the reader on a richly-illustrated journey to the present, with additional chapters covering the political and economic developments of the twentieth century's final decades. Topics include the ancient Celts, the arrival of Christianity, the coming of the Vikings and Normans, and relations between the English, the Anglo-Irish and the Irish from the twelfth century to current times, including the Statutes of Kilkenny, conflict in the Tudor era, the Ulster Plantation, the arrival of Cromwell, the Famine, Irish nationalism and the partition of North and South. Five chapters are given to the divided Ireland.

This book's origins lie in a twenty-one part television series broadcast on RTÉ, then a young station experimenting with new genres. Moody and Martin's series was shown in 1966, the year of the fiftieth anniversary of the Easter Rising. A companion volume involving 21 individual contributors accompanied the series. Its aim was to 'present a survey of Irish history that would be balanced and fair-minded'. Demand continued until the present day; the book is both a useful reference guide and a snapshot of how Irish history was evaluated during the 1960s.

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.