James Nowlan (pictured) was born in Kilkenny in 1862 into a republican household – his father, Patrick, was a trusted member of the IRB – and was baptised at Cowpasture in Monasterevin in County Kildare on the 25th May that year – 160 years ago on this date.

He was ‘trained’ from early childhood into sporting and republican activities and, during his short life (he was only 62 years of age when he died) , he became the President of the GAA (from 1901 to 1921) and is the only person to have even been appointed ‘Honorary Life President’ of that organisation.

In 1898, at 36 years of age, he was elected as Alderman to Kilkenny Corporation and availed of the position to great effect in his endeavours to publicise the then fourteen-year’s young ‘Gaelic Athletic Association’, but was less successful in persuading the Central Council of the GAA that it should begin preparations to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 1798 Rising – indeed, the GAA leadership refused to even appoint representatives to the 1798 Centenary Committee, but James Nowlan and a few other GAA members insisted on playing their part in the celebrations.

At the GAA Congress held in September 1901, he was elected President and attempted to steer the organisation towards a more republican path ; for instance, when the ‘Irish Volunteers’ was formed, Nowlan stated that it was a most suitable group for GAA members to join, even though other GAA leaders were not as enthusiastic about the group.

He was arrested by the British in May 1916 following the Easter Rising, and imprisoned in Frongoch, in Wales ; in August that year he was released, and resumed his GAA and Sinn Féin activities. He was to the forefront in campaigning for a general amnesty for all political prisoners and also raised funds for the ‘Irish National and Volunteer Dependent Fund’.

During the ‘Tan War’ (1919-1921) he publicly voiced support for the IRA’s armed struggle and was unmercilessly harassed by the British for doing so – the GAA itself as an institution and anyone associated with it were abused, verbally and physically, by the British establishment and its armed units in Ireland.

James Nowlan retired as GAA President in March 1921, at the Congress that year, and was appointed ‘Honorary Life President’ of the association – the only person to be so honoured.

He died on the 30th June, 1924, at only 62 years of age and, three years after his death, the Kilkenny GAA Stadium became known as ‘Nowlan Park’.

In our opinion, there is a lot more that today’s GAA leadership could do to honour that man properly ; that leadership has to all intent and purpose aligned itself firmly with the establishment of the day and is wasting the potential it has to help achieve a British withdrawal from this country or even, indeed, to draw attention to that subject and the many issues that surround it.

We would suggest that people of the calibre of James Nowlan would have little to do with them today except, perhaps, to try and avail of the organisation as a ‘platform’ from which to highlight issues of injustice.


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, July, 1954.

The ‘Armagh Raid’ emphasises the need in the military sphere to do something to get rid of the British forces of occupation.

In the political sphere, one of the most important tasks that must be done is to stop the sending of persons – alleged to be representing the Irish people – to take part in the parliament at Westminster, thereby giving support to the claim of the English Government to rule Ireland.

There are 12 areas in the Six-County region sending three representatives and Sinn Féin are determined to fight all twelve areas. Their policy is not to take part in Westminster, but to demand the re-assembling of the Republican Parliament for All Ireland. This is a task in the political field every bit as important as military attacks on the enemy.

For this task money is urgently needed – a minimum fund of £3000 will be required. Sinn Féin Cumainn and members and sympathisers of the Republican Movement generally are strongly urged to subscribe to the fund and to take up collections among their friends and at football matches etc. The election may be sprung at any time now. It is vital that we should have the funds in hand and the machinery ready. Preparations must be made now.

Contributions and offers of help should be addressed to – An Runaidhe, Sinn Féin, 2 Lower Abbey Street, Dublin.

(END of ‘Sinn Féin Northern Election Fund’ ; NEXT -‘Get England Out!’, from the same source.)


‘The Burning of the Custom House (pictured) in Dublin took place on 25th May 1921 (- 101 years ago on this date -), during the ‘Irish War of Independence’. The Custom House was the centre of local government in the British administration in Ireland. It was occupied and then burnt in an operation by the Irish Republican Army, involving over 100 volunteers…’ (from here.)

In May 1921, the IRA decided to burn down the centre of British Administration in Ireland – the Custom House in Dublin. The Dublin Brigade of the IRA (consisting of approximately 120 Volunteers) moved in on the building during working hours. Positions were taken up around the Custom House by armed IRA Volunteers, while other members entered the building, carrying cans of petrol.

The civil servants working in the offices were told to get out, which all did, except for one woman who, having being told to leave immediately (incidentally, she was given that instruction by one of the IRA men who had been active on ‘Bloody Sunday’, as the British called it, when Michael Collins hit out at British Intelligence operatives) replied – “You can’t do that..” The IRA man showed the woman his revolver and the can of petrol he was carrying, and she is alleged to have said – “Can I get my hat and coat?” to which he replied “Lady, you’ll be lucky if you get your life.” She left the building immediately.

The IRA men were scattering the contents of filing-cabinets and other paper work etc onto the floor and pouring petrol on it, and on the furniture. As the flames caught hold, the alarm had already been sounded in near-by Dublin Castle – “Armed men at the Custom House!” A force of British troops and Auxiliaries hurriedly left Dublin Castle and joined their colleagues, who were coming under fire, around the Custom House.

The British administration issued the following statement the day after the attack – ‘Three tenders carrying Auxiliary cadets, accompanied by an armoured car, approached the Dublin Customs House, which was occupied by a large body of Sinn Féiners. The cadets dismounted from their tenders under heavy fire and surrounded the Customs House, which was seen to be on fire. Fire from the Auxiliaries and the machine-guns on the armoured car was poured into the windows of the Customs House, from which the rebels replied vigorously, and a series of desperate conflicts took place between Crown Forces and seven or eight parties of rebels, who rushed from different doors of the building and made dashes for liberty, firing as they ran. The first party to emerge from the building consisted of three men, one of whom was killed and two wounded.

By this time smoke and flame were pouring from the building, and the official staff, including many women, who had been held prisoners by the rebels, came flocking out with their hands above their heads and waving white handkerchiefs. While these defenceless people were leaving the building the rebels continued to fire from the windows. The staff were taken to a place of safety by some of the Auxiliaries. As the staff were leaving the building the rebels made their last sortie, and of this party, consisting of seven men, only one escaped, the rest being killed or wounded.

The British sent two companies of Auxiliaries and several hundred British Army troops to the area and stormed the blazing building, where many of the rebels surrendered. Some of them were found to be saturated with petrol which they had been pouring over the flames, and several of them were probably burnt to death before the Crown forces entered…at the conclusion of the fighting dead and wounded rebels lay about on all sides…four Auxiliaries were wounded, 7 civilians were killed, 11 wounded, and over 100 captured.’

It later emerged that five IRA men were killed, as were three civilians. The British forces suffered four wounded, but greatest loss was in the capture of about 80 IRA Volunteers at the scene. The following men were involved in/affected by that operation – John Byrne, James Connolly, Patrick Thomas O’Reilly, Stephen John O’Reilly, Patrick Mahon Lawless, Edward Dorins and Daniel Joseph Head.

That republican operation took place 101 years ago on this date – 25th May (also, see ‘Short Stories’ piece, below, for other IRA operations that were carried out on that same date, in an attempt to ‘thin out’ the British forces).


Ulster loyalism displayed its most belligerent face this year as violence at Belfast’s Holy Cross School made international headlines.

But away from the spotlight, working-class Protestant communities are themselves divided, dispirited and slipping into crisis.

By Niall Stanage.

From ‘Magill’ magazine, Annual 2002.

On the small Glenbryn estate, now infamous as the epicentre of the Holy Cross protest, the residents are angry.

They believe their actions have been misunderstood, that the background to the dispute has gone unreported, and that they have been unfairly maligned by media and politicians alike.

Some of their wilder rhetoric – drawing comparisons between Gerry Adams and Osame bin Laden, or referring to the school pupils’ parents as ‘the real child abusers’ – borders on the surreal. But other complaints cannot be so easily dismissed.“Places like this have been deprived for years, left to rot..” says Andy Cooper, a spokesperson for the residents, “..the media goes to the nationalist side and says ‘poor people, poor people’. There are ‘poor people’ in this area too, but they have been silent in their grief for thirty years.”

‘The Troubles’ have extracted a grim toll from protestant and catholic communities alike in North Belfast. More than 500 people have been killed, and many of those murders have shown the conflict at its most savage and sectarian. The social and economic problems that make the region such a fertile breeding ground for paramilitaries have not been tackled.

Nationalist representatives may be more eloquent than unionists in expressing the need for massive regeneration, but Protestant areas are suffering too. In the greater Shankill district, unemployment is close to 70% and, in small enclaves further north, like Tiger’s Bay, the figure is higher still…



Gerard Boland (pictured) was born in Chorlton-on-Medlock, in Manchester, England, on the 25th May 1885 – 137 years ago on this date.

Not long after he was born, the family moved to Dublin and young Gerard went to school at CBS in Clontarf and the O’Brien Institute in Fairview. He worked as an apprentice fitter on the ‘Midland and Great Western Railway’ (1900 to 1907), while taking evening classes at Kevin Street technical school. When he qualified he was employed as an engine fitter by Dublin corporation.

A history buff, he began socialising in Irish republican circles and joined the ‘Celtic Literary Society’ in 1902, and was sworn into the Irish Republican Brotherhood in 1904. He was 31 years of age when the 1916 Easter Rising took place and he played an active part in the fight, with his comrades in the Second Battalion, in Jacob’s Factory in Bishop Street in Dublin, fighting alongside Thomas MacDonagh (who was executed by the British on the 3rd May 1916).

He survived the Rising but was arrested and interned in Knutsford internment camp in Cheshire in England and in Frongoch in Wales (pictured) and, like his friend Éamon de Valera, stayed true to his republican principles (he was released in the general amnesty of the 24th December 1916); in 1921, he refused to accept the ‘Treaty of Surrender’ and continued fighting for the 32-County Republic ; he was captured by the Staters in July 1922 and was imprisoned for two years.

However, five years after rejecting that Treaty, both himself and his friend Éamon de Valera (among others) abandoned their republican principles and left the Republican Movement (his brother, Harry, stayed true) to establish the Fianna Fáil political party and, in 1933, that party took control of the Free State and Gerard Boland was appointed as the ‘Chief Whip’ of that State cabinet (from 1932 to 1933).

He continued ‘to do the State some service’ as State Minister for Posts and Telegraphs (1933 to 1936), State Minister for Lands (1936 to 1939), State Minister for ‘Justice’ (1939 to 1948 and 1951 to 1954, during which time periods he was instrumental in imposing internment and military courts on and against republicans), and held a seat in the Free State Senate from 1961 to 1969 – he had failed to keep his Leinster House seat in the election held on the 4th October 1961, and was placed in the State Senate for safe keeping/future use by the State ‘Establishment’.

Mr Boland died in Dublin at the age of 87 on the 5th January 1973.


In 1955, splits were occurring in the IRA as several small groups, impatient for action, launched their own attacks in the Occupied Six Counties. One such activist, Brendan O’Boyle, blew himself up with his own bomb in the summer of that year. Another, Liam Kelly, founded a breakaway group ‘Saor Uladh’ (‘Free Ulster’) and in November 1955, attacked a Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) barracks at Roslea in County Fermanagh. One RUC man was badly injured and a republican fighter was killed in the incident.

In the UK general election held on Thursday, 26th May 1955, Sinn Féin candidates were elected as TD’s for the Mid-Ulster and Fermanagh and South Tyrone constituencies in the Occupied Six Counties, with a total of 152,310 votes. The following is the Election Manifesto that the then Sinn Féin organisation put to the people :


In the election of 1918 the Irish people, by an overwhelming majority, repudiated the claims of England and her parliament to rule them and they established the Irish Republic which was proclaimed in arms in 1916. The Republican Government and State then established were later overthrown by England and the nation was partitioned into two statelets. The cardinal objective of the Irish people is the restoration of the Republic thus unlawfully subverted.

The resurgent confidence of Irish men and women in their own strength and ability to achieve the full freedom of their country and the right of its citizens to live in peace, prosperity and happiness has enabled Sinn Féin to contest all 12 seats in this election and give an opportunity to our people in the Six Counties to vote for Ireland, separate and free. Sinn Féin candidates are pledged to sit only in a republican parliament for all Ireland.

Apart altogether from the futility of the procedure, sending representatives to an alien legislature is in effect attempting to give it semblance of authority to legislate for and govern the people of North-East Ulster. Sinn Féin candidates seek the votes of the electorate and the support of the Irish people as the representatives of the Republican Movement now on the onward march towards achievement of the National ideal – the enthronement of the Sovereign Irish Republic.

The winning of seats in these elections will not be regarded by Sinn Féin as an end in itself, nor will the results, whatever they be, effect in any way the determination of republicans to forge ahead towards their objective. Neither will the number of votes recorded for the republican candidates be looked upon as something in the nature of a plebiscite affecting in any way the right of Ireland to full and complete freedom. That right is inalienable and non-judicable and must never be put in issue through referendum of a section of population nor of the people of the country at large.

Through the medium of the election machinery, Sinn Féin aims at providing an opportunity for the electorate, in all constituencies, and for the people of the country, to renew their allegiance to Ireland, and by their support of the republican candidates demonstrate to England and to the world the right of an ancient and historic nation to its complete and absolute freedom and independence.

Sinn Féin has been charged with disruptionist tactics. The aim of Sinn Féin today as always is to secure unity of thought, purpose and deed in the achievement of separate nationhood. Bigotry, persecution and sectarianism have no place in the Sinn Féin programme. Republican policy has ever been to secure civil and religious freedom for the Irish nation and the individual citizens.

Ireland and all its resources belongs to the Irish people. Sinn Féin will, with the consent of the Irish people, organise and develop the resources of the nation for the benefit of its citizens irrespective of class or creed. The continued occupation of Ireland by England makes such development impossible, since England has succeeded in making effective in Ireland the imperial dictum of ‘Divide and Conquer’ thereby impoverishing not only the Irish people but the material resources of the country as well.

Sinn Féin appeals to all Irishmen to forget all past dissension’s and to demonstrate by their support of the Sinn Féin candidates their opposition to English occupation and their determination to achieve national independence.

Published by Sinn Féin Northern Election Committee, Divis Street, Belfast and printed by the Cromac Printery, Belfast.’

The big news of that (1955) election was Sinn Féin’s two seats and its 23.6% of the vote, won on a clearly stated political platform policy of abstentionism from any British-linked parliament.

Sinn Féin’s two successful candidates in Mid-Ulster and Fermanagh and South Tyrone, Philip Clarke and Thomas Mitchell, had been imprisoned for their part in the raid on Omagh but, as they were serving prison sentences at the time, they were deemed ineligible to serve in the House of Commons and their seats were awarded to the defeated unionist candidates!


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, March, 1955.

Membership of Sinn Féin is open to all Irish men and women of good character, but members of political parties, of course, are not eligible.
At least seven persons are necessary to form a new cumann, and an Ard Comhairle will send a representative to preside at the inaugural meeting.

We advise groups who are anxious to form new cumainn to write to ‘The Secretaries, 3 Lower Abbey Streey, Dublin’, for full information.

(END of ‘Join Sinn Féin’ ; NEXT – ‘Gaelic Revival’ and ‘Poppy Day – £13,000’, from the same source.)


On the 25th May, 1920, the IRA’s Galway No. 1 (Mid-Galway) brigade launched an attack on the nine RIC men and their sergeant who were inside their barracks (pictured) in the village of Loughgeorge (‘Leacht Seoirse’), on the main Galway to Tuam road, about nine-and-a-half kilometers from Eyre Square in Galway.

Martin Nyland, Nicholas Kyne, Michael Walsh, Sean Broderick and Jim Furey were in command of the IRA raiding party and one of the first actions they carried out was to block the roads between Loughgeorge and Galway and between Loughgeorge and Oranmore, in order to at least slow down if not prevent enemy reinforcements getting to the scene.

Trees were felled and makeshift walls erected and, as evening began, the attack was launched.

The building was sturdy, constructed with sandstone walls and surrounded by barbed wire. The objective was to drive the RIC from the building and then destroy it, making it (and other military posts like it) uninhabitable, thus lessening British ‘eyes and ears’ in any particular area. A bomb was placed against the gable wall of the barracks which blew a large hole in it, and gunfire was directed into the building from the opening.

As it turned out, the only casualty in the whole engagement was one RIC member inside the building, who got struck by flying glass ; a building next to the barracks, ‘Duggans Workshop’, was damaged in the explosion, and a horse and a foal who were stabled in the Duggans yard were found dead afterwards, after the Duggans returned to their building – they had hurriedly vacated the area when the fight began.

The IRA were unable to flush the RIC members out of the barracks, but they did set part of it on fire and structurally damage it, before withdrawing safely from the scene at dawn, as British reinforcements from Eglington Street were attempting to come to the rescue of their colleagues.

The operation might not have been completely successful, but it did confirm to the British forces and their lackeys in Ireland that they were not safe in this country, not even when locked inside a military barracks.


…1745 :

It is recorded that, on the 26th April, 1745, Kildare-based ‘Lord’ John Allen (the ‘3rd Viscount Allen’, former MP for the Carysfort area and Grandmaster of the Grand Lodge of Ireland, a post he held for three years) ‘..received a wound in an encounter with one of the Guards at Dublin, whom he shot…’

That wound killed him on the 25th May, 1745.


…1798 :

At the start of the 1798 Rising, ‘United Irishmen’ leader Michael Heydon organised a force of over 1,000 fighters into four different groups, and put a plan in action to take back control of the town of Carlow, by simultaneously challenging the British presence in that town from four points, at the same time.
On the 25th May, 1798, that plan was acted on, even though the intended link-up with the rebel force from Wexford didn’t happen.

However, informers had been at work, and the British were well aware of the intended rebel action, and they had prepared themselves ; Michael Heydon and his fighters had an easy passage into the town and were about to begin victory celebrations when they were caught in volleys of gunfire, directed at them with accuracy from the buildings and houses that surrounded them.

The rebels sought-out whatever shelter they could find only to be attacked then by British forces who were on the ground – they tried to get off the streets and into the buildings around them but were attacked as they did so and then those buildings were set on fire by the British.

One survivor recounted the following – “I know a man as gentle as any who woke to realize his house was on fire [and] threw on some clothes and ran to the street carrying his young daughter. He was instantly shot dead and his child…the burned and charred corpses of upwards of five hundred gallant Irishmen lay strewn around in the smouldering ruins in the highways and byways of the town ere the sun set on this fatal day…”

Any of the fighters who managed to escape from the immediate area were shot by Crown Force loyalists and were also pursued and killed by soldiers and yeomanry. The streets, roads and fields were strewn with the bodies of the fallen.

A local man who became known as ‘Paddy the Pointer’ helped to identify escaped rebels to the British military by riding around the town and pointing them out ; captured rebels were hung and their bodies thrown in the ‘Croppy Hole’, a mass grave across the river in Graiguecullen.

The body count that day was about 1,000 people – approximately 600 rebels and about 400 innocent civilians were slaughtered.

(The following day [26th May], a similar slaughter took place at Dunlavin Green in County Wicklow – more here.)


…1842 :

On the 25th May, 1842, Helen Blackburn was born on Valentia Island, in County Kerry ; she would become a campaigner in London for the emancipation of women and a leading suffragette, and a tireless campaigner for working women’s rights.

She was the secretary of the ‘Bristol and West of England Suffrage Society’ and, in 1891, she co-founded the ‘Women’s Employment Defence League’, edited ‘The Englishwoman’s Review’ (from 1889-1902) and, in 1896, co-edited ‘The Conditions of Working Women and the Factory Acts’.

She died at Greycoat Gardens, Westminster, on the 11th January, 1903, and is buried at Brompton Cemetery (‘the West of London and Westminster Cemetery’). Helen was a thorn in the side of ‘Officaldom’ – a “troublesome woman” – and we need more like her.

More here…


…1895 :

On the 25th May, 1895, Oscar Wilde (pictured – Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde) was sentenced to two years imprisonment for “…committing acts of gross indecency with other male persons..” and was taken away to serve his sentence.

He spent the first several months at London’s Pentonville Prison, where he was put to work picking ‘oakum’, a substance used to seal gaps in shipbuilding, where he spent hours untwisting and teasing apart recycled ropes to obtain the fibers used in making the product. He was later transferred to London’s Reading Gaol, where he remained until his release on the 19th May 1897.

After his release, Oscar was given a temporary roof over his head by a socially-conscienced and open-minded man of the cloth, Stewart Headlam, as interesting a character as Oscar Wilde was ; he was married to a lesbian (Beatrice Pennington) and also maintained ‘close relations’ with known homosexuals William Johnson and C.J. Vaughan, among others.

However, his health had deteriorated in prison due to his living conditions (he was not used to roughing it, in that particular manner) and came to rely on alcohol to get him through the day.

He died in Paris, on the 30th of November, 1900, at 46 years of age, from cerebral meningitis following an ear infection.

“I can never travel without my diary, one should always have something sensational to read on the train.”


…1921 :

As part of the Custom House attack in Dublin (see above piece), the IRA had organised other operations on that same day to relieve the pressure on their comrades in the Custom House ; these ‘relief operations’ were ordered by IRA Dublin Brigade HQ and were carried out by IRA Volunteers from the 6th Battalion, and two Volunteers from the 3rd Battalion, Dublin Brigade – John Kiernan and Fred Lawlor – took over the switchboard of Tara Street Fire Station in order to at least delay fire crews from getting to the scene.

Gun attacks were carried out in Dublin on Dundrum RIC Barracks and on Cabinteely RIC Barracks (which was attacked twice that day), and Enniskerry RIC Barracks in Wicklow was also attacked.

A British military patrol on the Bray road at Stillorgan came under attack, a naval base and wireless station in Dun Laoghaire, Dublin, were attacked and a British Army lorry, on the Alma Road, in Monkstown, Dublin, was hit be gunfire.


…1921 :

A (catholic) ex-British Army soldier, Thomas Reilly (39), was shot dead by a (protestant/loyalist) gunman near his home in Butler Street (house number 113), in Belfast.

Mr Reilly had joined the British Army’s ‘Royal Irish Fusiliers’ Battalion on the 6th September 1901 (‘Service Number 20789’) and was stationed in South Africa. He was discharged on the 26th July, 1916, and joined the ‘Royal Field Artillery’ on the 24th November 1917 (‘Service Number 249836’) but was quickly discharged as being physically unfit.

He was with his son, John, at about 10.15pm on Wednesday night, the 25th May 1921, on Brookfield Street in Belfast, walking home from a card game, when he was shot dead by a loyalist gunman.


…1921 :

A Cavan man, Patrick Briody (60) was shot dead by the IRA on the 25th May, 1921.

Mr Briody, from the Ballinagh area of Cavan, was a cobbler in the Glan Mullaghoran area who was on very friendly terms with the RIC and the Black and Tans, and they with him. He was told by the IRA that his comradeship with enemy forces had been noted and that he should cease such activities, but he refused to do so.

An IRA surveillance operation discovered that The RIC and the Tans were calling to him very often under the pretext of taking their shoes in for repairs, and it was eventually discovered that he was giving them any information he had on republican activity in the area. As a result of what he was doing, he was arrested by the IRA, tried by court martial and shot as a spy. A ‘Spies And Informers Beware – IRA’ notice was left on his body.


…1921 : On the 25th May, 1921, the RIC surprised a group of IRA Volunteers at Bunree, in County Mayo, and fatally wounded Volunteer James Howley. He died from his wounds three days later –
‘We cleared away across the felds to Quignashee. It was then after curfew time and, as Howley and Byrnon couldn’t return to Ballina, we decided to go to Quinns’s of Bunree and remain there for the night.

In the early hours of the morning, the house was surrounded by the RIC. They hammered the front door and ordered us to come out with our hands up. We burst out the back door, firing.

When we were nearly on the Ballina Road, Howley was shot. I took his gun and Healy and I continued to fire until we got around the corner at Bunree Bridge..” (More here.)


…1922 :

On the 25th May, 1922, a member of the ‘Ulster Special Constabulary’ grouping, a James Murphy (27), was shot dead by a sniper in McAuley Street in Belfast, and one of his colleagues, a man named Connor, died in the Markets area of that city.

In Seaforde Street, in East Belfast, three young children were wounded in gun and bomb attacks.

Also, on that same date, a teenager, Esther McDougall (19), who lived in Number 11 Stanhope Street, Belfast, was shot dead – the young girl was due to give evidence against a loyalist bomber, and another teenager, John Moore, was shot outside his front door in Hooker Street in Belfast.


…1956 :

Kevin Lynch, the 19th Irish republican POW to die on hunger strike since 1917, was born in the small village of Park, near Dungiven, in County Derry, on the 25th May, 1956.

Kevin was ‘arrested’ by British ‘security forces’ in December 1976 and charged with a number of offences including conspiracy to steal weapons from those same security forces and, in December 1977, he was ‘tried’, convicted and sentenced to ten years, in the Maze Prison in County Down, for conspiracy to obtain arms, taking part in a punishment shooting and conspiring to take arms from the ‘security forces’.

This brave man went on hunger strike in the Maze on the 23rd May 1981 and died 71 days later, on the 1st August. You can read more about Kevin here.


…1971 :

On the 25th May, 1971, a car pulled up outside the joint RUC/British Army Springfield Road Barracks in Belfast, and an IRA man carrying a suitcase got out of it. He entered the lobby area of the barracks, threw the suitcase in, and left the building.

The suitcase contained 30lbs of explosives and a British Army soldier, Michael Willetts (28), was badly injured when it detonated, and he was rushed to the Royal Victoria Hospital. He died there on the operating table two hours later.


…1978 :

On the 25th May, 1978, the IRA lifted two young men off the street and brought them in for questioning.

Brian McKinney and John McClory had raided an IRA arms dump and taken a revolver, which they later used to rob a bar, without having to actually fire the weapon.

They were both executed, and were buried in Colgagh Bog in County Monaghan, but their remains were only recovered on the 29th June 1999.

They knew themselves to expect a punishment from the IRA if they were caught but, in our opinion, what happened to the two of them far outweighed the crime.


…1991 :

On the 25th May, 1991, Eddie Fullerton, a Provisional Sinn Féin (PSF) councillor in Buncrana, Co Donegal, was shot dead by the loyalist so-called ‘Ulster Freedom Fighters’ (UFF), a cover name used by the ‘Ulster Defence Association’ (UDA).

This killing took place despite a loyalist ceasefire announced by the ‘Combined Loyalist Military Command’ (CLMC) that began at midnight on the 29th April 1991. The UDA stated that the ceasefire did not apply to the Free State.


Thanks for the visit, and for reading.

Sharon and the team.

Posted in History/Politics. | Leave a comment



John Gerard Bruton (left of pic, posing with his role model) was born into a wealthy farming family in Dunboyne, in County Meath, on the 18th May 1947 – 75 years ago on this date – and was educated at Clongowes Wood College, an expensive boarding school in Clane, in County Kildare, and in University College, Dublin.

He graduated from UCD in 1968 with a ‘Bachelor of Arts’ degree in economics and politics, ignorant of the fact that trying to tax children’s shoes and clothing would upset people to the extent that, in 1982, a Leinster House administration fell as a result of trying to do just that.

Incidentally, Mr Bruton instructed the then secretary of the State Department of Finance (a Mr Maurice O’Connell) to ‘consult’ with the British Treasury in Westminster as to the best manner of introducing such a tax ; something, we believe, to do with people of a small stature in England buying children’s shoes and clothes for themselves because adult sizes were taxed and those purchasers were avoiding paying same by buying children’s sizes!

Anyway – Mr Bruton was first elected to Leinster House as a Fine Gael member in 1969, when he was 22 years of age, and retired from Leinster House politics (with a pension of £2,875 a week for the rest of his life!) in 2004.

During those years he held a number of high-salaried positions within this corrupt State – Parliamentary Secretary to the State Minister for Education and Parliamentary Secretary to the State Minister for Industry and Commerce from 1973 to 1977, State Minister for Industry and Energy from 1982 to 1983, State Minister for Industry, Trade, Commerce and Tourism from 1983 to 1986, State Minister for Finance from 1981 to 1982 (and 1986 to 1987), State Minister for the Public Service from January 1987 to March 1987, Deputy Leader of the Fine Gael party from 1987 to 1990, Leinster House ‘Leader of the Opposition’ from 1990 to 1994 (and 1997 to 2001) and State ‘Taoiseach’ from 1994 to 1997.

I don’t think we’ve left anything out from the above CV but, if we have, it will only prove that Mr Bruton should be entitled to an even bigger State pension!

Since retiring from Leinster House he has been earning a crust (!) as, among other things, the ‘Ambassador of the European Union to the United States’ (for five years), vice-president of the (centre-right) ‘European People’s Party’ (EPP) and he joined the Board of ‘The Institute of International and European Affairs’ in November 2016. Sure he barely has the time to collect his pension each week, never mind spend it…

The ‘happiest day of his life’, apparently, was when he got to hang-out in Dublin with a member of the British ‘royal’ family, ‘Prince’ Charles, in 1995, and grovellingly toasted the man, and more than likely shared his opinion with ‘Prince Charles’ that the 1916 Rising was a mistake and should not have happened (…and please note that we haven’t yet achieved our independence).

Indeed, the cringeometer buzzed so much because of Mr Bruton’s lap-dog activities during his ‘happy day’ that even well-known journalist Mary Holland couldn’t help but comment –

‘…several hundred people, presumably middle-class and moderate, chose not to attend the British embassy’s party in the prince’s honour. Others declined the invitation to dine at Dublin Castle. Their reasons for doing so must have varied but such decisions underline the fact that relations between Britain and Ireland are not yet entirely normal…the North stands as the main obstacle to that normality…a visit by a royal prince or princess may help to improve the atmosphere but it will not change the hard reality of the political problems that still have to be solved…

I am not concerned, well not primarily, with how John Bruton chose to conduct himself publicly during the Prince of Wales’s visit. Any Irish leader who is described as “embarrassingly effusive” by the London Times and inspires a leader in the Guardian urging him to get a grip on his “extravagantly nonsensical attitudes” to the royal guest must – mustn’t he? – learn from his mistakes…

The North stands as the main obstacle to that normality…a visit by a royal prince or princess may help to improve the atmosphere but it will not change the hard reality of the political problems that still have to be solved…’

In St. Andrew’s Resource Centre (in Dublin) one elderly man, having listened to local old age pensioners enthusiastically singing ‘For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow!’, said to me: “They’ve brought him to the very street where Patrick and Willie Pearse were born and they haven’t even told him. It breaks my heart…’ (From here.)

Finally, in the issue of ‘The Sunday Times’ propaganda sheet, dated 17th April 2016, in the ‘You Say’ column of their ‘Culture’ magazine, a John Bruton had a letter published in which he ‘tut-tutted’ television programme makers for their carelessness in how they present British Army etiquette in their work –

– but that couldn’t possibly be the ‘John Bruton’ we know who, as a proud Irishman, would never offer ‘jolly hockeysticks’ to the British ‘royal’ family or its military, surely.

Could it…?


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, July, 1954.

On Monday 14th June last, Limerick Corporation passed unanimously a resolution calling on the (Dublin) government not to co-operate with the British authorities in their investigations concerning the Armagh raid, and added that there should be no attempt to co-operate with the North of Ireland police in identifying those responsible.

The ‘Westmeath County Committee of Agriculture’ unanimously voted “…that we congratulate the fifteen brave men who successfully raided Gough Barracks, Armagh, and we call on the Taoiseach not to assist in any investigation in connection with the affair..”

A meeting of the ‘Anti-Partition Association’, the ‘Old IRA’ and other bodies in Dundalk on Sunday 13th June last passed an emergency resolution urging “…that there should be no political co-operation between the Dublin and Belfast governments or between the police and military forces of the two areas..”

(‘1169’ comment – some of the descriptions used by the organisations quoted above ie ‘police…old IRA…governments..’ is inaccurate, but the sentiment expressed cannot be faulted!)

(END of ‘Meetings Urge ‘No Co-Operation’ ‘ : NEXT – ‘Sinn Féin Northern Election Fund’, from the same source.)


On the 18th May, 1916, ‘The Daily Express Newspaper’ carried an article on the death of a British Army Sergeant Major (and former RIC member), a Mr Patrick Brosnan (50), who was killed ‘in unfortunate circumstances’ by one of his own on the 25th April, 1916, during the Rising in Dublin.

Patrick Brosnan was born in 1865 in Dunmanway, in County Cork and, at 21 years of age, he joined the RIC (‘Service Number 51727’).

When he was 29 years of age he was promoted to the rank of ‘acting sergeant’ and, at 31, he took over the sergeants job. When he was 43 years of age he took the office of ‘head constable’, a position he held until he ‘retired on pension’ in 1911, at 46 years of age.

He believed he had more to offer to the British ‘war effort’ and signed-up in Armagh with the 3rd Battalion of the ‘Royal Irish Fusiliers’ regiment of the British Army as a musketry instructor, with the entry rank of sergeant major (‘Service Number 15231’), and was stationed in Finner Camp in Buncrana, in County Donegal, even though he was then living in Dublin (in BA family quarters, in Dublin Castle) with his wife, Lucy (35), a Leitrim woman (nee Glynn, an RIC mans daughter), and their 7 children. They had been married for about 13 years.

In April 1916 he was ‘on leave’ in Dublin, visiting his family, and was due back in Buncrana on the 25th of that month.

The Rising began on the 24th and, whereas it’s beyond dispute that Patrick Brosnan died on the 25th April, there are two versions of how that happened : one source claims that, on realising that British ‘rule’ in Ireland was being challenged by armed ‘dissidents’, he offered his services to the British Army Castle Garrison to fight off the rebels and, on the 25th April, he went onto the street outside the army enclosure to see for himself what was happening.

While out on the street he saw an armed republican setting his rifle sights on a British Army soldier stationed inside the Dublin Castle compound and sergeant major Brosnan disarmed him and took his rifle. A BA soldier saw an armed man, in civilian clothes (Patrick Brosnan was ‘on leave’, and therefore not wearing his RIF army uniform) and the soldier presumed that the armed man was one of the ‘dissidents’ and shot him in the chest.

A different version states that when he went outside the British Army garrison he saw a teenage boy pick up a rifle from beside the body of a dead rebel on nearby Palace Street and he took that rifle from the boy. A man then attempted to take the weapon from Brosnan and a fist-fight ensued between the two men.

Brosnan got knocked to the ground, letting go of the rifle, and the other man aimed at him and pulled the trigger ; the shot missed, Brosnan got back up on his feet and again grappled with the man for possession of the rifle.

He eventually took the rifle from the man and ran towards Dublin Castle with the weapon. A British Army soldier inside Dublin Castle saw an armed man, in civilian clothes, running at his position and shot him dead.

It wouldn’t be fair to say that the man should have minded his own business, as ‘defence of the empire’ was the ‘business’ he had involved himself in, but he was ‘on leave’ and should have stayed with his family. Things might have worked out better for him (and his wife and children) had he done so.

Instead, as circumstances had it, he was shot dead, by accident, by one of his own.


Ulster loyalism displayed its most belligerent face this year as violence at Belfast’s Holy Cross School made international headlines.

But away from the spotlight, working-class Protestant communities are themselves divided, dispirited and slipping into crisis.

By Niall Stanage.

From ‘Magill’ magazine, Annual 2002.
Republicans have fired shots at Protestants three times in recent weeks during eruptions of trouble at so-called ‘interface areas’. Police officers (sic), mindful of political sensitivities, have refused to say whether responsibility lies with the IRA or a dissident group.

In early September, 16-year-old Thomas McDonald, a Protestant, was knocked down by a motorist while riding his bicycle on the Whitewell Road. The driver of the car is then alleged to have stopped and reversed over him. A 32-year-old Catholic woman has been charged with his murder. Thomas McDonald is not the only Protestant to have been killed in North Belfast in the recent past. Who, outside his own community, now remembers the fate which befell taxi driver Trevor Kell last December?

Lured to a house in a loyalist area, he was shot through the head by members of the IRA apparently acting without the organisation’s approval…



From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, March, 1955.

The annual commemoration in honour of Peter Barnes and James MacCormack, who gave their lives for the Republic in Birmingham, in England, on Ash Wednesday morning, 1940, was held in the Thomas Ashe Hall in Cork on Monday night, 7th February last.

The commemoration was held under the auspices of the Cork Comhairle Ceanntair of Sinn Féin, and buglers of Fianna Éireann sounded the Last Post and Reveille. The commemorative address was given by D. Mac Cionnaith, Cathaoirleach Comhairle Ceanntair Chorcaighe, who read the Proclamation of 1939 and, for the benefit of the large numbers now coming into the Republican Movement, briefly sketched the history of the Movement from 1919 to 1940.

Liam Earley (MacCurtain Cumann), in proposing a vote of thanks to the lecturer, answered some of the misleading statements now beimade against the Republican Movement and Seamus O’Regan (MacCurtain Cumann), a comrade-in-arms of Barnes and MacCormack, seconded the vote of thanks.

Domnall O’Cathain (Brian Dillon Cumann), who presided, appealed for the continued support of ‘An Cumann Cabhrach’ and, in conclusion, the Cork Volunteer Band played the National Anthem.

(END of ‘Barnes and MacCormack Remembered In Cork’ ; NEXT – ‘Join Sinn Féin’, from the same source.)


…1915 :

Edwin John Benbow was born in Dublin in 1886 and, as a young adult, he pursued a ‘military career’ and ‘served the Empire’ as a member of the 1st Battalion of ‘The Irish Guards’.

On the 18th May, 1915, his grouping took part in the ‘Battle of Festubert’ and he lost his life there.


…1918 :

On the 18th May, 1918, the British political administration in Dublin Castle ‘arrested’ about 150 Irish republicans under a false claim that those ‘dissidents’ were conspiring with Imperial Germany to instigate another rising in Ireland.

By pure coincidence (!), those ‘arrested’ were opposed to the British military and political presence in Ireland and were also campaigning against conscription in Ireland into the British war machine.

Among the people seized by the British was Éamon de Valera, who was seized at his home in Greystones in County Wicklow and taken to Kingstown (Dún Laoghaire) RIC Barracks, and Constance Markievicz, Darrell Figgis, Denis McCullough, Seán McEntee, Arthur Griffith, William Cosgrave MP, Joseph McGuinness MP, Dr Richard Hayes and Seán Milroy – all republican organisers and leadership figures.

The decision to use a so-called ‘German Plot’ to imprison the opposition was made by John Denton Pinkstone French, the then British ‘Lord Lieutenant’ in Ireland (‘Viscount French’), and his colleague, the ‘Chief Secretary’, Edward Shortt, both of whom claimed to have discovered “that a seditious element had been engaging in treasonable communication with Germany…”

Both of them, and others, were looking in the wrong direction…


…1920 :

On the 11th November, 1919, Dáil Éireann (the legitimate institution, not to be confused with the Leinster House political structure), in Harcourt Street, in Dublin, was raided by British forces and, basically, anything of interest to them was taken.

Included in their swag was paperwork which including headed notepaper and, at a press conference held by Sinn Féin in Dublin, on the 18th May 1920, Arthur Griffith displayed threatening letters, on Dáil notepaper, which were received that week by members of the Dáil.

Westminster and its serfs in Dublin Castle had again left their ‘calling cards’.


…1920 :

Thomas William Foster was born in Holburn, in London, in 1889 and, as a young adult, he joined the 45th Battalion of ‘The Royal Fusiliers’, worked his way up the ranks to the position of Sergeant, and fought for the ‘British Empire’ in Russia.

At 31 years of age he joined the RIC (on the 18th May 1920 – ‘Service Number 129109’) and, on the 6th July 1920, he was found dead in his room in the barracks where he was stationed.

An inquest stated that he lost his life due to ‘temporary insanity’ ; more than likely the poor man was suffering from PTSD, as were many of his colleagues, but that illness was not recognised and/or acknowledged at the time.

He is buried in Grangegorman Cemetery in Dublin.


…1921 :

On the 18th May, 1921, Thomas McKeever, a shop assistant in Dunmore in County Galway, was taken out of his lodgings by armed men and shot dead.

A note stating ‘Convicted Spy – Traitors Beware’ was found pinned to his body but it later transpired that the deed had been carried out by the RIC, who attempted to make it look like an IRA killing.

Inquiries made by the local parish priest confirmed that to be the case, and he condemned the Crown Forces as “murderers”.

Also, an IRA Officer in Dunmore, Thomas Mannion (pictured), stated that the IRA were not involved in the shooting of Thomas McKeever and their information was that he was indeed shot dead by the RIC.


…1921 :

An RIC Sergeant, Francis J. Butler (56) (‘Service Number 59260’), a Roscommon man, had made a name for himself in Newport, County Mayo, as ‘a thug in uniform’, and local people knew to avoid him if they could, as he was fond of throwing his weight around.

He was leaving the barracks on the evening of the 18th May, 1921, when a shot rang out and the RIC man fell to the ground, wounded ; two men from the IRA West Mayo Brigade Flying Column, Jim Moran and Jim Browne, had set up a sniper position some distance away from the barracks and their shot found its target.

Sergeant Butler died from his wound in Castlebar Infirmary Hospital the following day and, on that same day, the homes and businesses of Michael Kilroy and his brother, John, were burnt down in retaliation by the Crown Forces.


…1921 :

A member of the ‘Blue Banner’ Lodge of the ‘Orange Order’, George Walker (19), of 29 Eight Street in Belfast, was taking part in an ‘Orange Order’ parade on Beverly Street in that city on the 18th May 1921 when ‘a disturbance’ broke out and he was shot.

His wound was treated in the Royal Victoria Hospital and he was discharged, but he died later from pleurisy and pneumonia.

The ‘Orange Order disturbance’ spilled-over onto the Newtonards Road and the Short Strand and a 29-year-old former British Army soldier, John Smyth, was shot. He died shortly afterwards.


…1921 :

Six members of the IRA West Waterford Active Service Unit were captured by British Forces near Kilrossanty, in County Waterford, on the 18th May, 1921, and were sentenced to five years penal servitude. Their Officer Commanding, George Lennon, avoided capture and escaped from the scene.


…1921 :

In mid-May, 1921, British Army reinforcements were sent into West Donegal with the instructions to ‘neutralise’ an IRA Flying Column, under the command of Peadar O’Donnell (pictured), which was active in the area.

Peadar O’Donnell instructed the Officers Commanding of the Letterkenny Company of the IRA, Hugh McGrath and Anthony Dawson, to create a diversion in Letterkenny to allow himself and the Flying Column to escape from the area and re-group and, on the 18th May, 1921, the plan was put into action.

On that date, at about 11pm, an RIC foot-patrol in Letterkenny was ambushed by the IRA and a ‘Constable’ (of 3-months standing), Albert Edward Carter (19) (‘Service Number 78015’), from Kildare, was shot in the throat and died, and his Sergeant, Charles Maguire, was wounded twice in the hip and also on the calf of one of his legs.

While that IRA operation was taking place, the RIC barracks on Lower Main Street was also attacked.

British Forces, comprising the RIC, the British Army and the Black and Tans took to the now almost-deserted streets looking for revenge and two local men, Anthony Coyle and Simon Doherty, were injured and McCarry’s Hotel, where the Sinn Féin Courts operated from, was shot up and a grenade thrown through the window.

‘The Derry Journal’ newspaper (20th May 1921) reported that ‘…there were heavy and continuous fusillades, which continued for several hours, and two civilians were wounded by rifle bullets, Anthony Coyle in the wrist and leg, and Simon Doherty in the foot…’

Peadar O’Donnell and his men were successful in vacating the area.


…1922 :

On the 18th May, 1922, two men on their way to work – Samuel McPeake (50) and James Donaghy (46) – were on board a tram on the Crumlin Road in Belfast and blessed themselves as they were passing the Holy Cross Chapel. Two armed loyalists on board noticed that they had blessed themselves, thus identifying them as Catholics. The loyalists approached the two men and shot them dead, and left the tram.

On the same day, Thomas McCaffrey, a (Catholic) passenger on a tram which was passing along on Mountcollyer Avenue, in Belfast, was shot dead by a loyalist gunman.

Also on the 18th, 20-year-old Hugh McDonald, from Saul Street in the Short Strand in Belfast, was travelling home on a tram when it was stopped by a group of armed loyalists on the ‘Queen’s Bridge’ over the river Lagan, leading into the loyalist-dominated east of the city.

The armed men got on the tram and asked if there were any “Fenians” on board ; Hugh McDonald panicked and tried to get off. The loyalists ran after him, pinning him down in Memel Street and beat him to death.

…1922 :

On the 18th May, 1922, at about 3am, a 20-strong Unit of the IRA attacked Musgrave Street RIC Barracks in Belfast, with the intention of re-arming itself ; the ‘dissidents’ had hoped, in particular, to liberate two armoured cars for their own use.

The operation was led by Roger McCorley (pictured) and Seamus Woods (both of whom were later to abandon republicanism in favour of Free Stateism) and, during the attack, an RIC member, John Collins, was killed (by IRA Captain Joe Murray) and a USC operative named McKeown was wounded.

A number of IRA Volunteers were wounded and, while the armoured cars remained beyond their reach, some enemy weaponry was seized and put to proper use.


…1922 :

A USC member, George Johnson, died on the 18th May 1922 (listed elsewhere as the 19th) after he was either thrown from or fell off a Crossley Tender truck he was travelling on. The incident/accident occurred on the Keady to Newtownbutler Road in County Armagh. One report at the time stated that he died after the truck crashed and, if so, we hope that the truck was a write-off, too.


…1922 :

On the 18th of May 1922, British troops evacuated Victoria Barracks, in Cork (pictured), and it was then handed over to Commandant Sean Murray of Cork No. 1 Brigade of the IRA. Among the last British officers to serve there was Major Bernard Law Montgomery (the infamous ‘Monty’) who is on record for saying the following about his ‘adventures’ in Ireland –

“My own view is that to win a war of this sort you must be ruthless…Oliver Cromwell, or the Germans, would have settled it in a very short time…it never bothered me how many houses were burned. I regarded all civilians as Shinners..”

Major Bernard Law Montgomery, the Right Honourable 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, KG, GCB, DSO, PC, DL, died in his sleep on the 24th March, 1976, aged 88, in his country home in the south of England.

Himself and Cromwell are probably still comparing notes.


…1949 :

On the 18th May, 1949, a solid Free State socialist (!) was born at Woodstock, Ballindine, in County Mayo, and matured grew-up to take charge of the State ‘Labour Party’ and lead it to political greatness…

But seriously ; it would take a great person to transform the State Labour Party into a socialist entity rather than the capitalist political ‘mudguard-for-whoever-will-have-us’-party it is today, and birthday-boy Pat “isn’t-that-what-you-do” Rabbitte wasn’t it.

No one could do that, truth be told, because unprincipled political mud-guards-for-hire for FF, FG, Greens etc are ten-a-penny in Leinster House.

He left State politics in 2016 and is currently a member of the ‘Council of the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI)’ and is also the Chairperson of Tusla (appointed by Dr Katherine Zappone!) but certainly won’t be stuck for a few bob.

Anyway – here’s a tribute (!) we wrote about Mr Rabbitte a few years ago and we wouldn’t change a word of it today…


…1984 :

Two RUC members were killed when the IRA exploded a land mine as their armoured patrol car travelled near Camlough, in County Armagh, on the 18th May 1984 and, on the same date, two British Army soldiers were killed (and another died later as a result of his injuries) after the IRA planted a booby trap bomb under their car in Enniskillen, in County Fermanagh.


…2001 :

Seán Mac Stíofáin [pictured] (John Edward Drayton Stephenson) died on the 18th May, 2001, in Our Lady’s Hospital in Navan, County Meath, after a long illness, at the age of 73.

He was a controversial figure within the Republican Movement, and served as an IRA commander, a founding member of the Provisional IRA and its first Chief of Staff (from 1969 to 1972). Shortly after leaving that position, he was sidelined within the Movement and finally parted ways with Sinn Féin in 1982 in a dispute over political differences.

‘Despite his controversial career in the IRA, many of his former comrades (and rivals) paid tribute to him after his death. Ruairí Ó Brádaigh, who attended the funeral, issued a glowing tribute, referring to Mac Stíofáin as an “outstanding IRA leader during a crucial period in Irish history” and as the “man for the job” as first Provisional IRA chief of staff.

Ita Ní Chionnaigh, of Conradh na Gaeilge, whose flag draped the coffin, lambasted Mac Stíofáin’s “character assassination” by the “gutter press” and praised him as a man who had been “interested in the rights of men and women and people anywhere in the world who were oppressed, including Irish speakers in Ireland, who are also oppressed”…’ (From here.)

He is buried in St Mary’s Cemetery, Navan.




We’re ok now (…or at least no worse than we ever were..!) but these four/five/more-day birthday parties are not getting any easier to recover from!

One of the Girl Gang had a BIG birthday on Tuesday 10th last (her actual birth date, but we celebrated/commiserated two days beforehand and two days afterwards, as ya do..!) – we booked an upstairs function room in a pub in the Dublin 12 area and ended up ‘owning’ the downstairs bar and lounge as well.

We had a DJ in the function room and there was a ballad session in the downstairs lounge at the same time. Guaranteed enjoyable chaos as, at first, we raced from the sound of the 80’s upstairs to the downstairs ballad session and, as the night/morning went on, we stumbled from one to the other!

There was about seventy of us, which increased to about one-hundred as the night went on and dwindled to about fifty in the wee small hours. The venue we were in served an early morning breakfast and about thirty of us availed of the service, washed down with a couple of pots of good, strong tae!

Anyway – we’re back after our absence last Wednesday and, apart from such BIG birthdays, probable ‘staycations’ and a mad holiday in New York (which we’re talking about..!), we ain’t goin’ nowhere!

Thanks for the visit, and for reading.

Sharon and the team.

Posted in History/Politics. | Leave a comment


Once one of the top* politicians in Leinster House (*by State ‘standards’, anyway, which isn’t really saying much…), this millionaire ‘Landlord’ almost wet himself with excitement, in public, when he got the opportunity to meet a member of the British ‘royal’ family.

Ireland, 1918 – “Seditious and treasonable Imperial German supporters” rounded-up in Ireland and detained by the British, but the timing of that action gave Westminster away…// military-inflicted PTSD treated as “temporary insanity” by the British ‘police’ in Ireland in the 1920’s.

This man was shot dead by the RIC who ‘tricked-up’ the scene to make it look like an IRA operation…// 1921 – a ‘neutralising’ operation by the British Army in Donegal was itself neutralised by the IRA in two separate attacks at the same time…// 1922 – tram deaths in Belfast ; loyalists use public transport to find ‘Fenians’ to kill…// this British Army Sergeant Major was ‘on leave’ in Dublin in 1916 when the Rising took place and, during his effort to defend British misrule, he was shot dead by one of his own.

…and a 15-part ‘Short Story’ section…sure wha’ more do ya want..?!

Thank you for visiting, and for reading ; see ya on Wednesday, 18th May 2022, when all the above (and even more..!) will be put in front of ya!

Sharon and the team.

Posted in History/Politics. | Leave a comment




(To) The Chief Crown Solicitor,

Royal Court of Justice (Ulster),



4th May 1973

Dear Sir,

Londonderry (sic) Inquests

The problems surrounding these inquests were discussed at the Secretary of State’s meeting on Wednesday the 2nd May as were the proposals put forward in the opinion of Mr. Brian Hutton, QC, dated the 1st May.

The Secretary of State felt that although there would be certain advantages in making the proposed order, he nevertheless thought that to do so could create considerable political difficulties and, on balance, he decided not to take any action to interfere with the normal procedure.

He did not wish the inquest to be held until after the elections.

There are difficulties attending almost any period in the immediate future but it seems it would create the minimum of difficulties if the inquests could be delayed until, say, August.

Although the GOC was present at the meeting I think it would be wise for you to inform the Ministry of Defence of the present position and no doubt you will also advise Counsel and the RUC accordingly.

I am sending a copy of this letter to Brian Hall, Ministry of Home Affairs and Leslie Imrie at Stormont Castle and M. de Winton of the Law Officers Department, London.

Yours faithfully,

J. MacMahon,

Asst. Legal Secretary.

The above letter was sent from J MacMahon, ‘(British) Attorney General’s Office’ to the ‘(British) Chief Crown Solicitor’ on the 4th May 1973 – 49 years ago on this date – in connection with the murders by ‘their boys’ in Derry on Sunday, 30th January 1972 ; British soldiers shot 26 unarmed civilians during a protest march in the Bogside area of Derry. Fourteen people died, of whom thirteen were killed outright, while the death of another man four months later was attributed to the injuries he suffered on the day.

British military operatives decided that ‘official’ discussions about that day of slaughter should not take place “until after the elections..(and)..it would create the minimum of difficulties if the inquests could be delayed until, say, August…”

Obviously, the deaths of innocent Irishmen (and women) should take second-place to the political requirements of Westminster.

“I went with Anger at my heel

Through Bogside of the bitter zeal

– Jesus pity! – on a day

Of cold and drizzle and decay.

A month had passed. Yet there remained

A murder smell that stung and stained

On flats and alleys-over all-

It hung ; on battered roof and wall,

On wreck and rubbish scattered thick,

On sullen steps and pitted brick.

And when I came where thirteen died

It shrivelled up my heart. I sighed..”

(By Thomas Kinsella. More details on ‘Bloody Sunday’ here.)


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, July, 1954.

Gearóid O’Broin of Dublin continued, in his oration –

“Efforts are already been made by the enemies of Ireland and particularly by the imperialist press to misconstrue the purpose for which these arms were captured from the British forces in Armagh.

Let there be no doubt in the mind of any man or woman in Ireland on this matter ; those arms were captured by the republican forces for use against the British occupation forces still in Ireland and they will be used against them, please God, in due course.”

(END of ‘Stirring Bodenstown Commemoration’ ; NEXT – ‘Meetings Urge ‘No Co-Operation”, from the same source.)


Art Ó Laoghaire (Art O’Leary, pictured) was born in 1746 in Cork and took a military path in life ; he worked his way up to be a captain (said to be a ‘hot-tempered’ officer) in the Hungarian Hussars and ‘seen service’ in the Austro-Hungarian army, following which he returned home to Rathleigh House, near Macroom, in his native county.

Among the items he brought home with him was his army horse, which was much admired by all who seen the animal, including the ‘High Sheriff of County Cork’, an arrogant man named Abraham Morris, who was also a (protestant) landowner and a magistrate, who lived in Hanover Hall, in the town of Macroom.

Mr Morris socialised in ‘toff’ circles and one of his acquaintances was a local English ‘gentryman’ named Baldwin, who told Art Ó Laoghaire that he wanted to purchase his horse for £5 – the ‘Penal Laws’, in force at that time, stated that no catholic (like, for instance, Art Ó Laoghaire) could own a horse worth more than £5 and could be forced to sell a more valuable one, on demand, to any protestant for £5 (incidentally, under those same ‘laws’, no catholic could be a magistrate, or a lawyer)

‘..that so much of an Act passed in the seventh year of King William III, entitled An Act for the better securing the government by disarming papists, as subjects any papists, who shall after the twentieth day of January 1695 have or keep in his possession, or in the possession of any other person to his use or at his disposal, any horse, gelding, or mare, which shall be of the value of five pounds or more, to the penalties therein mentioned…’ (From here.)

Anyway – Art refused the ‘offer’ but Mr Baldwin insisted that the ‘deal’ go ahead and wouldn’t take no for an answer ; a physical confrontation ensued and poor Mr Baldwin (!) got the crap bate out of him and reported the incident to his friend, Abraham Morris, the ‘High Sheriff’, who issued a warrant for the arrest of Art.

Whether it was during the serving of the warrant (during which, it seems, Mr Morris demanded that Art Ó Laoghaire sell him the horse for a fiver!) or before or after it, on the 13th July, 1771, a dispute between ‘Morris the Sheriff’, one of his ‘servants’ and Art Ó Laoghaire led to more punches being thrown and further charges being brought against Art.

In October that year (1771), the issues were taken to ‘court’ but the horse owner must have been tending to his horse or whatever, as he was too busy to present himself to that ‘legal body’ and was ‘indicted in his absence’, with Mr Morris sweetening the pot by offering a 20 guinea reward for his capture and declaring that Art Ó Laoghaire was now an ‘outlaw’ and could ‘legally’ be shot on sight!

In reply, Art challenged ‘Morris the Sheriff’ to a duel, but his offer was declined. Instead, Mr Morris organised a posse to locate and capture or kill the ‘fugitive’ and, on the 4th May 1773 – 249 years ago on this date – he was shot dead by one of Morris’ men. Not long after that shooting, Art’s brother, Cornelius Ó Laoghaire, shot Mr Morris, wounding him, and he died in September 1775, from injuries believed to have been as the result of having been shot that day.

We’re not sure what Mr Morris thought of the ‘quality’ of the horses, or the price of them, that accompanied his hearse to his final resting place…

Finally, the poem ‘Caoineadh Áirt Úi Laoghaire’ (‘Lament for Art O’Leary’) was composed in the main by his wife Eibhlín Dubh Ní Chonaill after his death, and the late Irish poet, Thomas Kinsella, later translated the entire poem into English. It was voted as one of Ireland’s favourite poems by readers of ‘The Irish Times’ State propaganda sheet in 1999 –

‘The English respected you

Bowing to the ground

Not because they loved you

But true to their hearts’ hate

They’re the ones who killed you

Darling of my heart

My lover

My love’s creature…’

‘Lo Arthur Leary, generous, handsome, brave,

Slain in his bloom lies in this humble grave…’


Ulster loyalism displayed its most belligerent face this year as violence at Belfast’s Holy Cross School made international headlines.

But away from the spotlight, working-class Protestant communities are themselves divided, dispirited and slipping into crisis.

By Niall Stanage.

From ‘Magill’ magazine, Annual 2002.

On the streets of North Belfast, the peace process (sic) sometimes doesn’t amount to much. Breige Burns hasn’t felt its benefits – her home of twenty years has been pipe-bombed three times in five weeks. The Catholic grandmother has decided it is time to sell up and get out.

17-year-old Leona Davis was walking home one night in October when a group of loyalists drove past, called her a “fenian scumbag” and hurled a brick at her. Her forehead will bear the scars long after her fractured skull heals.

The young pupils of Holy Cross Girls’ Primary school in Ardoyne will grow up with the terror of the past few months lurking somewhere in their minds. They will remember a daily walk to school marked by policemen (sic) in riot gear, adults screaming abuse and blast bombs being thrown into their midst.

But while there is no mistaking the scale of intimidation suffered by nationalists in the area – there have been approximately 250 pipe bomb attacks this year – the violence has not all been one-sided… (MORE LATER.)


On the 27th April, 1921, IRA Volunteers from the 2nd Kerry Brigade arrested a local elderly man, Tom O’Sullivan, a travelling ‘handy man’ and ex-British Army soldier, who had been pointed out to them as being an informer.

That information came from two British Army deserters, George Mottley and Jack Steer, who were captured by the IRA and who recognised O’Sullivan as a constant visitor to their barracks for meetings with the Black and Tans.

The two deserters were later told to go to the townland of Barraduff, in Aghadoe Civil Parish, Barony, in County Kerry, to ‘lie low’, and off they went. The Barraduff Company IRA met them as arranged and, also as arranged, they executed them.

The IRA interviewed Tom O’Sullivan, found him guilty of being an informer and, on the 3rd May, 1921, a priest from the presbytery in Rathmore, North Cork, was sent for to give the man spiritual consolation, following which Mr O’Sullivan was shot dead. A plan was devised by the IRA to use the informers body as ‘bait’ ; his remains were labelled with a placard stating ‘SPY’ and he was laid out on display on the Bog Road outside Rathmore, and the RIC were notified.

On Wednesday 4th May 1921 – 101 years ago on this date – the North Cork Flying Column of the IRA, operating with Volunteers from the Cork No. 2 and Kerry No. 2 Brigades (comprising about fifty Volunteers in total), with Humphry Murphy, Andy Cooney, Manus Moynihan and Séan Moylan in command, ‘set up shop’ in the early morning as their information was that a party of RIC men would be in the area before Noon to investigate the body on the road and, as expected – at about 10am that morning – an RIC sergeant and nine ‘constables’, all armed, left Rathmore RIC Barracks, on bicyles, heading towards the Bog Road.

As the nine enemy operatives were making their way along the Bog Road they were ambushed by the IRA and a gunfight ensued ; the RIC sergeant, a Roscommon man (‘Service Number 62054’) named Thomas McCormack (35) was shot dead (his family received £710 in compensation from Westminster) and seven of his colleagues were either shot dead in the ambush or died later from their wounds (the ninth man, named Hickey, escaped and survived)

James Phelan (‘63574’) 33, born in Limerick,

Headley D Woodcock (‘72743’, £1200 compensation), 21, from England,

Robert Dyne (‘75917’, £1000 compensation), 21, born in Sussex in England,

Alfred Hillyer (‘73061’), 19, from England,

Samuel H Watkins (‘72778’, £570 compensation), 21, from Middlesex in England,

Walter Thomas (‘70259’), 30, born in Middlesex in England and William E Clapp (‘72708’, £700 compensation), 23, born in Hants, in England (all the dead Englishmen had between three and eight months’ ‘service’ with the RIC).

The IRA liberated a large quantity of arms from the scene, including eight rifles and 800 rounds of ammunition but, in retaliation, the Crown Forces burned five houses in the vicinity of the ambush and raided, looted and burned Rathmore Creamery.

But it was Irish republicanism that was the cat that got the cream that day…


On Sunday, 1st May, 1921, Thomas Keane, the newly-appointed Captain of ‘C Company’, Limerick City 2nd Battalion IRA, and Volunteer Henry Clancy were on their way to collect two revolvers from Volunteers of ‘A Company’ IRA in Béal Átha Síomoin (Ballysimon), a townland in Kilmurry Civil Parish, in Barony, County Limerick.

As arranged, the two men met up with an IRA Captain, Casey, and collected the two guns, neither of which were loaded.

The two men and Captain Casey were taking a shortcut out of the area, across a field when, in the distance, they seen and heard a Crossley Tender truck and an accompanying ‘cage car’, both carrying Black and Tans, leaving a road and entering the same field that they were in, and driving in their direction. Captain Casey decided to run in the opposite direction while Captain Keane and Volunteer Henry Clancy threw themselves flat on the ground, hoping that they had not been seen.

But, within minutes, the two men were surrounded by the Tans, clubbed with rifle butts, kicked and punched. They were then handcuffed and thrown into the Crossley Tender, both badly injured from the beating they had suffered, more so Henry Clancy, as he was known by the Tans to be active against them, and he knew the fate that awaited him, if he stayed put as their prisoner, so he made a run for it but they shot him dead.

IRA Captain Thomas Keane was ‘tried by field general court martial’ on the 14th May by the British with ‘being unlawfully in possession of arms and waging war against the Crown Forces’ and was sentenced to death. At 8am, on the 4th June 1921, he was placed in front of a firing squad and shot to death ; republican supporters and mourners who were outside the British barracks at the time of his execution were attacked by British forces and forcibly removed from the scene.

Henry Clancy’s funeral was held on the 4th May 1921 – 101 years ago on this date – in Mount Saint Lawrence Cemetery, in Limerick, but it was not a peaceful affair. British forces attempted to take it over, restricting the number of mourners, changing the route of the funeral procession and harassing those present ; they only ‘permitted’ the hearse, one carriage and five mourners to proceed to the graveyard, so locals made their own way there and, when they arrived, the RIC and the Tans interrupted proceedings again, by opening fire in all directions.

The mourners found themselves surrounded by armed British forces who harassed them, as they searched the crowd for familiar faces.

IRA Section Leader Patrick Michael Downey (32), ‘B Company’, 1st Battalion, Mid Limerick Brigade, was among the mourners and knew if he was spotted by the enemy he would be ‘arrested’ or shot, so he made his way to a near-by field to leave the area but was shot dead by the RIC while doing so ; an RIC Sergeant, James Horan, from Mayo, was said by locals to be the man who pulled the trigger, and his name also surfaced in relation to the shooting of Volunteer Henry Clancy.

Horan was fast ‘making a name’ for himself, having played a major part in the killings of five members of the IRA who were captured at Caherguillamore House on the 27th December, 1920, and the shooting dead of two teenage brothers in County Clare in February 1921.

Indeed, such was the ‘name’ he made for himself that, immediately following the ‘Treaty of Surrender’ in December 1921, the ‘British Home Office’ instructed that he was to be re-located to Britain for his own safety, as it was common knowledge that the IRA was after him.

IRA Volunteers Thomas Keane, Patrick Michael Downey and Henry Clancy are buried in the Republican Plot in Mount Saint Laurence Cemetery, in Limerick.


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, March, 1955.

A recent ‘Sunday Press’ newspaper leader says that British statesmanship treats Ireland differently from the rest of the world. There follows some comments about the six-county unemployment rate (it is affected by partition) and about the defence of these islands (Irish shield for British warrior).

The article ends as follows – ‘If there were any sincerity in Britain’s ‘search for peace’ it would be felt here where there is a wrong done by her, crying out to be remedied. Yet she will not lift her hand to remove the wrong, she will not discuss it or confer about it, and the minority she favours model their attitude on hers. Who then can trust her when she talks about reducing international tension, or of working for world peace founded on justice?’

Thus British statesmanship is insincere. Does that mean that we should cease to place our hopes in it? That we should turn to other methods? No, not a bit of it! We should cry, with millions throughout the world, ‘Perfidious Albion’!’

What about Perfidious Ireland?

(END of ‘Shoneenism 1955’ ; NEXT – ‘Barnes and MacCormack Remembered In Cork’, from the same source.)


…1715 :

Joseph Deane was born in about 1674 in what is now known as Crumlin, in what is now known as Dublin (!) ; his father, Joseph, was married to a woman called Elizabeth Parker, who was the daughter of the then Archbishop Dublin, John Parker.

His family were ‘well got’ with the political elite of the day, so much so that they mixed in the same social circles in which Oliver Cromwell moved, and were rewarded for their loyality with large parcels of land in five counties, including in the Dublin area ; they sold some of ‘their’ land (ie an estate in the Carlow area) but held on to the rest of it.

Joseph was appointed as the ‘Justice of Assize for Munster’ and secured a seat for himself in the English parliament, and continued to work his way up the socialite ladder – he was gifted a position as a judge and ‘worked’ his way up to be the ‘Chief Baron of the Irish Exchequer.’

You would think with all those titles that he would be well dressed, but apparently not ; he was out of an evening, on horseback, watching an eclipse of the sun, and caught a chill, which morphed into a bad cold which developed into a fever which, on the 4th May in 1715, killed him.

However, the horse survived.


…1773 :

On the 4th May in 1773, according to ‘The Dublin Journal’ newspaper, a Mr. Thomas Burton, who was once ’employed’ as a member of the British Parliament for the Ennis area in Ireland, was the victim of “a melancholy accident”.

The poor man ‘…met with the melancholy accident of being overturned in his chaise, by which he was killed on the spot, in his return home, in company with a gentleman who was to have been married to his daughter the following day..’

Also, on that same date in 1782, another ‘melancholy accident’ made the headlines of the day ; according to ‘The Norfolk Chronicle’ newspaper… ‘On Saturday morning last a melancholy accident happened to Robert GATHERGOOD, son of [rest of line obscured] GATHERGOOD, bricklayer at Swaffham. As [obscured] letting down a piece of old wall belonging to [obscured] MARCON, Esq., it all at once gave way, and part [obscured] fell upon him, which bruised him in so terrible a manner, that he languished till past ten o’clock on Sunday morning, and then expired, to the no small grief of his wife and disconsolate parents. This unfortunate young man was in the 25th year of his age, was a kind indulgent husband to an affectionate wife, to whom he had been married but just twelve weeks, whose grief on the occasion is almost insupportable. On Monday the Coroner’s inquest sat on the body, and brought in their verdict Accidental Death.’

Information on other such ‘melancholy accidents’ can be read here.

Let’s all be careful out there..!


…1782 :

On the 4th May, 1782, one of the so-called ‘Catholic Relief Acts’ was relaxed enough by Westminster to ‘permit’ Catholics to own land outside parliamentary boroughs, to be teachers, and to act as guardians, in their own country.

However, 240 years after that act of generosity, Westminster has still to pass an ‘Act’ which will give Ireland – all of it – back to the Irish.


…1916 :

On the 4th May, 1916, four members of ‘The Irish Volunteers’ were executed by firing squad, by the British, at Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin : Edward Daly, Michael O’Hanrahan, William Pearse (brother of Padraic Pearse) and Joseph Mary Plunkett.

Joseph Mary Plunkett was allowed to marry his sweetheart, Grace Gifford, inside the jail, and was allowed a few moments with her alone before he was taken out and executed.


…1919 :

On the 4th May, 1919, an Irish-American delegation representing ‘The Irish Race Convention’ arrived in Dublin to inquire into the political situation in the country. The delegation consisted of Frank P Walsh, a labour lawyer, Edward F Dunne, the former Governor of Illinois, and Michael J Ryan, a Philadelphia lawyer ;

‘A platform declaring that a state of war exists between England and Ireland were passed…[during the convention] with numerous overflow meetings. One and a half million dollars, in round figures, was subscribed for the purpose of carrying forward the Irish movement to enforce the principle of self-determination. Of that amount, New York, Massachusetts, Chicago, Philadelphia and the women of the Ancient Order of Hibernians pledged $150,000 each, while communities organizations and individuals underwrote lesser amounts…’ (From here.)


…1922 :

On the 4th May, 1922, as a convoy of Free State troops were driving in to Newtowncunningham Village in County Donegal, in three Crossley Tender trucks, they couldn’t help but notice that the street they were driving through was packed with IRA men on either side of the road.

A gunfight erupted, and how exactly it started is still disputed : the Staters claim that it was obvious to them that they had driven into an IRA trap/ambush (and perhaps opened fire ‘in self defence’?) while the IRA claimed that they presumed that it was a British Army convoy on its way to Derry (because of the use of Crossley Tender trucks and British Army-styled uniforms?).

Shots were exchanged until it became clear that the trucks were carrying Staters rather than members of their parent company, the British Army and, realising this, the IRA Commanding Officer, Seán Lehane, ordered his men to cease fire, in keeping with a truce* which had been agreed that day in Dublin. Seán Lehane was then fired on by the Staters and, in response, the IRA let loose with a fusillade of bullets resulting in the deaths of four Staters and the wounding of five others.

One of the injured Staters could not be located, and it seems he had been abandoned by his own and left behind in Newtowncunningham after the truck convoy regrouped and fled the scene.

*A joint ‘Army Committee’ was set up on the morning of that same day (4th May 1922) consisting of IRA fighters Liam Lynch, Liam Mellows, Sean Moylan, Rory O’Connor and Seamus Robinson and Free Staters Michael Collins, Richard Mulcahy, Diarmaid O’Hegarty, Eoin O’Duffy, Gearoid O’Sullivan and Sean MacEoin and a truce until the 8th of May (1922) was agreed but, on the 15th of that month – patience worn thin – the IRA spokesman, Liam Lynch, told the Staters that “negotiations must cease if a definite understanding for agreement is not reached.” He called their bluff, in other words, and negotiations ceased.

On the morning of the 4th May, 1922,, Michael Collins had issued a circular to all Free State operatives, political and military, instructing them to prepare schemes of non-cooperation with the Stormont administration. Shame he couldn’t have done something similiar a few months earlier, when he accepted ‘assistance and advice in how to deal with the Irregulars’ from Stormont’s paymasters in Westminster.)

A few paragraphs re the Newtowncunningham Village incident can be read here.



Thanks for the visit, and for reading.

We won’t be posting our blog next Wednesday, 11th May 2022, as one of the ‘Girl Gang’ has a BIG Birthday [ a ‘BIG’ number before the ‘0’!] on Tuesday (10th) and, although it’s more-or-less half-organised now, it’s gonna take maybe two days beforehand to finalise the gig, which itself will last for probably two days (!) and then it’ll take about two days afterwards to recover from it. And I don’t wanna be doing this with a pounding headache and the shakes!

But we’ll be back on Wednesday, the 18th May, 2022 with, among other bits and pieces, a few paragraphs about a millionaire Leinster House politician who said the 1916 Easter Rising was a mistake and that it was an unjust war. But sure wha’ would ya expect from a Free Stater who sits in a British-imposed ‘parliament’ in Dublin…?

Thanks for the visit – see y’all on the 18th!

Sharon and the team.

Posted in History/Politics. | Leave a comment



We’ll be posting the contents of a letter marked ‘CONFIDENTIAL’, dated 4th May 1973, sent from one high-ranking British politician to another, in which ‘Bloody Sunday’ (1972) is referenced…// Munitions liberated from British Forces in Armagh in 1954 “will be used against them..”, according to the Republican Movement…// In Ireland, in the late 18th Century, a dispute over an army horse – ‘valued’ by the British at £5 – led to recriminations…

Ireland, 1998 : a 17-year-old girl was walking home one night in October when a group of loyalists drove past, called her a “fenian scumbag” and hurled a brick at her. Her forehead will bear the scars long after her fractured skull heals…// Ireland 1921 – the British military made use of this elderly man when he was alive, and the Republican Movement ‘made use’ of him after that…// This RIC man made such a name for himself, in 1921, that the British ‘Home Office’ had to involve themselves in spiriting him out of Ireland, for his own safety…// ‘Shoneenism’ in 1955 was as prevalent then as it is now…// And a six-part ‘Short Story’ piece.

Thanks for the visit, and for reading ; see ya on Wednesday, 4th May 2022, when all the above (and maybe more..!) will be expanded on!

Sharon and the team.

Posted in History/Politics. | Leave a comment



Austin Stack (pictured) was born on the 7th December, 1879, in Ballymullen, Tralee, County Kerry and, at 29 years young, joined the ‘Irish Republican Brotherhood’ (IRB).

At the time of the 1916 Rising, he was 37 years of age and was the commandant of the Kerry Brigade of the Irish Volunteers and was arrested, by the British, with Con Collins, on the 21st April that year while planning an attack on Tralee RIC Barracks in an attempt to rescue Roger Casement.

He was court-martialed on the 14th June and sentenced to death, but this was commuted to twenty years penal servitude and he was released in the general amnesty of June 1917, and became active in the Irish Volunteers again. He opposed the Treaty of Surrender in 1921 (stating, during the debate on same – “Has any man here the hardihood to stand up and say that it was for this our fathers suffered, that it was for this our comrades have died in the field and in the barrack yard..”) and took part in the subsequent Irish ‘Civil War’.

He was captured in 1923 and went on hunger strike for forty-one days before being released in July 1924. When Eamon de Valera founded Fianna Fail in 1926, Stack remained with Sinn Féin and was elected Secretary of that organisation, a position he held until his death. His health was shattered due to the number of prison protests and hunger strikes for political status that he undertook. In the 1918 general election, while a prisoner in Crumlin Road Jail in Belfast, he was elected to represent West Kerry in the First (all-Ireland) Dáil as an abstentionist Sinn Féin Member of Parliament.

The British incarcerated him in Strangeways Prison in Manchester, from where he escaped in October 1919 and, during the ‘Black and Tan War’, as Minister for Home Affairs, he organised the republican courts which replaced the British ‘legal’ system in this country. Following a short fund-raising/public relations tour of America, he returned to Ireland to carry on the fight with his fellow republicans.

In the general round-up of Irish republican leaders in April 1923 (during which Liam Lynch was shot dead by Free State troops) Stack, the Deputy Chief of Staff of the rebel forces, was arrested in a farmyard in the Knockmealdown Mountains in County Tipperary – this was four days after Liam Lynch’s death. Imprisoned in Kilmainham Jail in Dublin, he took part in the mass hunger-strike by republican prisoners in October 1923, which was his 5th hunger-strike in 6 years.

Shortly after the end of that forty-one day hunger-strike, in November 1923, he was released with hundreds of other political prisoners, and he married his girlfriend, Una Gordon, in 1925. In April 1929, at forty-nine years of age, he entered the Mater Hospital in Dublin for a stomach operation. He never recovered and died two days later, on 27th April 1929, and is buried in the Republican Plot, Glasnevin Cemetery, in Dublin.

A commemorative pamphlet, entitled ‘What Exactly is a Republican?’ was issued in memory of the man –

‘The name republican in Ireland, as used amongst republicans, bears no political meaning. It stands for the devout lover of his country, trying with might and main for his country’s freedom. Such a man cannot be a slave. And if not a slave in heart or in act, he cannot be guilty of the slave vices. No coercion can breed these in the freeman.

Fittingly, the question – ‘What is a republican?’ fails to be answered in our memorial number for Austin Stack, a man who bore and dared and suffered, remaining through it all and at the worst, the captain of his own soul. What then was Austin Stack, republican? A great lover of his country. A man without a crooked twist in him. One who thought straight, acted straight, walked the straight road unflinchingly and expected of others that they should walk it with him, as simply as he did himself.

No man could say or write of him “He had to do it”. That plea of the slave was not his. His duty, as conscience and love dictated, he did. The force of England, of the English Slave State, might try coercion, as they tried it many times : it made no difference. He went his way, suffered their will, and stood his ground doggedly, smiling now and again. His determination outstood theirs, because it had a deeper foundation and a higher aim. Compromise, submission, the slave marks, did not and could not exist for him as touching himself, or the Cause for which he worked and fought, lived and died.’

Republican Ireland had lost one of her best soldiers, but we hold him safe in Glasnevin Cemetery, in Dublin.


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, July, 1954.

Gearóid O’Broin of Dublin stated, in his oration –

“We refuse to believe that the people of this generation, that the young men (sic) of this generation, are any less capable of making sacrifices for Ireland than the men (sic) who have gone before. To those who assert otherwise we of the Republican Movement answer with the names of Cathal Goulding, Seán Stephenson, Manus Canning and Jas McCallum in English jails and of Joe Campbell and Leo McCormack in Belfast Jail.

These young men exemplify the readiness of the young men of this generation to sacrifice themselves for Ireland.

Again, some people question the courage of the young men (sic) of today. We are told that picture houses and dance halls etc have sapped the energy and the spirit of the young men of Ireland. To people who nurse these doubts I suggest that they should make enquiries at Armagh Barracks where they will have such doubts quickly corrected…”



“Necessity hath no law..” – in other words, if you’re in a position to do whatever it takes to ‘get it done’, then do it, regardless of ‘it’ being right or wrong or of how ‘it’ will affect others. Proof that Cromwell (pictured) was a semi-political gangster who would have fitted right in to any political institution here in this corrupt State.

It was on the 27th April in 1652 – 370 years ago on this date – that Mr Cromwell issued a decree stating that Irish Wolf Dogs (‘Wolfhounds’) were to remain in this country and the export of same was prohibited. He wanted to clear wolves from the Irish countryside and demanded that Irish Wolfhounds remain ‘grounded’ until that mission was complete ie he wanted his people to ‘inherit’ less troublesome land!

The man was more concerned about Irish Wolfhounds than he was about Irish people – pictured are some of his Irish victims, sold as slaves and ‘sex workers’ to the highest bidder.

On the 29th April, 1599, a baby boy, Oliver Cromwell, who had been born on the 25th, was christened in Saint John the Baptish church in Huntingdon, England. Decades later, when someone was trawling through the birth records for that period, they came across an unofficial addendum to that particular entry : it read – “England’s plague for five years..”

Cromwell should need no introduction to readers of this blog, but some readers may not be aware of the significance of a particular date in that creature’s life : on that date in 1649, Cromwell began his nine-day siege of Drogheda after which thousands of its inhabitants were butchered, the infamous ‘Death March’ he forced on his enemy after the battle of Dunbar on the 3rd September 1650 and, one year later on that same date – the 3rd September – he wallowed in more blood and guts, this time in his own country, at the battle of Worcester.

And, somewhere in between wrecking havoc and stealing and selling Irish children, he found the time to write to his political bosses in London :


Dublin, 27th September 1649.

Mr. Speaker – I had not received any account from Colonel Venables – whom I sent from Tredah to endeavour the reducing of Carlingford, and so to march Northward towards a conjunction with Sir Charles Coote – until the last night. After he came to Carlingford, having summoned the place, both the three Castles and the Fort commanding the Harbour were rendered to him.

Wherein were about Forty Barrels of Powder, Seven Pieces of Cannon ; about a Thousand Muskets, and Five-hundred Pikes wanting twenty. In the entrance into the Harbour, Captain Fern, aboard your man-of-war, had some danger ; being much shot at from the Sea Fort, a bullet shooting through his main-mast. The Captain’s entrance into that Harbour was a considerable adventure, and a good service ; as also was that of Captain Brandly, who, with Forty seamen, stormed a very strong Tenalia at Treda, and helped to take it ; for which he deserves an owning by you.

Venables marched from Carlingford, with a party of Horse and Dragoons, to the Newry ; leaving the place, and it was yielded before his Foot came up to him. Some other informations I have received form him, which promise well towards your Northern Interest ; which, if well prosecuted, will, I trust God, render you a good account of those parts. I have sent those things to be presented to the Council of State for their consideration. I pray God, as these mercies flow in upon you, He will give you an heart to improve them to His glory alone ; because He alone is the author of them, and of all the goodness, patience and long-suffering extending towards you.

Your army has marched ; and, I believe, this night lieth at Arklow, in the County of Wicklow, by the Sea-side, between thirty and forty miles from this place. I am this day, by God’s blessing, going towards it.

I crave your pardon for this trouble; and rest, your most humble servant,


P.S. I desire the Supplies moved for may be hastened. I am verily persuaded, though the burden be great, yet it is for your service. If the Garrisons we take swallow-up your men, how shall we be able to keep the field? Who knows but the Lord may pity England’s sufferings, and make a short work of this? It is in His hand to do it, and therein only your servants rejoice. I humbly present the condition of Captain George Jenkin’s Widow. He died presently after Tredah Storm. His Widow is in great want.

The following Officers and Soldiers were slain at the storming of Tredah: Sir Arthur Ashton, Governor; Sir Edmund Varney, Lieutenant-Colonel to Ormond’s Regiment; Colonel Fleming, Lieutenant-Colonel Finglass, Major Fitzgerald, with eight Captains, eight Lieutenants, and eight Cornets, all of Horse ; Colonels Warren, Wall, and Byrn, of Foot, with their Lieutenants, Majors, etc ; the Lord Taaff’s Brother, an Augustine Friar ; forty-four Captains, and all their Lieutenants, Ensigns, etc; 220 Reformadoes and Troopers; 2,500 Foot-soldiers, besides the Staff-Officers, Surgeons, etc.’

This misfit had another date with his favourite day and date – 3rd September – in 1658, when he was collected from this Earth by his maker.

A pity he was spawned at all.


Henry James ‘Harry’ Boland (27th April 1887 – 2nd August 1922).

Harry Boland (pictured) was born in Phibsborough, in Dublin, on the 27th April 1887 – 135 years ago on this date.

He was a republican politician and a member of the First Dáil Éireann, a 32-County entity, not to be confused with the political assembly in Kildare Street, Dublin. He joined the ‘IRB’ at the same time as his older brother, Gerry, in 1904, and later joined the ‘Irish Volunteers’ (as did two of his brothers, Gerry and Ned) and took an active part in the Easter Rising of 1916.

During the on-going fight for freedom he operated alongside Michael Collins, who was a close friend but, when Collins signed the Treaty of Surrender, Harry Boland stayed true to his republican beliefs and fought on with the Republican Movement. He let Collins and others know what he felt about that Treaty –

“I rise to speak against this Treaty because, in my opinion, it denies a recognition of the Irish nation. I object to it on the ground of principle, and my chief objection is because I am asked to surrender the title of Irishman and accept the title of West Briton. I object because this Treaty denies the sovereignty of the Irish nation, and I stand by the principles I have always held — that the Irish people are by right a free people.

I object to this Treaty because it is the very negation of all that for which we have fought. It is the first time in the history of our country that a body of representative Irishmen has ever suggested that the sovereignty of this nation should be signed away…we secured a mandate from the Irish people because we put for the first time before the people of Ireland a definite issue ; we promised that if elected we would combat the will, and deny the right of England in this country, and after four years of hard work we have succeeded in bringing Ireland to the proud position she occupied on the fifth December last.

The fight was made primarily here in Ireland, but I want to say that the fight that was made in Ireland was also reflected throughout the world ; and we — because we had a definite object — had the sympathy of liberty-loving people everywhere. I have taken one oath to the Republic and I will keep it. If I voted for that document I would work the Treaty, and I would keep my solemn word and treat as a rebel any man who would rise out against it. If I could in conscience vote for that Treaty I would do so, and if I did I would do all in my power to enforce that Treaty ; because, so sure as the honour of this nation is committed by its signature to this Treaty, so surely is Ireland dead. We are asked to commit suicide and I cannot do it. We are asked to annihilate the Irish nation. This nation has been preserved for seven hundred and fifty years, coming down in unbroken succession of great men
(sic) who have inspired us to carry on. We were the heirs of a great tradition, and the tradition was that Ireland had never surrendered, that Ireland had never been beaten, and that Ireland can never be beaten..” (7th January, 1922,from here.)

It is generally considered that Harry Boland was the first man to be ‘unofficially executed’ by a Michael Collins-controlled Free State death squad, on the evening of Sunday 30th July/early Monday morning 31st July 1922 and, following that shooting, in the Grand Hotel in Skerries, Dublin, the State gunmen issued this statement (on Monday 31st July 1922)

“Early this morning a small party of troops entered the Grand Hotel to place Mr. H.Boland T.D., under arrest. Mr. Boland had been actively engaged in the irregular campaign. When accosted in his bedroom he made an unsuccessful attempt to seize a gun from one of the troops and then rushed out to the door. After firing two shots at random and calling on Mr. Boland to halt, it was found necessary to fire a third shot to prevent an escape. Mr. Boland was wounded and removed to hospital. A man giving his name as John J.Murphy with residence at 3 Castlewood Avenue, Ranelagh,Dublin, who was found with Mr. Boland, was taken prisoner. Subsequently he was identified as Joseph Griffin , an active irregular, belonging to Dublin.” (‘1169’ Comment – Joe Griffin was an IRA operative within the Movement’s Intelligence Department.)

One of the Free State troops present at the time stated afterwards – “Mr.Boland was wanted and we went to the hotel and two or three of us entered his room. He was in bed. We wakened him and he got up out of bed and partly dressed himself. He had no gun. Suddenly he turned and rushed to tackle one of our fellows for his gun. A shot was fired over his head to desist but he continued to struggle and almost had the gun when a second shot was fired and Mr.Boland was wounded.”

The bullet entered his right side near the ribs, passed through his body and came out through his left side causing very serious injuries.

A photograph of the actual bullet which killed Harry Boland….

…and his funeral service, Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin.

Although unarmed at that moment, as admitted by his executioners, caught by surprise and outnumbered (a “small party” of Free State troops were in the room at the time) the Staters attempted to present the execution of Harry Boland as ‘a killing in self-defence’ ie ‘he attempted to jump us and then tried to flee…’.

They had learned well from their British colleagues.

Harry Boland died from his wounds on the 2nd August 1922, in St. Vincents Hospital, Dublin and, as he lay waiting for death, he told family members that the Stater who shot him had been imprisoned with him in Lewes Prison, in England, but he refused to put a name to him.

When his sister, Kathleen, asked him who had fired the shot he refused to tell her, saying “The only thing I’ll say is that it was a friend of my own that was in prison with me, I’ll never tell the name and don’t try to find out. I forgive him and I want no reprisals”. The funeral expenses were taken care of by the Cumann na Poblachta organisation.

‘Boland’s mix of animal charm, gregariousness, wit and a dash of ruthlessness made him an influential and formidable character. Though not an intellectual in his manner he was a clear thinker, a forceful orator and a graceful writer….’ (from here.)

Thankfully, there are those like him who continue to this day to work for the Movement….


Rita Smyth examines the editorials of the Northern newspaper, ‘The Irish News’, for the first six months of 1987.

Her analysis shows how the paper reflects the political attitudes of the Stormont Castle Catholics (who dominate the SDLP*) and the conservative values of the Catholic Hierarchy, especially Bishop Cahal Daly.

(From ‘Iris’ magazine, October 1987.)

(‘1169’ comment – *…and who now fill the ranks of other Stoop-like political parties in Stormont and Leinster House.)

We are being called upon to ‘reconcile’ ourselves to a future where all that has really changed are some of the faces that administer our oppression. Too much blood has indeed been shed in the past two decades, too much to allow the aspiration for Irish unity to be debased and reduced to an empty formula.

When the nationalist people came onto the streets to demand their rights 19 years ago, they might have been satisfied with a ‘power-sharing’ parliament. Today that’s no longer enough.

(‘1169’ comment ;
“Two decades”? A PSF member/supporter wrote that article less than one year after s/he left the Movement with Adams and McGuinness to go constitutional ; it is written from a nationalist perspective rather than from a republican perspective, which explains their belief that the campaign is to achieve so-called ‘civil rights’ rather that that which it is for, as far as Irish republicans are concerned – the complete withdrawal, politically, militarily and jurisdictionally of the British presence from Ireland.
Also, those same people are now campaigning for the retention of the Stormont ‘power-sharing parliament’! They are honest in that, when bought, they stay bought!)

(END of ‘The Not So Irish News’ : NEXT – ‘Divided Loyalties’, from ‘Magill Magazine’, 2002 Annual.)


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, March, 1955.

It would seem that Sinn Féin has made at least one notable convert. In a recent statement in the exchange arising out of the ‘Yorkshire Post’, Mr de Valera said that the restoration of national unity and independence was a prerequisite to the establishment of cordial relations between Dublin, Belfast and London.

This is what Sinn Féin has been urging for years and we are glad to see that it has impressed itself on one who has been so strong an adherent of the Twenty-Six County Parliament for so long. It is a complete reversal of the policy that Mr de Valera preached during the recent war for then, in his efforts to build up his defence forces, he was wont to thunder that “…the first invader to put a foot on our soil he is the enemy and we will oppose him with all our might..” !

Completely forgetting (or ignoring) that there was already an invader on our soil – an invader who should there and then have been opposed with all our might. But that would have been against our friendly neutrality ; indeed, it is believed that there was an agreement with those ‘friendly enemies’ for cooperation with them in the event of a German landing in the Six Counties.

But, belated though it may be, we welcome Mr de Valera’s conversion. We are aware, however, that cynics will put it down to a tactical adjustment by a cute politician who is sensitive to the current trend of public opinion in the country and is endeavouring to take advantage of it.

(END of ‘Convert!’ ; NEXT – ‘Shoneenism 1955’, from the same source.)


…1920 :

On the 27th April, 1920, about 60 Volunteers from the East Limerick Brigade of the IRA, with Thomas Malone (aka ‘Seán Forde’) in command, attacked the RIC barracks in Ballylanders (‘Baile an Londraigh’) in the Ballyhoura region of that county. There were five British ‘policemen’ inside the structure but they eventually surrenderd when parafin was poured in on top of them from the roof, and their weapons were liberated and the barracks destroyed.

One IRA Volunteer, Seán Meade, was seriously wounded but he recovered later, and other Volunteers who took part included Tadgh Crowley, Edmond Tobin, Jack McCarthy, Thomas Murphy, Sean O’Riordain, D O’Hannigan, Liam Scully and Peter Steepe.


…1921 :

On the 27th April, 1921, the British Army ‘discovered’ an IRA arms dump in a stable for horses in Baggot Lane, in Dublin City Centre. They removed a machine gun, 14 rifles, 54 revolvers and 12,442 rounds of ammunition plus information which led to the ‘arrest’, two days later, of 40 Volunteers from the Dublin Brigade IRA.


…1921 :

The son of a ‘Church of Ireland Dean of Raphoe’ (in County Donegal), Gilbert Potter (pictured, who was born in Dromahair, in County Leitrim, on the 10th July 1887) joined the RIC as soon as he was of age and, having completed his ‘cadetship’ in Dublin, received a promotion to ‘District Inspector’ on this date, 27th April, in 1901.

On the 23rd April, 1921, RIC ‘District Inspector’ Potter, wearing civilian clothes, was arrested by the No.1 Column of 3rd (South) Tipperary Brigade IRA and his superiors were told that he would be executed unless IRA Volunteer Thomas Traynor, a father of ten children, was released by them ; the British were holding him in Mountjoy Jail, in Dublin, and were about to hang him.

The exchange of prisoners was refused by the British and they hanged Thomas Traynor at 8am on the 25th April 1921. RIC ‘DI’ Gilbert Norman Potter was executed by the IRA on the 27th April 1921 and buried in the Comeragh Mountains.

The IRA forwarded-on his personal effects to his wife, Lily, in a parcel which contained a last letter from her husband, his diary, his will, a gold watch and a signet ring. In return, the British Army blew up 10 house in the South Tipperary area in an act of reprisal.


…1923 :

On the 27th April, 1923, the IRA Army Council and the (Republican) Government of the Irish Republic announced that all offensive operations would be suspended from Noon on Monday, 30th April 1923. A combination of factors had influenced that decision, including the repeated condemnation of ‘the Irregulars’ by the hierarchy of the Churches, internment without trial and the introduction of the death penalty for possession of arms (77 republicans were ‘officially’ executed).

Éamon de Valera, one of the better known ‘dissidents’ at the time, issued a list of terms and conditions on which they were willing to negotiate with the Free Staters, but that list was rejected by Leinster House. The Staters had the upper hand and they knew it.


…1923 :

Reports and dates differ on this incident, but we put it here for the record :

In April 1923 (17th or the 27th?) IRA Volunteer James Tierney (21) was on a fund-raising operation in Dorset Street, in Dublin, during which a tobacconist’s shop was raided. He was, according to one report, disarmed by a civilian named Patrick Rooney and shot dead. But an ‘incident report’ issued by the Dublin No.1 Brigade of the IRA stated that “he was disarmed and shot by a CID man on Dorset Street”. It was also mentioned elsewhere that the shop was a ‘cover’ for Free State intelligence work.


…1953 :

On the 27th April 1953, Irish revolutionary, feminist and actress Maud Gonne MacBride (pictured) died in Roebuck, Clonskeagh, in Dublin, and is buried in Glasnevin Cemetery, in the City. She was born in Surrey, in England, but moved to Ireland with her father when he was stationed here with the British Army. She had a heart and a conscience and felt for the Irish people as they struggled to break free from British misrule.

Her marriage to Irish nationalist Major John MacBride (they had a son together) lasted only a short while, and she tried to get a divorce (they were legally separated in 1906) claiming he had been violent towards her and that he also molested her then 11 year old daughter, but those claims couldn’t be proven in court so she fled to France to get her and her family away from the man.

In 1900, she assisted with the foundation of the ‘Inghinidhe na hÉireann’ (‘Daughters of Ireland’, which merged with the then newly-established ‘Cumann na mBan’ Movement in 1914) organisation and, during a visit to Dublin by Britain’s ‘Famine (sic) Queen’, Victoria, the women of this organisation hung a black banner over O’Connell Street in protest at her presence and placed black flags in the windows of many houses throughout the city, barricading the doors of the houses to stop the RIC when they tried to get in to pull the flags down.

To ‘celebrate’ the fact that the English ‘Queen’ was in Dublin, her lackeys here held a ‘Welcome from the Children’-party for her at which only ‘loyal subjects’ were invited and Maud Gonne McBride and ‘Inghinidhe na hÉireann’ held a ‘Patriotic Children’s Treat’-party in Clonturk Park in Drumcondra for the poor Irish children living in the Dublin slums ; about 30,000 children attended.

Maud Gonne MacBride died, age 87, on the 27th April 1953.


…1970 :

On the 27th April, 1970, a Dublin-born Hollywood actor, Arthur Shields (pictured, younger brother of the perhaps better known actor Barry Fitzgerald) died in Santa Barbara, California, at 74 years of age, from complications related to emphysema.

He was born into a (Protestant) family in Portobello, in Dublin, and was one of the brave men and women who challenged the British Empire in 1916 ; he was captured by enemy forces and was interned in Frongoch internment camp in Merionethshire, in Wales. Following his release, he returned to Dublin and worked as an actor at the Abbey Theatre – and the rest is history…!


…1975 :

On the 27th April, 1975, three (Catholic) civilians were shot dead by the ‘Protestant Action Force’ (PAF), which was a covername used by the ‘Ulster Volunteer Force’ (UVF), during an attack on a social club in Bleary, near Lurgan, in County Down.


…1990 :

On the 27th April, 1990, the convictions of ‘The Winchester Three’ were overturned by the Court of Appeal in England ; those three innocent people had been sentenced for conspiring to kill Tom King (‘Baron King of Bridgwater’), a former British ‘Secretary of State’ for the Occupied Six Counties. Upon their release, the three people were arrested and deported from Britain under the ‘Prevention of Terrorism Legislation’.

Similar occurrences of British ‘justice’ in Ireland can be read here.



Thanks for the visit, and for reading.

Sharon and the team.

Posted in History/Politics. | Leave a comment



Republican Ireland had lost one of her best soldiers, but we hold him safe in Glasnevin Cemetery, in Dublin ; in late 1923, he bravely took part in his 5th hunger-strike in 6 years…// From 1954 – “We refuse to believe that the people of this generation, that the young men (sic) of this generation, are any less capable of making sacrifices for Ireland than the men (sic) who have gone before…” //

In 1652, this English war criminal issued a decree stating that Irish Wolf Dogs (‘Wolfhounds’) were to remain in this country and the export of same was prohibited. He wanted to clear wolves from the Irish countryside and demanded that Irish Wolfhounds remain ‘grounded’ until that mission was complete ie he wanted his people to ‘inherit’ less troublesome land! // In 1922, this Irish ‘dissident’ was asked on his deathbed by his family and his comrades for the name of the Stater that shot him, but he wouldn’t tell them – but he did say that it was a comrade of his from the ‘old days’, when both of them were fighting against the British…//

In 1920, the enemy forces inside the barracks were apparently confident that they could hold their position until their colleagues arrived to save them – but then the roof of the structure ‘developed a leak…’//

Plus a few brief pieces from between 1920 and 1990…

All the above (and more!) will be posted here on Wednesday, 27th April 2022 : thanks for dropping by now, and we hope y’all can visit us again on the 27th!

Sharon and the team.

Posted in History/Politics. | Leave a comment



Frank Aiken (Francis Thomas Aiken, pictured) was born on the 13th February, 1898, at Carrickbracken, in Camlough, County Armagh, and was active in Irish republicanism from about 15 years of age, when he joined ‘The Irish Volunteers’.

He was also involved politically with the Sinn Féin organisation in Armagh and was one of the leaders of the Fourth Northern Division of the IRA, which operated in in the borderlands of Armagh, South and West Down and North Louth.

He stayed with the Republican Movement following the split over the ‘Treaty of Surrender’ and succeeded Liam Lynch as Chief of Staff of the IRA on the 20th April 1923 – 99 years ago on this date (see ‘Short Stories’, below) – a position he held until the end of 1925, thus allowing him the authority to issue a ‘cease fire and dump arms order’, which he did in May 1923.

In the State election of August, 1923, he won a seat in County Louth as a Sinn Féin abstentionist candidate, a seat he held on to until the early 1970’s, but not as an abstentionist or, indeed, not for Sinn Féin ; at an IRA Convention held in November 1925, Frank Aiken notified his audience that his political friend, de Valera, was not altogether opposed to the then existing republican political administration entering the Free State Leinster House ‘parliament’ but the IRA objected and withdrew its allegiance from de Valera and his people and re-pledged allegiance to its own Executive, the Army Council. And Aiken’s own actions also led to his expulsion from the IRA.

In May, 1926, he assisted de Valera and others in founding the Fianna Fáil political party and so began his political ‘career’ in the employ of a State which he once fought against ; his new career ‘..placed him at the forefront of Irish and international Free State politics…’ as, indeed, that same ‘career move’ did for those that went into that particular gutter before and after him. But not one of them could take our republican principles with them.

He died at 85 years of age in St Vincent’s Hospital, in Dublin, from pneumonia, on the 18th May 1983.


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, July, 1954.

Seán O’Neill, who presided, introduced Mr Michael McGinn of Phildelphia, who said he had come to represent Clan na Gael of America and to pledge their continued support to the Republican Movement. The Irish in America had by times become disheartened with events in Ireland but the deed of last weekend would give them great heart and renewed hope to continue their efforts to help the Movement at home.

Gearóid O’Broin of Dublin gave the oration and said – “We come to the grave of Wolfe Tone to honour him and pay tribute to his memory. Sometimes, perhaps, we come here with the feeling that the national spirit is not so strong in the country and that we are a long way from achieving Tone’s objective but, somehow, this year, there appears to be a feeling abroad that we are nearer today than we have been for many years to our goal.

Wolfe Tone knew in his day that any half-hearted attempt to win our freedom was doomed to failure ; this is just as true today as it was in Tone’s day. We must be prepared to give every hour of our time – every effort that is required must be made, in order to complete the job. It has been said that the people of other generations were a greater people than we are, and that we cannot make sacrifices. We cannot accept that…”



“Once while on holidays in Co Clare, a surgeon was asked to see a sailor who had urinary retention from a urethral stricture. The surgeon went to the man’s cottage and got two strong men from the assembled crowd of locals to hold the man in the lithotomy position with his buttocks presenting over the half-door of the cottage.

Having sharpened his penknife on a nearby stone, the surgeon plunged it into the man’s perineum producing a scream from the man, a gush of urine and gasps of astonishment from the watching crowd. Retiring to the local GP’s house, the surgeon, Sir Thomas Myles (pictured), ate a hearty breakfast…” (From here.)

Thomas Myles was born in Limerick on the 20th April 1857 – 165 years ago on this date. He trained and was employed as a surgeon, and worked at Dr Steeven’s Hospital in Dublin. He knew his trade well, and gained the confidence and support of his peers, to the extent that he was appointed as the President of the ‘Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland’.

He had an interest in Irish politics, and was an Irish nationalist and a supporter of the ‘Irish Volunteers’ and their political objectives. He owned a yacht and used it to smuggle arms into Ireland to equip the ‘Irish Volunteer’ soldiers in the Easter Rising of 1916 ; a consignment of arms from Germany were smuggled aboard the yacht ‘Chotah’, which belonged to the man.

He is perhaps better known here in Ireland as the doctor who tried to save the lives of ‘Lord’ Frederick Cavendish (the then-newly appointed ‘British Chief Secretary for Ireland’) and Thomas Henry Burke (the ‘British Permanent Undersecretary’, the then-most senior British ‘civil servant’ in Ireland) who were killed in the Phoenix Park by ‘The Irish National Invincibles’ in May, 1882.

Whilst acknowledging that the man was not an out-and-out full supporter of the Irish republican cause, it can be seen that his heart, head and conscience were troubled enough, on more than one occasion, for him to risk his life in furthering the objectives of the Movement.

He had a comfortable lifestyle in ‘polite’ society but, unlike those today who enjoy such a lifestyle (or the majority of them, at least..), he also had a sense of justice and an ability – and a ‘need’ – to act on same when the injustices around him seemed to be gathering pace. His heart, in the main, was in the right place and Irish republicans can appreciate people like that.

‘Sir’ Thomas Myles died, at 80 years of age, on the 14th July, 1937, at one of his old workplaces, the Richmond Hospital, and is buried in Deans Grange cemetery, Dublin.


On the 20th April 1772 – 250 years ago on this date – William Lawless, surgeon, United Irishman and general in Napoleon Bonaparte’s revolutionary army, was born in Shankill, Dublin, at a time of political unease and upheaval and, like Thomas Myles (above), William Lawless also had a comfortable lifestyle in polite society.

He studied at the ‘Royal College of Surgeons’ in Dublin and was the elected Chairperson of the ‘Anatomy and Physiology’ department of that institution and mixed, socially, in ‘the right circles’. But, again like Thomas Myles, the many injustices that surrounded him didn’t sit right with him and, having joined ‘The United Irishmen’, he threw himself wholeheartedly into an uprising that was being planned for 1798.

He played his part and became a wanted man, but managed to escape to Paris. His social conscience remained intact and he maintained his social agitation… ; more here.


Rita Smyth examines the editorials of the Northern newspaper, ‘The Irish News’, for the first six months of 1987.

Her analysis shows how the paper reflects the political attitudes of the Stormont Castle Catholics (who dominate the SDLP*) and the conservative values of the Catholic Hierarchy, especially Bishop Cahal Daly.

(From ‘Iris’ magazine, October 1987.)

(‘1169’ comment – *…and who now fill the ranks of other Stoop-like political parties in Stormont and Leinster House.)

‘Politics’ for those ’eminent people’ is ‘parliamentarianism’, the realm of parliamentary politicians in whom we should place our trust. But which ’eminent people’ are these? None but those parliamentarians ever in pursuit of a parliament – the SDLP of course. The two SDLP MP’s, John Hume and Seamus Mallon, “..have shown what can be achieved through confronting the British government face to face, through exploiting the channel of the Anglo-Irish machinery..”,according to ‘The Irish News’.

Appealing for a vote for Joe Hendron in the June election, we are assured he would be “..a persuasive advocate at the vortex of power..” (June 11th) ; “..participation in the democratic process is both essential and rewarding..” (May 19th).

Rewarding indeed for those who are prepared to trade the very real aspirations – not only of those who are committed republicans, but the overwhelming majority of the Irish people – for a society in which each citizen can play their rightful part and live with dignity, for the tawdry
* spectacle of a Six-County ‘parliament’… (MORE LATER.)

(‘1169’ comment – that’s rich, coming from a political party which operates within both of the parliaments [Leinster House and Stormont] which were established in this country by Westminster! // *Most definitely not financially “tawdry” for any of them!)



From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, March, 1955.

An IRA spokesman had this to say in reply to the FSA propaganda piece in ‘The Irish Times’ :

Óglaigh na hÉireann calls the young men of Ireland to arms ; an IRA veteran talking to a young recruit – “Things are looking better, thank God. I’ve grown old in the Republican Movement and you, I hope, will grow old in the Irish Republic. The lads of today are nothing different to what they were when I was one myself. They’re still good stuff!

It’s sometimes hard going after the day’s work is done and you’ll often steal hours from the night, but the thought that perhaps you may be picked for the next operation that will make it well worth all the hard going.

In the Irish Republican Army there is no pay and little leisure, and considering that very often their liberty and often their lives are at stake these soldiers are a singularly good humoured lot, for they share something wonderful – a clarity of vision and singleness of purpose born out of a great love for Ireland.

And they will man the Bearna Baoghal!”

(END of ‘Take Your Choice’ ; NEXT – ‘Convert!’, from the same source.)


…1915 :

Joseph Mary Plunkett was born on the 21st November, 1887, in Number 26 Upper Fitzwilliam Street (a ‘posh’ part of Dublin!) but was soon stricken with tuberculosis and spent part of his youth in the warmer climates of the Mediterranean and North Africa. At 26 years of age he joined ‘The Irish Volunteers’ and, two years later, he became a member of ‘The Irish Republican Brotherhood’.

In early 1915, the ‘IRB’ leadership requested that he should make his way to Germany to assist Roger Casement, who was recruiting fighters for an ‘Irish Brigade’ which was to be active in time for an intended Rising in Ireland, in early 1916.

On St Patrick’s Day in 1915, Joseph Plunkett left Ireland, having memorised his instructions for Roger Casement and, on the 9th April, he reached the city of Berne, a municipality in the district of Wesermarsch, in Lower Saxony, and secured an appointment in the German Embassy there. The officials listened to what he had to say and they contacted Berlin, inquiring as to what they should do with Plunkett, in light of the ‘rebel recruitment’ information he had given them ;

‘Joseph Mary Plunkett from Dublin, identified through British passport of March 16, member of the Committee of Irish Volunteers there, is authorised by that committee to convey important, only oral instructions, to Sir Roger Casement, whom he assumes to be in Berlin, has asked for passage papers to Berlin. Request if necessary, address for Casement.’

Roger Casement was notified about the presence of Joseph Plunkett and, on the 13th April, he contacted Count Georg von Wedel and asked that Plunkett be afforded the required permissions etc to ease his passage, stating that Joseph Plunkett was “the most likely person they (the republican leadership in Ireland) would choose for a messenger as being an invalid he could go to Switzerland from Dublin without exciting suspicion…” and, on the 14th April, the authorities in Berlin agreed to assist in the endeavour.

On the 20th April 1915 – 107 years ago on this date – having travelled through France, Spain, Italy and Switzerland, Joseph Plunkett fulfilled his task (helped by a US passport in the name of ‘Joe Peters’!) and stayed there for about 8 weeks, working with Roger Casement. (More detailed account here.)


…1919 :

The RIC barracks in Araglin, in County Cork, was a ‘stout’ L-shaped stone building, which ‘housed’ about half-a-dozen British operatives in some comfort ; it had one bedroom and two dormitories upstairs and the downstairs comprised 4 rooms – one dining room, a kitchen, a day room and a holding cell (or the ‘Black Hole’, as it was known locally).

On Sunday, the 20th of April, 1919, the Fermoy Battalion of the IRA, under the command of Michael Fitzgerald (Officer Commanding of the Fermoy Battalion) and Con Leddy (Officer Commanding of the Araglin Company) raided the barracks, which was located in the centre of the village (in the townland of Gortnaskehy) – they had picked their time well, as all the enemy forces, bar one, were out at Mass ; the sole occupant was arrested and confined to one room while the IRA searched the premises. Six rifles, a Webley revolver and a considerable amount of ammunition were liberated from the enemy forces.

Incidentally, the Araglin area (Cork, Waterford and Tipperary) could rely on about 100 active republican members, from both the IRA and Cumann na mBan, while the RIC (throughout Ireland) consisted of about 10,000 members, operating from some 1,300 barracks.

On the 4th April, 1920, the RIC were forced to abandon their barracks in Araglin and the IRA burned it to the ground (as they did with about 30 other such buildings in the Cork area).


…1920 :

“The murder was organised and carried out by the RIC, officially directed by the British Government ; and we return a verdict of wilful murder against David Lloyd George, Prime Minister of England ; Lord French, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland ; Ian Macpherson, late Chief Secretary for Ireland ; Acting Inspector General Smith of the RIC ; Divisional Inspector Clayton of the RIC ; District Inspector Swanzy, and some unknown members of the RIC..”

– the finding of the coroner’s inquest, in Cork, which concluded the above verdict, on the 20th April, 1920, in relation to the death of Tomas MacCurtain (pictured).

The name of another British assassin, RIC member Stephen Henry Chance (aka ‘Charlie Chance’), should have been added to the above list ; this thug had served in the British Royal Navy and as a Sergeant with the 5th Battalion of the Wiltshire Regiment of the British Army in ‘World War One’ before he decided to ‘put manners on the Irish’, and was known and feared for his sadistic behaviour.

On the 15th March, 1920, Tomas MacCurtain, the Irish republican Lord Mayor of Cork, who was elected to that position on the 31st January 1920, was shot dead by a gang of masked English men who wore civilian clothes and spoke with English accents. They were members of the RIC and were new recruits to that English police force in Ireland, and were called the ‘Black and Tans’ by the Irish because of their ‘uniform’. They were much admired by a group of armed misfits that had gathered around ‘Constable’ Chance – the ‘Charlie Chance Murder Gang’, as they were known in the Cork area.

RIC member Chance went out ‘on duty’ in Cork in a small armoured car which he called ‘the fiend’ and wore two revolvers strapped to each leg – he was a psychopat and was said to have passed information on Tomas MacCurtain to the assassins and was rewarded by his superiors shortly after they murdered Tomas MacCurtain by being promoted to Sergeant, and put in command of at least 13 other British operatives in Shandon Street RIC Barracks, near the North Gate Bridge, in Cork.

The IRA made numerous attempts to kill or kidnap him but he survived and/or escaped all such attempts and retired back to England after his reign of terror in Cork was over. He lived a long life in Devon, in south-western England, where he died (on his actual birthday) at the age of 90. He had an easier passing than he deserved.


…1920 :

In 1836, the ‘Dublin Metropolitan Police’ (‘DMP’), and the ‘Irish Constabulary’ (later re-branded as the ‘Royal Irish Constabulary’), were established in this country by the British. These two organisations replaced the ‘County Constabulary’. The ‘Royal Irish Constabulary’ were (‘officially’!) disbanded in 1922 and a ‘Civic Guard’ (later re-branded as the ‘Garda Síochána na hÉireann’) was established. In 1925, the Dublin Metropolitan Police merged with the ‘Garda Síochána na hÉireann’.

A 26-year-old member of the ‘Dublin Metropolitan Police’ (DMP), Laurence Dalton, who had been a member of that grouping since he was 20 years of age, had proved his worth to the Crown in ‘B Division’ and his request to move to ‘G Division’ had been granted – his job now included ‘spotting’ IRA members and harassing and ‘arresting’ them, which he apparently did in a hearty and keen manner.

On the 20th April, 1920, ‘Detective Constable’ Dalton was up to his usual business in the Mountjoy Street area of Dublin city centre when he was challenged by three IRA ‘Squad’ members, Mick McDonnell, Tom Keogh and Jim Slattery. His colleagues found him unconscious on the street, with an abdominal wound and three wounds to his right leg, and they transported him to the near-by Mater Hospital where emergency surgery was carried out on him. He died there at 3.30pm that day without regaining consciousness.

…1921 :

On the 20th April, 1921, a 28-year-old man in Belfast, Charles Nicholson, who worked as a riverter in a machine shop, was ‘arrested’ by a British Army ‘Curfew Patrol’ and taken away in a caged lorry.

A British Army incident report (which contradicted itself) declared that “..at about 23.30 he fell from the vehicle on Albertbridge Road and it drove over him..”

He left a widow and three children.


…1921 :

William Mordon (60), an ex-British Army man living in Dungannon, in County Tyrone, was taken from his house on the evening of Wednesday, 20th April 1921 ; his body was found the next day, in marshland – he had been shot through the heart. No individual or organisation claimed responsibility.


…1921 :

Jeremiah George Quill, from County Clare, joined the RIC (‘Service Number 67239’) on the 16th April, 1913, was stationed in Kerry first, and was then moved to his own county, Clare.

In February, 1916, he left that branch of the British services and joined the British Navy and, on the 21st October that year he got married without “official sanction” and was eventually ‘demobilised’ on the 9th February, 1919. On the 10th February, 1919, he rejoined the RIC but resigned in October that year.

On the 20th April, 1921, he was visiting his aunt’s house in Kilgarvan, in County Kerry when, at about 2am that morning, a number of armed men took him from the house and drove off with him towards the Ballyvourney area. He was never seen or heard from again.


…1922 :

On the 13th/14th April, 1922, the IRA seized the Four Courts in Dublin as its new headquarters and issued an ultimatum to the Free Staters in Leinster House demanding an end to ‘Provisional Government administration’ in the State and sought the suspension of any election ‘while the threat of war with England exists’.

Tensions increased and, on the 20th April, what was later described as “intense firing for two hours” by the IRA began at midnight on the Free State troops that were guarding State offices in Merrion Square, with the Bank of Ireland on College Green, the Telephone Exchange building and City Hall also coming under attack. The IRA garrison in the Four Courts denied all knowledge of those attacks, in which at least three people were wounded.


…1923 :

A Mr. R.A. Haccius, a member of the ‘International Committee of the Red Cross’ (which has a certain reputation), visited Tintown Internment Camp in the Curragh and Newbridge Prison, County Kildare, Gormanstown Prison in County Meath and Mountjoy Jail in Dublin, on the 20th April, 1923.

His mission was to investigate claims of the maltreatment and poor conditions suffered by republican prisoners at the hands of the Staters but his reports were favourable to the Leinster House administration. No surprise there.


…1923 :

On the 20th April, 1923, the IRA Executive met in Poulacapple, in County Tipperary, to discuss the campaign against the Staters. Those present included Frank Aiken, Liam Pilkington (replacing Liam Lynch, who had been shot dead by Leinster House operatives on the 10th April 1923), Sean Hyde, Sean Dowling, Bill Quirke, Tom Barry, Tom Ruane (replacing Michael Kilroy, a respected Irish republican at the time), Tom Sullivan (replacing Sean Lehane), Sean McSwiney, Tom Crofts, P J Ruttledge and Sean O’Meara.

Frank Aiken was elected Chief-of-Staff and an Army Council consisting of himself, Liam Pilkington and Tom Barry was appointed. The new Chief-of-Staff proposed that peace should be made with the Leinster House administration on the basis that “the sovereignty of the Irish Nation and the integrity of its territory is inalienable” and this was passed by 9 votes to 2.

It was soon after to be proved, again, that the Staters still didn’t care for Irish ‘sovereignty or integrity’.

And they still don’t.



Thanks for the visit, and for reading.

Sharon and the team.

We attended three Easter events over the Easter weekend, and we posted a few pics of same on our ‘Facebook’ and ‘Twitter’ pages. Despite the atrocious weather on Easter Monday in Dublin, we enjoyed the company we were in and the soup and sandwiches (!) afterwards in a pub in Inchicore, Dublin. GRMA, RSF/SFP!

Posted in History/Politics. | Leave a comment



Two examples of political ignorance, as practised by those who apparently consider themselves to be ‘republicans’ but, judging by that with which they hope to cash-in with this Easter time, are actually ‘nationalist’-minded ie they would be more at home, politically, with Fianna Fail/SDLP, and answerable to either Stormont or Leinster House, rather than to any Irish republican institution.

The Easter Lily leaflet/poster on view with this post was produced and distributed by Offaly Sinn Féin (Provisional Sinn Féin, that is…) and included the following text – ‘Easter Lillies will soon be available in the Offaly area. They will be sold by Licensed Sinn Féin Sellers. Always ask for a permit before you donate’.

A ‘licence/permit’ to distribute Easter Lilies is granted, upon application, by the Free State administration here in Dublin, the same Free State administration which, since it was spawned by Westminster in 1922, has done its utmost to destroy Irish republicanism, and continues to this day in its attempts to do so.

That Free State administration, acting under the guidance of Westminster and, during its ‘birth’, actually armed by Westminster, turned on Irish republicans, imprisoning, torturing and executing us, as much for its own ends (to maintain the amount of political and military ‘control’ that Westminster granted it) as for Westminster’s (to secure London’s ‘western front’ by planting a friendly [puppet/Vichy] force in power).

No genuine Irish republican would apply to any such political administration for a ‘permission slip/licence/permit’ to honour the same men and women that were (and are being) hounded in life and death by that same political administration. A Fianna Fáil/SDLP-type ‘nationalist’, however, wouldn’t comprehend the above, as it’s above their political ‘paygrade’.

Our second example of political ignorance concerns a print collage assembled by those that are mentally and morally similar to the Provisional Sinn Féin political party –

– to state that Michael Collins, Martin McGuinness and Constance Georgine Gore Booth Markievicz – all of whom ended their days having worked for/with and giving political recognition to, the Free State – had the same ‘..dream, goal and desire..’ as Irish republicans is just as wrong as seeking an Easter Lily permit from the Free Staters in Leinster House.

Our regular readers will understand that to be the case and, if any of ye can be bothered, ye mightn’t mind educating certain people in Offaly about these things. And, with a bit of luck, they, in turn, might mention it in passin’ to the rest of their party at their next get-together…!

And please – don’t be conned into wearing a false Easter Lily or into attending a Leinster House/Stormont-funded and/or approved Easter Commemoration. This is a list of genuine Easter events ; we’d appreciate your presence!

(Please click on the pic and save.)

Thanks for the visit, and for reading.

Sharon and the team.

Posted in History/Politics. | Leave a comment



The RIC and the Black and Tans (pictured), representatives of ‘British justice’ in Ireland in the 1920’s who, incidentally, are still here, albeit with different uniforms (and transportation!).

On the 6th of April, 1921 – 101 years ago on this date – two IRA men, Patrick Conroy, from Tarmon, Castlerea, in County Roscommon, and James Monds, from South Park, Castlerea, who were friends and neighbours, were pulled out of their homes by an RIC/Black and Tan raiding party and executed –

‘James Monds was a local Protestant farmer who fell victim to England’s tyranny in April 1921. At that time in Roscommon, as across Ireland, the Black and Tans, the RIC and the Auxiliaries were running rampant. The most infamous deeds of the forces of the Crown are known to all. The sack of Balbriggan, the burning of Cork, the murder of MacCurtain in Cork and Father Griffin in Galway are but a few. The so called ‘Castlerea Murder Gang’ consisted of British soldiers, RIC and Black and Tans. They would act on information provided by informers and raid local houses late at night looking for their victims.

The gang would arrive at the door with blackened faces and shine a light in the face of a suspect who would be identified by the informer. If the unfortunate person was wanted by the British he would be taken away and shot or beaten to death as was the case with Volunteer Pat Conroy who was murdered the same night as James Monds.

James was a Volunteer of the Irish Republican Army and had been involved in land agitation. It is known that he refused to sing ‘God Save The King’ in church which may have singled him out as a republican or ‘shinner’ to those loyal to the Crown. He was taken from his house on the night of the 6th of April 1921 and his bullet-riddled body was found the next day. The ‘Murder Gang’ extracted no information from him regarding local Volunteers and they killed him despite him having 6 children…’ (from here.)

It later transpired that the British troops raided the home of James Monds looking to remove his 17-year-old son, but the father pleaded with them to take him instead, and leave his son out of it. They did, which is about the only act of ‘kindness’ any republican could hope for, from a British mercenary.

The next morning, the riddled body of James Monds was located at the end of the road. Incidentally, the man in charge of that particular British murder gang, RIC Sergeant James King (pictured here, at his funeral service) was infamous as a well-known thug in uniform in Ireland and then became famous as the last member of the RIC to be killed during the War of Independence –

“On the morning of the 11th of July (1921) Thomas Crawley was waiting. Sergeant King of the RIC was the principal man in the murder gang that was organised in the RIC in Castlereagh and was responsible for a number of killings around the area. He was badly wanted by us. On the morning of the Truce, the 11th July 1921, we made a final effort to get this man. Between 10am and 11am on that morning we proceeded into the town on this mission…we went into a shop to get a drink of lemonade and when only a few minutes there Sergeant King came out of his own house on the opposite side of the street and proceeded to get on his cycle as if to go to the barracks. We left the shop. Ned Campion and I let him have it. He died immediately. Although the truce took effect at 12 O’Clock on that day, the enemy chased us until about 6pm that evening. We finally escaped them, however, by adopting the role of shepherds gathering up sheep…” (from here.)

King was struck in the chest by at least two of his attackers bullets and despite receiving prompt medical attention died at approximately 10.30am – less than two hours before the ceasefire was due to begin. Local IRA men later recounted how King and his gang burst into the Vaughan family home at Cloonsuck, County Roscommon, on the 22nd June 1921, catching three IRA men unaware : the three republicans made a run for it, but two of them – Ned Shanahan and John Vaughan – were shot dead. The third IRA man, Martin Ganly, was captured and, during the search of the house, King battered (the deceased) John Vaughan’s mother unconscious with his rifle butt and stopped on his way out of the house and shot the family dog dead.

A nasty and vindictive piece of work by all accounts, ‘relatives’ of whom wear a similar uniform today, in this country, and share the same attitude and morals as Sergeant King did.


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, July, 1954.

The annual pilgrimage to the grave of Wofe Tone in Bodenstown took place on Sunday, 20th June (1954). The bad weather during the morning failed to damp the enthusiasm of the big crowd who travelled from every part of the Thirty-Two Counties to attend.

The parade was the largest for many years, prominent among those present being parties from Belfast, Newry, Armagh, Donegal, Derry, Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Clare, Roscommon, Leitrim, Mayo and from every one of the Leinster counties. There was a special train from Dublin, while eight buses and hundreds of cars also made the journey.

Wreaths were laid by Seán O’Duinn, Chairman of the National Commemoration Committee, by Tomás O’Dubhghaill, President of Sinn Féin, and by Seamus MacEalla on behalf of the Wolfe Tone Cumann, London. The Last Post and Reveille were sounded by buglers of Na Fianna Éireann, and bands in attendance included the Cork Volunteer Pipers and the Saint Lawrence O’Toole Pipers and Girl Pipers Band from Dublin… (MORE LATER.)


“There is no country in the world so much in need of unpractical people as this country of ours. With us, Thought is degraded by its constant association with practice. Who that moves in the stress and turmoil of actual existence, noisy politician, or brawling social reformer, or poor narrow-minded priest blinded by the sufferings of that unimportant section of the community among whom he has cast his lot, can seriously claim to be able to form a disinterested intellectual judgment about any one thing?

Each of the professions means a prejudice. The necessity for a career forces every one to take sides. We live in the age of the overworked, and the under-educated ; the age in which people are so industrious that they become absolutely stupid..”

Oscar Wilde (Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde, pictured [left], with ‘Lord’ Alfred [‘Bosie’] Douglas), the Irish wit, poet and dramatist, was born in Dublin on the 16th October, 1854, and became somewhat of a celebrity for his flamboyant shows of ‘outrageousness’ ; indeed, so industrious (!) was he at flaunting his differences that he became ‘absolutely stupid’ about it!

On the 6th April 1895 – 127 years ago on this date – Mr Wilde was arrested in the Cadogan Hotel, in London, over a legal action he had lost : he challenged the right of the 9th Marquess of Queensberry, John Sholto Douglas (a brute of a man, by all accounts) to call him a homosexual. Mr Wilde’s challenge went to court and the ‘nobleman’ of a Marquess won.

Oscar didn’t help himself, in that regard, as he was ‘stepping out’, quite publicly, with a British ‘Lord’, a Mr Alfred ‘Bosie’ Douglas, who was the son of John Sholto Douglas (incidentally, Bosie’s brother, Francis, was also a homosexual, who ‘stepped out’ himself with a British Liberal Prime Minister. Oh what a tangled web we weave..!).

Mr Wilde was sentenced to two years hard labour in Reading Gaol prison for gross indecency and it was while incarcerated there (from 1895 to 1897) that a fellow prisoner, British Army trooper Charles Thomas Wooldridge (30), was hanged for murdering his wife ; the hangman, James Billington, miscalculated his measurements and poor Mr Wooldridge left this earth with a neck which was eleven inches longer than it was before he had stepped on to Mr Billington’s platform.

When he was released, Mr Wilde was to all intents and purposes a broken man – his health and his reputation suffered and he went to Berneval-le-Grand, in France, hoping for a fresh start. It was there that he wrote the poem ‘The Ballad of Reading Gaol’, which he dedicated to Charles Thomas Wooldridge –

‘Yet each man kills the thing he loves

By each let this be heard,

Some do it with a bitter look,

Some with a flattering word,

The coward does it with a kiss,

The brave man with a sword…’

Incidentally, Mr Wilde’s mother, Jane Francesca Elgee, wrote in favour of Irish republicanism under the name ‘John Fanshaw Ellis’ and the nom de plume ‘Speranza of The Nation’.

“My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One or other of us has got to go…” – reportedly the last words of Oscar Wilde before he died of meningitis in a cheap room in the Hotel d’Alsace in Paris, France, on the 30th November 1900, in his 46th year. He was penniless.


Rita Smyth examines the editorials of the Northern newspaper, ‘The Irish News’, for the first six months of 1987.

Her analysis shows how the paper reflects the political attitudes of the Stormont Castle Catholics (who dominate the SDLP*) and the conservative values of the Catholic Hierarchy, especially Bishop Cahal Daly.

(From ‘Iris’ magazine, October 1987.)

(‘1169’ comment – *…and who now fill the ranks of other Stoop-like political parties in Stormont and Leinster House.)

Politics, they tell us repeatedly, ‘is the art of the possible’, and their ‘vision’ of the society for which we can aspire is, when spelled out, a very limited one indeed. It is not just the tactic of armed struggle that they deem ‘futile’ but the object of that struggle. A somewhat more honest journalist, writing for a British audience, spoke of the “mutally exclusive aspiration” of loyalism and republicanism.

An aspiration to Irish unity and independence is meaningless if there is no perspective of achieving it. ‘The Irish News’ is clear about what is in their view ‘possible’ – “The ending of partition and withdrawal of British troops and influence is the basis of Sinn Féin’s plan. There is something unrealistic about a plan whose structures depend on such fundamental change”. (May 2nd)

“(British withdrawal) will not take place in the forseeable future..” (June 30th) “Nineteen years of such violence has done nothing but harden the hearts of the unionist community” (June 3rd) “Killings harden the resolve of the British” (April 22nd)

“A long time ago, we reached a situation where far more could be achieved through negotiation than the power of a gun” (March 27th)

‘Politics’ are held out as the alternative to violence but ‘politics’ for them is not the politics of the dispossessed fighting for real social change. More can be achieved, we are assured, by “the arguments of eminent people” (March 3rd) in the corridors of power… (MORE LATER.)


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, March, 1955.

A recruiting drive for the Free State Army is now under way and a large advertisement issued by the Free State Department of Defence was printed in ‘The Irish Times’ on the 25th February (1955) and read thus –

‘The Free State Army veteran to the new recruit : “The Army has made a man of me and the training I got has stood to me all my life. The Army today is a much better place than in the old days. There’s less foot slogging, for one thing, and all the new weapons they have must be fascinating to learn to operate. The Army taught me to stand on my own two feet – made me self reliant and gave me confidence in myself. And the physical training I got has kept me healthy ever since.

Very many men today owe their success to the initiative and self reliance developed in their early Army days – an asset that has proved invaluable to them on their return to civilian life. That’s easy to understand because the training that the soldier today receives in our modern Army, apart from his technical training, is the best possible foundation for life that any young man can get.

Good pay!

Ample holiday and leisure time!

Sport and recreation!”

An IRA member read the above advertisement and scoffed ‘But they’ll never man the Bearna Baoghal!‘. That man then replied to the above Free State propaganda… (MORE LATER.)


…1919 :

On the 6th April, 1919, IRA Volunteers in Limerick city put their plan in motion to free one of their comrades, Robert Byrnes (pictured), the Dublin-born Battalion Adjutant of the 2nd Battalion of the IRA Mid-Limerick Brigade, from confinement in a hospital beside the Union Workhouse on the Shelbourne Road in Limerick, but the plan didn’t work out as intended.

At least 54 IRA members took part in the planning stages of the operation, of whom about 20 Volunteers took part in the actual rescue operation itself ; a replica of the hospital ward showing the position of Robert Byrnes and his guards was reconstructed at the headquarters of C Company in Gerald Griffin Street to enable IRA members to plot out the operation in precise detail.

Peadar Dunne, the Battalion Commandant of the 2nd Battalion, knew that their man was being guarded at his hospital bed by five members of the RIC and one prison warder, but he wasn’t to know that, once overpowered – rather than admit defeat at the hands of the IRA – the RIC would shoot Robert Byrnes at point blank range in the chest, inflicting such a serious wound that the injured IRA man died within a few hours… more here.


…1921 :

On the 6th April, 1921, the IRA West Connemara Flying Column (with PJ MacDonnel in command) attacked a five-man fully-armed RIC cycle patrol from Maam, Co. Galway, at Screebe Church, near Oughterard, resulting in the wounding of one RIC man, a William Pearson, a New Zealand native.

As was common with such patrols, the RIC men had spread themselves out from each other, and the IRA Flying Column had done the same, which meant that the five enemy ‘policemen’, unknown to them, had entered a ‘ring’ established by the IRA to ensure that the leading target and the rear target and, obviously, those in between, were covered by the ark of fire of the whole column.

A gun battle ensued resulting in the wounding of ‘Constable’ Pearson which encouraged his colleagues to surrender ; their weapons and bicycles were taken from them (as were several bottles of poitín!) and they were released from custody. The RIC member died later from his wounds, and his colleagues returned in force and burnt five houses in the vicinity (including Patrick Pearse’s old holiday home) and the local co-operative.


…1921 :

A Sligo man, John Wymes, joined the RIC on the 5th August, 1882, and was moved from area to area – Louth, Offaly, Kerry, Roscommon, Westmeath and Galway, before being ‘dismissed from service’ in 1901.

He settled in Loughglinn, in the Castlerea district of Roscommon, with his wife and nine children, and got out of the ‘law and order’ business and into farming, on a 12 acre plot of land. Whatever legacy of pain and suffering he left behind in his previous ‘work’ areas caught up with him on the 6th April in 1921, at about 2am, when a number of armed men removed him from his house.

Mr Wymes refused to open his front door to the callers but did so eventually, and was instructed by the men to get dressed. One of his sons, Alfred, later stated that one of the men told his father that they wouldn’t delay him too much and when Alfred went to leave the house with his father he was told by one of the men to get back in the house.

When their father wasn’t back by about 5am, two of his sons went searching for him ; they found two dead bodies – their father and a man named John Gilligan. A placard was tied around the neck of John Wymes, on which was wrote – ‘Spies and informers. This is your fate. IRA.’

IRA Volunteers belonging to the Kilteevan Company, South Roscommon Brigade IRA, let it be known that they had carried out that operation and, some years later, the republicans that were said to have pulled the triggers were named as John Brennan and Patsy Tracey.

John Gilligan’s widow secured £2,000 in compensation for the loss of her husband.


…1921 :

A man named John Gilligan worked as a postman in the Loughglinn area of County Roscommon and, between 1am and 2am on the morning of the 6th April, 1921, he answered a knock on his front door. Two men told him to get dressed, while a third man stood slightly behind them. Mr Gilligan broke down and started shaking and crying and, handing his wife the few bob he had in his pocket, told her that she may never see him again.

The three men took him away and about half an hour later gunshots were heard in the neighbourhood. His body was found beside the body of John Wymes.

Mr Gilligan had been a member of the ‘Connaught Rangers’ (aka ‘The Devil’s Own’) until he was ‘dismissed from service’ in 1919.


…1921 :

IRA Volunteer Patrick Cloonan (27), was helping out around a farm belonging to Larry Donoghue, who had recently broken his leg, and was sleeping in Mr Donoghue’s house each night. At about 3.30am on the morning of the 6th April, 1921, a number of armed and masked men raided the house and took Patrick Cloonan away with them. His body was found a few hours later, almost naked, on the strand near the house. he had been shot in the chest.

The RIC claimed that Patrick Cloonan had tried to leave the Republican Movement and had been shot dead by his own comrades, but it later transpired that the RIC had suspicions that Patrick Cloonan was involved in the shooting dead of a pro-British spy on the 2nd April that year (an ex-British soldier and ex-RIC member, Thomas Morris, from Kinvara in County Galway, was shot dead as a spy by the IRA) and the RIC wanted revenge.


…1921 :

IRA Volunteer Jack Brett (19) was a gifted sportsman who won two Tipperary Senior Championships with the CJ Kickham Senior Football Club and was on the Tipperary team which played against Dublin in Croke Park on ‘Bloody Sunday’, 21st November 1920.

He was also Captain of the Drangan Company, Tipperary No 3 Brigade IRA, and was forced to go on the run after the Nine Mile House ambush in November 1920 ; he and a comrade, Ned Cuddihy, joined the Dublin Brigade of the IRA and he was sent to County Kilkenny, where he was staying in the Donovan family farm in Castlejohn, near Windgap, in that county, with other Volunteers.

A comrade of his accidentally discharged his weapon and the blast killed Volunteer Brett.


…1921 :

On the 1st April, 1921, Peadar O’Donnell, the Officer Commanding of the 2nd Donegal Brigade IRA, travelled to Derry city to assist in planning an operation and, on the 6th April, an attack on Lecky Road RIC Barracks took place.

An RIC member, Michael Kenny (‘Service Number 65275’), 33 years of age, who had joined that grouping in June, 1910, was killed. His widow was paid £1,500 compensation, and each of their two children received £250.


…1921 :

An ex-British Army member, Thomas Beirne (27) was living in the family home in Drumlish, County Longford with, among other family members, a brother, who was also ex-British Army.

At about 11.30pm on the 6th April, 1921, two men – one of whom was armed – entered the house and took Thomas away. He broke free from his captors and ran back into the house, seeking refuge in his bedroom, but was shot dead there. Three days later the family were told to leave the area before the 12th April or risk being dealt with as spies. They left.

The RIC buried Thomas Beirne, and his mother received £750 in compensation.


…1921 :

John ‘Boxer’ O’Mahony, an ex-member of the British Army ‘Royal Munster Fusilers’, lived in Mary Street, in Rahoneen, in Tralee, County Kerry, and worked as a shoemaker.

He had been watched by Tralee Battalion IRA and was suspected of being an informer, and was arrested in a local pub. An IRA court martial found him guilty and he was shot dead. A placard attached to his body stated – ‘No 1 spy. Convicted and executed by the Flying Squad. Traitors Beware.’

His children were given £3,000 in compensation.


…1921 :

In Dublin, at about 8pm on the 6th April, 1921, as a lorry carrying members of the British Army Worcestershire Regiment was driving on Harcourt Street, a bomb exploded near it and it came under fire. A gun battle ensued and two of the IRA attackers, Terence Glynn and Daniel Carew, were hit ; a passer-by, Michael Daly, went to help the wounded Volunteers just as one of them threw another bomb at the lorry. The explosion killed Mr Daly and wounded a British Army Lieutenant named Gregory.

Terence Glynn died that day, and his comrade, Daniel Carew, died the following day.


…1921 :

On the 6th April, 1921, Michael Gavin, a Lieutenant in the Ballydonoghue Company, Listowel, and other members of the IRA ASU 6th Battalion, Kerry No 2 Brigade, were travelling from Newtownsandes to Duagh, when they heard of enemy movement in Kilmorna, not far from where they were.

They made their way there and attacked the British soldiers, wounding two of them, but fire was returned and a British Army Captain named Watson shot Michael Gavin in the head, killing him instantly. His comrades managed to escape.

His family, friends or neighbours could not claim the body as reprisals would follow from the British forces, so his remains were buried by the British in an unmarked grave in Teampaillin Bán, the workhouse cemetery, where they lay for three weeks ; his remains were then quietly removed by his faimly and comrades and reinterred at Gate Cemetery in Ballydonoghue.


…1922 :

On the 6th April, 1922, ‘The Leinster Leader’ newspaper carried a letter from a Mr Thomas Lawler who styled himself as the ‘Officer Commanding Kildare Brigade 1st Eastern Division IRA’ ; in his letter, Mr Lawler stated that he himself would not be responsible for “debts contracted by any parties calling themselves the IRA and not under my command…”.

Mr Lawler had then recently turned Free Stater and his leadership position had been taken over by Thomas Harris, Officer Commanding of the 7th Brigade IRA, who was acting under Army Council authority.


…1922 :

On the 6th April, 1922, three ex-RIC members were attacked in their homes in Ballyhaunis, in County Mayo ; one of them, named Cranny, was killed, a second man named Butler was seriously wounded and the third man, named Flynn, was not at home when the IRA called to him. Flynn left Ballyhaunis the next day.

…1923 :

Two senior republican operatives, Tom Derrig and Moss Twomey, both members of the IRA GHQ Staff, were captured by the Free State Army on Raglan Road in Ballsbridge, Dublin, on the 6th April 1923. While in the custody of the Staters, Tom Derrig was shot in the face and lost his left eye.

Mr Derrig was soon to be permanently (politically) ‘blinded’ as he later turned his back on republicanism and joined the Free State administration.
Moss Twomey stayed within the republican fold but took a ‘back seat’ in 1939 when he opened a newsagent shop in O’Connell Street, in Dublin. He died in October 1978, and his funeral was well attended by all branches of the Republican Movement.


…1923 :

On the 6th April, 1923, a Free State Army raiding party operating in Derry na Feena/Derrynafeana (‘the Oak Wood of the Fenians’) in Glencar, near Carrantuohill, in County Kerry, came under attack by the IRA ; the republican objective was to slow down the Staters to allow an IRA column to escape from the area. The Staters were looking for, in particular, an IRA informer named Cornelius Hanafin, who was about to be executed by the IRA.

Two IRA Volunteers, George Nagle (25) and William Conway O’Connor (20), offered to delay the Staters and both were wounded while doing so ; George Nagle was wounded in the leg and William Conway O’Connor was wounded in his shoulder but, somehow, both men died from their wounds, according to the Staters.

However, it later transpired that the wounded George Nagle was captured by the FSA outside a house belonging to a local lady, Molly O’Brien, and was shot dead by them. The lady went out to see if she could comfort him in his last few minutes but was forced back into her house by them.

The informer Hanafin was rescued by his FSA colleagues.


…1923 :

On the 24th February, 1923, a civilian prisoner, John Conway, was “shot dead while trying to escape from the prison in Tralee Workshop in County Kerry”, according to the ‘official’ version. Mr Conway died from shock and haemorrhage. The shooter was named as Free State Army Captain Patrick Byrne.

On the 6th April, 1923, the results of the inquest into the death of Mr Conway were made public ; Captain Byrne was found to be ‘guilty of wilful murder’ but the court ruled that it could not decide on Byrne’s sanity at the time of the killing ; he was not dismissed from the FSA but was demobilised in March 1924 and pensioned-off in 1925 on one hundred and twenty five pounds sterling per year. He died in 1946.


…1926 :

Ian Paisley was born on this date in 1926. More here…


…1954 :

On the 6th April, 1954, Westminster passed its ‘Flags and Emblems Act’ which outlawed the display of the Irish Tricolour anywhere in the Occupied Six Counties. Some shoppers, for instance, had boycotted shops displaying the Union Jack flag and in some cases the Union Jacks were removed by citizens and replaced with the Tricolour.

Under this British ‘law’, anyone displaying a Tricolour, or any other flag other than the Union Jack, could be charged with breaching the peace and faced a fine of £500 or up to five years in prison.


Thanks for the visit, and for reading.

Please note that we won’t be posting our usual contribution next Wednesday, 13th April 2022, as we’re helping to organise a few Easter events. But we’ll be back on Wednesday, 20th April, 2022, and one of the pieces that we’ll be writing about is in connection with a high-ranking IRA leader who flipped, politically, and assisted in nurturing the then newly-spawned Free State.

Sharon and the team.

Posted in History/Politics. | Leave a comment