On the 21st September 1827 – 195 years ago on this date – Michael Corcoran (pictured), a brigadier general in the Federal Army during America’s Civil War, was born in Carrowkeel, County Sligo.

He was a member of the ‘Royal Irish Constabulary’ (RIC) but resigned during the attempted genocide, no longer able to condone the repressive actions of that ‘police’ grouping against the starving Irish. In his early 20’s, he emigrated to New York and found work there, while also joining the 69th New York State Militia as a private.

He rose through the ranks to colonel commanding the regiment and won the hearts of the city’s Irish population when he refused to parade the 69th for the visit of the ‘Prince’ of Wales in 1860. The state intended to court-martial him for this but the start of the Civil War led officials to dismiss the charges, and Corcoran led the regiment to Washington.

At the Battle of 1st Bull Run, Corcoran was wounded and captured and spent the next 13 months in various Confederate prisons – Richmond, Charleston, Columbia and Salisbury – before he was finally exchanged, but his health would never recover from his time in Southern prison camps (he was used as a hostage, guaranteeing the decent treatment of Confederate prisoners before being released as part of an exchange programme on the 15th August 1862).

Promoted to brigadier general on his return, he recruited a brigade of volunteers from Irish enclaves in New York state that became known as ‘Corcoran’s Legion’. He led the legion and then took command of a division of soldiers during the Suffolk (Virginia) campaign in April 1863.

While there he was involved with a regrettable incident ; while riding with fellow Fenian leader John O’Mahoney, Corcoran shot and killed Lieutenant-Colonel Edgar Kimball (pictured) of the 9th New York Infantry –

‘At 3 am, Corcoran heads to the front to inspect his lines when he is accosted by ‘an officer, whose rank I could not recognize.’ The officer in question is Lieutenant-Colonel Edgar Kimball, commander of Hawkins’ Zouaves, who insists that Corcoran give the countersign before he will be allowed to pass.

The confrontation escalates until [the drunken ?] Kimball begins to wave his sword and Corcoran shoots him in the neck and kills him. Corcoran describes the incident – ‘He…put himself in a determined attitude to prevent my progress, and brandishing his sword in one hand, and having his other on a pistol, as I then supposed, made a movement toward me with the evident design of using them, making an impolite statement that I should not pass. It was at this point that I used my weapon…’ (from here.)

Lieutenant-Colonel Corcoran was ordered to face a court-martial in the case, but it was never convened.

On December 22nd, 1863, Corcoran was riding with Brigadier General Thomas F. Meagher and others when he suddenly fell from his horse and died shortly afterwards –

‘General Corcoran died in the W. P. Gunnell House on December 22, 1863, after being thrown from a runaway horse while returning from an inspection of the railroad defenses near Fairfax Station. He was thrown into a ditch at the bend in the Ox Road as it approached Fairfax Court House and was taken, un-conscience, approximately one quarter mile to this headquarters, the W.P. Gunnell House. There he died that day never having regained conscience…’ (from here.)

Many articles on Corcoran say he was killed when his horse fell on him, but recent research points toward a stroke as the most likely cause of death. On December 27th, 1863, he was interred at Calvary Cemetery in the (now) borough of Queens, in New York City.


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, April 1955.

In his oration, Domhnall O Cathain said –

“That we had sold into slavery one and a quarter million of our countrymen (sic) to purchase for ourselves a measure of freedom. That a divided Ireland was maintained by two partition assemblies set up by an Act of the British Parliament. Those were the simple facts that the word splitters and the dictionary republicans sought to conceal from the Irish people.

And when the voice of conscience spoke, when the Republican Movement raised its voice in condemnation of the lie-telling, of the duplicity of the rank insincerity, they were hounded down with brutal savagery.

Internment camps weren’t big enough, gaols weren’t severe enough, the civil courts weren’t adequate enough to mete out the punishment ordered by the conscience-stricken. Even inquests were suppressed – inquests on men shot down like dogs were suppressed.

For the criminal, justice as defined by the law was administered : for the republican, Habeas Corpus was nonexistent…”



17-year-old Na Fianna Éireann member Bartholomew (Bertie) Murphy, from Kerry, had been ‘arrested’ by the Staters and was in a lorry, in their custody when, on the 21st September, 1922, they came under attack by the IRA at Brennan’s Glen, near Farranfore in County Kerry, and Bertie Murphy was fatally wounded in the exchange of gunfire.

That was how young Murphy died, according to the Staters, but it seems it was only a cover-story :

Bertie was ‘arrested’ in mid-September, 1922, in Castleisland, County Kerry, by an FSA unit from Dublin, the ‘Dublin Guards’, who were sent to that county to ‘bring to justice’ those responsible for recent IRA activity in the Farranfore area.

The young republican was taken prisoner to the Great Southern Hotel, Killarney, where the Staters had established a temporary barracks, and was tortured by them to reveal the names etc of the Farrenfore IRA Unit, but he gave them no information.

Following further IRA attacks on the Staters in the Castleisland/Killarney areas, the ‘Dublin Guards’ in the hotel were ‘violent with excitement’ and wanted revenge ; one of them grabbed young Murphy by the throat and began hitting him, but a State officer (said to be David Neligan, a republican-gamekeeper-turned-Free State-poacher) intervened, told the soldier to release the prisoner and beckoned him outside to the hotel steps.

Murphy was escorted over to the hotel door where he was grabbed by the State officer and thrown head-first down the flight of eight concrete steps. When he landed on the footpath, cut, bruised and bloodied, he was shot a number of times by that officer. A passer-by, who had seen what happened, went for a priest and Bartholomew (Bertie) Murphy lived just long enough for the priest to bless him.

On a related issue, it should be noted that the Staters were obviously worried enough about the level of resistance to their ‘fledgling democracy’ that, before the end of that month (September 1922), they had agreed, in Leinster House (by 41 votes to 18) to introduce and enforce emergency legislation allowing for the execution of those captured bearing arms against the State.

The legislation passed to their army (the FSA) powers of punishment for anyone “…taking part in or aiding and abetting attacks on the National Forces (sic), having possession of arms or explosives without the proper authority or disobeying an Army General Order..”

State Military Courts had the right to impose the sentence of death, imprisonment or penal servitude on those found to be guilty of such offences, the sentence only requiring the signatures of two FSA officers. By time the bill was a year old, 81 men were executed under its terms and over 12,000 men and women imprisoned.

Any ‘State’ having to impose its so-called ‘writ’ in that manner needs to have a serious look at itself in relation to why it has to do so.


On this date – 21st September – in 1881, revolutionary Éamonn Ceannt (pictured) was born in Glenamaddy, County Galway. He was educated at University College, Dublin, and worked on the clerical staff of Dublin city council.

Éamonn joined the Gaelic League in 1900 and later taught classes in Irish. He was a pipe player, once playing the uileann pipes for the Pope in Rome. He loved the language, music and dance of his native country and had an unshakeable commitment to Irish freedom. Ceannt joined Sinn Féin and the ‘Irish Republican Brotherhood’ in 1908 and was also one of the founders of the Irish Volunteers in 1913, and was elected to its Provisional Committee.

The day before the Easter Rising in 1916, Ceannt was one of the seven signatories to the Proclamation, in effect, signing their death warrants. During the Rising, he commanded the area of the South Dublin Union ; the plan called for him to hold the area with 1,000 men ; in the event he had only 130 fighters, but his small command, especially Cathal Brugha, resisted the British until Patrick Pearse surrendered the entire rebel force.

Like the other leaders of the Rising, Éamonn Ceannt faced the British kangaroo court that condemned him, with his head held high. On May 7th 1916 he wrote his wife a note, telling her “I shall die, like a man for Ireland’s sake”.

Éamonn Ceannt was an uileann piper, a member of the IRB Military Council and a signatory of the 1916 Proclamation. As a member of the Provisional Government he was executed by the British Army in Kilmainham Gaol on May 8th 1916.


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.

Yet working-class Protestants also have real grievances that have not been remedied. The social disenfranchisement of the Shankill, Tiger’s Bay or Whitehall, for example, is every bit as deserving of attention as that which afflicts their Catholic equivalents.

As loyalists sink deeper into a siege mentality or vent their frustrations in purposeless violence, those issues go unheard.

“Everyone in unionism at the minute is hung up on what they see as the pitfalls of the Agreement (the Stormont Treaty) whether that’s ‘the road to Dublin’ or this emergent, self-confident nationalism,” says Seán MagUidhir. “Nationalists see the situation as dynamic and changing, unionists are looking for guarantees all the time, rather than approaching it with any confidence. There is no one in unionism selling the benefits of the Agreement…”



On this date 21 years ago (2001) the then State ‘Taoiseach’, Bertie Ahern (pictured) announced ‘that Ireland (by which he meant the 26-County State) will put its airports, airspace, refuelling facilities and garda intelligence at the disposal of the US in the battle against terrorism’ (and is on record for also claiming that “we” [the Leinster House administration and/or those that voted for them?] “are happy to facilitate” such American actions) and, on the 21st September 15 years ago (2007) he was exposed for his ‘inconsistencies’ (!) in relation to his testimony (under oath, not that that means anything to him and his Leinster House colleagues) at the Mahon Tribunal.

Or am I just another kebab plotting against him, in the hope of upsetting the apple tart…?

And, incidentally, the political ‘charity’ (!) that operates under the ‘Fianna Fáil’ name is currently in the process of attempting to rehabilitate Mr Ahern and bring him back, officially, into State service.

God help us.


The ‘Loyal Orange Institution’ was spawned on the 21st September 1795 – 227 years ago on this date – after a battle which took place in fields between Loughall and Portadown, in County Armagh.

The battle was between the (Protestant) ‘Peep O’ Day Boys’ and the (Catholic) ‘Defenders’, and took place in an area known as ‘The Diamond’, which was then a minor crossroads ; the ‘Peep O’ Day Boys’ resented the fact that a sizeable minority of Catholics/Nationalists had, in 1791, formed an organisation, the ‘United Irishmen’, in an attempt to reverse the political and social maltreatment they were experiencing from the British/Protestant ‘ruling class’.

A famous author of the day, Dr Daniel Owen Madden (/Maddyn) described the political atmosphere as one in which “…”efforts were made to infuse into the mind of the Protestant feelings of distrust to his Catholic fellow-countrymen.

Popish plots and conspiracies were fabricated with a practical facility, which some influential authorities conceived it no degradation to stoop to; and alarming reports of these dark confederations were circulated with a restless assiduity…”

The scene was being set by State operatives for a confrontation between the ‘ruling class’ and the ‘greedy peasants’ and matters came to a head at the ‘Battle of the Diamond’ ; altogether, the ‘losers’, the ‘Defenders’, lost between 30 and 50 of their number while the ‘Peep O’ Day Boys’ only suffered a few bruises, and they retired to James Sloan’s Inn (pictured) in Loughgall to toast their victory.

Three of their leaders – James Wilson, Dan Winter, and James Sloan – called a meeting in the Inn to establish “…a defensive association pledged to defend the King and his heirs so long as he or they support the Protestant Ascendancy…” and ‘The Orange Order’ was spawned, with its first ‘lodge’ operating from the town of Dyan, in County Tyrone.

That sectarian grouping is still in existence, and remains as sectarian as the day it was founded.


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

Not only must the Border be removed and the physical unity of the country as a political and economic entity be restored, but the whole people must unite with the common purpose of developing Ireland’s material resources for the welfare of all its citizens.

The English electoral laws and divisions as applied to Ireland produce a fine example of democracy – 450,000 votes elect ten Unionists, 152,000 votes elect two Separatists. 45,000 votes to elect one Unionist, 76,000 votes elect one Separatist.

(END of ‘Sinn Féin Victory’ ; Next – ‘Forth His Banners Go’, from ‘Magill’ magazine, May 1987.)


…1920 :

On the 21st September, 1920, an RIC Sergeant, Denis Maguire (‘Service Number 57625’), was taking part in a military raiding party on a republican household in Ferbane, County Offaly, when a shot rang out. The 45-year-old RIC member fell to the ground, dead. It transpired that one of his own colleagues had shot him by accident. He left a widow and six children.


…1922 :

A Free State Army lorry was driving down Eden Quay in Dublin at about 12 Noon on the 21st September, 1922, when it came under attack from gunfire and a bomb was thrown at it. Four State troopers were wounded in the operation, one of whom, FSA Private James Kennedy, from 69 Merchant’s Cottages on the East Road in Dublin, was hit in the head by shrapnel. He died from his wound.


…1922 :

21-year-old IRA Volunteer John O’Brien, D Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Cork Brigade, died on the 21st September, 1922, from wounds inflicted in a gunfight with Free Staters at Knockarourke, near Donoughmore, Cork, on 13th September 1922. He was employed outside of republicanism as an engineer at Rushbrook Docks, in Cork. His stepmother, Ellen O’Brien was awarded a partial-dependant’s gratuity or allowance of £112 and 10 shillings in 1935 under the ‘Army Pensions Acts’.


…1978 :

On the 21st September, 1978, the IRA carried out a bomb attack on Eglinton Airfield, in County Derry. The terminal building, two aircraft hangers, and four planes were destroyed in the attack, which started a hangar fire.




Thanks for the visit, and for reading!

Sharon and the team.

About 11sixtynine

A mother of three (and a Granny!) and a political activist , living in Dublin , Ireland.
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