Today in Irish History – 5 January:

1826 – Separate Irish currency is abolished and replaced by sterling.

1871 – Thirty Fenian prisoners are released by the British in a general amnesty. The British government released the Fenians on condition that they exile themselves to the country of their choice and not return until their sentences had expired. Five cellmates chose to go to America: Rossa, Devoy, John McClure, Harry Mulleda and Charles Underwood O’Connell, who had all been imprisoned together, chose to go to America and boarded the Cuba ship at Liverpool. The Cuba Five, as they became known, were greeted as heroes by the American Irish community.

1881 – The trial of the Land Leaguers begins.

1885 – Hugh O’Brien is sworn in as Boston’s first Irish mayor.

1900 – Irish leader John Edward Redmond calls for a revolt against British rule.

1911 – Protestant church leaders condemn Ne Temere Papal decree on mixed marriages. The Ne Temere papal decree of 1907 required non-Catholics married to a Catholic to agree to educate their children as Catholics, and often the non-Catholic was required to convert before the marriage. Ne Temere was tolerated by the UK parliament as it had little impact in Britain; Irish Protestants felt that it would have a much greater impact in a future Catholic-dominated Home Rule Ireland. In 1911 debates both views were considered, and notably those against Ne Temere were unionists and those tolerating it were not.

1915 – Roger Casement visits Limburg after the full contingent of prisoners had reached the camp. Casement is now doubtful as to whether the Brigade would be successful, he writes to Count Georg von Wedel from Limburg with his doubts. “I dare say a sham corps of sorts could be formed by tempting the men with promises of money: but an appeal to their “patriotism” is an appeal to something non-existent”… “All thought of enrolling the men, I fear, must be abandoned – they are mercenaries pure and simple, and even if had the means to bribe them, I would not do so,” I will not return to Limburg to be insulted by a handful of recreant Irishmen.”

1921 – Martial Law was extended to Clare and Waterford.

1922 – Death of Kildareman, Sir Ernest Shackleton, Antarctic explorer. He led three British expeditions to the Antarctic, and was one of the principal figures of the period known as the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration.

1941 – Jennie Wyse Power, Irish patriot and women’s rights activist, dies in Dublin.

1944 – Louis Stewart, jazz guitarist, is born in Waterford.

1976 – The Republican Action Force, a cover name for the IRA, admits to the brutal murder of ten Protestant workmen in what becomes known as the Kingsmill Massacre.

1976 – Death of John Aloysius Costello. He was a successful barrister, and was one of the main legal advisors to the government of the Irish Free State after independence. He was Attorney General of Ireland from 1926-1932 and Taoiseach from 1948-1951 and 1954-1957.

1978 – Death of Antrim-born, fiddler, lilter and singer, Joe Holmes.

2002 – Garda Síochána arrested seven suspected dissident Republicans in Co Louth, at approximately 9.00pm. The men were arrested following the search of a house in Dundalk during which a number of weapons were discovered. The men, aged between 20 and 50, were being questioned under Section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act. It was believed that two of the men were members of the RIRA.

2003 – A group of women maintain a vigil at Shannon Airport in protest of US Air Force landings.

Photo: Derrynane Abbey, Co Kerry, Ben Russell Photography

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Gravestones in Derrynane Abbey

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