#OTD in 1945 – Éamon de Valera responds to Winston Churchill’s victory speech during which Churchill took one last jab at Irish neutrality.

Few outside of Ireland could understand the neutral stance of the Irish Free State during the war. Churchill most certainly did not when he said: “Owing to the action of Mr de Valera, so much at variance with the temper and instinct of thousands of Southern Irishmen who hastened to the battle-front to prove their […]

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#OTD in Irish History – 16 May:

587 – St Brendan the Navigator, early transatlantic voyager, dies. In the Liturgical calendar, today is St Brendan’s Feast Day. 1907 – Birth of Robert Tisdall, gold medalist in the 400 meter hurdles at the 1932 Olympics. 1916 – The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and the French Third Republic sign the secret […]

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#OTD in 1867 – Eoin MacNeill, Gaelic scholar and co-founder of the Gaelic League, is born in Glenarm, Co Antrim.

Born in Co Antrim to middle-class Catholic parents, he was educated at St Malachy’s College, Belfast and became law clerk. In 1893, together with Douglas Hyde and others he founded the Gaelic League, an organisation devoted to the preservation of the Irish language, literature, and traditional culture. A brilliant historian and linguist, he was the […]

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#OTD in 1945 – In a radio broadcast, Churchill accuses De Valera’s government of frolicking with the Germans and Japanese.

In his Victory in Europe speech, Winston Churchill slams Éamon de Valera and his war-time policy. (To add fuel to an already bitter relationship, de Valera had not distinguished himself or Ireland’s reputation when he offered condolences to Germany on the death of Hitler.) “(By the dawn of 1941), The sense of envelopment, which might […]

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#OTD in Irish History – 13 May:

1842 – Arthur Sullivan, the son of an Irish musician, is born. Along with William Gilbert he invented the English operetta. Sullivan’s last work is entitled “The Emerald Isle”. 1848 – The Irish Confederation splits; John Mitchel starts the militant United Irishman; he is arrested on this date and is sentenced to 14 years transportation […]

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#OTD in 1920 – The Secretary of State for War, Winston Churchill, suggested the formation of a “Special Emergency Gendarmerie, which would become a branch of the Royal Irish Constabulary.”

In response to ongoing violence and rebellion in Ireland and a brutal campaign of attrition against members of the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC), the ADRIC was recruited in Great Britain from among ex-officers who had served in World War I, especially those who had served in the British Army (including the Royal Flying Corps). Most […]

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#OTD in 1856 – Birth of Sir John Lavery, an Irish painter best known for his portraits, in Belfast.

John Lavery was born in Belfast, the son of a wine and spirit merchant, but was orphaned at the age of three and for a number of unsettled years wandered between Moira, Magheralin, Saltcoats, Ayrshire and Glasgow. Finally he started working by touching up photographic negatives in Glasgow and attended evening classes at the Haldane […]

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#OTD in 1921 – Dáil Éireann debated, resolved and finally on 11 March declared war on the British administration.

In January 1921, at his first Dáil meeting after his return to a country gripped by the War of Independence, de Valera introduced a motion calling on the IRA to desist from ambushes and other tactics that were allowing the British to successfully portray it as a terrorist group, and to take on the British […]

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#OTD in 1922 – Michael Collins secretly authorised the formation of a specially paid unit of seventy IRA volunteers, known as the Belfast City Guard, to protect districts from loyalist attack.

In Northern Ireland there were continual breaches of the Truce by ‘unauthorised loyalist paramilitary forces’. The predominantly Protestant, Unionists government of Northern Ireland supported polices which discriminated against Catholics in which, along with violence against Catholics, led many to suggest the presence of an agenda by an Anglo-ascendancy to drive those of indigenous Irish descent […]

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#OTD in 1922 – The IRA kidnaps more than forty Loyalists Activists and ‘B’ Specials.

In mid-January 1922 the Monaghan football team was arrested in the North on their way to play Derry in the final of the Ulster Championship. On 7 February the IRA responded by kidnapping forty-two prominent loyalists in Fermanagh and Tyrone and held them as hostages. A party of eighteen armed B-Specials, when travelling by train […]

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