Joe Gannon's Blog (82)

This Week in the History of the Irish: May 5 - May 11

DOMHNAIGH -- On May 5, 1981, Bobby Sands (right) died on hunger strike at Long Kesh prison. He had begun the strike on March 1, in…

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Added by Joe Gannon on May 4, 2019 at 7:00pm — No Comments

Eugene Daly: Westmeath Piper Barely Survives Titanic's Sinking

It had been about a half hour since 29-year-old Eugene Daly had been startled awake from his bunk on the Titanic by the strange screeching noise. As he came up the stairway and emerged on the 3rd class well-deck near the bow, what he saw filled his heart with dread. He…

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Added by Joe Gannon on May 3, 2019 at 9:00pm — 5 Comments

Derryman Robert Evans: Last Man Standing at the Alamo





Inside the roofless old Spanish chapel, the first rays of the early morning Texas sun were illuminating the room with a soft golden glow through the acrid air, clouded by black powder smoke. But what was being illuminated by that rising sun in the chapel of this mission called…

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Added by Joe Gannon on March 31, 2019 at 5:00pm — 5 Comments

William 'Whack' Ryan: Martyr to Cuban Freedom

As the brilliant rays of the morning sun began to flash off the whitewashed adobe wall in Santiago, Cuba, 30-year-old William Albert Charles Ryan reflected that it would be yet another beautiful day on the tropical island he had come to love. He could hear the sweet songs of a few…

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Added by Joe Gannon on February 14, 2019 at 6:30pm — 5 Comments

The Tureengarriffe Ambush: Cork and Kerry Strike a Blow

Seán Moylan slowly moved his binoculars back and forth pointed to the west as he scanned the east Kerry countryside in the direction of Scartaglen. He was standing on some high ground in Thade Daly’s Glen in Tureengarriffe, along what is now the R-577 road. Moylan, commanding the Cork No. 2 (North)…

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Added by Joe Gannon on January 1, 2019 at 2:30pm — 5 Comments

Alleta Sullivan: 'Champion Gold Star Mother' of WW2

There are many stirring tales of Irish and Irish-American military heroes in the long history of the United States. From…

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Added by Joe Gannon on November 22, 2018 at 11:30pm — 4 Comments

General Charles Edward Jennings: 'Le Brave Kilmaine'

The port of Brest in the mid-1790s by Jean-François Hue (1751-1823)

As he watched the small French fleet carrying his friend Theobald Wolfe Tone and about 3,000 French troops sail out of Brest,…

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Added by Joe Gannon on October 19, 2018 at 10:30pm — 1 Comment

WWII Hero Edwin O’Hara: The Honor, But Not the Medal

(Edwin O'Hara, loading the 4 inch gun on the SS Stephen Hopkins. By W.M. Wilson, on display at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.)

For them there are no big parades, 

No heroes' welcome gay,

No uniforms, and no applause 

To cheer them on…

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Added by Joe Gannon on September 23, 2018 at 7:00pm — 4 Comments

Mountain Man John Colter: Surviving 'Naked and Afraid'

John Colter’s leg muscles were burning and his lungs were aching, but he kept his legs moving. As he glanced over his shoulder he could see that most of the Blackfoot warriors chasing him were far behind now, but there was one far ahead of the others, and he was closing the distance. Blood was spotting the grass and…

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Added by Joe Gannon on August 15, 2018 at 3:00pm — 3 Comments

One of 'The Boys of Wexford' Returns: JFK in Ireland

On June 23, 1963 the people of Ireland fell in love with a member of “The Wild Geese” who had less than five months to live. If ever an American politician had a style and ease that allowed the people of Ireland to see the “Irish” in him, it was John Fitzgerald Kennedy. By the summer of 1963 he had become the…

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Added by Joe Gannon on June 12, 2018 at 4:00pm — No Comments

Semmes and the San Patricios: 'Dishonored and Dishonorable'?

In November of 1846, as the war between Mexico and the United States raged, an unusual unit of the Mexican army was formed by General Santa Anna, it was called the San Patricios or St. Patrick's Company. Commanded by John Riley, a deserter from Company K of the 5th U.S. Infantry, who probably gave it the name, it…

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Added by Joe Gannon on May 16, 2018 at 3:30pm — 2 Comments

Mayo's Tourmakeady Ambush: Shrouded By 'Fog of War'

Tuesday, May 3, 1921 was a beautiful, sunny day in the nearly treeless Partry Mountains above the town of Tourmakeady, County Mayo, but Tom Maguire was in no condition to enjoy the weather. Maguire, the C/O of the South Mayo Flying Column, from Cross, was lying on his back, bleeding from a bullet wound in…

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Added by Joe Gannon on April 30, 2018 at 7:30pm — 3 Comments

Titanic Hero Hugh McElroy: 'Sand For Breakfast Tomorrow'

It was a little after 2 am on April 15, 1912. The deck of the R.M.S. Titanic was now tilted over 6 degrees toward the sinking bow. As 17-year-old Jack Thayer and 30-year-old Milton Long moved toward one of the last remaining lifeboats on the boat deck, they were moving downhill, toward the rising water. Ahead of…

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Added by Joe Gannon on April 5, 2018 at 10:00am — 11 Comments

The Headford Ambush: Time Runs Out in Kerry

Now rise up DJ Allman, arise and tell me true

Who fought at Headford Station that day along with you?

Who stood out on that platform board, who fired that signal gun?

Who fought to free old Ireland with you my darling son?

-- From “The Ballad of DJ Allman"…

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Added by Joe Gannon on March 13, 2018 at 11:30pm — 6 Comments

The O’Sullivan Beare Clan: Taking the Fight to America

When the rebels in Britain’s American colonies rose up against British rule in 1776, some of the most stalwart supporters of the cause of independence were the same Irish clans that had fought against the English / British rule of their own island for centuries. One of the septs that fought to the bitter end of…

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Added by Joe Gannon on February 25, 2018 at 1:00pm — 6 Comments

Cataclysm in Cork: The Battle of Clonmult

On top of roof and window,

Those boys stood up to fight,

‘Til the burning of the cottage

And no escape in sight.

It was around 4 pm…

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Added by Joe Gannon on January 19, 2018 at 5:30pm — 3 Comments

Wexford's James Power and the Trail of Tears to Texas

As nine year old Rosalie Hart came up onto the deck of the schooner “Sea Lion” there was a furious gale blowing. She and her family were thousands of miles from their home in Ballymoney, County Wexford, Ireland. She breathed in the clean sea air; a welcome relief from the…

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Added by Joe Gannon on December 24, 2017 at 11:30pm — 4 Comments

'The Scourge of Tralee': Stalking 'The Major'

Late on Christmas night 1920, Irish Volunteers John Leen (24) and Maurice Reidy (25) stealthily made their way to the home of John Byrne, the creamery manager in Ballymacelligott, County Kerry. The cottage had been raided often, because Byrne was a well-known Republican who had been…

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Added by Joe Gannon on December 3, 2017 at 9:30pm — 9 Comments

The Dromkeen Ambush: Down Into the Mire in County Limerick

On the cool, pleasant night of St. Stephens day, December 26, 1920, over two hundred men and women were dancing, eating and enjoying themselves at Caherguillamore House, three miles northeast of Bruff, in County Limerick. The Martin brothers from Bruff were providing the music. This was not a commonplace dance. It had been…

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Added by Joe Gannon on November 13, 2017 at 10:00am — 6 Comments

From Dunkirk to Nagasaki, The Long War of Dr. Aidan MacCarthy

Aidan MacCarthy crouched low in the air raid shelter he and the other prisoners of war had dug themselves. They had seen two American B-29 bombers flying toward the city of Nagasaki before they went into the shelter. A few POWs had stayed outside, though, wanting to see bombs fall on the Japanese for a bit of retribution…

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Added by Joe Gannon on October 13, 2017 at 10:30pm — 5 Comments

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