Joe Gannon's Blog (100)

The Real Titanic McCoys: Triumph & Tragedy

Siblings Agnes (29), Alice (26), and Bernard McCoy (24) huddled together on the deck of the Titanic shivering in the cold. It was about 1:15 am on April 15, 1912. They were on the port side of the doomed ship, which now was decidedly tilted toward the bow, causing everyone to lean toward the…

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Added by Joe Gannon on April 8, 2021 at 8:30am — 5 Comments

The Scramogue Ambush: Roscommon Steps Up

Two miles east of Strokestown on Spy Wednesday at the dawn

These Gallant men assembled 'neath the crest of ol' Sliabh Bawn

T'was called the Scramogue Ambush where Captain Peek was shot

But Ashbrook was the venue, right well I know that spot

They conquered their oppressors and filled their hearts with…

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Added by Joe Gannon on March 14, 2021 at 4:00pm — 3 Comments

The 1st Brigade Cork Volunteers and the Coolnacahera Ambush

Friday, February 25, 1921, dawned cool and crisp with a crystal clear blue sky near Coolnacahera, County Cork. Seán O’Hegarty, commanding officer of the 1st (East) Cork Brigade, stood on a high hill with numerous limestone outcroppings and peered off into the east, his right…

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Added by Joe Gannon on February 8, 2021 at 10:00pm — 3 Comments

Michael Brennan and East Clare Brigade at the Glenwood Ambush

Michael Brennan waved his arm and called out to the men of the East Clare Flying Column to abandon their positions along the road near Glenwood House in southeast County Clare, about 12 miles north of Limerick City. Like so many ambushes laid by members of the Irish Volunteers during the Irish War…

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Added by Joe Gannon on January 13, 2021 at 2:30pm — 4 Comments

Marcus Daly: The King From Cavan

Fourteen-year-old Marcus Daly sat staring into the hearth of his family’s stone cottage in Derrylea, just outside the town of Ballyjamesduff in County Cavan. Closing his eyes he could still imagine his grandfather, who seemed to be 100 years old when Marcus was a boy, sitting across from…

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Added by Joe Gannon on November 29, 2020 at 9:30pm — 3 Comments

Liam Lynch, Civil War Martyr: “It never should have happened”

It was a lovely spring morning in the foothills of the Knockmealdown Mountains in southern County Tipperary on April 10, 1923. Six members of the Irish Republican Army, then engaged in the Irish Civil War against the Free State…

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Added by Joe Gannon on October 17, 2020 at 7:00pm — 10 Comments

Mike “King” Kelly: Baseball’s First Superstar

It was a sunny, hot September afternoon in 1887 at the South End Grounds baseball stadium in Boston. Mike “King” Kelly, the player-manager of the Boston Beaneaters, sitting on the bench, wiped the sweat off his brow with his sleeve as he watched his pitcher,…

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Added by Joe Gannon on September 7, 2020 at 6:00pm — 5 Comments

Tipperary’s Dan Breen: The Hardest Hard Man

Dan Breen was startled awake from his dozing slumber by the sound of tramping feet. The small room suddenly flashed to near daylight as a spotlight played across the window looking out to the back of the house. Breen leaped to his feet and grabbed his Mauser pistol off the chair where he had left…

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Added by Joe Gannon on August 6, 2020 at 7:30pm — 3 Comments

'Here They Come, as Thick as Grass': The Irish at Rorke’s Drift

Sgt. Henry Gallagher of B Company, 2nd Battalion, 24th (2nd Warwickshire) Regiment of Foot, who was from Thurles, County Tipperary, paced up and down behind the red-clad soldiers looking over the mealie bag fortifications at Rorke’s Drift. He lifted…

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Added by Joe Gannon on June 30, 2020 at 3:30pm — 8 Comments

A Dog’s Tale: Pat and Mike Go To War

(Above: "The Army Forge" by Edwin Forbes, Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper.)

Patrick Callaghan of the 1st Vermont Cavalry felt the warm northern Virginia summer sun on his face as the blacksmith…

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Added by Joe Gannon on May 15, 2020 at 3:30pm — 2 Comments

'Greyhound on Train': Rescuing Seán Hogan at Knocklong

Irish Volunteer Seán Hogan gazed out the window of the train toward the distant Galtee Mountains to the south. It was early evening on May 13, 1919. The train had just pulled out of Emly, County Tipperary, headed toward the small town of…

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Added by Joe Gannon on April 6, 2020 at 5:00pm — 12 Comments

The Clonbanin Ambush: 'To Hell With Surrender!'

March 5, 1921, dawned bright and clear on the Mallow-Killarney Road (N-72 today) west of Clonbanin, Co. Cork. The men of Seán Moylan’s Cork No. 2 (North) Brigade and Thomas McEllistrim’s Kerry No. 2 (South) Brigade of the Irish Volunteers began to move into position on the north and south sides of…

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Added by Joe Gannon on March 1, 2020 at 9:30pm — 5 Comments

World War II Ace Tom McGuire: The Iron Major

Lieutenant Tom McGuire was at 12,000 feet above Oro Bay, New Guinea in his P-38 fighter scanning the sky for Japanese planes. The 431st Fighter Squadron had scrambled from their Dubodura airbase to intercept a flight of Japanese bombers and their fighter escort on that October 17, 1943. McGuire…

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Added by Joe Gannon on January 18, 2020 at 5:30pm — 5 Comments

Billy the Kid: The Wild Rapparee of Lincoln County

There's a stone covered grave on the wild mountainside.

There's a plain wooden cross on which this is inscribed:

Kneel down, dear stranger, say an Ave for me

I was sentenced to death being a wild rapparee

--…

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Added by Joe Gannon on November 29, 2019 at 9:30pm — 6 Comments

George Lennon and The Piltown Cross Ambush

The night of November 1, 1920, All Souls Night, was extremely cold in the west of County Waterford. The members of the West Waterford Volunteers flying column huddled along the road at Piltown Cross were not only shivering because of the temperature. Most of them were also trembling slightly as…

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Added by Joe Gannon on October 28, 2019 at 1:00pm — 3 Comments

John F. Finerty: 'The Fighting Irish Pencil-Pusher'

Chicago Times correspondent John Finerty wiped his brow, drying the sweat from the hot July 7th afternoon, as he looked up to the top of the grassy knoll where scout Frank Grouard was scanning the horizon with his binoculars. They were near the valley of the Little Bighorn in what is…

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Added by Joe Gannon on September 1, 2019 at 11:30pm — 2 Comments

The Sword in Castletownbere

Back in October of 2017, I wrote an article titled “From Dunkirk to Nagasaki: The Long War of Dr. Aidan MacCarthy,” about a hero of WWII who…

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Added by Joe Gannon on August 3, 2019 at 8:30pm — 2 Comments

The Kilmallock Barracks Attack: Burning Down the House

Tomás Malone, aka Seán Forde, looked down at the gaping hole in the roof of the Royal Irish Constabulary barracks and hurled in another Mills bomb, hoping that this time he would see the roof explode in flames. They had thrown several gasoline-filled bottles into the gaping hole already from their…

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Added by Joe Gannon on May 27, 2019 at 2:00am — 3 Comments

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…

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

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