This Week in the History of the Irish: April 10 - April 16

DOMHNAIGH -- On April 10, 1923, General Liam Lynch, chief of staff of the Irish Republican Army, was mortally wounded by Free State troops in Tipperary. Born in Limerick, Lynch commanded the Cork No. 2 Brigade of the Irish Republican Army during the War of Independence. He opposed the Anglo-Irish Treaty and was appointed chief of staff of the IRA before the start of the Civil War. Lynch attempted to use the same "flying column" tactics against the Free State forces as had been used so successfully against the British, but the IRA no longer enjoyed overwhelming support from the people in the countryside. On April 9, 1923, Lynch and a party of IRA officers were in County Tipperary when their hideout was approached by two columns of Free State soldiers. While they attempted to retreat up into the Knockmealdown Mountains, General Lynch was wounded. The Free State troops transported Lynch to St. Joseph's Hospital in Clonmel, but he died there that night. Ten days later de Valera and the IRA high command would meet and decide to end the hostilities. A memorial round tower was built in honor of Liam Lynch near the spot where he was wounded; it was unveiled April 7, 1935.

(Left: The memorial to Liam Lynch at the spot where he was shot in the Knockmealdown Mountains outside Goatenbridge, Co. Tipperary.)

MÁIRT -- On April 12, 1816, Charles Gavan Duffy (right) was born in County Monaghan. Self-educated as a journalist, Duffy would found the Nationn, a nationalist weekly journal, along with Thomas Davis and John Dillon in 1842. From this publication sprung the Young Ireland political party which would break with Daniel O'Connell in 1848. Duffy was arrested and the Nation suppressed during that year but he revived it in '49. He was elected MP for New Ross in '52, and pushed for land reform, but ill health forced him to immigrate to Australia. There he entered politics and was elected Prime Minister of Victoria in 1871 and was knighted for service to the colony in 1873. He retired to the south of France in 1880 and wrote a biography of Davis, as well as history of the Young Ireland movement and other works. He died on Feb. 9, 1903 and is buried in Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin.

The original color scheme of the Irish tricolor, with the orange near the staff.

AOINE -- On April 15, 1848, in Dublin, Thomas Francis Meagher presented the tricolor national flag of Ireland to the public for the first time at a meeting of the Young Ireland Party. Meagher had recently gone to Paris with an Irish delegation sent to congratulate the French republicans on their successful revolution. Inspired by the tricolor French flag, he came up with similar design for the Irish flag, with orange, white and green stripes. The colors symbolized the uniting of the two traditions in one new nation. Few realize though, that Meagher's original flag had the orange stripe closest to the staff. That flag was nearly forgotten following the Young Irelander's failed rising later in '48. The Fenians, the next Irish revolutionary movement, used the traditional green field and golden harp motif for its flags. But in 1916, Meagher's flag was resurrected by the Irish Volunteers and later by Sinn Fein. With the green stripe closest to the staff, Thomas Francis Meagher's tricolor became the official flag of the 26 counties of the Irish Republic. Until recently, display of the tricolor flag was illegal in the six occupied counties of northern Ireland.

Scottish National Portrait Gallery
"Bonnie" Prince Charlie, the last hope of the Jacobites.

SATHAIRN -- On April 16, 1746, a battle was fought in Scotland that would have long-term implications for Ireland, as well as Scotland. It ended "Bonnie" Prince Charlie's Jacobite uprising, known in Scotland as simply, "The '45." It was the battle of "Culloden Moor." Elements of the Irish Brigade of France fought well in the losing cause that day. The Irish in France gave Charles all the support they could during "The '45," though some of their efforts were thwarted. Over 400 men from six infantry regiments and a detachment of Fitzjames' cavalry regiment joined "Bonnie" Prince in Scotland in '45, but many hundreds more were turned back by the British Navy. These Irish veterans were fresh off the victory at Fontenoy, where their late charge on the Duke of Cumberland's attacking force had been one of the decisive factors. Though initially successful, by April 1646 "Bonnie" Prince and his army were clearly in trouble. As he confronted the British at Culloden, a large portion of his exhausted, freezing forces had melted away to their homes. Facing about 9,000 veteran British soldiers under the same Duke of Cumberland who had been defeated at Fontenoy less than a year earlier, Prince Charles' army numbered about 4,000. Retreat would seem to have been the best course of action. "Bonnie" Prince Charlie ordered an attack. With moors on both sides, the Jacobites were forced into a narrow front. British artillery and massed musketry did tremendous damage to their formations. The Prince's army was soon in full retreat. Colonel O'Shea, with 60 troopers of Fitzjames' horse stopped 500 British dragoons who came dangerously close to capturing the Prince, and on the left of the line, the men of the combined Irish regiments, under the command of Brigadier Stapleton, were the last off the field, covering the retreat of Prince Charles and the remnants of his army. Stapleton was mortally wounded during that action. The Irish had given their blood to the cause of a Stuart King for the last time. Most of the surviving Irish surrendered at Inverness. The Prince himself eventually managed to make his escape to France.


He was truly one of the people typical of that great mass of plain Irish people who are always ready to serve the cause of Irish independence without thought of reward
-- From the speech by Brian O'Higgins at the dedication of the memorial to Liam Lynch (right). April 7, 1935.

A National Flag is the most sacred thing a nation can possess.
--Thomas Francis Meagher

Cold winds on the moors blow.
Warm the enemy's fires glow.
Like the harvest of Culloden,
Pain and fear and death grow.
-- From "Culloden's Harvest" by Alastair McDonald

April - Aibreán


10, 1867 - George Russell (Author and Editor -- Lurgan, Co. Armagh)
10, 1911 - Joseph Jeremiah McCarthy (MOH – Chicago, Illinois)
12, 1816 - Sir Charles Gavan Duffy (Nationalist -- Monaghan.)
13, 1825
- Thomas D'arcy McGee (Nationalist, writer, Canadian politician -- Calingford, Co. Louth.)
13, 1906
- Samuel Beckett (Playwright -- Dublin)
16, 1871
 - John Millington Synge (Author-Dublin)


10, 1808 - War Minister, Gen. O'Farrill, becomes a member a ruling junta in Spain.
10, 1918 - British Parliament proposes conscription in Ireland.
10, 1923 - Liam Lynch, chief of staff of the Irish Republican Army, mortally wounded by Free State troops in Tipperary.
10, 1981 - Bobby Sands elected to Parliament for Fermangh while on hunger strike.
10, 1998 - Mitchell Agreement for NI is signed by all parties to the talks.
12, 1847 - The American relief ship, Jamestown, lands supplies in Cork for victims of the Great Hunger.
12, 1916 - Roger Casement sets sail from Germany to Ireland aboard the German U-boat U-20.

14, 1794 - George Arthur Dillon, Irish Brigade of France officer, guillotined in France.
14, 1916 - The U-20 returns to land with mechanical problems, and Roger Casement transfers to the U-19.
14, 1922 - IRA occupies the Four Courts in Dublin.
14, 1919 - Limerick Trades Council declares a general strike.
15, 1840 - Repeal (of Union) Association founded.
15, 1848 - In Dublin, the tricolor national flag of Ireland is presented to the public for the first time by Thomas Francis Meagher and the Young Ireland Party.
15, 1912 - Eleven people from Addergoole, Lahardane, Co. Mayo die on the Titanic.
15, 1941 - Free State fire brigades are sent to aid Belfast after Nazi raids cause numerous fires.
16, 1746 - Members of the Irish Brigade fight at the Battle of Culloden Moor.
16, 1918 - British Parliament passes a conscription act that will apply to Ireland.

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Tags: Britain, Irish Freedom Struggle, Military History, On This Day

Comment by Kieron Punch on April 11, 2016 at 3:55am

Here is a photo I took of the clothes Liam Lynch was wearing and the Lee Enfield rifle he was carrying, when he was mortally wounded. These items are part of the 'Soldiers and Chiefs' exhibition in Collins Barracks, Dublin. (apologies for the poor quality of the photo - the lighting in the museum was not suitable for taking photos)

Heritage Partner
Comment by That's Just How It Was on April 12, 2016 at 7:13am

I will have to visit Collins Barracks when I am over in Ireland at teh end of this month.... Thanks for showing the photo Kieron Punch  ..

Nice Article TWG 

Comment by Kieron Punch on April 12, 2016 at 7:48am

Collins Barracks is currently hosting an exhibition devoted to the Rising called, "Proclaiming a Republic: The 1916 Rising". I did not manage to see that exhibition as the queues were too long (it was the Easter weekend holiday) so make sure you get there good and early. The adjacent "Soldiers and Chiefs" exhibition did not have long queues and was excellent. It had many items from the Rising, which I'm surprised were not in the "Proclaiming a Republic" exhibition such as Michael Malone's 'Broom Handle' Mauser pistol which he used to such devastating effect on Northumberland Road, Pearse's similar Mauser and the hat he is wearing in the photo of his surrender to General Lowe, the blood-stained shirt Connolly was wearing in the GPO etc. There are also many interesting items from the Tan War and Civil War periods, such as weapons belonging to members of The Squad, the long barrelled, artillery model Parabellum/Luger that Sean Treacy was carrying when he was killed in Talbot Street, the greatcoat that Collins was wearing when he was shot at Beal na Blath etc

Comment by Kieron Punch on April 12, 2016 at 8:17am

There is also a fine exhibition containing many interesting items from the 1916-23 period in Kilmainham Gaol. If you plan to visit the jail, get there very early because the queues there were also very long and the queuing system was crazy. We had to queue for two hours just to buy a ticket for the tour of the prison (you can't just go in to see the exhibitions in the museum) and then had to wait another hour for our allotted tour to commence. They could easily have set up an efficient ticket booth (or gone along the line selling the tickets) with the time of your tour printed on it - you're on the 14:15 tour, you're on the 14:30 tour etc - allowing people to go away for a couple of hours and return for the tour. How things have changed - when my wife and I first visited the Gaol 23 years ago we were able to park right outside the main doors and walk straight inside, the entrance fee was only about 50 pence, and there were only 3 other visitors inside which meant we had a very personalised tour by a very knowledgeable, elderly lady, who took us onto landings and into cells which are not visited by the current tour.

Comment by The Wild Geese on April 13, 2016 at 10:28am
In 1974 I think I may have been the only person in the jail during my visit.
Comment by The Wild Geese on April 13, 2016 at 10:30am
Other than an elderly tour guide and someone I vaguely recall behind the counter of the small gift shop.


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