This Week in the History of the Irish: August 11-16

Ultonia Regiment of the Spanish army, toy soldiers by "The Warrior Irish."

LUAIN -- On August 11, 1744, during the War of Spanish Succession, the Irish Brigade of Spain fought at the battle of Velletri, in Italy, against an Austrian army commanded by Irishman Field Marshal Count Maximillian Ulysses Browne, of Limerick. The surprise attack of Browne's Austrians overran the advanced Irish piquets commanded by Lt. Burke, who was killed; but Burke's men rallied to make a fighting retreat, joined by members of the relief guard commanded by Capt. Slattery. The delaying tactics of the piquets allowed the rest of the Brigade, along with a regiment of Walloons, to form a line to meet the Austrians. Still, the Irish were heavily outnumbered and suffered tremendous casualties as the Austrians pushed them. At Velletri's gates they made a stand -- Col. MacDonald of the Hibernia regiment and over 40 other Irish officers were killed, along with several hundred of the red-coated Irish soldiers. But they had exhausted the Austrians, as well. With the rest of the Spanish army now rallied behind them, the remaining Irish and Walloons led a bayonet charge that drove the Austrians from the field. So impressively had the Irish fought, the King of Spain awarded each regiment a motto for their flags: "In Omneim Terram ex hivit sonos corum" (Their sound hath gone forth into all the earth). And to each regiment he also granted a sobriquet: To Irlanda, "El Famoso"; to Ultonia, "El Immortal"; and to Hibernia, "La Culumna Irlanda" ("The pillar of Ireland.").

A period drawing of the burning of the Ursuline Convent School, Aug. 12, 1834.


MÁIRT -- On August 12, 1834, just after midnight, an anti-Catholic mob attacked the Ursuline Convent School in Charlestown, Massachusetts, and burned it to the ground as the nuns hurried the children out the back. Rev. Lyman Beecher had helped to incite the mob hours earlier, giving three anti-Catholic diatribes at three different churches in Boston. Beecher, whose children included educator Catharine and abolitionist and author of 'Uncle Tom's Cabin,' Harriet Beecher Stowe, later expressed regret over the arson; but as is often the case, violent speech led to violent action. Those arrested for the outrage were quickly found not guilty and became heroes in Boston. After failed attempts to get the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to pay for the damages, and amid threats of further violence, the nuns eventually moved to Canada, driven from the country by bigotry and hate.
 
AOINE -- On August 15, 1909, the Ancient Order of Hibernians dedicated a monument to victims of the Great Hunger at Grosse Ile, in Quebec, Canada. More than 60 years had passed since more than 5,000 Irish men, women, and children had perished on the island, which served as a quarantine station on the St. Lawrence River, but the ancestors and relatives of those victims had not forgotten them. Through the hard work of the AOH, thousands of dollars had been collected to erect a fitting memorial to those innocent victims of man's inhumanity to man. The symbol they chose to use was a Celtic cross. Designed by Jeremiah Gallagher, a member of the AOH in Quebec, the cross was carved from granite and stood 48 feet high atop its pedestal. To ensure that no one traveling up or down the St. Lawrence could fail to see the monument , it was placed on Telegraph Hill, the highest point on the island. More than 7,000 attended the dedication ceremony that day, including several hundred French Canadians, some perhaps from families that had adopted one or more of the over 600 Irish orphans whose parents were left behind on Gross Ile. For the last 104 years, that cross has stood as a beacon to those who passed up and down this busy waterway, reminding them not only of the tragedy that once happened on that island, but also of the ultimate triumph of those who survived.

 

VOICES

 

Count Maximillian
Ulysses Browne


'By the breakfast I've just received I can judge what a fine lunch is being prepared for me.'
         -- Part of Capt. Slattery's reply in refusing the demand of Limerick-born Field Marshal Maximillian Browne that he surrender his advanced guard during the early portion of the battle of Velletri, August 11, 1744.

'Go Ahead! To Arms! To Arms!! Ye brave and free Avenging Sword unshield! Leave not one stone upon another of that cursed Nunnery that prostitutes female virtue and liberty under the garb of holy religion. When Bonaparte opened the Nunnerys of Europe he found cords of infant skulls.'
         -- One of the incendiary placards posted around the Boston area just prior to the burning of the Ursuline Convent School in Charlestown, on August 12, 1834.

BIRTHS

August -- Lúnasa

14, 1814 - Mary O'Connell (Sister Anthony) (American Civil War nurse - Co Limerick.)

SIGNIFICANT EVENTS


10, 1316 – Battle of Athenry.
10, 1690 – With “Galloping” Hogan as their guide, Patrick Sarsfield’s cavalry departs Limerick in search of an approaching Williamite siege train.
10, 1890 – Author, poet, and republican John Boyle O’Reilly dies in Boston.
11, 1744 - Irish regiments of Spain fight in the battle of Velletri.
11, 1834 - Rev. Lyman Beecher, father of Hariet Beecher Stowe, gives three violently anti-Catholic sermons in Boston.
12, 1652 - "To Hell or Connacht" Act for the Settling of Ireland - Cromwellian land confiscations.
12, 1690- Just past midnight Patrick Sarsfield's cavalry attacks and destroys the Williamite siege train near Ballyneety Castle.
12, 1796 - Kilmainham Gaol opens in Dublin.
12, 1834 - Inspired by Rev. Beecher and other Boston ministers, an anti- Catho...
12, 1899 - First issue of James Connolly's Workers Republic.
12, 1920 - Terence MacSwiney, Lord Mayor of Cork, arrested by British.
12, 1922 - Arthur Griffin dies of a cerebral hemorrhage.
12-14, 1969 - British troops are deployed in Northern Ireland after riots in Derry and Belfast.
13, 1704 - Irish Brigade of France fights at the battle of Blenheim.
13, 1881 - First issue of United Ireland, Parnellite weekly.
13, 1887 - Special committee appointed to investigate Parnell's ties to Phoenix Park murders.
14, 1598 - Battle of Yellow Ford.
14, 1828 - Anti-Catholic, evangelical Protestant Brunswick Clubs founded.
15, 1649 - Oliver Cromwell arrives in Dublin.
15, 1702 - Irish Brigade of France fights at the battle of Luzzara.
15, 1834 - 15 Irish homes are burned in further rioting in Charleston, Massachusetts.
15, 1909 - The Ancient Order of Hibernians dedicates a monument to victims of the Great Hunger at Grosse Ile, Quebec, Canada.
16, 1705 - Units of the Irish Brigade of France fight at the battle of Cassano.
16, 1921 - The Second Dáil Éireann convenes.

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