This Week in the History of the Irish: August 20 - August 26

MÁIRT -- On August 22, 1846, Fenian poet John Keegan Casey (right) was born at Mount Dalton, Co. Westmeath. While only in his teens Casey began writing poetry for The Nation. After teaching in Cleraun and Keenagh, Casey gave up the profession to work for the Irish Republican Brotherhood (Fenians). He was arrested and imprisoned in Mountjoy Jail in 1867. Though he was sentenced to seven years penal servitude, his health was so poor he was released after less than a year. In spite of that ill-health he resumed his writing career; under the pen name “Leo,” Casey had articles published in The Shamrock, The Irish People, and The Boston Pilot. He published two collections of verse and is best remembered for two poems: Máire, My Girl, and Rising of the Moon, which was turned into one of the best known of rebel songs. Casey died of tuberculosis on March 17, 1870, and was buried in Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin. It was estimated that 50,000 people followed his casket.

DEARDAOIN -- On August 24, 1968, the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association marched from Coalisland to Dungannon in County Tyrone in one of the first large-scale marches of the six-county civil rights movement.

(Left: An ad for a commemorative march held in 2008.)

The march was uneventful until the 2,500 mixed Catholic and Protestant marchers reached the outskirts of Dungannon. There they found 400 RUC officers barring their path. Behind the RUC line were 1,500 Loyalists armed with cudgels and staves. The anti-civil rights countermarch had been organized by the Ulster Protestant Volunteers with the help of the Rev. Ian Paisley. Confronted with this massive force, the civil rights marchers merely sat down and listened to a number of speeches, while Paisley and his followers sang sectarian songs and shouted abuse from behind the RUC barricades. On this day, the civil-rights marchers would escape harm but very soon all that would change. Ian Paisley was rapidly making a name for himself among hard-line Loyalist groups; he would later even help form a Loyalist paramilitary group, the Ulster Defense Association. In the near future, his followers would be using their cudgels and staves in the streets of the six counties in an attempt to physically beat back the rising tide of the civil rights movement. The cycle of violence in the six counties was rapidly spinning out of control, and Ian Paisley was one of the individuals with his hand on the crank.

National Gallery of Ireland
Irish martyr Robert Emmet, from a miniature by John Comerford.

AOINE -- On August 25, 1803, the British captured one of the most famous revolutionaries in Irish history, Robert Emmet, at the home of Mrs. Palmer in Harold's Cross, outside Dublin. Emmet had been on the run since the failure of the rising he had planned a month earlier. Friends had urged him to escape to the Wicklow Mountains and join Michael Dwyer, who had evaded the British since the failed '98 Rising. From there he might have escaped to France or the United States. Emmet said he was ashamed to face Dwyer after the disaster of the rising, but the more likely reason he remained near Dublin was his reluctance to leave the woman he loved, Sarah Curran, daughter of lawyer John Philpot Curran. Some believe Emmet's location was betrayed by tavernkeeper Simon Doyle, who had delivered eggs to Mrs. Palmer's house. On the 25th, Major Sirr burst into the house and captured Robert at the dinner table. Execution awaited Emmet, and an exalted place in Ireland's martyrology.


‘Mr. Casey puts treason in a fascinating and intelligent manner.’
-- The London Review commenting on John Keegan Casey’s writing.

'We war not against property, we war against no religious sect, we war not against past opinions or prejudices, we war against English dominion.'
         -- From Robert Emmet's proclamation for 'The Provisional Government to the People of Ireland,' July 1803


August — Lúnasa

21, 1918 - John Joseph "Rinty" Monaghan (World Flyweight Boxing Champion – Belfast, Co. Antrim)
22, 1846
 - John Keegan Casey (Fenian - writer of "Rising of the Moon"- Milltown, Country Westmeath)
25, 1764
 - James Hope (United Irishman - Templepatrick, County Antrim.)
25, 1863 - Father Eugene O'Growney (A leader of the Irish language movement - Ballyfallon, Co. Meath.)


20, 1710 - Irish regiments in service of Spain fight at the battle of Saragosa.
20, 1919 - Irish Republican Army established by the Dail Eireann.
20, 1920 – Seán MacEoin leads Longford Volunteers in an attack that captures the RIC barracks at Ballymahon, Co. Longford.
20, 1981 - Michael Devine dies on hunger strike.
21, 1813
 - Napoleon's Irish Legion fights at the battle of Lowenberg.
21, 1862 - Irish born Count Laval Nugent, Field Marshal in the Austrian army, and son of Field Marshal James Nugent, dies in Austria.

22, 1791
 - Theobald Wolfe Tone publishes “An argument on behalf of the Catholics of Ireland”
22, 1798 - General Humbert lands at Cill Chuimín, Co. Mayo, and captures Killala. Irish rebels rally to Hubert’s force.
22, 1850 - First Catholic Synod in Ireland since the Middle Ages in Thurles, County Tipperary.
22, 1918 - Dublin born WWI ace Dennis Latimer shot down and killed.
22, 1920 - Royal Irish Constabulary destroy the creamery at Knocklong, County Limerick, one of the biggest in Ireland. 
22 – 31, 1920 - Belfast riots leave 30 people dead. Catholics are expelled from the shipyards and engineering works.
22, 1922 - Michael Collins killed in an ambush near Béal na Bláth, County Cork.

23, 1887
 - Land Act gives courts power to revise and fix rents.
24, 1706 - Irish Brigade of France officer Count O'Mahoney forced to surrender the town of Alicante.
24, 1739 - James Napper Tandy, revolutionary, dies in Bordeaux, France.
24, 1906 - County Mayo-born Civil War Union officer Robert Horatio George Minty dies in Jerome, Arizona.
24, 1969 - Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association marches from Coalisland to Dungannon.
25, 1580 – Fiach MacHugh O’Byrne defeats Lord Grey at Glenmalure, Co. Wicklow.
25, 1798 - Cornwallis takes command of British forces in the field and sends urgent request to England for reinforcements.
25, 1803 - Robert Emmet captured in Harold's Cross, outside Dublin.
25, 1922 - William T. Cosgrave succeeds the deceased Michael Collins as Chairman of the Provisional Government of the Irish Free State.
25, 1943 - Teresa Brayton, poet, died in America.
26, 1913 - The Dublin Transport Strike, led by Jim Larkin and James Connolly, often called "The Great Dublin Lockout", begins.

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Tags: History of Ireland, Irish Freedom Struggle, Military History, On This Day


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