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

LUAIN -- On January 11, 1775, Louis De Lacy (right), soldier in the armies of Spain and France, was born in St. Roque, Spain, near Gibraltar, of Irish parents. Louis' father, Patrick, was an officer in the Irish Ultonia regiment of the Spanish army. Louis entered his father's regiment at the age of only fourteen. While stationed on the Canary Islands, he fought a duel with the governor of the island, severely wounding him. De Lacy was court-martialed and removed from the army. He then traveled to France and was able to gain a commission when French Minister of War Henry Clarke (also of Irish ancestry) introduced De Lacy to Napoleon. Made a captain in the Irish Legion, Louis accompanied the French army of Murat in its invasion of Spain in 1807. Once in Spain, however, De Lacy found his feeling for the land where he was born too strong to allow him to fight against it. Disguising himself in women's clothing, he made his way through the lines and turned himself into the Spanish commander. Surprisingly, he was welcomed warmly and immediately given a Spanish commission as colonel and put in command of the Burgos regiment. De Lacy fought well in numerous battles against the French throughout the rest of the Napoleonic wars. When the exiled monarch Ferdinand VII was restored to the throne, de Lacy became one of the leaders of an anti-royalist conspiracy. The plot was discovered and Louis was arrested. De Lacy was condemned to death and was shot in July 1816. By 1820, changing political tides in Spain empowered those whom had conspired against Ferdinand, and Louis de Lacy's body was exhumed and taken to Barcelona and reburied with military honors. The king himself accompanied the funeral procession as Louis was laid to rest near his uncle, Count Francis de Lacy. The king also honored Louis by conferring on him the posthumous title of Duke of Ultonia (Ulster).

Edmund Burke c. 1767/69, by Joshua Reynolds

MÁIRT -- On January 12, 1729, Edmund Burke, one of the greatest political writers and orators in history, was born in Arran Quay, Dublin. Burke was the son of a mixed marriage -- his mother was Catholic and his father Protestant. Burke himself would later marry an Irish Catholic woman. Perhaps it was these two factors which led him to advocate a lenient policy toward Ireland for most of his life. Burke graduated from Trinity College, Dublin, in 1748 and studied law at Middle Temple in London; however, he failed to secure a call to the bar and instead began a literary career. He wrote several books and was editor of the Annual Register before entering politics. In 1765, Earl Verney brought him into the House of Commons as a member for Wendover and within a short time his great speaking ability had transformed him into one of Parliament's most influential members. Burke was one of the leading advocates of compromise with the American colonies. His advice was not followed then, but after the British defeat at the Battle of Yorktown, he was one of the members who helped convince George III to end the conflict. Burke's view of the revolution in France was a much different story. He published Reflections on the Revolution in France in 1790, attacking the revolution's motives and principles. Many writers opposed his views, the most famous being Thomas Paine in his Rights of Man. Burke was a consistent advocate of Catholic emancipation, which politically damaged him, but he was never an advocate of self-rule for the Irish. Edmund Burke died in London on July 9, 1797. Many quotes from his writings and orations have come down through the years, perhaps one is most applicable to the situation in Ireland today: "All government, indeed every human benefit and enjoyment, every virtue, and every prudent act, is founded on compromise and barter."

Read more about Edmund Burke HERE.

Thomas Arthur Comte de Lally, as depicted on a nineteenth-century promotional card by French chocolate manufacturer Chocolat Poulain.

AOINE -- On January 15, 1702 Thomas Arthur Lally, a renowned but tragic officer in the Irish Brigade in the service of France, was born in Romans, France. Lally was the son of Sir Gerard Lally of Tullynadala, Co. Galway, one of the original "Wild Geese" of 1691. Though King Louis XV offered to make Lally a colonel in the Irish Brigade at the age of 18, his father insisted he earn his advancement. Thomas pursued his studies and finally joined the Brigade as a captain in Dillon's regiment in 1732. He would prove to be an excellent soldier. His first campaign came in 1733, during the War of Polish Succession. At the end of that war he traveled secretly to England, Scotland and Ireland in the late 1730s to gauge the depth of Jacobite sympathies. Lally was then sent on another covert mission to Russia, in an unsuccessful attempt to change its alliance from Britain to France. He returned to the army and at Dettingen in 1743, during the War of Austrian Succession, he saved his father's life and helped conduct a retreat that saved the army. He was personally responsible for the placing of a battery of artillery at Fontenoy that was a key to that most famous triumph of the Irish Brigade. He assisted in the planning of "The '45" of Bonnie Prince Charlie, and remained loyal to the Prince after the failure of that enterprise. By now he held an esteemed place in the French military. In 1756 he was given command of an ill-fated French military expedition to India. He was initially successful against the British colonial forces there, but he received little support from the French government and was soon defeated. He was taken to England as a prisoner but then released and allowed to return to France to defend himself against charges of misconduct in India. Lally was found guilty and beheaded on May 9, 1766. His conviction would later be reversed by Louis XVI.

Read more about the Irish Brigade of France HERE.

Currier & Ives
Thomas Francis Meagher, Terence B. MacManus and Patrick O'Donoghue standing in the dock at their trial in Clonmel, October 22, 1848.

AOINE -- On January 15, 1861, Young Irelander Terence Bellew MacManus died in San Francisco. MacManus was born in County Fermanagh in 1811. He later moved to Liverpool, England, where he began a successful shipping agency. In 1843 he returned to Ireland and joined the Repeal Association and the Young Ireland party. During the Young Irelanders' brief uprising in 1848, MacManus joined Smith O'Brien and John Blake Dillon at Ballingarry, County Tipperary, where the only substantial armed action occurred. After the rising's suppression, MacManus was captured by the British and put on trial. Like most of the other Young Ireland leaders, he was sentenced to death, which was then commuted to transportation for life to Van Dieman's Land (Tasmania). He arrived there in autumn 1849, but in 1852 he managed to escape to the United States along with Thomas Francis Meagher. While Meagher settled on the east coast, MacManus settled in San Francisco and decided to try his luck at his former business, working as a shipping agent. But MacManus' fell into poverty when his business failed, and his health rapidly failed as well. It was after his death, however, that he performed his most valuable service to the cause of Irish freedom. On learning of his death, American Fenian leaders decided to return his body to Ireland for burial. This would foreshadow the treatment given to Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa at his famous funeral in 1915 -- Irish Republicans rallying around the grave of a fallen comrade. Crowds of Irish gathered in New York as Archbishop John Hughes, like MacManus born in Ulster, blessed MacManus' body. Thousands greeted his body in Cork also, and crowds gathered at rail stations all the way to Dublin. But the church, in the person of Archbishop Cullen, refused permission for his body to lie-in-state at any church in Dublin. Thus, for a week MacManus' body lay in the Mechanics' Institute, while thousands passed by paying their respects. But Father Patrick Lavelle, a Fenian supporter, defied Cullen and performed the funeral ceremony on November 10, 1861. A crowd estimated at 50,000 followed the casket to Dublin's Glasnevin Cemetery, and hundreds of thousands lined the streets. The MacManus funeral was a seminal moment for the Fenian movement -- it invigorated the nationalist movement in Ireland, just as Rossa's would 54 years later.


'The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.'

         -- Edmund Burke

An unjust Body; where foul influences have more than once worked shameful perversion of judgment. Does not, in these very days, the blood of murdered Lally cry aloud for vengeance? Baited, circumvented, driven mad like the snared lion, Valour had to sink extinguished under vindictive Chicane. Behold him, that hapless Lally, his wild dark soul looking through his wild dark face; trailed on the ignominious death-hurdle; the voice of his despair choked by a wooden gag! The wild fire-soul that has known only peril and toil; and, for threescore years, has buffeted against Fate’s obstruction and men’s perfidy, like genius and courage amid poltroonery, dishonesty and commonplace; faithfully enduring and endeavouring,–O Parlement of Paris, dost thou reward it with a gibbet and a gag?
        -- Thomas Carlyle, in his "The French Revolution"

'I think it no exaggeration to say that the funeral seems to me to be something in its kind unparalleled, or, at least, only to be compared with the second burial of the great Napoleon. But, in the last named pageant the power and resources of a great nation were called into action, while the MacManus funeral was the unaided effort of a populace trampled on or expatriated.'
        -- Fenian Thomas Clarke Luby describing the funeral of Terence Bellow MacManus (right), on November 10, 1861

January - Eanáir


11, 1775 - Louis De Lacy (Soldier - St. Roque, Spain, of Irish parents)
12, 1729 - Edmund Burke (Political writer and orator - Arran Quay, Dublin)
12, 1792 - Robert Patterson (Union General - Co. Tyrone)
12, 1885 - Thomas Ashe, (Revolutionary - Lispole, Co. Kerry.)
13, 1702 - Count Thomas Lally (Soldier in the Irish Brigade of France - Romans, France, of Irish parents.)
13, 1931 - Mary Clarke (Maryknoll nun, martyr, of Irish parents, New York City)
15, 1835 - Patrick Guiney (Soldier, politician – Parkstown, Co. Tipperary.)
16, 1822 - Thomas Clarke Luby (Irish revolutionary – Dublin.)


10, 1922 - Arthur Griffith elected President of Irish Free State.
11, 1970 - IRA splits into Officials and Provisionals (Provos).
13, 1800 - Daniel O'Connell makes his first public speech, opposing union with England.
15, 1861 - Young Irelander Terence MacManus dies in San Francisco, CA.
15, 1896 - Civil War photographer Mathew Brady dies in New York.
16-17, 1871 - La Compagnie Irlandaise of the French "Regiment Etranger" fights with the French army at the Battle of Belfort in the Franco-Prussian War.
16, 1913 - Home Rule bill passes in Commons, defeated in House of Lords (Jan. 30)
16, 1922 - Dublin Castle is surrendered to the Provisional Government.
16, 1939 - IRA bombing campaign begins in England.

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

Comment by michael dunne on January 9, 2016 at 5:45pm

"In order for evil to flourish all it takes is for good men to do nothing" is one of Edmund Burke's quotes. His mother a Nagle and of a staunchly Catholic background had an obvious influence on his sympathies with Ireland and religious freedom. Known as the father of conservative politics Burke had to be careful to avoid giving many of his political enemies the ammunition to discredit him as a "Paddy" So he learned to be skillful and weaved ways around difficult and powerful enemies. Burkes father had to convert to Protestantism to facilitate Edmunds education which under Penal Laws denied Catholics many rights including education.

Edmund Burke had other political and philosophical rivals which included Thomas Payne and Jean Jacques Rousseau. Rousseau's treatise on "The Social Contract" became the basis for the French constitution and for these men Burke's conservatism was too soft for what was then required. After King George refused to heed Burke's concerns on Britain's policies on the 13 colonies, the chance was lost and the American War of Independence followed. It is said that in one of Burke's speeches to the 'Cabinet'  he advised them not to treat the American colonies like others for instance the Irish which was nearby and defenseless. He said these policies of taxation etc would put the Cáit Báis on English American relations. Cáit Báis is Gaelic and translated means the cloak of death. Today the word can be found in most English dictionaries and is spelt kybosh.

Comment by michael dunne on January 9, 2016 at 6:09pm

At the graveside of O'Donovan Rossa  Pearse immortalized this graveside speech "The Fools, the Fools, the Fools!- they have left us our Fenian dead- And while Ireland holds these graves, Ireland unfree shall never be at peace" 

This was in 1915. One year later Pearse and fourteen of his comrades in Arms were executed. The British realized the potency of his words. To ensure these remains would not become another security headache for the British government, These remains were buried in quicklime and thereby denied a heroic or national burial. These fifteen executed leaders are now interred in Arbour Hill Prison, a lonely and often forgotten place beside the National Museum. no doubt its importance will hit the limelight again this year of the 1916 Centenary and again put to one side for another fifty years. Funerary matters are of critical importance to most cultures and in particular to the Irish. If you are visiting Ireland and the National Museum Collins Barracks this year, be sure to visit Arbour Hill Prison next door. Both are free and both are brilliant.

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Comment by That's Just How It Was on January 12, 2016 at 11:10am

And once again michael dunne ; I love to read your comments on any of the articles . 


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