Irish History Bitesize
Proclamation of Irish Independence prints

January 12


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1729 Edmund Burke was born in Dublin on this day in 1729. Burke was a major figure in British politics during the 18th century. He was a member of the Whig party, and is considered by many now to have been the father of modern conservatism.
More on Edmund Burke and more of his quotes

Edmund-Burke_It is not what a lawyer Image copyright Ireland Calling

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1880 Frank Fahy was born on this day in Galway in 1880. He was a politician who served in the Irish government for more than 30 years, firstly as a member of Sinn Féin and then with Fianna Fáil.

He was elected by his peers to become Ceann Comhairle (chairman) of the Dáil Éireann (parliament) in 1932, and held the position for nearly 20 years.
Note that this is not the same Frank Fahy who wrote the classic Irish folk song, Galway Bay.

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Thomas Patrick Ashe1885 Thomas Patrick Ashe was born. He was a member of the Gaelic League, the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) and a founding member of the Irish Volunteers. He took part in the 1916 Easter Rising.

On 8 May 1916, Ashe and Éamon de Valera were court-martialled and both sentenced to death, later commuted to penal servitude for life. Ashe was sent to Lewes Prison in England. Prisoner abuse was reported in the Irish press putting the British government under pressure, resulting in Ashe and the remaining prisoners being freed on 18 June 1917 by Lloyd George as part of a general amnesty.

In August 1917, Ashes was arrested again for sedition for speeches he had made. He was sentenced to two years hard labour and sent to Mountjoy Prison. Ashe and other prisoners demanded ‘prisoner of war’ status and Ashe again went on hunger strike on 20 September 1917. After being brutally force-fed, Ashe died on 25 September1917.

The inquest into his death stated; that the prison staff had performed an “inhuman and dangerous operation on the prisoner, and other acts of unfeeling and barbaric conduct”.
His death increased Republican recruitment.

Just prior to his death, he said; ‘If I die, I die in a good cause.’

Thomas-Ashe-2-lines-of-poem Image copyright Ireland CallingSee the whole poem ‘Let Me Carry Your Cross For Ireland, Lord’

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1947  Matt Molloy was born on 12 January 1947 in Ballaghaderreen, County Roscommon. He is an Irish flautist. When he was 17, he won the All Ireland Flute Championships. He has been a member of Planxty, and has also worked with the Irish Chamber Orchestra.

He has been with The Chieftains for 32 years – he joined the band in 1979. As well as all The Chieftains albums, he has also released 10 solo albums. More about Matt Malloy and The Chieftains here.

Matt Molloy and The Chieftains The Mason’s Apron.

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1951 Miami Showband member Steve Travers was born on this day in 1951. The Dublin based band were the stars of Irish music in the 1960s and 70s, with seven number one records.

However, in 1975 they were the victims of a brutal attack. As the band headed back to Dublin after a tour, their minibus was stopped by members of the Ulster Volunteer Force. They were ordered out of the bus and to line up on the roadside. The UVF members tried to plant a time-bomb on the bus, but it detonated killing them. In the panic the other members of the UVF opened fire killing three and injuring two of the band.

Travers was one of the band members that survived the attack, which became known as the Miami Showband Massacre. Three men were later found guilty of the murders, and given life sentences in prison. Steve Travers remembers Miami Showband bandsmates lost that day.

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2000 On this day in 2000, the people of Limerick turned out in their thousands to attend the film premiere of Angela’s Ashes. The film starring Emily Watson and Robert Carlyle was based on the book by Frank McCourt, about family life in poverty-stricken 1930s Ireland.

This quote is from Angela’s Ashes.

Frank McCourt quote Image copyright Ireland Calling

See more memorable quotes from Frank McCourt

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2009  ‘International Kiss A Ginger Day’ was started on 12 January 2009 to counter the disgraceful ‘Kick a ginger day’ (started in November 2008) when lots of ginger children were hit at school. It’s incredible such things could happen.

‘Kiss A Ginger Day’ hopes to highlight the problem of bullying and redress the balance.

International Kiss A Ginger Day

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