1883 – Birth of songwriter, revolutionary and house-painter, Peadar Kearney, in Dublin; best known for writing the words of the Irish national anthem.

via 1883 – Birth of songwriter, revolutionary and house-painter, Peadar Kearney, in Dublin; best known for writing the words of the Irish national anthem. 

In 1907, Kearney wrote the lyrics to ‘The Soldier’s Song’. It was used as a marching song by the Irish Volunteers and was sung by rebels in the GPO during the 1916 Easter Rising. Its popularity increased among rebels held in Frongoch internment camp after the Rising, and the IRA in the Irish War of Independence (1919–21).

In the weeks before the Rising broke out, Kearney had been touring England with the Abbey Theatre as an odd-job man and small parts actor. He returned to Dublin in time to take part in the rebellion and fought with Thomas MacDonagh at Jacobs Factory. After the surrender, he managed to escape before the rebels were taken into custody.

In the years that followed the Rising, civil unrest continued all over Ireland and when the War of Independence broke out in 1919 Kearney saw active service. He was arrested in November 1920 and was imprisoned for 12 months.

Kearney backed the Treaty and took the Free State side in the Civil War that broke out following the ratification of the Treaty. A personal friend of Michael Collins, after his death, Kearney lost faith in the Free State, and no longer took no further part in politics. He returned to his house painting job and settled in Inchicore in Dublin where he died in relative poverty in 1942. His sister Kathleen was the mother of writers Brendan Behan and Dominic Behan. A monument to him stands on Dublin’s Dorset Street, where he was born.

In 1926, the Irish translation of his song The Soldier’s Song, Amrhán na bhFiann (translated to the Irish language by Liam Ó Rinn in 1923) was adopted as the Irish National anthem, Kearney never received any royalties.

He is buried in Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin.

‘Erin Go Bragh’/’Row In The Town’
(Peadar Kearney)

I’ll tell you a story of a row in the town,
When the green flag went up and the Crown rag came down,
‘Twas the neatest and sweetest thing ever you saw,
And they played the best games played in Erin Go Bragh.

One of our comrades was down at Ring’s end,
For the honor of Ireland to hold and defend,
He had no veteran soldiers but volunteers raw,
Playing sweet Mauser music for Erin Go Bragh.

Now here’s to Pat Pearse and our comrades who died
Tom Clark, MacDonagh, MacDiarmada, McBryde,
And here’s to James Connolly who gave one hurrah,
And placed the machine guns for Erin Go Bragh.

One brave English captain was ranting that day,
Saying, “Give me one hour and I’ll blow you away,”
But a big Mauser bullet got stuck in his craw,
And he died of lead poisoning in Erin Go Bragh.

Old Ceannt and his comrades like lions at bay,
From the South Dublin Union poured death and dismay,
And what was their horror when the Englishmen saw
All the dead khaki soldiers in Erin Go Bragh.

Now here’s to old Dublin, and here’s her renown,
In the long generation her fame will go down,
And our children will tell how their forefathers saw,
The red blaze of freedom in Erin Go Bragh.


Celtic Mythology: The Three Noble Strains

Healer of each wounded warrior,
Comforter of each fine woman,
Guiding refrain over the blue water,
Image-laden, sweet-sounding music! –Book of the O’Connor Don

In Celtic mythology, we’re told about The Dagda (the Good god of the Gaelic gods) who was a king within the fairy race known as the Tuatha Dé Danann. The Dagda had a magical and enchanting harp, which he took everywhere and which would come to him when he called.

His harp had the Three Noble Strains of music bound into it. Each property or strain had a different effect on the listener:

1) The Goiltai or ‘sorrow strain’ caused people to weep.
2) The Geantrai or ‘joy strain’ encouraged people to laugh.
3) The Suantrai or ‘sleep strain’ lulled people to sleep.

A story is told of a battle between the Fomorians and the Tuatha Dé Danann where the Fomorians stole The Dagda’s harp and hung it on a wall in their hall. This enraged The Dagda and he set about retrieving the harp with the help of his son Aengus Og. They carefully advanced to the Formorians’ camp and soon heard the sounds of feasting in the hall. As they approached the doorway, they could just make out the harp hanging on the wall through the smoke and the candle light. The Dagda boldly entered the hall and summoned his harp with the enchanting words:

“Come apple-sweet murmurer.
Come, four-angled frame of harmony,
Come summer, come winter,
Out of the mouths of harps and bags and pipes!”

The harp immediately flew across to The Dagda, killing nine men in its wake. The Formorians were shocked into silence and in this silence, The Dagda played the Three Noble Strains upon his harp. When he played the weeping strain of the goltrai, the Formorians mourned their defeat. When he played the joyful strain of the geantrai, the Formorians fell about into laughter and drunken foolery. When he played the sleeping strain of the suantrai, the Formorians fell into a deep and profound slumber. The Dagda and Aengus Og took this opportunity to leave the Formorians camp together with the magical harp.

Other legend has it that the Dagda’s harper, Uaithne, husband of the River Goddess Boand (river Boyne), when giving birth to her first son, cried out in pain and to ease her discomfort, Uaithne played the Dagda’s healing harp and they named the child, Goltrai. At the birth of their second son, Boand laughed out loud for joy and they called their son, Geantrai. Their third and last son was the easiest birth and Boand fell asleep to Uaithne’s harp playing, so they named the child, Suantrai. Like their father, all three sons became great harpers.

It has also been said that much of the beautiful Celtic harp music that has been created since these times, has been composed by those who have overheard the fairy folk of the Tuatha Dé Danann.

Adapted from Celtic Myths Retold and Interpreted

via Celtic Mythology: The Three Noble Strains

#OTD in 1920 – War of Independence: The Burning of Cork.

via #OTD in 1920 – War of Independence: The Burning of Cork.

By Stair na hÉireann

The Burning of Cork is the name commonly given to a devastating series of fires that swept through the centre of Cork City on the night of 11th December 1920. The burning and the subsequent controversy is one of the most significant events of the Irish War of Independence.

During the War of Independence, Cork was one of the main centres of IRA activity. On the day of the fire, a soldier was killed in an attack on British forces at Dillon’s Cross. Later that day Black and Tans opened fire on a group of civilians near the corner of Summerhill North and what is now MacCurtain Street.

At 10 pm that night fire engines responding to reports of a fire at Dillon’s Cross encountered a fire in a department store on Saint Patrick’s Street. Several other fires had been lit in the vicinity, and the fire service was unable to control the conflagrations.

By the next morning numerous buildings on Saint Patrick’s Street were completely destroyed by fires that had been set in buildings along its east and south sides. The City Hall and the Carnegie Library were also completely destroyed by fire, resulting in the loss of many of the city’s public records.

Over five acres of the city were destroyed and an estimated £20 million worth of damage was done. Also that night two IRA men, the Delaney brothers, were murdered in their beds by the Black and Tans.

The loss of the stock of the library and of the records in Cork City Hall was a huge blow to future historians. The Chief Secretary for Ireland, Sir Hamar Greenwood, immediately denied that Crown forces were responsible for the conflagration. He also refused demands for an impartial enquiry which was called for by several public bodies in Cork.

In spite of Greenwood’s obstinacy, the Irish Labour Party and Trades Union Congress published a pamphlet in January 1921 entitled, ‘Who burned Cork City?’ The work drew on eye-witness evidence assembled by Seamus Fitzgerald which suggested that the fires had been set by British forces. Members of the fire service testified that their attempts to contain the blaze were hampered by soldiers who fired on them and cut their hoses with bayonets.

A subsequent British Army enquiry (which resulted in the “Strickland Report”) pointed the finger of blame at members of a company of Black and Tans. The soldiers, it was claimed, set the fires in reprisal for the IRA attack at Dillon’s Cross.

Among the buildings completely destroyed on Saint Patrick’s Street were Roche’s Stores, Cash and Co., The Munster Arcade, Egan’s, The American Shoe Company, Forrests, Sunners chemist and Saxone Shoes.

#OTD in Irish History – 10 December:

via #OTD in Irish History – 10 December:


1479 – Garret More Fitzgerald of Kildare, the ‘Great Earl’, holds a parliament in Dublin from 10 December; it will run, with adjournments, into 1481.

1690 – Sir John Dillon, MP for Co Meath, fights a duel with the Earl of Anglesey.

1826 – Birth of businessman, William Ford in Clonakilty, Co Cork. He moved to America as a young man and married Mary Litogot and they had eight children, his eldest son was Henry who grew up to found the Ford automobile company that has grown into one of the biggest companies in the world.

1827 – Birth of businessman and philanthropist, Eugene O’Keefe in Bandon, Co Cork. He emigrated with his family to Canada when he was five, eventually settling in Toronto. He married Helen Charlotte Bailey in 1862; they had a son and two daughters. He founded the O’Keefe Brewery Company of Toronto Limited in 1891.

1861 – Death of Irish language scholar, John O’Donovan, born in Kilcolumb, Co Kilkenny.

1904 – Death of journalist, barrister, author of fairy tales, and nationalist politician, Edmund Leamy. He was a Member of Parliament (MP) in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, where as member of the Irish Parliamentary Party and leading supporter of Charles Stewart Parnell he represented various Irish seats for much of the period from 1880 until his death in 1904.

1920 – Martial law is imposed in Cork, Kerry, Limerick and Tipperary.

1901 – The first Nobel Prizes are awarded.

1920 – Vol William Owens shot dead by British military (Major Shore) during a raid on the Sinn Féin hall in Shankill, Co Dublin. Several unsuccessful attempts were made by the Shankill IRA to get Shore later.

1921 – At a meeting of the Supreme Council of the IRB, eleven supported the Treaty and four opposed it.

1921 – In Belfast, nationalist areas came under sustained attack from loyalist gunmen.

1922 – Anti-Treaty IRA members burn down the house of TD Seán McGarry, his seven-year-old son dies in the blaze.

1922 – Two prisoners attempt to escape from Drumboe Castle, Co Donegal. They are shot by Free State troops under Major Glennon, and one Gallagher is killed.

1922 – A civilian, James Malone, is shot dead at his home in Garald Griffin Street, Cork city by unidentified gunmen.

1923 – William Butler Yeats receives Nobel Prize in Literature.

1938 – Birth of singer, Brendan Bowyer, in Co Waterford. Best known for fronting ‘The Royal Showband’ and the ‘Big 8’ band. Also renowned for having The Beatles open for him at a concert in 1962 at the ‘The Liverpool Empire’ and being regarded as one of the first headlining Elvis impersonators. Elvis Presley himself was a big fan of Brendan’s performances and would often attend Brendan’s concerts in the Stardust Resort and Casino, Las Vegas during the 1970s.

1941 – Birth of actress, Fionnuala Flanagan. Born in Dublin, she has worked extensively in theatre, film and television. She grew up speaking both Irish and English fluently. Although her parents were not native Irish speakers, they wanted Flanagan and her four siblings to learn their indigenous language. Flanagan was educated in Switzerland and England, and she trained at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin, and travelled throughout Europe before settling in Los Angeles in 1968.

1944 – The Dublin actor Wilfrid Brambell takes over from Jimmy O’Dea in the annual Christmas pantomime at the Gaiety Theatre.

1960 – Birth of actor and director, Kenneth Branagh, in Belfast.

1971 – Kenneth Smyth (28), a Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) member, and Daniel McCormick (29), a former UDR member, were killed by the IRA near Strabane, Co Tyrone.

1973 – Loyalists announced the establishment of the Ulster Army Council (UAC) to resist the proposed Council of Ireland. The UAC was an umbrella group for the main Loyalist paramilitary groups and included the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) and the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF).

1974 – The Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) and its political wing the Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP) was founded at the Spa Hotel in the village of Lucan near Dublin.

1974 – Seán McBride former Minister for External Affairs presented with Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo.

1974 – Leaders of the IRA held secret talks with a group of eight Protestant clergymen from Northern Ireland at Smyth’s Village Hotel in Feakle, Co Clare. The IRA was represented by Ruairi O’Bradaigh, Daithi O’Conaill, and Maire Drumm. Among the group of clergymen were: Dr Arthur Butler, Dr Jack Weir, Rev. Ralph Baxter and Rev. William Arlow. The clergymen presented the IRA with a policy document that had been cleared with the British government (Coogan, 1995; p.217). The meeting ended abruptly when the IRA representatives were tipped-off that the Irish Special Branch were on their way to arrest them. The talks at Feakle forged a process that was to lead to a meeting between the clergymen and the Secretary of State on 18 December 1974 and to an IRA ceasefire that began on 22 December 1974.

1977 – Mairead Corrigan and Betty Williams receive the Nobel Peace Prize. The Belfast women were named as joint recipients of the prestigious award for their work towards ending the violence in Northern Ireland.

1986 – Gerry Adams, President of Sinn Féin, was reported, at the launch of his book Politics of Irish Freedom, as saying that he had never been a member of the IRA.

1987 – On this date ‘Fairytale Of New York’ by Shane MacGowan and Kirsty MacColl was No.1 on the Irish Charts.

1996 – Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Patrick Mayhew, announced that the extra security costs associated with the disturbances surrounding Drumcree and the ending of the IRA ceasefire would have to be met from the existing budget. Hence there were to be cuts of £120 million from the provision for public services with training for the unemployed and housing facing the greatest cutbacks.

1997 – Liam Averill, an IRA life-sentence prisoner, escaped from Long Kesh Prison. Averill managed to escape from the highest security prison in Northern Ireland and the UK by dressing up as a woman during a Christmas party for prisoners’ families and getting onto the coach taking the families out of the prison.

1997 – The Independent published a leaked internal RUC document which claimed to show that one in three of the Catholic officers of the RUC had suffered discrimination or harassment from Protestant officers. At this time Catholics made up 8 per cent of the total number of officers in the RUC.

1998 – The Irish and British governments launch a fresh search for a breakthrough in the Northern Ireland peace process in the wake of the joint award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Ulster’s political leaders David Trimble and John Hume.

1999 – Five men representing the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF), a cover name (pseudonym) used by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), held a meeting with the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD). The five men were: Johnny Adair, William Dodds, John Gregg, Jackie McDonald, and John White.

1999 – Taoiseach Bertie Ahern says that a lasting end to the Northern Ireland conflict is now well in sight.

1999 – The announcement that the Castlereagh Holding Centre in east Belfast would be closed by the end of December 1999 was welcomed by Sinn Féin. The recommendation had been contained in the Patten Report.

1999 – Six human rights organisations called for an independent Inquiry into the killing of Rosemanry Nelson, a Lurgan solicitor killed on 15 March 1999

1999 – Tánaiste Mary Harney is in Ballyfermot to officially open the new manufacturing facility of Michael H, one of Ireland’s most successful clothing companies.

2000 – Following four days of marathon talks in Nice, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern defeats European Union efforts to directly influence Ireland’s taxation policy.

2002 – Loretta Brennan Glucksman, director of philanthropic organisation, the Ireland Funds, presents a €300,000 cheque to Gate Theatre director Michael Colgan towards the Dublin venue’s redevelopment.

2002 – The Government postpones the announcement of an expected 43% increase in the cost of an RTÉ licence fee.

2003 – Death of actor, Sean McClory. Born in Dublin, his career spanned six decades and included well over 100 films and television series.

2005 – Elizabeth Yensen, the oldest women in Ireland passes away at 110 years old. Born in Glasgow on 25 July 1895, Elizabeth spent more than 70 years in Northern Ireland.


Dublin Supporters Bar to The Luggage Room

Come Here To Me!

Number 98 Parnell Street (previously Great Britain Street) is a “terraced two-bay four-storey house” built in circa 1810. It served as the Healy family grocers from the mid 1800s until the early 1960s.

Unusually the proprietor James Healy was a Dublin-born publican as can be seen here for the 1901 census for the family.

1901 Census Return form for James Healy and family, 98 Parnell Street.

It was taken over  by well-known Dublin hurler Mick Bermingham and was under his stewardship until around 1982.

An advertisement for Mick Bermingham’s, 98 Parnell Street. Credit – Munster Express, 3 September 1971.

The pub was known as The 98 in the late 1980s; The Thornbush in the 1990s and then operated as Zagloba for the growing Polish community in the mid 2000s.

Its most recent carnation – the Dublin Supporters Bar – was known for its cheap drink offers and all-day karaoke.


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#OTD in 1921 – After lengthy negotiations, the British give the Irish a deadline to accept or reject the Anglo-Irish treaty. In the words of Lloyd George, rejection would mean ‘immediate and terrible war’.

Negotiations on Irish independence from Britain enter their final and crucial stage at Downing Street. The Irish delegates including Michael Collins and Arthur Griffith had returned from an acrimonious cabinet meeting in Dublin where unfortunately clarity did not exist. The negotiators again met with the British team which included Lloyd George and Winston Churchill.

It was an extremely hostile meeting with much debate about the status of the north of Ireland and Loyalist reaction. Minutes of the meeting taken by Irish delegate Robert Barton show the aggressive negotiating style of Lloyd George who stated ‘that he had always taken it that Arthur Griffith spoke for the Delegation’, that we were all plenipotentiaries and that it was now a matter of peace or war and we must each of us make up our minds. He required that every delegate should sign the document and recommend it, or there was no agreement. He said that they as a body had hazarded their political future and we must do likewise and take the same risks. At one time he particularly said very solemnly that those who were not for peace must take full responsibility for the war that would immediately follow refusal by any Delegate to sign the Articles of Agreement.

Prime Minister Lloyd George told Collins that if they did not accede to the treaty which they finally signed in the early hours of the following morning, Britain would recommence hostile activities.

via #OTD in 1921 – After lengthy negotiations, the British give the Irish a deadline to accept or reject the Anglo-Irish treaty. In the words of Lloyd George, rejection would mean ‘immediate and terrible war’.