ONE WAR ENDS – ANOTHER BEGINS

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  The end of WWI on 11 November, 1918 was followed by a general election in December. Ireland at the time was still suffering from post-1916 animosity and restrictions by the British government. The death of one of the many interned Volunteers, Richard Coleman, on 9 December was alleged by Sinn Féin to be indicative of the mistreatment of prisoners. Coleman’s funeral procession through Dublin bought that Republican party valuable support in the coming election. Of the 105 Parliamentary … [Read more...]

AMERICA’S FIRST CHRISTMAS CARDS

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In 1982, archeologist Dr. Robert Pyle investigated a petroglyph, or rock carving, in Wyoming County, West Virginia. Many such carvings exist whose origins are shrouded in mystery, but Pyle thought this one unique for the carving looked like early runic writing.  He lychen-dated it as having been carved between 500 and 700 AD.  He recorded every detail of the carving in 18 separate visits, and gave the story to a local newspaper.  A reader clipped the article and sent it to the West Virginia … [Read more...]

CHRISTMAS IN IRELAND

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The Christmas season in Ireland is a happy combination of modern and ancient customs that combine to bring a unique meaning to this special time of year.  While Christmas shopping, decorated trees, and Santa Claus are evident everywhere, traditional customs that signify the true meaning of this holy season still remain in small towns and villages where some people still celebrate the holy feast as their ancestors had for generations. On Christmas Eve, the windows are decorated with garlands … [Read more...]

GEORGE WASHINGTON’S CHRISTMAS IRISH

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  There were a few Irishmen living in and around Trenton, NJ prior to the Revolutionary War. Among them were Paddy Colvin and Sam McConkey, who ran two Delaware River ferries; Paddy Lamb, who resided near Quaker Bridge on Assunpink Creek; and John Honeyman, a retired British soldier, now a butcher and cattle-dealer in nearby Griggstown. They were all there during a very special Christmas adventure. Toward the end of 1776, George Washington’s patriot army retreated from New York … [Read more...]

Edward Walsh

Edward Walsh

  Edward Walsh was born in Dublin in 1873 and lived with his family in the North Inner City around the Bolton Street area. Edward married Ellen in 1894 and from that date on, he and his new family lived in the run-down tenements on Henrietta Street and, at the time of the Rising, on Dominick Street. By then they had 2 children, Christopher (20) and Helena (11). He worked as a Carter for McMasters in Capel Street. Edward joined the Hibernian Rifles just after their founding. The … [Read more...]

THE BIRTH OF REPUBLICANISM

Theobold Wolfe Tone

  Up to the 20th Century, the closest that the Irish ever came to complete independence happened when Irish Catholics and Protestants united in a brotherhood of purpose for the benefit of all. It started after the American Revolution. The 1777 surrender of General Burgoyne at Saratoga in the American Revolution was followed by the alliance of France to America's cause. The British began to fear an invasion of either England or Ireland. In April 1778, John Paul Jones crossed the Atlantic, … [Read more...]

Echoes of History – The Manchester Martyrs

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  After the American Civil War, the Fenian brotherhood felt the time was right for a long-awaited national rising in Ireland. In February 1867, a small local rising in Cahirciveen, Co. Kerry, finally prompted a national rising which took place on 6 March. Thousands of Fenians took to the hills, but poorly armed, they were easily put down and hundreds were jailed. Unaware of the failure of the rising, support was sent from America’s Fenians. On 23 May, the ship Erin’s Hope with 40 Fenians … [Read more...]

IRISH ROUND TOWERS

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  When one sees Round Towers, it’s only natural to think of Ireland. These impressive monuments from the past have a long, storied and mysterious history; long – because they date back to medieval times; storied – because there are many tales surrounding their purpose; and mysterious – because no one knows the names of those bygone architects who built them. They are mostly found in Ireland, where they were built, sometime between the 7th and 10th century according to the 1911 Encyclopedia … [Read more...]

Nineteenth Century August

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By the mid 1800s, most of the fertile land in Ireland was in the hands of landlords, forcing the Irish to survive on smaller plots, until they became totally dependent on the crop that could produce the most yield per acre – the potato. It was difficult, but at least they weren't starving for potatoes are a remarkable source of vitamins and minerals. Then late on August 20, 1845, a potato fungus was discovered at the Dublin Botanical Gardens. The following day, August 21, is a date remembered in … [Read more...]

IRISH MARTYRS OF MAY

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We remember the Patriots of 1916 whose executions began on 3 May and extended until 12 May. However, 75 years later on 5 May, another patriot joined them in Tir na nOg and should also be remembered. It was 1981 and a young 26-year old patriot named Bobby Sands had succumbed to a self-imposed hunger strike. The spin-doctors in the British Information Service were at wits end preparing propaganda, the Irish Diaspora around the world were protesting, and the media had a field day. Sadly, few knew … [Read more...]