SIR ROGER CASEMENT

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The last patriot to be executed for his part in the Easter Rising of 1916 was a Protestant from Northern Ireland further disproving the North vs South, Catholic vs protestnat mythology promoted by the British to divide and conquer. His name was Roger Casement and he was born in Antrim on September 1, 1864 to a Protestant father and Catholic mother. At 17, he went to work for the Elder Dempster Shipping Company in Liverpool; three years later he shipped out as purser on one of the company's ships … [Read more...]

The San Patricios

In March we think of St. Patrick and his story is on our national website AOH.COM, so this month we will tell of a remarkable military unit named for our patron saint. When America was a young country, not yet matured with the wisdom born of experience, we made mistakes. The acceptance of slavery, the treatment of Native Americans, prejudice against Catholics, and armed opposition to labor unions, were but a few. But the wisdom of our founding fathers and the form of government they established … [Read more...]

THE FIRST COFFIN SHIPS IN AMERICA

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Wallabout Bay is small body of water along the northwest shore of Brooklyn, NY. In 1801, a settlement called Vinegar Hill was built on that bay to attract Irish immigrants to settle there and provide the labor to build the Brooklyn Navy Yard which opened in 1806. However, Vinegar Hill was built on an area which, 20 years earlier, had seen incredible horror! During the American Revolution, the British had captured thousands of soldiers, sailors, and even private citizens who would not swear … [Read more...]

THE PATRIOT GAME

World War II brought change to Northern Ireland as Loyalists and Nationalists who shared the same bomb shelters broke down the barriers of prejudice erected by the Unionist Ascendancy to keep them divided. The war also created jobs and the small measure of prosperity experienced by the nationalists satisfied many grievances. After the war, England rebuilt the barriers to maintain control of the north. Churchill publicly blasted the Irish Free State for neutrality during the war despite the … [Read more...]

THREE ANCIENT OBSERVATORIES

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The Boyne Valley, some 20 miles northwest of Dublin in County Meath, is one of the most remarkable sites on earth, for there stands three monuments to the early settlers of Ireland, and their civilization. At first they appear to be huge mounds or hills, but closer investigation reveals them to be man-made structures. They are, in fact, more than 5000 years old and the oldest, still-standing, man-made structures on the planet. They are known as Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth and celestial … [Read more...]

THE IRISH BRIGADE COMES HOME

Prior to the American Civil War, the regular Army was small reflecting the logic that America was best defended by hundreds of volunteer militia units. Many were little more than glorified fraternal organizations, filled with men who liked to parade, drink, and sometimes drill. New York had the Continental Guards, German Black Sharp-shooters and Hungarian Kossuth Rifles among others. Not to be outdone, the Irish formed the O'Connell Guards, Irish Rifles and Irish Zouaves. The more serious of … [Read more...]

THOMAS DAVIS

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There are few events in Irish history as tragic as the death of Thomas Osborne Davis. He was a rare man whose impact on the history of Ireland has never been truly appreciated. Born in Mallow, Co Cork on Oct 14, 1814, the son of a British Army Surgeon, he was educated at Trinity College and called to the Bar in 1838, but Davis heard another call: the call of Ireland. He heard it in the voice of Dan O'Connell when the Great Emancipator visited his home town in 1842, and asked a crowd of 400,000, … [Read more...]

THE GALLOPING HOGAN

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After Cromwell’s conquest of Ireland, more than 40,000 Irish were relocated west beyond the Shannon by the end of 1654. Those who didn’t were press-ganged into the British Navy, or sold as indentured servants to the colonies. There was one group however, who refused to relocate. They eluded capture in the hills and glens near their ancestral homes, and raided the new settlers on the lands of their clans. They led an outlaw existence, and the British called them highwaymen; the Irish called them … [Read more...]

Hibernian Rifles in Ireland

As the American Irish and their Irish-American sons and daughters coalesced into a wage-earning community of  Diaporadoes, organizations like the Ancient Order of Hibernians were formed in 1836 from early Ribbon societies to defend Catholic values.  They also nursed a dream of an independent Ireland and maintained links with their Ribbon mentors.  In the 1850s, several Ribbon groups in Ireland adopted the AOH name and, facing extreme anti-Catholic bias, fought fire with fire and became … [Read more...]

JEREMIAH O’DONOVAN ROSSA

100 years ago, on June 29, an Irish hero died who has the unique position in history to be remembered by more people for what was said at his grave than for what he did in life.  It should be otherwise for he was a key part of Irish independence.  Further, what was said at his grave was inspired by his life and can be considered his final act of rebellion because as a result, enrollment in the Irish Volunteers soared.  But, who was this man that he could inspire such action – even from the … [Read more...]