Irish Newspaper Archive

The gateway to Ireland's rich historical past

  • Eoin O’Duffy's Blueshirts Declared illegal 08.December.1933

    On this day in 1933 the Irish government declared the Army Comrades Association (ACA), later the League of Youth, but better known as the ‘Blueshirts, illegal. Led by Eoin O’Duffy, a veteran of the Irish War of Independence, the leader of Fianna Fáil, Eamon de Valera believed that the Blueshirts were a Fascist movement and were intent on the over through of the government. O’Duffy born in Monaghan in 1892, supported the Anglo-Irish Treaty of December 1921 and served as a general in the Free State Army. When the Civil War ended, he was appointed Commissioner of An Garda Síochana. By 1933 he was the Chief of the Army Comrades Association and adopting the symbols of fascism and a distinctive blue uniform, which mirrored groups then prominent across Europe, posed a serious threat to the government. Organising a number of rallies across the country O’Duffy and the Blueshirt movement were in the ascent but when they planned a parade to commemorate Michael Collins and Arthur Griffith in August 1933, De Valera fearing a coup d’état banned the march. Despite the ban the Blushirts continued to attend functions and parade, particularly in rural areas. In September 1933 Cumman na nGaedhael and the Centre Party merged with the Blueshirt movement and formed Fine Gael, with O’Duffy elected as its first leader. Resigning from Fine Gael in 1934 O’Duffy turned his attention to Europe and in 1936 organized an Irish Brigade to fight for General Franco in the Spanish Civil War. Returning from the war O’Duffy watched closely the developments of war-time Europe but with his health, in serious decline, he would not become actively involved in matters. He died in 1944 and is buried in Glasnevin Cemetery.

    Download Kerryman 16.December.1933 below:

    Kerryman 16.December.1933 Blue Shirts banned

    Source: Kerryman 1904-current, Saturday, December 16, 1933; Page: 11


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  • Charles Haughey Elected leader of Fianna Fáil 07.December.1979

    Charles Haughey Elected Leader @

    Charles Haughey Elected Leader

    On this day in 1979 Charles Haughey was elected leader of the Fianna Fáil political party succeeding Jack Lynch and seeing off his rival, the then Tánaiste, George Colley. Following the resignation of Lynch, then Taoiseach, the leadership race became heated with both Haughey and Colley battling for supremacy. Haughey’s election, and subsequent appointment as Taoiseach four days later, marked a remarkable comeback for a man who only eight years previous had been embroiled in controversy during the Arms Crisis of 1970. Born in 1925 in Castlebar, county Mayo, Haughey was appointed Minister for Health in 1977 a position he held until his election as leader of the party. A controversial figure Haughey was openly critical of partition and called Northern Ireland a ‘failed political entity’ at the Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis in 1980. Having lost the General Election in 1981 and receiving criticism from within the party, Haughey led Fianna Fáil back into government in 1982. After a period in opposition, Fianna Fáil were re-elected in 1987 with Haughey once more elected Taoiseach. After calling a snap General Election in 1989 Haughey formed a coalition with the Progressive Democrats. However, he was forced to resign in 1992 following allegations that the party has been involved in the illegal phone tapping of journalists. For the remainder of his life he was embroiled in financial scandals and was the focus of a number of tribunals of inquiry. Charles Haughey died in 2006 and was buried with a state funeral attended by President Mary McAleese.

    Download Evening Herald Charles Haughey 07.December.1979

    Source: Evening Herald 1891-current, Friday, December 07, 1979, page 1

  • Anglo Irish Treaty was signed 06.December.1921

    Anglo-Irish treaty

    Anglo Irish Treaty 06.December.1921

    On this day in 1921 after weeks of intense negotiation, the Anglo Irish Treaty was signed in London. Under the terms of the treaty the Irish Free State, consisting of twenty-six counties would have  dominion status, similar to Canada and Australia. The British government would take control of the so-called treaty ports to safeguard their defence interests and a boundary commission was to be established to consider the border with Northern Ireland.  The boundary was to be readjusted ‘in accordance with the wishes of the inhabitants, so far as may be compatible with economic and geographical conditions’. Not surprisingly, the oath of allegiance to the British Crown caused considerable controversy. The treaty ended months of negotiations which had begun in July following the truce and the end of the War of Independence. Eamon de Valera led the Irish delegation but when a limited form of self-government was dismissed by the Dail in October, the negotiations appeared to be floundering. De Valera decided to send Arthur Griffith who was supported by Michael Collins, Robert Barton, George Gavan Duffy, Eamon Duggan and Erskine Childers as secretary. While the delegates had the status of plenipotentiaries they were instructed that any settlement should be brought before the Dáil cabinet before signing. On the 5 December Griffith and his team entered into final negotiation with their British counterparts but it remained unclear if a settlement could be reached. According to Michael Collins, the British Prime Minister, David Lloyd George threatened ‘immediate and terrible’ war if the agreement was not signed. At 2.20am on 6 December 1921 perhaps the most famous document in Irish history was signed.

    Download below:

            Irish Indo Wednesday December 07 1921 Reduced                                   Men who signed the treaty

    Source: Irish Independent 1905-current, Wednesday, December 07, 1921, pages 4-5

  • Peace Rally was held in Drogheda 05.December.1976

    Peace Rally was held in Drogheda

     Peace Rally was held in Drogheda, county Louth

    With the troubles raging in Northern Ireland and no end in sight to the tit-for-tat killing, on this day in 1976 a Peace Rally was held in Drogheda, county Louth. Using the symbolic River Boyne as its meeting point, more than 15,000 people marched in bitter cold calling for peace. The chief organisers, Betty Williams, Mairead Corrigan and Ciaran McKeown, were joined by members of other groups and well-known personalities, including the American folk singer and pacifist Joan Baez. Gathered at the new Peace Bridge on the River Boyne, Corrigan told the crowds that while everybody knew about William of Orange and the Battle of the Boyne , December 6 this year would be remembered as a day the Irish fought a new kind of battle.

    "This new kind of battle will replace all wars with peace, all hate with love, all sadness with joy and all injustices with justice,"

    she said. Calling for more support Ciaran McKeown stated that there was nothing in this world as political as an act of friendship. However, he warned that peace declarations and rallies were not enough. They must build a community in the North street by street and friend by friend to make a non-violent society. The Drogheda rally was one of a number which had been orgainsed across Ireland and Britain in 1976. Both Corrigan and Williams were later honoured for their efforts and received the Nobel Peace Prize for 1976.

    Irish Press 04 Dec 1976 Peace Rally

    Source: Irish Press, 6 Dec 1976, page 1

    #troubles #1976 #IrishPress #archives #library

  • 03 December 1925 Boundary Commission its final recommendations

    On this day in 1925 the Boundary Commission issued its final recommendations for the border between Northern Ireland

    Boundary Commission Final Recommendations 03.December.1925

    On this day in 1925 the Boundary Commission issued its final recommendations for the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. After much delay and negotiation following the Anglo-Irish Treaty in 1921, it was not until November 1924 that the commission met for the first time. The committee comprised of Eoin MacNeill (representing the Irish Free State), J. R. Fisher (representing Northern Ireland), and South African Supreme Court Justice Richard Feetham (for Britain), who was also the chairman. In the summer of 1925 the commissioners retired to London to write their eagerly anticipated report.

    However, a leak in the British Morning Post newspaper on 7 November 1925 suggested that the commission would recommend only minor alterations to the existing border. For the Irish government the leak was deeply troubling as it also suggested that the commission's report would recommend that the Free State cede territory to Northern Ireland. The disclosure led to the resignation of Eoin MacNeill as Irish boundary commissioner on 20 November. As a result, negotiations between the Irish, Northern Irish, and British governments were held to find an impasse. By an agreement signed in London on 3 December 1925 by representatives of the three governments, the Boundary Commission was revoked and its report shelved. The border between the Irish Free State and Northern Ireland remained as it had stood since partition in 1920. A week later the agreement came before Dáil Eireann and passed, by seventy-one votes to twenty, after a heated debate. The finalised agreement was later lodged with the League of Nations as an international treaty.

    Irish Independent 03.December.1925 Boundary Commission

    Irish Indo 04.Dec.1925 Boundary Commission

    Source: / Irish Independent, 4 December 1925, page 7

  • Kilmichael Ambush 28 November 1920

    Kilmichael Ambush Belfast Newsletter

    Kilmichael Ambush

    Cork was one of the most active counties in Ireland during the War of Independence, and the scene of the biggest number of casualties inflicted on the British army during the war. On 28 November 1920 an ambush at Kilmichael between Dunmanway and Macroom, seventeen auxiliaries were killed by an IRA flying column led by Tom Barry. Three IRA volunteers - Pat Deasy, Michael McCarthy and Jim Sullivan, were also killed following what was later claimed to have been a ‘false surrender’ by some of the auxiliaries.

    Having marched to Kilmichael in the early hours of the 28th, Barry’s column waited until just after 4 pm when a scout relayed the news that the auxiliaries were approaching in two Crossley Tenders. The first Crossley Tender carrying nine Auxiliaries, came round the bend into the ambush position moving fairly quickly. According to his own account, Tom Barry, dressed in a military-style uniform stepped onto the road from behind a low wall, put his hand up and the lorry slowed. When it was about thirty-five yards from his command post he threw a Mills bomb into the open cab of the Crossley tender. He also blew a whistle blew to signal his men to open fire.

    The Kilmichael Ambush was a pivotal moment in the War of Independence and in December 1920 martial law was declared in the four Munster counties of Cork, Kerry, Limerick, and Tipperary. In 1949 the Kilmichael ambush took center stage in Tom Barry’s autobiography, Guerrilla Days in Ireland. The issue of the ‘false surrender’ would come to dominate the debate over the Kilmichael Ambush and it remains a contentious issue within the study of the Irish War of Independence. In 1966 during the 50th anniversary of the Easter Rising a memorial was unveiled at Kilmichael, the inscription on which read:

    They shall be spoken of among their people. The generations shall remember them and call them blessed.

    Irish Archives Newspapers

    Source newspaper: Belfast Newsletter 1738-1938, Wednesday, December 01, 1920; Page: 6

  • Irish Volunteers formed Dublin 25 November 1913

    On 25 November 1913 the Irish Volunteers were formed in Dublin

    Inaugural Meeting of the Irish Volunteers 25.November.1913

    On 25 November 1913 the Irish Volunteers were formed in Dublin, a significant moment in the story of the Irish revolution of 1912 to 1923. Newspaper reports estimated the crowd to be in excess of 7,000 at the Rotunda meeting where speakers included Eoin MacNeill, Patrick Pearse, and the veteran Irish nationalist Michael Davitt. The genesis of the meeting was the publication of Eoin MacNeill’s article entitled ‘The North Began’ which laid the basis for the formation of volunteers in the south of Ireland, mirroring what their counterparts in Ulster had done the previous year.

    Importantly attendance at the meeting was drawn from every section of Irish nationalism, including members of the Gaelic League, the Ancient Order of Hibernians and Sinn Féin. The speakers, representing the different sections of Nationalist opinion, declared that the movement was not an aggressive one, but was intended to unite Irishmen, and preserve, their rights and liberties. They swore to drill and to build a disciplined army, but to use it only for defensive and protective purposes, and not to seek to dominate. When Michael Davitt addressed the meeting he was ‘most enthusiastically cheered’ claiming that the new movement would include ‘people of every denomination, class and creed and shade of politics’.

    The meeting was an overwhelming success and Irish Volunteer company’s sprung up all over the country. To arm the volunteers weapons were smuggled into Ireland in the summer of 1914 during an incident known as the ‘Howth Gun-Running’. By the summer of 1914, the Irish Volunteer strength was estimated to have been close to 175,000. However, the intervention of the Frist World War and John Redmond’s call for Irishmen to fight as far as the firing line extended in Europe decimated the numbers. When the Easter Rising broke out two years later the Irish Volunteers numbered less than 10,000 in the country as a whole.

    Irish Independent 25.November.1913         Freemans Journal 25.November.1913

    Source newspaper:

    Irish Independent 1905-current, Wednesday, November 26, 1913; Page: 5:

    Freeman’s Journal 1763-1924, Wednesday, November 26, 1913; Page: 9;

  • Death by firing squad of Erskine Childers 24 November 1922

    death by firing squad of Erskine Childers

    Death by firing squad of Erskine Childers

    The death by firing squad of Erskine Childers on 24 November 1922 was one of the most high-profile and controversial executions of the Irish Civil War. The Free State government executed 77 anti-Treaty prisoners during the Civil War in a vicious and escalating campaign of reprisal killings. Childers, the man responsible for bringing the weapons to Ireland during the summer of 1914 for Irish Volunteers, was the home of his cousin, Robert Barton, in county Wicklow. Found to be in possession of a weapon, reputedly given to him by Michael Collins, Childers was sentenced to death.

    Childers, a vocal opponent of the Anglo-Irish Treaty, led an interesting and varied life. Born in London in 1870, in 1898 he enlisted and served in the Boer War in South Africa. As a writer he was best known for his novel The Riddle of the Sands in 1903.

    Childers settled in Dublin in 1919 and was elected to the Dáil in 1921 as a member for Wicklow. He was appointed Minister for Propaganda and was the secretary to the Irish delegation during the negotiations for a Treaty with Britain in 1921. Childers was sentenced to death and was executed at Beggars Bush Barracks on having first shaken hands with each member of the firing squad.  He is buried in the republican plot in Glasnevin Cemetery. His eldest son, also named Erskine, went on to become the fourth President of Ireland.

    Source newspaper: Nationalist and Leinster Times 1883-

    Source newspaper: Nationalist and Leinster Times 1883-current, Saturday, December 02, 1922; Page: 2

  • Manchester Martyrs - 23 November 1867

    Manchester Martyrs

    Manchester Martyrs 

    ‘God save Ireland cried the heroes, God save Ireland say the all’ goes the popular Irish ballad song, which has its origins in an event which occurred in Manchester, England 152 years ago. The execution of William Allen, Michael O’Brien and Michael Larkin, who became known as the ‘Manchester Martyrs’, quickly became part of Irish Nationalist folklore.

    On 18 September 1867 about 50 Irish Fenians, led by William Allen, attacked a prison van guarded by a large number of unarmed police at Hyde Road in Manchester with the aim of releasing two important Fenian prisoners, Thomas J. Kelly and Timothy Deasy. In the course of the raid, an unarmed police sergeant, Charles Brett, was shot dead. The British public were horrific at the attack and the murder of Brett and quickly called for the perpetrators to be brought to justice. More than twenty men were eventually tried for their part in the attack and Allen, Larkin and O’Brien sentenced to death. The execution took place on 23 November in front of an estimated 10,000 people.

    The Irish public were horrified at the treatment of the three men and in particular, the way in which the British press reported on the execution. One Irish newspaper editor wrote:

    The hatred with which the victims were regarded by the English people has had a strong effect in colouring the descriptions of the tragedy given by the papers, and, in many cases, the writers have been base enough to extort even from the death-struggles of the hapless men the materials for slandering their character and insulting their memories. These miserable efforts, however, cannot rob the scene of its solemn meaning and importance, and in the full belief that the slaying of Allen, Larkin, and O'Brien is an event deserving of permanent record, and one which, will exercise considerable influence on the future of Ireland, we devote nearly the whole of our issue today to the subject.

    Cork Examiner 23.November.1867 reduced

    Source newspaper: / Cork Examiner 1841-current, Monday, December 09, 1867; Page: 2 

    Main image; Editted by Irish Newspaper Archives; original By Unknown - This image is available from the United States Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs divisionunder the digital ID pga.01474.This tag does not indicate the copyright status of the attached work. A normal copyright tag is still required. See Commons:Licensing for more information., Public Domain,

  • Michael Collins - Bloody Sunday 21.November.1920

    Bloody Sunday 21.November.1920

    On the morning of the 21 November 1920 Michael Collins sent out his team of assassins, known as the ‘Squad’ to take out the British intelligence network in Dublin. The murder of 12 members of what was known as the ‘Cario gang’ and two police officers provoked an immediate and savage reprisal from the British military in Dublin.

    Making their way to Croke Park, where Dublin and Tipperary were playing a football challenge match, the Auxiliaries opened fire on the players and spectators killing twelve. The day soon became known as Bloody Sunday and would enter GAA and nationalist folklore. The Croke Park incident had the immediate effect of bolstering support for the IRA and the independence struggle.

    The dead, who numbered fourteen, included Michael Hogan, one of the Tipperary players, for whom the Hogan Stand was subsequently named in his honour. The massacre was described as follows:

    Terrifying scenes were witnessed yesterday at Croke Park when, during the progress of a challenge football match between teams representing Dublin and Tipperary, military, R.I.C., and auxiliary police made their appearance. Volleys of rifle fire were heard, and 15,000 spectators fled in a desperate attempt to escape. There were most painful scenes subsequently when the dead, who include one of the Tipperary players, and wounded were picked up and removed to hospital.

    Later that evening the death toll for the day would rise further when Peadar Clancy, Conor Clune and Dick McKee, members of the Dublin brigade of the IRA, were shot while in custody in Dublin Castle.

    Ulster Herald 27.November.1920

    Source newspaper: Ulster Herald 1901-current, Saturday, November 27, 1920; Page: 7

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