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  • Irish War of Independence - Murder in Meath - 21.May.1920

     Irish War of Independence


    The murder of Mark Clinton in Meath in May 1920 sent shockwaves through the county and further afield.


    Murdered while ploughing a field belonging to his uncle, Clinton was the victim of a widespread campaign to grab land and re-divide it. In this case of Clinton the perpetrators of the crime were former soldiers who used the anarchy then prevalent to try and seize the land. One of them, William Gordon, was reputedly paid £2 to carry out the murder. The crime was widely condemned. In a letter to Fr John Brogan PP of Moynalty, the Bishop of Meath, Rev Laurence Gaughran informed the priest that he was shocked to read the particulars of the murder and that his parish and Cormeen was now ‘stained’ with blood and sin. Comparing it to the worst deeds committed in Zululand, the refusal to offer the dying man a drink of water was particularly galling to the Bishop and he called on them to organise the Stations of the Cross so that the murders could pray for repentance. Speaking at the funeral of Clinton the Rev Dr Finegan of Kilmore said that the ‘blood of the boy cried for vengeance to God’ and that ‘the man who rejoiced at such a crime was guilty of grievous sin’. Finnegan also appealed for the conversion of those who killed him, but the violence did not end there. Having been released in Navan by the RIC on a charge of possession ammunition, William Gordon was duly arrested by the IRA and executed near Dunboyne for his role in the killing. Others were deported from the country under a heavy IRA guard. For more on the execution of Gordon and the murder of Clinton see the Bureau of Military History Witness Statements.


    Download Source: Drogheda Independent 1884-current, 22.05.1920, page 3; See also Drogheda Independent 1884-current, Saturday, May 22, 1920; Page: 2


    Irish War of IndependenceDroghedaIndependent_21May_page2


    Irish War of IndependenceDroghedaIndependent_21May_page3



  • Sinn Fein Hall and shops attacked - 01.March.1920

    Sinn Fein Building Attacked 01 March 1920

    March was a month of terror in Ireland. It was a month when the IRA began to target the police, military and others in broad daylight as the frequency of barrack attacks gave way to ambush and assassination. It was also a month when the military began to strike back, while Dublin Castle upped the ante against Sinn Fein and their supporters. What else happened in Ireland in March 1920?

    The month of March 1920 commenced with the sensational news that the Sinn Fein hall in Thurles, County Tipperary had been attacked, and windows and doors broken in the process. In the early hours of the morning and under cover of darkness, twelve men were witnessed carrying large stones and wooden beams. They also broke windows in the adjacent business, which belonged to a man called McLoughney. The damage done to McLoughney’s windows roused the manager of the shop, a Mr O’Brien who despite the poor light thought that he would be able to identify the attackers having watched them make their way across the town square. Further damage was done during this rampage and included the 1798 monument suggesting a sinister motive for the attack. On other buildings, skulls and crossbones were painted on the walls. It was later alleged that the attack on the hall had been carried out by members of the military stationed in the town, resembling what became known as the ‘Sack of Thurles’ earlier that year in January when the military fired indiscriminately throughout the town. The IRA would take revenge for the damage done to the Sinn Fein hall and throughout the town in general when they shot dead a police officer three days later, which in turn prompted the military to retaliate on 7 March by wrecking more premises in Thurles. Thereafter, this process of reprisal from both sides would characterise how the War of Independence was played out.

    Source: Freeman’s Journal, 1 March 1920, page 5

    Freemans Journal 01 March 1920 page 1

    Freemans Journal 01 March 1920 page 5

  • Ancient Order of Hibernians Hall Pulled Down - 28.February.1920

    Anglo-Celt Ancient order of hibernian Clones outrgae

    After a month of intense IRA activity across the country, the War of Independence continued unabated in February 1920. Becoming more daring in the process, the IRA continued to target the RIC and their barracks. Elsewhere, local issues and tensions would also surface, and in some cases they become embroiled in the struggle for Independence. February 1920 would be a month of chaos across the country.

    Ancient Order of hibernians

    In late February 1920 an incident in county Fermanagh indicated the various tensions which existed amongst the nationalist communities in certain parts of the country when a hall belonging to the Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH) was pulled down in the village of Aghadrumsna. The building, which had not yet been roofed, was due to be officially opened on St Patrick’s Day and a day of celebration surrounding it was at an advanced stage of preparation. The destruction of the building it was claimed was evidence of the ongoing tensions between the AOH and Sinn Fein, the latter group arguing that their own hall located in the same locality was the proper place for local nationalists to meet. A fraternal nationalist organisation, the AOH were part of the great cultural reawakening in the early twentieth century but after 1919 tensions arose owing to the militant nature of Irish nationalism. Some contemporary commentators claimed that the presence of the AOH, seen by many as the nationalist equivalent to the Orange Order, was fuelling sectarian tensions in Ireland. Nonetheless, in many parts of the country membership of the AOH and Sinn Fein often overlapped. The Fermanagh episode in February 1920 was not an isolated incident and in neighbouring county Monaghan this tension led to widespread violence amongst the two groups in 1920. Raids for arms were carried out on members of the AOH, halls were damaged and musical instruments taken and broken up. Before the end of the War of Independence three members of the AOH would be murdered in Monaghan.

    Download Source  Anglo-Celt 1846-current, Saturday, February 28, 1920 page1

    Anglo-Celt February 28 1920 page1

  • 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

  • 3 November 1854 The Catholic University Opened (now UCD) by Cardinal


    Catholic University

    The Catholic University Opens 03.November.1854 ( UCD )

    In October 2019 Pope Francis paid special tribute to the newly canonized St. John Henry Newman. In Ireland the canonization was timely as November marks the 165th anniversary of the opening of the Catholic University with Newman as its first rector and principal architect. The opening of a Catholic University had long been debated and came in the wake of the Great Famine and of the Maynooth Grant controversy of 1845. Much of the debate stemmed from the publication of Newman’s 1852, The Idea of a University, which was widely circulated throughout Ireland and elsewhere.

    In November 1854 Irish national and provincial newspaper proudly announced that the Catholic University would soon open and provide an education in a wide array of studies including the classics, maths and modern language classes. On Friday, 3rd November 1854 the Catholic University of Ireland opened its doors at 86 St Stephen's Green. One newspaper reported that ‘there was no pomp and circumstance’. Instead ‘quietly and peacefully’ the institution commenced.

    The roll call on that morning was small with only twenty students enrolled but which included Daniel O'Connell, grandson of the Liberator, and the sons and grandsons of British and European peers. The official opening took place some days later on 9 November with Newman presiding. The following year Newman added the Catholic University Medical School, which over time came to symbolise the emergence of Catholic Ireland. By the end of the century it had become the largest medical school in the country and would produce a number of excellent and well known doctors.

    A theologian, poet, Catholic priest and cardinal, Newman was born in 1801 and before his conversion to Catholicism was an Oxford academic, Anglican preacher, and public intellectual. During his term as rector of the Catholic University he formed the basis for one of the great success stories in Irish education and of course the precursor to the modern UCD.

    Source newspaper: irishnewspaperarchives.com / Cork Examiner 8 Nov 1854 download




  • On This Day In History 04.November.1917

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    #OnThisDay 04.November.1917 Sunday Independent

    At Bow street, London Arthur Edward Brown was charged with contravening the Regulations 45H of the Defense of the Realm Regulations.... Brown, he said, was managing director of James Brown Ltd, who,before the war made bricks... who won contracts to supply bombs to the French Warfare Supply Department. 
    It was found that a number of heads had been used instead of bases, and that holes had been drilled in there heads and they had been plugged. This was the case of 176 bombs. The inspector also found that the plugs had been varnished over in an effort to conceal them. In still further instances the holes had been covered with cement or paint. Download the full page here:

  • Irish News Archives Essential Maintenance


    Thursday 16.March.2017  - Essential Maintenance & Technical Issues

    Dear Customers,

    we are currently experiencing an issue with access to the Irish Newspaper Archives service. We are currently looking into fixing the issue and we apologies for any inconvenience caused to your access. Continue Reading

  • Gerry Adams 2 Day Visa Travels to New York Report from 01 February 1994

    It was 20 years ago when Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams won the right to visit America after President Bill Clinton gave him a 48-hour visa.

    On January 31, 1994 Adams stepped off the plane in New York from Dublin, and Northern Ireland was never the same again.

    Download the pages from the Irish Independent & Cork Examiner 01. February.1994 Below:

    Gerry Adams US visa New York 01 February 1994

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  • Bobby Sands Dies 05.May.1981 -Front Page news

    Bobby Sands Dies on the 66th Day of his hunger Strike 

    Bobby Sands, Roibeard Gearóid Ó Seachnasaigh, was born in 1954 in Rathcoole, a predominantly loyalist district of north Belfast. Robert Gerard Sands was a member of the the Provisional Irish Republican Army. Bobby Sands passed away 05.05.1981 while on hunger strike at HM Prison Maze. It was Bobby Sands 66th day on hunger strike.

    Download the main front pages from 05.May.198.

    Bobby Sands 05.MAY.1981 Dies on hunger strike

    1981 Hunger Strike

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