Irish Newspaper Archive

  • Woodpark House Attacked 05.January.1920

    Woodpark House, near Scariff in county Clare firing several shots into the house

    In January 1920 the Irish War of Independence intensified with the IRA carrying out a number of offensives in almost every county. To mark the anniversary of this aspect of the campaign, this month we offer stories about the conflict as reported by the newspapers of the day.

    On the night of the 5 January 1920, in one of the earliest attacks on a country house during the War of Independence, a large party of men attacked Woodpark House, near Scariff in county Clare firing several shots into the house. Woodpark was the home of R.F. Hibbert, a local Justice of the Peace and magistrate, who managed to fight off his attackers on this occasion. According to Hibbert in the course of defending the house he managed to shoot one of the attackers but the course of the exchange of fire, the terrified house staff huddled for safety and a lady’s maid was injured in the cross. To the IRA, Hibbert’s occupation was detestable and from the beginning of 1920, on a countrywide basis, they began to target country houses for sporting guns and other ammunition that might be suitable to their ongoing campaign. Country house owners began to take precautions and in county Clare the landowner O’Callaghan Westropp would publish a guide to the protection of such property. However, given the isolated location of many country houses, it was almost impossible to prevent attacks and many abandoned or quit their homes during this period hoping that the trouble would soon pass. During the period 1920-1923 almost 300 country houses were destroyed by arson by the IRA and agrarian agitators, while scores more were attacked, looted and their owners forced to sell or abandon their properties. The year 1920 would mark the beginning of the end for many Irish country house owners

    Download Source: Irish Independent, 7 January 1920, page 6

    Download Source: Evening Telegraph , 7 January 1920, page 1


    Evening Telegraph 07. January.1920 Scariff House         Irish Independent  07. January.1920 Scariff House

  • Clare Ambush Police Use Hand Grenades 04.January.1920

    Kerryman archive 10.January.1920

    In January 1920 the Irish War of Independence intensified with the IRA carrying out a number of offensives in almost every county. To mark the anniversary of this aspect of the campaign, this month we offer stories about the conflict as reported by the newspapers of the day.

    The month of January 1920 would mark an upsurge in attacks on the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC), the police force, but few were as daring as that carried out on the evening of 3 January in county Clare. On that evening, an attack took place at Ballyalliban, about five miles from the village of Ballyvaughan in north county Clare as the RIC provided an escort for a farmer in the locality. Ambushed from both sides of the road, it took them by complete surprise. Intense fire from both sides of the road then ensued and lasting a number of minutes. Overwhelmed by the fire of the IRA and in an effort to stave off the attack, the police decided to throw hand grenades, which it was later claimed was the first time they had been used in county Clare. It was not clear what damage this done to their attackers, but one of the police, Constable Slattery was wounded in the back and the shoulder during the shootout. By a stroke of misfortune, Dr Keane of Ennistymon workhouse was also injured in the attack when his motor car was fired at when he passed the scene of the ambush. Keane was lucky to survive and was later treated for injuries to his arm, which was completely shattered. The official report to the military authorities in Dublin Castle noted that a ‘brisk fusillade’ had taken place in county Clare between the police and their attackers but the attack was significant in that it represented a change in IRA tactics and which would see them openly confront the police and the military as 1920 wore on.

    Download Source: Kerryman, 10 January 1920, page 2

    kerryman 10 January 1920 Clare Ambush

    #1920 #Ambush #History

  • Mullingar Three Cars Shot - 03.January.1920

    New Year’s Day 1920 proved to be a sensational evening in Mullingar

    In January 1920 the Irish War of Independence intensified with the IRA carrying out a number of offensives in almost every county. To mark the 100th anniversary of this aspect of the campaign, this month we offer stories about the conflict as reported by the newspapers of the day.

    New Year’s Day 1920 proved to be a sensational evening in Mullingar, County Westmeath when shots were fired at a number of cars as opposition to the introduction of Motor Permits intensified across the country. While nobody was seriously injured in the Mullingar attacks, the cars were badly damaged and it threatened those in the hackney business and private car owners in the county. In November 1919 the British government introduced Motor Permits in Ireland which meant that a vehicle could only be driven with a permit in an effort to curtail the activities of the IRA and in transporting weapons. The permits were hugely resented and motor unions went on strike, where they were joined in protest by other groups and unions. This armed opposition towards the permits was largely orchestrated by local IRA units who would intensify their campaign as 1920 dawned.

    In Mullingar, the New Year’s Day incidents started at Clongowny, about two miles from the town when Capt. Batten, a director of the Mullingar Motor Company, and Capt. Bayley was fired at when they returned from the races. The back of the car was riddled in the attack, with Capt. Bayley suffering slight wounds to his ear. Near the same place a car belonging to Daly Brothers of Mullingar, and driven by a man named Brodar, was fired at as it returned to the town. Brodar was shot in the elbow but was able to continue onwards. Similar attacks took place at Lynn, near Mullingar including an attack on a man called Jack Foran. It was later stated that the attacks had been carried out not on individuals but on the cars and that, Mullingar had been ‘exceptional’ in complying with the new permit order.

    Elsewhere, motor owners suffered a similar fate as opposition to the permits continued. In January 1920 motor cars at the fair of Fermoy in County Cork were damaged after a number of armed men checked whether the owners had permits with them. By the middle of February the Motor Union strike petered out but the permits remained and continued to cause problems for both the IRA and the civilian population throughout the War of Independence.

    Download Source: Irish Independent, 3 January 1920, page 5

    Irish Civil war Irish Independent 03.January.1920

  • 1961 Telefís Éireann Launch - 31.December.1961

    1961 Telefís Éireann

    On this day in 1961 Telefís Éireann began broadcasting for the first time. It might seem strange in the present world but in the lead, up to the opening of Telefís Éireann in 1961 there was widespread opposition to the coming of television in Ireland.

    Those who didn’t oppose it were skeptical and fearful of the change that it might bring about. With this in mind Eamon Andrews, Chairman of the Irish Television Authority addressed these fears. Speaking at the Ninth Annual Summer School of the Irish Franciscans at Gormonston, county Meath Andrews allayed fears that television would result in the breakdown of rural communities. Instead, he argued that they would find ‘a happy place’ with television and that it would not result in ‘breeding a new race of square-eyed monsters’. The new television station would embrace religion and the Irish language, and that despite the claim that it would only show immorality and brutality, Andrews was confident that it would be a ‘home maker’ more than a ‘home breaker’. Originally intended to broadcast for the first time on Christmas Day 1961, six days later the opening address was given by the President of Ireland, Eamon de Valera, who himself had been openly critical and wary of the impact of television. Speaking to the nation de Valera remarked that:

    Never before was there in the hands of men an instrument so powerful to influence the thoughts and actions of the multitude... I have great hopes of this new service. I am confident that those who are in charge will do everything in their power to make it useful for the nation. And that they will bear in mind that we are an old nation and that we have our own distinctive characteristics and that it is desirable that these should be preserved. I am sure that they will do their part. And as I have said it is for the public now to do theirs.

    Download Source: Meath Chronicle 1897-current, Saturday, August 26, 1961; Page: 3

    Meath Chronicle RTE 31.December.1961

  • Sinn Fein a landslide victory 28.December.1918

    On this day in 1918 the results of the General Election in Ireland gave Sinn Fein Freemans Journal 1763-1924, Monday, December 30, 1918

    On this day in 1918 the results of the General Election in Ireland gave Sinn Fein a landslide victory which would ultimately lead to the establishment of Dail Eireann the following month.

    Support for Sinn Fein had grown steadily after the 1916 Rising and the introduction of Conscription in April 1918 as the British government looked to recruit more soldiers for the war effort. Even before polling day the push towards Sinn Fein was evident. On the closing day for nominations twenty-five Sinn Féin candidates were immediately elected, as no one had been nominated to oppose them. In addition, more than forty MPs decided not to stand for re-election. In Munster Sinn Fein took seventeen seats and who included The winners included such notables as Terence MacSwiney, Michael Collins, and Diarmuid Lynch in Cork, Austin Stack, Fionán Lynch, and Piaras Beaslaí in Kerry, along with Con Collins in Limerick. Only in the north did Sinn Fein face stiff opposition from unionists. There the Unionists won twenty-two of Ulster’s thirty-seven seats, with Sinn Féin taking ten, and the Nationalist Party the other five. In Leinster, Sinn Féin won twenty-six of the twenty-seven seats, losing only in Rathmines, Dublin, to Sir Maurice Dockrell, the Unionist candidate. Among the winners for Sinn Féin was winners Countess Markievicz, who by winning her seat in Dublin, became the first woman ever elected to the British Parliament. Reacting to the news of the victory of Sinn Fein, Sir Edward Carson stated that ‘as regards Ireland, the elections have cleared the air. The issue is between an independent Republic or government under the parliament of the United Kingdom. Every other alternative has proved to be a sham. As for Ulster, our simple demand is to be governed and treated as Great Britain is, and to share in the benefit of all of her laws’.

    Download Freemans Journal 30.December.1918

    Terence MacSwiney, Michael Collins, and Diarmuid Lynch in Cork, Austin Stack, Fionán Lynch, and Piaras Beaslaí in Kerry

  • IRA Christmas Raid - 23.December.1939

    ira christmas raid on this day 23.DECEMBER.1939

    IRA Christmas Raid - 23.December.1939

    On this day in 1939 a daring raid was carried out by the IRA at Ireland’s national arsenal at the Phoenix Park Magazine Fort. Known as the ‘Christmas Raid’, the IRA then involved in a sabotage and bombing campaign in Britain were determined to add to the military capabilities before the Irish government passed an Emergency Powers Act in Ireland which would greatly curtail their abilities. In what was a daring and well-executed rain, a total of 1.084,000 rounds of ammunition were taken away in thirteen lorries, without any casualties. However, despite their initial success in evading capture as they left the Phoenix Park., following intensive follow up searches most of the ammunition was recovered within two weeks. During searches the Gardai, aided by the army, discovered two and a half tons in Dundalk, County Louth; Eight tons in Swords, County Dublin, and one hundred crates containing 120,000 rounds in Straffan, County Kildare. In addition, the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) discovered more ammunition in  county Armagh. As a result it proved to be a disaster for IRA propaganda and many of its members were arrested. The raid, coming as did two days before Christmas had caught everybody off-guard but the government reacted sternly. The day after the raid the Irish Minister for Justice, Gerald Boland, at an emergency session of the Dail introduced the Emergency Powers bill to reinstate internment, Military Tribunal, and executions for IRA members. It was rushed through and given its third reading the next day creating the Emergency Powers Act. The passing of the Emergency Powers Act was also enacted to help preserve Ireland’s neutrality during the Second World War and covered areas including censorship which were paramount to prevent the country being used by either side in the conflict.  

    Download Source:

    Irish Independent 1905-current Tuesday December 26 1939 reduced       Longford Leader 1897-current Saturday December 30 1939 reduced


     Irish Independent 1905-current, Tuesday, December 26, 1939; Page: 5;

    Longford Leader, December 30, 1939; Page: 5

  • Republic of Ireland Bill 21.12.1948

    republic of ireland bill 1948

    Republic of Ireland Bill 21.December.1948

    On this day in 1948 the Republic of Ireland Bill was passed and signed into law by President Seán T. O'Kelly at a ceremony at Áras an Uachtaráin. Under the External Relations Act of 1936 the role of the British crown in internal Irish affairs was removed, though the Irish state remained associated with the Commonwealth for external affairs. In the run-up to the 1948 general election it seemed as if then Taoiseach Eamon de Valera was prepared to repeal the External Relations Act, declare a republic, and keep Ireland within the Commonwealth. However, his party lost the election and the interparty government that came to power in February 1948, led by Fine Gael’s John A. Costello pressed ahead with the idea, although it came about in somewhat bizarre circumstances. On 1 September 1948, during a speech to the Canadian Bar Association, Costello criticized the External Relations Act and hinted that it would be removed. Then on 5 September the Sunday Independent reported that the External Relations Act was to be removed and that Ireland would leave the Commonwealth. Reacting to the news from Ireland, on 7 September, at a press conference in Ottawa, Costello confirmed the story that the External Relations Act was to go and that Ireland would leave the Commonwealth. The act came into effect on Easter Monday, 19 April 1949, the thirty-third anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising. The British government reacted by introducing the ‘Ireland Act’, formally recognising Ireland’s departure from the commonwealth. News of the Bill in December 1948 was reported around the world. In the USA Irish-Americans rejoiced, with the New York Sun newspaper reporting that ‘Eire at last is free’.

    Cork examiner 22.Dec.1948 download

    Source:  Irish Examiner 1841-current, Wednesday, December 22, 1948

  • Ireland's First Kidney Transplant - 19.December.1963

    Kidney Transplant Dublin

    Ireland's First Kidney Transplant 19.December.1963

    Musician makes progress

    At 4:40 AM on December 19, 1963, a kidney was procured from the deceased donor which, subsequently, was transplanted in the recipient during a 90-minute surgery performed by a medical team including Drs. F.A. Duff, J.P. McMullin, M.P. Brady, Cahill, and F.P. Muldowney.

    The Evening Herald 07.01.1964 Extract:

    Mr. Ted Tobin aged 21, of Derry Park, Crumlin, who underwent a kidney graft operation on December 19th, 1963 continues to make progress at St Vincent's Hospital.
    Mr. Tobin is a wind instrumentalist who has won two gold medals at the Feir Ceoil.

    The Irish Independent 28.December.1936 quotes one doctor
    "A young male patient in St Vincent's Hospital, suffering from an advanced incurable disease of both kidneys, has recently been given a transplant of a kidney previously removed and refrigerated. Transplantation to the patient was satisfactorily effected by the operation which took 90 minutes"

    Unfortunately after 2 months, Mr. Ted Tobin rejected the Kidney and eventually died on 16.February.1964. Mr. Ted Tobin's body was donated to conduct a postmortem to advance medical knowledge.

    Download The Irish Independent 28.December.1963 & Evening Herald 07.January.1964

    Irish Independent 1905-current Saturday December 28 1963 Thumbnail              MUSICIAN MAKES PROGRESS

    Evening Herald 1891-current, Tuesday, January 07, 1964 Page 3

    Irish Independent 1905-current, Saturday, December 28, 1963

  • Downing Street Declaration Agreed 15.December.1993

    Downing street declaration 15.December.1993

    Downing Street Declaration Signed 15.December.1993

    On this day in 1993, the Downing Street Declaration was signed between the British and Irish governments. After almost a quarter of a century armed conflict, the declaration was seen as an important step on the road to peace. In the early 1990s talks between the leaders of the SDLP and Sinn Fein had led to the latter accepting the need for unionist consent with regard to the future of Northern Ireland, but despite this, the conflict still raged. In late 1993 the British and Irish governments wishing to go further than the Hume-Adams talks stressed that a number of things were necessary for a lasting peace. Led by John Major, British Prime Minister, and An Taoiseach, Albert Reynolds the Downing Street Declaration stated that the British government agreed to ‘uphold the democratic wish of a greater number of the people of Northern Ireland on the issue of whether they wish to support the Union or establish a sovereign united Ireland.’ For their part, the Irish government accepted that any attempt to establish a united Ireland would have to have majority consent within Northern Ireland. It also accepted that parts of the 1937 Constitution were unacceptable to unionists and agreed – in the context of an overall settlement – to change that document.

    Despite the optimism from both governments the declaration was not fully accepted by the leading political parties in Northern Ireland. Sinn Fein believed that unionists still had the right to veto any move towards reunification, while the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) argued that the declaration did more for nationalism than it did for them arguing that it had a ‘green tinge’. The IRA responded to the document at the end of December claiming that while they wanted ‘a just and lasting peace’ the British government would have to do more with the declaration to find a permanent solution.

    Download Source Irish Press 30.December.1993 Page 1 , 4 , 10-11

    Irish Press 1931-1995 Thursday December 30 1993 pg 1 REDUCED       Irish Press 1931-1995 Thursday December 30 1993 pg 4 REDUCED

    Irish Press 1931-1995 Thursday December 30 1993 pg 10 REDECUDED       Irish Press 1931-1995 Thursday December 30 1993 pg 11 REDUCED
    Source: Irish Press, Thursday, December 30, 1993

  • Ireland Accepted into United Nations 14.December.1955

    Irish Examiner 1841-current, Friday, December 16, 1955 join UN

    Ireland Join The United Nations 14.December.1955

    On this day 14 December 1955, Ireland joined the United Nations. In the intervening years, Ireland has played a significant role in the promotion of international peace and is the only nation to have an unbroken record of service in peacekeeping missions since 1958. Irish peacekeepers have served in more than twenty peacekeeping operations around the world. Emerging from the Second World War, neutrality meant that Ireland was somewhat isolated in international diplomacy. When the United Nations was established in 1945 to replace the former League of Nations, Ireland’s entry was blocked by the Soviet Union based on that wartime neutrality. On 14 December 1955 as the 10th Assembly drew to a close, Ireland was admitted as the 63rd member of the United Nations. News of Ireland’s entry was greeted by praise around the world. Messages of support were sent from the USA, Canada, Australia, India, Turkey, Sweden, Israel, Pakistan, and others. The US Secretary of State congratulated Ireland and noted the long associations between the two countries writing that:
    I am pleased to have the opportunity to express the deep gratification of the United States that the long-overdue entry of your country into the United Nations has at last taken place. I know that the participation of Ireland in the work of the United Nations will add greatly to the effectiveness and the influence of the organisation.
    India’s Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru declared that ‘the presence of Ireland in this world organisation will further the cause of peace’. In welcoming the news, Liam Cosgrove, Minister for External Affairs stated that Ireland would assist in peacebuilding across the world but would also maintain its individuality within the organisation.

    Download Cork Examiner December 16, 1955 - Ireland Join The United Nations 

    CORK EXAMINER 16.December.1955

    Source: Irish Examiner 1841-current, Friday, December 16, 1955, page 7

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