Little Bits of History

Irish Unrest

Posted in History by patriciahysell on July 29, 2013
The Rising of 1848 in Tipparary, Ireland

The Rising of 1848 in Tipperary, Ireland

July 29, 1848: The police quash a revolt in Tipperary, Ireland. Ireland is an island immediately to the west of England first settled ≈ 8000 BC. The Normans invaded both islands, beginning with England in 1066. By 1536 Henry VIII decided to bring the Emerald Isle under British control. The British crown sponsored colonization and the establishment of Plantations. Religious persecution followed with Anglicans the favored religion. Catholics were the major victims of the newly established Penal Laws.

There were rebellions led by Irish Patriots hoping to return to home rule and religious freedom. The success or failure of the revolts were tied to the poor Catholic farmers. The “Great Famine” between 1845-1849 was caused by a potato blight. A water mold called phytophthora infestans spread throughout Ireland destroying the potato crop. The population of the island was decimated. About 1,000,000 died of starvation and another 1,000,000 emigrated. Potato crops failed across Europe but in Ireland, nearly one-third of the population depended entirely on the crop for their sustenance.

The Young Ireland political movement began influencing all aspects of Irish society in the late 1830s. The leading men of the Irish home rule contingency formed a group to unify their cause. They solidified their goals and objectives and began to publish The Nation, a newspaper advocating for a free Ireland. The paper lasted six months before government suppression closed the venture in 1843.

As Ireland continued to suffer devastation from the potato blight, and the government did nothing to alleviate the suffering, a group of patriot/rebels led by William Smith O’Brien began to agitate for physical action. The men led a revolt across several counties. In Tipperary, they erected a barricade to prevent the arrest of O’Brien and other leaders. The police were ensconced inside Mrs. McCormack’s house with her children held as hostage. O’Brien came to a window to negotiate with police. A gunfight broke out with several men killed. In the aftermath it became clear the British were sending in reinforcements. The rebel-patriots dispersed and faded away, ending the Rebellion. For a time.

“Irishness is not primarily a question of birth or blood or language; it is the condition of being involved in the Irish situation, and usually of being mauled by it.” – Conor Cruise O’Brien

“I showed my appreciation of my native land in the usual Irish way by getting out of it as soon as I possibly could.” – George Bernard Shaw

“The Irish do not want anyone to wish them well; they want everyone to wish their enemies ill.” – Harold Nicolson

“The problem with Ireland is that it’s a country full of genius, but with absolutely no talent.” – Hugh Leonard

This article first appeared at in 2009. Editor’s update: Ireland is the third largest island in Europe and twentieth in size throughout the world. The island is divided with the Republic of Ireland, about 5/6 of the land mass, a sovereign state in Europe. The capital is Dublin. The other 1/6 of the island located in the northeast corner is Northern Ireland, which remains a part of Great Britain. There are about 6.4 million people living on the island with about 4.6 million of them in the Republic of Ireland and the other 1.8 million living in Northern Ireland. The Republic of Ireland declared independence from Great Britain on April 24, 1916 and it was ratified on January 21, 1919. She was recognized on December 6, 1922 and left the Commonwealth on April 18, 1949. There was unrest in Northern Ireland which escalated from the 1960s to the 1990s. Since an agreement signed in 1998, this unrest has substantially subsided.

Also on this day: Arc de Triomphe – In 1836, the Arc de Triomphe is inaugurated.
I Spy – In 1864, Isabella Boyd was captured.
USS Forrestal – In 1967, a fire broke out on the aircraft carrier.

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