Irish Coffee- A WWII Drink

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Who doesn’t know that warm beverage called Irish Coffee? Often mistakenly credited to the Hollywood actress Maureen O’Hara as having invented it. However the only connection Maureen has with it is her is O’Hara’s husband, Captain Charlie Blair, who was one of the pilots who used to fly the sea planes into Foynes, and flew the last commercial sea plane out of Foynes.Co. Limerick,Ireland.

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The drink was ‘invented’ by Joe Sheridan, a head chef at the restaurant and coffee shop in the Foynes AirbaseFlying boat terminal building.

In 1943, Brendan O’Regan opened a restaurant and coffee shop in the Foynes terminal building. It quickly became regarded as one of the best restaurants in Ireland. Chef Joe Sheridan, originally from Castlederg, County Tyrone, had been recruited by O’Regan to run the kitchen.

Uiche Be Atha

Late one  night in the winter of 1943, a flight left Foynes for New York. During the 1930′s and 40′s Foynes was one of the most important airports in Western Europe. After flying for several hours in bad weather, the captain decided to return to Foynes  wait for the weather  conditions to improve . A Morse code message was sent to the Foynes control tower to inform them of the return. Staff were called back in and the passengers were brought to the restaurant upon landing for food and drink.

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Sheridan added whiskey to the coffee to warm the passengers. After the passengers asked if they were being served Brazilian coffee, Sheridan told them it was “Irish coffee”

One of the passengers was Stanton Delaplane, a travel writer for the San Francisco Chronicle,worked with the Buena Vista Cafe in San Francisco to start serving it on November 10, 1952, and worked with the bar owners Jack Koeppler and George Freeberg to recreate the Irish method for floating the cream on top of the coffee, sampling the drink one night until he nearly passed out.

Without blowing my own trumpet( and yet I am) some of my family members say I make a darn good Irish Coffee.

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Sources

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Pádraig Pearse’s letter to his Mother.

Patrick_PearseBorn in Dublin on Great Brunswick Street (now Pearse Street), he was educated by the Christian Brothers at Westland Row, before taking a scholarship to the Royal University (University College Dublin) to study law.

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He was one of only 30 people to know that the Rising would take place in the days building up to Easter 1916. Pearse, who had been secretly planning the insurrection for two years beforehand, even kept his plans hidden from the highest leaders in the Irish Republican Brotherhood, including Eoin MacNeill, the Chief of Staff of the IRB.

When the Easter Rising eventually began on Easter Monday, 24 April 1916, it was Pearse who read the Proclamation of the Irish Republic from outside the General Post Office, the headquarters of the Rising. Pearse was the person most responsible for drafting the Proclamation, and he was chosen as President of the Republic.10411373_10204883272621713_7276958758852942451_n

After six days of fighting, heavy civilian casualties and great destruction of property, Pearse issued the order to surrender.

Pearse and fourteen other leaders, including his brother Willie, were court-martialled and executed by firing squad. Thomas Clarke, Thomas MacDonagh and Pearse himself were the first of the rebels to be executed, on the morning of 3 May 1916. Pearse was 36 years old at the time of his death. Roger Casement, who had tried unsuccessfully to recruit an insurgent force among Irish-born prisoners of war from the Irish Brigade in Germany, was hanged in London the following August.

On May 1st, 2 days before his execution Pearse wrote the following letter to his Mother.

“My dear Mother, You will I know have been longing to hear from me. I do not know how much you have heard since the last note I sent you from the G.P.O.

GPO
On Friday evening the Post Office was set on fire and we had to abandon it. We dashed into Moore Street and remained in the houses in Moore St. on Saturday evening? We then found that we were surrounded by troops and that we had practically no food.
We decided in order to prevent further slaughter of the civilian population and in the hope of saving the lives of our followers, to ask the General Commanding the British Forces to discuss terms. He replied that he would receive me only if I surrendered unconditionally and this I did. I was taken to the Headquarters of the British Command in Ireland and there I wrote and signed an order to our men to lay down their arms.surrender

All this I did in accordance with the decision of our Provisional Government who were with us in Moore St. My own opinion was in favour of one more desperate sally before opening negotiations, but I yielded to the majority, and I think now the majority was right, as the sally would have resulted only in losing the lives of perhaps 50 or 100 of our men, and we should have had to surrender in the long run as we were without food.
I was brought in here on Saturday evening and later all the men with us in Moore St. were brought here. Those in the other parts of the City have, I understand, been taken to other barracks and prisons. All here are safe and well. Willie and all the St. Enda’s boys are here. I have not seen them since Saturday, but I believe they are all well and that they are not now in any danger. Our hope and belief is that the Government will spare the lives of all our followers, but we do not expect that they will spare the lives of the leaders. We are ready to die and we shall die cheerfully and proudly. Personally I do not hope or even desire to live, but I do hope and desire and believe that the lives of all our followers will be saved including the lives dear to you and me (my own excepted) and this will be a great consolation to me when dying.
You must not grieve for all this. We have preserved Ireland’s honour and our own. Our deeds of last week are the most splendid in Ireland’s history. People will say hard things of us now, but we shall be remembered by posterity and blessed by unborn generations. You too will be blessed because you were my mother.
If you feel you would like to see me, I think you will be allowed to visit me by applying to the Headquarters, Irish Command, near the Park. I shall I hope have another opportunity of writing to you.
Love to W.W., MB., Miss Byrne, . . . and your own dear self. P.
P.S. I understand that the German expedition which I was counting on actually set sail but was defeated by the British.”expedition

The letter to his Mother weren’t his last written words. On the day of his execution he wrote a poem called the Wayfarer.

It reads:

The beauty of the world hath made me sad, 
This beauty that will pass; 
Sometimes my heart hath shaken with great joy 
To see a leaping squirrel in a tree 
Or a red lady-bird upon a stalk, 
Or little rabbits in a field at evening, 
Lit by a slanting sun, 
Or some green hill where shadows drifted by 
Some quiet hill where mountainy man hath sown 
And soon would reap; near to the gate of Heaven; 
Or children with bare feet upon the sands 
Of some ebbed sea, or playing on the streets 
Of little towns in Connacht, 
Things young and happy. 
And then my heart hath told me: 
These will pass, 
Will pass and change, will die and be no more, 
Things bright and green, things young and happy; 
And I have gone upon my way 
Sorrowful.

The executioner claimed that Pearse whistled as he came out of the cell.

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Johnny Cash ,Kris Kristofferson and Eric Clapton in Limerick

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If Elvis is the King of Rock N Roll then Johnny Cash is the King pf Country and Western music, and Eric Clapton must be the King of the Blues. But only 2 of those Kings ever visited Limerick.

Johnny Cash gave at least 2 concerts in Limerick. The first one on October 17, 1963, in the Jetland Ball room. On that gig June Carter accompanied him.

30 years later on February 10, 1993 he returned to the treaty city and performed at the University Concert Hall , this time Johnny Cash and June Carter had some help from another Country and Western heavy weight, Kris Kristofferson.

Kris Cash

They played the following songs:

 

Ring of Fire
Folsom Prison Blues
Get Rhythm

I Still Miss Someone
Man in Black
Doin’ My Time

Long Black Veil
Big River
(with Kris Kristofferson)
(Ghost) Riders in the Sky

It Ain’t Me, Babe
Jackson
The Wreck of the Old ’97

Forty Shades of Green
(with Kris Kristofferson)
Why Me
(with Kris Kristofferson)

One of my all time favourite guitarist also made an appearance in the city at the Shannon. In the legendary venue the Savoy

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This was on March 12 1979. He did not come alone. His band consisted of great musicians, each one of them great performing artists in their own rights.
Albert Lee – guitar / vocals
Dick Sims – keyboards
Carl Radle – bass
Jamie Oldaker – drums.

In the greater scheme of things and compared to other cities in the world, Limerick may be considered a small city but when it comes to music it does punch above its weight. It is was Limerick that gave U2 its first break and of course it is the city that spawned the Cranberries.

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Nazi War criminals in Ireland

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Before I start I have to say I love Ireland and I love living here, but like most nations in the world Ireland too has some black pages in its history.

Although Ireland was supposed to be neutral, at times it took that neutrality too far, Sending condolences to Germany after Hitler died was a good example. What is even more disturbing is that it did harbour Nazi war criminals and helped some evade justice. Often these evil men did lead a very comfortable life in Ireland.

A small number of Germans, Croatians,Belgians and Dutch who arrived in the Irish Republic after 1945. Although some were suspected of having worked for Hitler, there was no determined official effort to weed them out. It is estimated that between 100 and 200 Nazi criminals found refuge in Ireland.

I will be looking at just a few of them, starting off with a fellow Dutchman. Pieter Menten.

 

Menten, a millionaire art collector, was convicted in the killings of dozens of Jews in Podhorece, a village in Poland, while he was serving as a translator with a Nazi SS unit in 1941.

Menten built up much of his business empire trading between his native Netherlands and Poland, he was a significant importer of lumber for example. He lived in Eastern Poland from 1923 until 1939 when the Soviet Union invaded.

Two years later, he returned to Poland after the Nazi counter-occupation.This background was kept hidden and he lived much of his time in Ireland, in county Waterford in the mansion Comeragh House.

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But it all became public in the 1976 when he was arrested for his crimes in Holland. He claimed a case of mistaken identity, but was convicted and sentenced to 15 years in jail.He was freed from prison in 1985 on good behavior after serving two-thirds of his 10-year sentence and entered the nursing home in July.

Pieter Menten died on 14 November 1987, a demented old man age 88.

Andrija Aurtukovic aka Andrew Aurtukovic aka Alois Anich aka the Butcher of the Balkans.Butcher of the Balkans

Andrija Aurtukovic, called the Butcher of the Balkans, as a Croatian minister of Interior set up a concentration camp which ended up killing one million under his authority. He was deported to Yugoslavia and sentenced to be executed decades later but was judged ‘too old’Andrija_Artuković_za_govornicom

With other members of Government, he left Zagreb on 6 May 1945 and went to Austria. He was detained in an Allied camp in Spittal an der Drau. On 18 May 1945, British extradited some Croatian ministers and Prime Minister Nikola Mandić to the Yugoslav authorities. Artuković was not extradited, but he was released soon with remaining ministers. He left the British occupational zone, then went via the American to the French occupational zone, where his family was. With a Swiss passport under the pseudonym of Alois Anich, he traveled to Ireland. In 1948, with his wife and children, he entered the United States on a tourist visa and settled in Seal Beach, California. The Visa he got using Irish identification papers.id

He was eventually extradited to Yugoslavia Artuković died of natural causes in prison hospital in Zagreb on 16 January 1988.

Otto Skorzeny is a special case for not only did he escape to Ireland he ended up working with the Mossad in Israel.

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Not an easy man to miss, Skorzeny stood 6 foot 4 inches tall and weighed 250lbs. And he was known as “Scarface” for a reason. He had a long, distinctive scar on his left cheek.

Skorzeny achieved ‘fame’ during the war for rescuing deposed Italian leader Benito Mussolini from an Italian hilltop fortress. Like so many other Nazis he went to Argentina after the war. where he  served as a bodyguard to Eva Peron, wife of the Argentine dictator Juan Peron. It is rumored that he had a romantic affair with her.

In July 1957 he traveled to Dublin where he was met with a gala reception by members of Parliament and celebrities. Following his warm welcome he purchased Martinstown House, the 160-acre farm estate in The Curragh, County Kildare.

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Skorzeny was recruited by the Mossad conducting operations for the agency from 1962, where he worked with Avraham Ahituv and Rafi Eitan.

On Israel’s request, Skorzeny flew to Egypt and compiled a detailed list of German scientists and their addresses. Skorzeny also found for Mossad the names of many front companies in Europe that were procuring and shipping components for Egypt’s military projects. Skorzeny agreed to work with Israel on the condition that Simon Wiesenthal erase his name from the list of wanted Nazi war criminals and act to have an arrest warrant against him cancelled. Though Wiesenthal rejected this request, Skorzeny decided in the end to cooperate with the Mossad.

 

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Sources

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Irish Independent

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Violet Gibson,would be assassin-The Irish woman who nearly killed Mussolini

Mugshot Violet Gibson

This is one of those ‘What if’ stories, a different result would have made a massive impact on world’s history.

Gibson was born in Dublin, Ireland, on August 31 1876. Her father was an Irish lawyer and politician, Edward Gibson, who was created Baron Ashbourne in 1886.

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Her mother, Frances, was a Christian Scientist. Violet grew up in well-heeled Merrion Square. Her early life was one of privilege and society events as part of a large Anglo-Irish family dividing their time between Dublin and London. At 18, Violet was a debutante in the court of Queen Victoria.

In 1913, Violet moved to Paris, working for pacifist organisations. She contracted Paget’s disease; a mastectomy left a nine-inch scar on her chest. She returned to England, where botched surgery for appendicitis resulted in lifelong chronic abdominal pain.

In 1922, she suffered a nervous breakdown, was declared insane and committed to a mental institution. Two years later, accompanied by a nurse called Mary McGrath, Violet was released and traveled to Rome, where she lived in a convent. She had developed a religious mania  convinced of a divinely inspired mission to kill.

On 7 April 1926, Violet Gibson shot Mussolini, Italy’s Fascist leader, as he walked among the crowd in the Piazza del Campidoglio in Rome after leaving an assembly of the International Congress of Surgeons, to whom he had delivered a speech on the wonders of modern medicine. Gibson had armed herself with a rock to break Mussolini’s car window (not needed), and a Modèle 1892 revolver hidden in a black shawl.

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She fired once, but Mussolini moved his head at that moment and the shot hit his nose; she tried again, but the gun misfired.[She was almost lynched on the spot by an angry mob, but police intervened and took her off for questioning. Mussolini was wounded only slightly, dismissing his injury as “a mere trifle”, and after his nose was bandaged he continued his parade on the Capitoline.Wounded Mussolini

 

Violet was captured and beaten by a mob; the police smuggled her away before she was killed. Under interrogation, she claimed to have shot Mussolini “to glorify God” who had kindly sent an angel to keep her arm steady.

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At the time of the assassination attempt she was almost fifty years old and did not explain her reasons for trying to assassinate Mussolini. It has been theorised that Gibson was insane at the time of the attack and the idea of assassinating Mussolini was hers and that she worked alone. She was later deported to Britain after being released without charge at the request of Mussolini.

Her family wrote, apologising, to the Italian government. She was declared a “chronic paranoiac” and returned to England and St Andrew’s Hospital. Violet died on May 2, 1956. Sadly, there were no mourners.dsc_0221_nef_embedded-resized

What if she would have been successful? It is strange to see the’softer’ side of Mussolini, he could have easily made sure she’d get a death sentence.

By sad coincidence, Gibson would share her last years at St Andrew’s with another notable patient of Irish origin, Lucia Joyce. That was the culmination of an even more torturous family tragedy, one begun in 1930 when, romantically rejected by Samuel Beckett, James Joyce’s daughter had first shown signs of mental illness.

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I am passionate about my site and I know a you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks

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Sources

Irish Times

Irish Independent

 

U-638 & Irish Elm-How tourism saved an Irish ship from sinking.

IRISH ELM 1941-45

Even though Ireland was a neutral country during WWII it didn’t escape the war completely unscathed.It was especially it’s mercantile marine which was affected by the German Navy.

Admiral Karl Dönitz had issued a standing order to U-boats on 4 September 1940, which defined belligerent, neutral and friendly powers. Neutral included “Ireland in particular”. The order concluded: “Ireland forbids the navigation of her territorial waters by warships under threat of internment. That prohibition is to be strictly observed out of consideration for the proper preservation of her neutrality. Signed, Dönitz”

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However this order was not always obeyed, and the punishment for disobeying this order were very mild or non existent.

The City of Limerick,Luimneach,Clonlara,Kyleclare had all been encountered by U-Boats and sunk.

The Irish Elm however fared better.On 20 March 1943 U-638, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Heinrich Oskar Bernbeck stopped Irish Elm. Rough seas prevented Elm’s crew from pulling their rowboat alongside the submarine to present their papers.

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The interview was therefore conducted by shouting. In the course of the conversation, Elm’s Chief Officer Patrick Hennessy gave Dún Laoghaire as his home address. Bernbeck asked if “the strike was still on in Downey’s”, a pub near Dún Laoghaire harbour. (The Downey’s strike started in March 1939 and lasted 14 years.

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The Irish Elm was allowed to continue its journey

Clearly Heinrich Oskar Bernbeck must have been a visitor to the emerald isle. It just goes to show that tourism is a very important industry to Ireland in more was than one.

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Happy Birthday Santa Claus

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I know what you’re all thinking” Has he lost his marbles, we are only 2 days away from St Patrick’s day and he is coming up with a Christmas story”

Do not worry I can assure you that I still have all my faculties. Legend has it that on this day in the year 280 Saint Nicholas was born. Saint Nicholas who we now know as Santa Claus, Saint Nick or if you live in a Dutch speaking country Sinterklaas or still as Saint Nicholas

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There are so many different version of his origin varying between Lapland and Spain.

According to tradition, he was born in the ancient Lycian seaport city of Patara, currently in Turkey,,when he was young, he traveled to the Middle East. He became bishop of Myra soon after returning to Lycia. He was imprisoned during the persecution of Christians by the Roman emperor Diocletian but was released under the rule of Constantine the Great. He attended the first Council of Nicaea (325), where he allegedly struck the heretic Arius in the face.

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He was buried in his church at Myra, and by the 6th century his shrine there had become well known. In 1087 Italian sailors or merchants stole his alleged remains from Myra and took them to Bari, Italy; this removal greatly increased the saint’s popularity in Europe, and Bari became one of the most crowded of all pilgrimage centres. Nicholas’s relics remain enshrined in the 11th-century basilica of San Nicola at Bari,

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It is however also alleged that Saint Nicholas is buried in County Kilkenny,Ireland. Tradition in these parts tell that the earthly remains of St. Nicholas were secretly removed from Bari by returning crusader knights, who brought them back to Newtown Jerpoint for safe keeping.

The grave’s stone slab is carved with the image of a cleric with the heads of two knights behind each shoulder, said to be those of the two crusaders who, so the story goes, brought Nicholas’s remains to Ireland. Evidence lends some credence to this tale as the Normans in Kilkenny were keen collectors of religious relics, and it is known that Norman knights participated in the Holy Land Crusades.

St_Nicholas'_Tomb

 

We all know of course that all these theories are incorrect because he still delivers present every Christmas.

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The Kidnapping of Shergar

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On this day 35 years ago gunmen stole the champion Irish race horse Shergar from a stud farm owned by the Aga Khan in County Kildare, Ireland. The five-year-old thoroughbred stallion, named European horse of the year in 1981, was worth $13.5 million and commanded stud fees of approximately $100,000.

The most famous and valuable racehorse in the world, Shergar had won the 1981 Epsom Derby by ten lengths, which is the longest winning margin in the race’s 202-year history. Following this triumph, he had four more major derby wins and was named European Horse of the Year.

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When he retired after that first season, racehorse owners paid up to $120,000 for shares in his services impregnating mares, eager to have young horses from his bloodline to train for races.

The stallion had a white blaze mark on his face, four white “socks” and a distinctive racing style of running with his tongue hanging out – he was gentle, calm and kind.

On the cold, muggy evening of February 8, 1983, Shergar was kidnapped by a gang of men in balaclavas, thought to be part of the IRA.

The bay colt was owned by the Aga Khan, the billionaire spiritual leader to 15 million Ismaili Muslims. When he was returned to Ireland after her first winning season, he was syndicated for $15 million between 34 people – each share was worth around $382,000, six of which were kept by the Aga Khan.

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Shergar was just five years old when he was snatched in the middle of the night from the Ballymany Stud in Co. Kildare. He had been preparing for his second season as a breeding stallion, the BBC said.

It was shortly after 8 pm when the son of Jim Fitzgerald, Shergar’s head groom that lived at the stud, heard a knock at the door. He opened it to find two men wearing balaclavas wielding guns – one of them said, “We have come for Shergar. We want $3 million for him.”

Jim Fitzgerald, a father of six, was forced at gunpoint to Shergar’s stable where they were joined by six more masked gunmen. He loaded Shergar into the horsebox the men had brought with them. Fitzgerald was then forced into their car at gunpoint.

Among others, one reason the investigation was so difficult for authorities was because the kidnappers had chosen the day before Ireland’s big Goff’s racehorse sale to abduct Shergar, when many horseboxes were being driven across all of Ireland’s roads, thereby making it hard to differentiate him.

After driving him around for three hours, the kidnappers dumped Fitzgerald out of the car. He found his way to a telephone and rang his brother – this phone call led to a series of phone calls between Shergars’ shareholders, his vet, racing associates and several Irish Ministers. This process is referred to as “a caricature of police bungling,” as the actual police weren’t notified until 8 hours after Shergar was taken and the men were long gone from the area.

Using coded phrases, the kidnappers soon began negotiations with a representative of the Aga Khan over the telephone, but made sure to hang up before 90 seconds passed so that authorities couldn’t track their location.

Negotiations with the kidnappers were short-lived and fruitless. Despite a highly publicized search by authorities, Shergar was never seen again and no ransom was paid. The case was never solved, although there were a variety of theories about the identity of the kidnappers. The most popular one held that the Irish Republican Army stole the animal in order to raise money for weapons, but ended up killing him in a panic because he was too difficult to handle.

 

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Crazy Irish Priest

Cornelius-Neil-Horan

Unfortunately there is no other way to describe Father Neil Horan(not the One Direction dude) then crazy. On several occasions he disrupted major events and costing one athlete a GOLD medal.

On 20 July 2003, Horan ran across the track at the Formula One British Grand Prix at Silverstone Circuit, wearing a kilt and waving a religious banner, which stated “Read the Bible. The Bible is always right”.

His protest took place on the 200 mph (320 km/h) Hangar Straight. Several drivers chose to swerve to avoid him and the safety car had to be deployed to protect him and the competitors. Horan was tackled by track marshal Stephen Green, who removed him from the track before he was arrested.He was charged with, and pleaded guilty to, aggravated trespass and sentenced to two months imprisonment.

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At the 5 June 2004 Epsom Derby, Horan was spotted by police and shoved to the ground moments before they believed he was about to run in front of the horses. He was later released without charges, although police did circulate information about Horan to other sporting events.

In spite of the fact that security for the 2004 Athens Olympics was tight due to fears of a terrorist attack, on 29 August Horan (who had flown to Athens earlier that day) was able to run onto the course of the men’s marathon event near the 35 km mark, carrying a placard.

Horan pushed Brazilian Vanderlei de Lima, who was leading the race, into the crowds alongside the course.After a few seconds Horan was hauled off the shaken runner by Greek spectator Polyvios Kossivas. Kossivas subdued Horan and helped de Lima up and back to the lane.

Horan was promptly arrested by Greek police (who were later criticized for not giving runners adequate protection). Following the encounter with Horan, De Lima suffered from leg cramps and muscle pain, although he continued running and completed the race. He lost 20 seconds from his 48-second lead and finished third, after being passed by Italian Stefano Baldini and American Mebrahtom Keflezighi at the 38 km mark.

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Horan ruined years of preparation and hard training by de Lima in a few seconds

The head of the Brazilian Track Federation launched an appeal based on the controversy surrounding Horan’s interference in the marathon. The federation asked that de Lima also be awarded a gold medal, citing precedents set in past Olympic matches where extenuating circumstances have led to more than one winner in certain sports. This request was denied. Horan was given a 12 months’ suspended sentence by a Greek court and fined €3,000. Although he could have been sentenced to up to five years’ imprisonment, the judge gave him a suspended sentence due to his mental state.

During the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany, Horan was arrested by German police before he could stage a planned protest. He had written to German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, and The Kingdom newspaper in County Kerry, Ireland, informing them that he planned to dance a peace jig outside the stadium in Berlin before the World Cup final. He told The Kingdom he would carry posters declaring “Adolf Hitler was a good leader who was following the word of Christ”, give the Hitler salute and light a candle for Hitler at the Gestapo headquarters.He spent two months in custody awaiting trial but was released on 15 September 2006 when the judge discharged the case.

On 20 January 2005, Kevin McDonald, the Archbishop of Southwark (South London), defrocked Horan. Horan later made the following statement to the press: “I completely reject this decision. I appeal to the much higher court of heaven and the court of Jesus Christ … I now cannot preach, I cannot give out communion – I am little more than a pagan.”

On 13 April 2007, Horan was served with an Anti-Social Behaviour Order (ASBO) banning him from entering, on the day of the race, any of the London boroughs that the course of the London Marathon passed through.

Horan auditioned for Series 3 of Britain’s Got Talent in 2009 (airing 16 May) performing an Irish jig in traditional costume. The judges put Horan through to the next round. It was revealed he was let through because the producers “did not know” who he was.[10] The makers of the show, TalkbackThames and Syco, defended showing Horan’s audition on the show.[1] Horan then appeared on The Ray D’Arcy Show on Today FM and revealed that he did not get through to the next stage.

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With all the mayhem he caused you’d suspect he would be locked up in a mental institution, but no he still roams free.

 

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Soloheadbeg ambush

 

Robinson-Treaty-Breen-BrennanNinety nine  years ago today  on a quiet Tipperary roadway the first nationalist revolt against the British Empire last century was started by a small band of armed men from townlands and villages—Donohill, Solohead and Hollyford—in the vicinity of Tipperary Town. The Soloheadbeg ambush shook British rule in Ireland.

On the same day, the first Dáil was meeting, an ambush takes place at Soloheadbeg, Co Tipperary that is now seen as being the opening skirmish in the War of Independence.

An unauthorised attack led by Seán Treacy and Dan Breen but also involved Seán Hogan, Séamus Robinson, Tadhg Crowe, Patrick McCormack, Patrick O’Dwyer, Michael Ryan and Seán O’Meara (the latter two being cycle scouts).  resulted in the deaths of two RIC constables, James McDonnell and Patrick O’Connell.

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Although much of nationalist Ireland went on to support the war against Britain, this attack evoked outrage at the time. Breen, a ruthless, brilliant guerilla fighter later said ‘The people had voted for a Republic; now they seemed to abandon us who tried to bring that Republic nearer, for we had taken them at their word. Our former friends shunned us. They preferred the drawing-room as a battleground.’

Constables James McDonnell and Patrick O’Connell (both Irish born Catholics), had been walking with loaded rifles escorting a horse drawn cart containing a load of gelignite from Tipperary Military Barracks for blasting purpose at Soloheadbeg Quarry (located 3 miles from Tipperary). Constable McDonnell, who was about 50 years was from Belmullet, County Mayo. He was a widower with four children. Both constable were popular within the community.

Each day from 16 to 21 January, the men chosen for the ambush took up their positions from early in the morning to late afternoon and then spent the night at the ‘Tin Hut’. On 21 January, around noon, Patrick O’Dwyer saw the transport leaving the barracks. The consignment was on a horse-drawn cart, led by two council men and guarded by two RIC officers armed with rifles. O’Dwyer cycled quickly to where the ambush party was waiting and informed them.Robinson and O’Dwyer hid about 30 metres in front of the main ambush party of six, in case they rushed through the main ambush position.

 

After the transport reached the position where the main ambush party was hiding, masked volunteers appeared in front of them with their guns drawn and called on them to surrender. The two officers took up firing positions and the volunteers immediately fired upon them. Both RIC officers, James McDonnell and Patrick O’Connell, were killed.As planned, Hogan, Breen and Treacy took the horse and cart with the explosives and sped off. They hid the explosives in a field in Greenane and threw a few sticks out on the roadside a few miles further on as a decoy. The explosives were moved several times and later divided up between the battalions of the brigade.Tadhg Crowe and Patrick O’Dwyer took the guns and ammunition from the dead officers, while Robinson, McCormack and Ryan guarded the two council workers, James Godfrey and Patrick Flynn, before releasing them once the gelignite was far enough away.

Breen gave apparently conflicting accounts of their intentions that day. One account implies that the purpose of the confrontation was merely to capture explosives and detonators being escorted to a nearby quarry.The other was that the group intended killing the police escort to provoke a military response.

“Treacy had stated to me that the only way of starting a war was to kill someone, and we wanted to start a war, so we intended to kill some of the police whom we looked upon as the foremost and most important branch of the enemy forces…. The only regret that we had following the ambush was that there were only two policemen in it, instead of the six we had expected.”

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The ambush would later be seen as the beginning of the Irish War of Independence, and it is claimed the men acted on their own initiative to try to start a war.

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 The British government declared South Tipperary a Special Military Area under the Defence of the Realm Act two days later.

A meeting of the Executive of the Irish Volunteers took place shortly thereafter. On 31 January, An t-Óglach (the official publication of the Irish Volunteers) stated that the formation of Dáil Éireann “justifies Irish Volunteers in treating the armed forces of the enemy – whether soldiers or policemen – exactly as a National Army would treat the members of an invading army”.

There was strong condemnation from Catholic churchmen, as both of the dead were their parishioners. Arthur, Canon Ryan, of Tipperary declared them to be “martyrs to duty”, and the “Curse of Cain” was upon the parish.

A monument was erected at the site of the ambush, and each year, a ceremony of remembrance is held there.

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Breen wrote a best-selling account of his guerrilla days, My Fight for Irish Freedom in 1924. He represented Tipperary from the fourth Dáil in 1923 as a Republican with Éamon de Valera and Frank Aiken.He was the first anti-Treaty TD to take his seat, in 1927. He was defeated in the June 1927 general election and travelled to the United States where he opened a prohibition speakeasy. In 1932 he returned to Ireland and regained his seat as a member of Fianna Fáil in the Dáil at that year’s general election. He represented his Tipperary constituency without a break until his retirement at the 1965 election. .

During World War II he was said to hold largely pro-Axis views. In 1946 he became secretary of the Save the German Children Society. He attended the funeral of Nazi spy Hermann Gortz on May 27 1947.

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I am passionate about my site and I know a you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of €2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks

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