Irish Defense Force pipers in saffron kilts

Irish Defense Force pipers in saffron kilts


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archaicwonder:The Grianan of Aileach, County Donegal, Ireland The Grianan of Aileach is an Iron Ag

archaicwonder:

The Grianan of Aileach, County Donegal, Ireland

The Grianan of Aileach is an Iron Age stone fortress that was occupied from about 800 BC till about 1200 CE. According to legend, it was built by the renowned Kind Daghda of the Tuatha de Danann. Supposedly, the king’s son Aeah was buried in the center of the fortress.

The fort was the seat of the Kingdom of Aileach, who ruled much of Ulster at the time. It was raised once by Vikings, and Murtaigh O’Brien, Kind of Munster finished the job in 1191. It was restored to its current state in the 19th century.

The actual purpose of the place is somewhat of a mystery. Ring forts and hill forts were often used to contain cattle, and served as a defense when under attack. But the size and grandeur of the place leads most to believe it also had a special governmental purpose. In addition, there are theories that the word Gianana means sunny place, and that it also served as a sun temple.


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betype:A poster inspired by the accents and dialects that make up the United Kingdom

betype:

A poster inspired by the accents and dialects that make up the United Kingdom


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Ireland in World War II

from The History Guy

The Irish Brigade,During the American Civil War, there were a handful of units on both sides that gaThe Irish Brigade,During the American Civil War, there were a handful of units on both sides that ga

The Irish Brigade,

During the American Civil War, there were a handful of units on both sides that gained a reputation as being elite units, among the bravest, toughest, and fiercest of the army.  The Iron Brigade for example, has a reputation as the best unit of the whole Civil War. Another unit to earn such a distinction was the Irish Brigade, consisting of Irish immigrants and composed of the 69th, 88th, and 63rd New York Volunteer Regiments.  The Irish Brigade was commanded by Brigadier Gen. Thomas Francis Meagher, who was born in Ireland but had to flee to America because he was a participant in the failed Revolution of 1848 against the British.

The courage and tenacity of the Irish Brigade began at the Battle of Bull Run AKA Manasas when it was one of the few units that didn’t break and run when the Confederates gained the upper hand.  Holding firm, the Irish Brigade formed an effective rear guard, holding off the entire Army of Virginia while the Army of the Potomac fled in panic, thus averting a major military disaster for the Union.  Throughout the rest of the war, the Irish Brigade was often employed as elite shock troops, either forming the spearhead of Union assaults or being employed in desperate rear guard actions as the Union Army retreated.  The big problem with being an elite unit is that elite units suffer disproportionate casualties.  The Irish Brigade was no exception.  Originally the Irish Brigade originally consisted of around 2,000 - 2,500 men.  When the unit was disbanded, it had less than 600 men. 

Much of the Irish Brigade’s woes stemmed from the fact that they were armed with Model 1842 Springfield muskets which were smoothbores.  Gen. Meagher insisted on the smoothbore muskets because then they could be loaded with buck and ball unlike a rifled musket.  Instead of a single bullet, the musket was loaded with a .69 caliber ball and 4 to 8 pieces of .30 caliber buckshot, thus turning the musket in a shotgun.  The problem with this was that their muskets had limited range, no more than 50 - 100 yards.  When advancing against enemies armed with rifled muskets, which had a range of several hundred yards, the brigade would suffer horrific casualties.  However, once in range, a volley from the Brigade would be devastating.  Due to the casualties and loss of manpower, the Irish Brigade was disbanded in June of 1864, them men reassigned to other units.


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Members of the Irish Brigade, Spanish Civil War

Members of the Irish Brigade, Spanish Civil War


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Baby Cox of Tramore C. Waterford, Ireland, dated 1899.  What the heck is that dog wearing?

Baby Cox of Tramore C. Waterford, Ireland, dated 1899. 

What the heck is that dog wearing?


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Men of the Ulster Volunteer Force in training, 1914.  Opposed to the IRA, the UVA was opposed to Iri

Men of the Ulster Volunteer Force in training, 1914.  Opposed to the IRA, the UVA was opposed to Irish Home Rule.  Incredibly despite being loyal to the United Kingdom, they were armed by Germany and Austria-Hungary during World War I.


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The Irish Mosin Nagant, During World War I Germany captured many Model 1891 Mosin Nagant rifles fromThe Irish Mosin Nagant, During World War I Germany captured many Model 1891 Mosin Nagant rifles from

The Irish Mosin Nagant,

During World War I Germany captured many Model 1891 Mosin Nagant rifles from Russia while fighting in the Eastern Front.  Many of these rifles were issued to rear echelon and reserve troops as well as naval forces.  A number were also issued to partisan groups who were enemies of the Allies, among them the Irish Republican Army. In 1916 Germany attempted to smuggle several thousand Mosin Nagant M1891 bolt action rifles with ammunition to Ireland, all of which were captured by the German Army on the Eastern Front against Russia.  Most shipments were intercepted, and few Mosins were used by the Irish during the Easter Uprising. 


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Under the rule of Adolf Hitler, around 16% of the population of Poland died due to war, famine, disease, and mass murder.  Poland would suffer the worst losses of all German occupied countries during World War II.

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Execution: Nazi troops shoot civilians from a small Polish village in 1941. Accounts from German soldiers have revealed how they revelled in killing innocent people

Under the rule of Oliver Cromwell, the population of Ireland was reduced by 25% - 50% due to war, famine, plague, and mass murder.

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A very unusual and rare Irish over and under double barreled percussion blunderbuss with spring load

A very unusual and rare Irish over and under double barreled percussion blunderbuss with spring loaded folding bayonet.  Made by Rigby of Dublin for Lord Brandon in 1823.


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peashooter85:A man who could make Hitler gasp —Oliver Cromwell and the conquest of Ireland. peashooter85:A man who could make Hitler gasp —Oliver Cromwell and the conquest of Ireland. peashooter85:A man who could make Hitler gasp —Oliver Cromwell and the conquest of Ireland.

peashooter85:

A man who could make Hitler gasp —Oliver Cromwell and the conquest of Ireland.

Today Adolf Hitler is known as one of the most bloodthirsty tyrants and conquerors in history, unleashing an era of bloodshed and genocide upon Europe.  Worst hit were the nations of Eastern Europe, especially Poland and the Soviet Union.  Since Eastern Europe was considered “living space” for Hitler’s new Third Reich, the treatment of Slavic peoples can best be described as barbaric as the Nazi’s swept through the land, murdering innocent civilians, causing famine, and deporting unwanted peoples.  However, over 400 years before Hitler was born another man conducted a similar campaign in Ireland that would easily rival if not surpass the brutality of Hitler.

In the mid 1600’s England was in the throes of a civil war between the Puritans in Parliament and the Royalists loyal to the king.  The commander of the Parliamentarian Army was Oliver Cromwell, a staunch Puritan who whipped his army into a ruthless fighting force of well armed, well organized religious fanatics.  After Cromwell defeated the Royalist forces in England and overthrew King Charles I, he was named Lord Protector, an office which held the powers of a military dictator. 
In the meantime in Ireland, Irish Catholics rebelled against their English masters, using the weakness of England as an opportunity to overthrow the English yoke.  The revolt grew bloody when around 5,000 - 8,000 English Protestants were murdered by Irish Rebels.  English propaganda hyped the massacres claiming that up to 100,000 had been murdered, and depicted false atrocities such as women and children being roasted alive on a spit, then dismembered and eaten.  Such propaganda further aroused the hatred of the Irish and many called for brutal revenge against Ireland.

By the time Cromwell had become Lord Protector of England, Ireland had formed into a independent state called the Irish Confederation, a union of Irish Catholics, Scottish Covenantors, and English Royalists.  Cromwell called for war against Ireland to regain control of the island.  There were political reasons for such an invasion; the war was needed to maintain the tenuous alliance between Parliament and the army.  The other reason was personal; Cromwell, and the people of England wanted revenge for the atrocities of the Irish Rebellion.  In 1649 Cromwell invaded Ireland with an army of 12,000 men complete with several pieces of siege artillery.  At first Cromwell gave orders that the Irish should be treated well, even hanging men caught looting.  However, as Cromwell’s army was met with stiffer and stiffer resistance, Cromwell turned a blind eye to English atrocities. At the sack of Duncannon Parliamentarian troops murdered around 3,500 people both soldiers and civilians.  Similar atrocities occurred at the cities of Wexford and Waterford.

At the Siege of Drogheda, the Parliamentarian Army met especially heavy resistance.  When the army stormed the city, Cromwell gave the order to put the city to the sword, killing men, women, and children indiscriminately until the city surrendered.  After the siege Cromwell ordered the prisoners to undergo the ancient Roman ritual of decimation, which Cromwell himself noted in his dispatches, “”When they submitted, their officers were knocked on the head, and every tenth man of the soldiers killed and the rest shipped to Barbados.”  Cromwell’s campaign of murder and destruction would continue for a year, with more and more atrocities against prisoners and civilians. Plague and famine also followed the Parliamentarian Army as it marched across the island, causing the death of 200,000 people, more than any combat deaths during the war.  In 1650 Cromwell returned to England to put down a rebellion of Scottish Royalists.  Cromwell left his son in law, Henry Ireton, in charge of the army.  Ireton continued the campaign against Ireland, completing Cromwell’s conquests and destroying the Irish Confederation.  The Irish officially surrendered in 1651.  By then the population of Ireland had been reduced by 15%-25%.

The Irish surrender, however, did not mean that the Irish rebels had given up. When the official war in Ireland ended, the unofficial war began. Many formed small bands in the Irish countryside, waging a relentless guerrilla war against the Parliamentarians.  These rebels were often supported by the Irish civilian populace, who were not going to accept English rule even after the collapse of the Confederation.  While Cromwell’s army was a well organized fighting force, it could not counter the tactics of the Irish guerrilla’s.  To defeat the rebels Cromwell sought to destroy their main form of support, the Irish people.  In 1651 Parliamentarians scoured the Irish countryside, burning crops, killing livestock, and destroying farms as to deny the rebels their main source of food. The result was a devastating famine that caused tens of thousands to die of starvation. Cromwell also designated entire county’s as free fire zones, in which anyone found could be, “taken slain and destroyed as enemies and their cattle and goods shall be taken or spoiled as the goods of enemies”.  Parliament also passed laws to further increase the deprivations of the Irish people; laws transferring Irish land to the ownership of English nobles, laws which forbid Irish Catholics from owning land, and laws which forbid Irish from working government jobs.  Catholicism was banned, and Catholic priests were either executed or sent into exile.  Irish were even banned from living in certain towns and cities, and English colonization was encouraged, especially in Northern Ireland.  The brutal iron handed tactics of Cromwell took its toll on Ireland, and by 1653 most Irish guerrillas had surrendered. The last large band of rebels gave up in 1658. By then around 600,000 Irish had died due to combat, disease, or famine. The vast majority had died of disease and famine caused by Cromwell’s war. 58,000 had been deported to the Caribbean to work as indentured servants in the sugar cane fields.

During World War II the two nations which suffered the most under the Nazi’s was the Soviet Union and Poland.  The Soviet Union suffered a population reduction of around 14% while Poland suffered a population reduction of 20%.  Under the tyranny of Cromwell the Irish population decreased by 40%.  Cromwell died in 1658 and the Parliamentarian government he built died with him as well.  By then Cromwell was a hated man, despised by both Irish and English alike.  In 1661 Cromwell’s corpse was exhumed from Westminster Abby and “posthumously executed”.  His body would hang from a pole outside Westminster Hall until 1685.

Today the Oliver Cromwell is viewed as one of the most important Englishman of all time.  In Ireland, however, he is still viewed as a genocidal tyrant. In fact a common insult grew out of Cromwell’s treatment of Ireland, “May the curse of Cromwell be upon you!”  While many of the Cromwellian Laws against Ireland were relaxed after his death, the English, and later British continued to rule over Ireland until its independence in 1922.



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The Legend of O'Neil’s Red Hand and the Red Hand of Ulster, According to the legend, during th

The Legend of O'Neil’s Red Hand and the Red Hand of Ulster,

According to the legend, during the pagan times of Ireland the Kingdom of Ulster was left without an heir to take the throne.  There were several claimants to the throne, but to ensure that the kingdom did not fall into chaos and civil war, the people of Ulster decided that the best way to chose the next king was with a boat race.

According to the rules, the one who touched the shores of Ireland first would become king.  One claimant from the Uí Néill clan was in a close second place.  Seeing that he was about to lose, he cut off his own hand and threw it upon the shore, thus winning the race.  The Red Hand and its legends are still a symbol of County Ulster today.


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gunsandposes:Boys with rifles stand next to a bread cart during the Irish Civil War. Photo by W.D.

gunsandposes:

Boys with rifles stand next to a bread cart during the Irish Civil War. Photo by W.D. Hogan, circa 1922. Courtesy of the National Library of Ireland.


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Lee Enfield Mark I Royal Irish Constabulary Carbine

Lee Enfield Mark I Royal Irish Constabulary Carbine


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Portrait of a Woman by Adam Buck,  1805

Portrait of a Woman by Adam Buck,  1805


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Irish crochet wedding gown, c. 1910

Irish crochet wedding gown, c. 1910


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Miss Betty Shaughnessy by John Lavery, possibly a sketch for the 1931 painting “Their Majestie

Miss Betty Shaughnessy by John Lavery, possibly a sketch for the 1931 painting “Their Majesties’ Court, Buckingham Palace”


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“The green coat” by John Lavery, 1926

“The green coat” by John Lavery, 1926


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