Teen Debunks Professor’s Claim That Anti-Irish Signs Never Existed - History in the Headlines
A 14-year-old girl has proven that historical scholarship is not solely the realm of tweedy academics. Armed with her curiosity and an Internet connection, Rebecca Fried has debunked a history professor’s claim that “No Irish Need Apply” signs were not historical realities, but “a myth of victimization.

The deeper Fried dug through online archives, the more she found. The teenaged historian discovered dozens of NINA newspaper advertisements printed in big cities such as New York and Boston and small towns such as Alpine, Texas, and Monmouth, Illinois. In 1842 editions of the New York Sun alone, she found 15 instances of advertisements telling Irish men not to apply. In addition, Fried’s research unearthed newspaper accounts mentioning NINA signs appearing in workplaces and public accommodations as well as reports of Irish-American workers protesting and striking in response. Contrary to Jensen’s contention that no court cases involving NINA existed, Fried found one from 1853 and another from 1881.


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.

January 30, 1922, in their first official act, the National Army marches through Dublin to accept the transfer of the Beggar’s Bush Barracks from the British.

With the beginning of the War of Independence, the Irish Volunteers were renamed the Irish Republican Army (IRA), forming the corps of the Republican forces against the British. With the Anglo-Irish Treaty in 1921 bringing the war to an end, and creating the Ireland Free State in the south, they were again renamed, becoming the nucleus of the National Army.

(National Museum of Ireland)
Irish American Civil War soldier’s last letter home, found on his dead body
Hubert McNamara, leaving behind a wife and three children in Ireland, died in the bloody slaughter of Cold Harbor.

[Sheet 1 Obverse?]…almigty god that we will soon get tru with them I all right soe far thank be tow the almighty god for his merci[illegible] possible [?] to I am [ad] dressing you with a few lines hope tow find you and the children in good helth as the departure thes few lines leves mee me in at present thank be to the almighty god for his to me we are fighting with rebble for last 10 days and we have drove them for as much 30 miles but there is grete many of our men kild and wonded but the purty well sourrounded in the [?]

[Sheet 1 Reverse?] Jun the 2 1864, Camp of the armi of the portommack 7 miles from Richmond mi Dear wife and children I take the favorable opportunitie [?] [illegible] tell what moment I wold get kild or wonded but I trus in god for his mercis tow me there is afful fight ing going on her we ar fight ing knight and fight ing day my Dear wife an children there is no thing more that I can let you know now it I have now time

[Sheet 2 Obverse] it is verry hard tow get paper or ink any thing els her John Dempsey is well and alsoe michael lawler is I wish that you wold tell his wife there is no thing more my Dear wife and children that I think soe good bie for afile, now more at present from youre afectionate husband Hubert Mc Namara 2 Corps 2 Divison 4 brigade Co I 155 armi of the portom mac,good bie write soon

[Sheet 1 Obverse?]…almighty God that we will soon get through with them. I [am] alright so far thanks be to the almighty God for his mercy [illegible] possible to, I am addressing you with a few lines. I hope to find you and the children in good health as the departure [of] these few lines leaves me in at present thanks be to the almighty God for his [mercy] to me. We are fighting with [the] Rebels for [the] last 10 days and we have drove them for as much [as] 30 miles, but there is [a]great many of our men killed and wounded but they [are] pretty well surrounded in the [?]

[Sheet 1 Reverse?]June the 2nd 1864, Camp of the Army of the Potomac 7 miles from Richmond. Dear wife and children, I take the favourable opportunity[illegible] tell what moment I would get killed or wounded, but I trust in God for his mercy to me. There is awful fighting going on here, we are fighting night and fighting day. Dear wife and children there is nothing more that I can let you know now I have no time.

[Sheet 2 Obverse] It is very hard to get paper or ink [or] anything else here. John Dempsey is well and also Michael Lawler is, I wish that you would tell his wife. There is nothing more my dear wife and children then I think, so goodbye for a while. No more at present from your affectionate husband Hubert McNamara, 2nd Corps, 2nd Division, 4th Brigade, Company I, 155th New York, Army of the Potomac. Goodbye write soon.

Today in Irish History – 23 September:

Today in Irish History – 23 September:

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1586 – At the battle of Ardnaree in Co Mayo, Sir Richard Bingham, governor of Connacht, surprises a force of redshanks (Scottish mercenary light infantrymen) engaged by the Burkes of Mayo; 1,000 redshanks and 1,000 camp followers are killed. Bingham hangs the leaders of the Burkes.

1641 – The Gaelic Catholics of Ulster stage an uprising against the Scottish Presbyterian planters.

1920 – Two RIC…

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McSorley’s Old Ale House-New York

Abraham Lincoln visited here after giving his famous Cooper Union address in 1860, and a chair where he supposedly sat is kept behind the bar.  

Located 15 E. 7th St. (between 2nd and 3rd Avenues)

McSorley’s is said to be the oldest bar in New York, dating back to 1854.  The only drinks served, light and dark McSorley’s Ale, have been poured for a hundred and fifty years.  

Women were not allowed inside until a controversial 1970 Supreme Court case, and after years of bartenders guarding the bathroom door, a ladies room was finally installed in 1986.  

Since then McSorley’s has seen a long line of famous patrons such as Teddy Roosevelt, Babe Ruth, Lou Gherig, Joe Kennedy, Woody Guthrie, Mickey Mantle, John Lennon and JFK. and wisbones on a chandalier left by young U.S. soldiers who went off to fight in the First World War.  The wishbones that remain, among decades of gathering dust and gunk, are of those soldiers that didn’t come back.  Anyone who touches them is banned for life.  

With its floor covered in sawdust and mugs of ale served two at a time, McSorley’s continues to be a bar unaffected by time or the outside world.