When Christmas was cancelled: what 1647’s riots and rebellion can teach us today

Back in 1647, Christmas was banned in the kingdoms of England (which at the time included Wales), Scotland and Ireland and it didn’t work out very well. Following a total ban on everything festive, from decorations to gatherings, rebellions broke out across the country. While some activity took the form of hanging holly in defiance, other action was …

Source: When Christmas was cancelled: what 1647’s riots and rebellion can teach us today

The Choctaw Nation’s Extraordinary Gift to Ireland – Turtle Bunbury

In the summer of 2015, Kindred Spirits, a sculpture by Alex Pentek was unveiled at Bailic Park in Midleton, County Cork, to commemorate the Choctaw Nation and their kindness to the Irish. The beautiful work comprises of an empty bowl made from nine giant stainless-steel eagle feathers. Gary Batton, present chief of the Choctaw Nation, attended the unveiling and declared: “These are great healing moments. A great moment for us to show our respect back to them as nation to nation. A chance to stand up and say, ‘A, Chata Sia.’ ‘Yes, I am Choctaw.’”

Source: The Choctaw Nation’s Extraordinary Gift to Ireland – Turtle Bunbury

Ireland’s Holocaust heroine | historywithatwist

Mary Elmes during the war years and in later life

Mary Elmes during the war years and in later life

The great events of our past – the wars and the genocides – are just a series of small steps strung together… steps that when looked back upon appear to be a seamless, momentous journey.

And because of that, we tend to overlook many of those very people who created the events that make history so extraordinary.

The name Mary Elmes is not one that conjures up any special memory to most people, and that’s probably just the way the Corkwoman would…

via Ireland’s Holocaust heroine | historywithatwist

Kick Kennedy, the Marquess & the Earl – Turtle Bunbury


Seventy years ago today, a plane crash in southern France ended the life of Kick Kennedy, oldest sister of Jack and Bobby, and her lover, Peter, Earl Fitzwilliam. This story recounts the series of events that lead up to the tragedy and the remarkable Irish connections to each of the protagonists…

via Kick Kennedy, the Marquess & the Earl – Turtle Bunbury

“Frankly, I enjoyed the war.” Totally crazy story of Victoria Cross hero

Wiart in Cairo, Egypt in 1943

Wiart in Cairo, Egypt in 1943

“We’re going to have to ditch, sir, prepare for a landing on water!” was the last thing that the “Unkillable Soldier” Major-General Adrian Carton de Wiart VC heard from the cockpit of the Wellington bomber that was supposed to be…

via Frankly, I enjoyed the war. Totally crazy story of Victoria Cross hero who tore off his own fingers, lost an eye, was shot in the head & still went back for more

January 29, 1944 Operation Pied Piper – Today in History

94330In the summer of 1938, the horrors of the Great War were a mere twenty years in the past.  Hitler had swallowed up Austria, only six months earlier.   Authorities divided the British Isles into “risk zones”, identified as “evacuation,” “neutral,” and “reception.”  In some of the most gut wrenching decisions of the age, these people were planning “Operation Pied Piper”, the evacuation of…

via January 29, 1944 Operation Pied Piper – Today in History

Ireland’s Alcatraz | historywithatwist

Spike Island, outside Cork Harbour

They sat clothed from head to toe in black, a veil covering their faces, leaving only their eyes visible to look out at the cold limestone walls around them. Their bones ached and their flesh was r…

Source: Ireland’s Alcatraz | historywithatwist

The Borstal Boy, The Can-Can Dancer and The Stolen Auster Aircraft

You couldn’t possibly make it up.  A borstal boy, Windmill can-can dancer and stolen Auster aircraft make headlines for Bembridge on the Isle of Wight around the world.

On the 30th May 1949, an 18-year-old serial absconder from borstal institutions all across England broke into a hanger at Bembridge Airfield and although never having piloted a plane before took off and attempted to fly to Southern Ireland. This story made newspaper headlines around the world and put Bembridge on front pages from Hobart to Honolulu.

Brynley Fussell was a young miscreant who had spent many years in various borstals and had previously escaped from one such Island institution, Camp Hill at Yarmouth, and attempted to sail a small boat to the Mainland. On that occasion, he was caught and sent to Rochester, Kent before escaping yet again. He made his way back to the Island,  stole some cash from houses in Ryde and paid for two short duration flights as a passenger at Somerton Airfield, Cowes, quizzing the pilots on their instruments as they flew along.

He then made his way to Bembridge and having broken into the Sailing Club and stolen money and a pair of binoculars he arranged another half hour joy ride as a passenger in an Auster carefully watching every action the pilot made. Having then stayed around until nightfall he broke into the hanger moved two other aircraft and a crash tender out of the way before pushing an Auster Autocrat registration G-AGVL out onto the airfield. Climbing in, he started the engine and roared off into the early evening.

The flight lasted an hour but running low on fuel he was forced to land just outside Cheltenham close to the Severn Estuary. After again going on the run he was finally arrested at Whitchurch Airfield, Bristol whilst attempting to find another aircraft to continue his flight.

Meanwhile, the stolen Auster was hurriedly flown back to Bembridge and as had been the original intention was prepared for an upcoming Island air race. The pilot was to be Anita D’Ray (born Dorothy Poore) who was a featured dancer at the world-renowned Windmill Theatre, London. At just nineteen she was an accomplished pilot with over one hundred solo flights and had entered the Air Race piloting this privately owned aircraft. Over the Whitsun weekend not only does she enter the international race as one of the very few female entrants but pitted against many well-known international pilots goes on to win it.

Brynley Fussell went on to commit many further crimes including stealing another aircraft and flying to France before eventually settling down and becoming a world-renowned microlight aviation expert gaining his full pilots licence in 1988 some forty years after that first maiden solo fight out of Bembridge airport. Anita D’Ray become an accomplished actress and dance advisor to the film and television industries.

© Peter Chick 2017 (Facebook)


Shortly before noon on a Thursday 11th April 1912, Titanic dropped her screw-anchors into the murky seabed, some two miles out from the County Cork seaport of Queenstown (now better known as Cóbh).

Queenstown had been a vital port for Britain’s Navy for several centuries. During the 19th century, it evolved into the foremost port in Ireland, dispatching convicts by the hundred to Australia and emigrants by the thousand to North America. With the evolution of luxury travel, it became one of the key trans-Atlantic ports ocean liners to’ing and fro’ing between the USA and Europe.

And now, the sun-drenched town was bedecked in celebratory bunting as people poured in from miles around to…

Read the full article

Anne Bonny, Eighteenth-Century Pirate Vixen | A R T L▼R K

A re-post.

On the 8th of March 1702, notorious Irish female pirate Anne Bonny was born as Anne Cormac, in Kinsale County Cork, the daughter of a servant woman and her solicitor employer. Trustworthy informati…

Source: Anne Bonny, Eighteenth-Century Pirate Vixen | A R T L▼R K

The History Girls: Those Magnificent Women in Their Flying Machines – Aviatrices of the 1920s and 1930s by Christina Koning

Having just finished my latest novel, ‘Time of Flight’, which is set in 1931, and features – amongst other characters – a number of female flyers, I wanted to make my last post for the History Girls about these wonderful ‘queens of the air’, who did so much to popularise flying in its golden years. One of the most celebrated was Amelia Earhart – pronounced ‘Air-heart’ (1897-1937) – who, apart from setting numerous aviation records, including being the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic, was instrumental in setting up ‘The Ninety-Nines’, an association of women pilots…

Source: The History Girls: Those Magnificent Women in Their Flying Machines – Aviatrices of the 1920s and 1930s by Christina Koning

Britain on the Brink of Starvation: Unrestricted Submarine Warfare | Heritage Calling

Will’s cigarette card from the First World War. The reverse reads: ‘As in peace time, the flag of Britain’s mercantile marine flies over two-thirds of the shipping which plies the ocean. Ship after ship is coming over the seas, bringing food and raw materials…’ © Mark Dunkley.

One hundred years ago today on 1 February 1917, Germany resumed its policy of ‘unrestricted submarine warfare.’  The seas around the British Isles were declared a war zone in which fishing vessels …

Source: Britain on the Brink of Starvation: Unrestricted Submarine Warfare | Heritage Calling

The Two Elizas – The Irish Courtesans who set the World Alight | historywithatwist

Her name was Lola, she was a showgirl… so far, so true (and with thanks to Barry Manilow), but this particular Lola  also happened to be one of Europe’s most beautiful and talked-about women, who m…

Source: The Two Elizas – The Irish Courtesans who set the World Alight | historywithatwist