December (Nollaig) 12th


1803 - Birth in Limerick of writer Gerald Griffin


1881 - Birth in Cork of James O'Flynn, also known as 'Father O'Flynn of the Loft'; priest; teacher of acting, singing and dancing


1883 - Birth in Dublin of Peadar Kearney, songwriter, revolutionary and house-painter; he is famous for writing the words of the Irish national anthem.

Peadar Kearney (Irish: Peadar O'Cearnaigh; 12 December 1883
- 23 November 1942) was an Irish Republican and composer of numerous rebel songs. In 1907 he wrote the lyrics to The Soldier's Song (Amhran na bhFiann), now the Irish national anthem.


Kearney was born at 68 Lower Dorset Street, Dublin in 1883. He joined the Gaelic League in 1901, and the Irish Republican Brotherhood in 1903. He was a founder member of the Irish Volunteers in 1913. In the Easter Rising of 1916 Kearney fought at Jacob's biscuit factory under Thomas MacDonagh. He escaped before the garrison was taken into custody. He was active in the War of Independence and was interned in Ballykinler Camp in County Down in 1920. A personal friend of Michael Collins, Kearney took the Free State side in the Civil War. After the establishment of the Free State, however, he took no further part in politics. He died in relative poverty in 1942, and is buried in Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin. Kearney also witnessed the death of IRA (Irish Republican Army) leader, Michael Collins at Beal nBaith on 16th August 1922. He was travelling in the front veichle going to Cork.



1903 Roger Casement completes report about abuses in Belgian Congo


In 1903, Roger Casement, then the British Consul at Boma, was commissioned by the British government, and delivered in 1904, a long, detailed eyewitness report exposing human rights abuses in the Congo Free State: the Casement Report. The Congo Free State had been in the possession of King Leopold II of Belgium since 1885, when it was granted to him by the Berlin Conference. Leopold exploited the territory's natural resources (mostly rubber) as a private entrepreneur, not as Belgian King. Casement's report would be instrumental in Leopold finally relinquishing his personal holdings in Africa.


When the report was made public, the Congo Reform Association, founded by E.D. Morel, with Casement's support, demanded action. Other European nations followed suit, as did the United States, and the British parliament demanded a meeting of the 14 signatory powers to review the 1885 Berlin Agreement. The Belgian Parliament, pushed by socialist leader Emile Vandervelde and other critics of the King's Congolese policy, forced Leopold to set up an independent commission of inquiry, and in 1905, despite his efforts, it confirmed the essentials of Casement's report.


On 15 November 1908, four years after the Casement Report, the parliament of Belgium took over the Congo Free State from Leopold and its administration as the Belgian Congo.


1917 Reverend Edward Flanagan founds Boys Town outside Omaha NE


1920 - Birth of Christy Ring in Cloyne, Co. Cork. His 24-year career record earned him a reputation as the greatest hurler of all time


1920 - Black & Tans continue their attacks in Cork


1955 - The Cork Opera House is destroyed by fire


1957 - The IRA begins a violent four-year campaign in Northern Ireland


1960 - Birth of Donegal superstar Daniel O'Donnell


1966 - Birth of Sinead O'Connor


1971 - Jack Barnhill, Northern Ireland senator, assassinated by the Official IRA.

1971 - Balmoral Furniture Company bombing – a bomb exploded outside a furniture showroom on the mainly-Protestant and loyalist Shankill Road, Belfast. Four civilians (including two babies) were killed and nineteen wounded. The IRA was blamed.


2001 - Intelligence agent William Stobie is gunned down in Belfast by former associates

Feast Days:


St. Finnian of Clonard, Bishop
(Finian, Finden, Vennianus, Vinnianus)

Born in Leinster, Ireland, c. 470; died at Clonard (Cluain-Irard) Abbey in Meath, Ireland, December 12, c. 552 (but the date ranges from 549-564).


Saint Finnian was an Irish monk who followed in the path of Saint Patrick, whose disciples, including Saint Fortchern (f.d. February 17), instructed him in the essentials of Christian virtue, and himself initiated a strict form of Irish monasticism. Along with Saint Enda of Aran (f.d. March 21), he is regarded as the founder of Irish monasticism. He had close relations with the British Church.


He is said to have been born into a noble family at Myshall, County Carlow, Ireland. He probably also received his education in that district, where he also made his first three foundations at Rossacurra, Drumfea, and Kilmaglush. Thereafter, he spent several years in Wales, where he was trained in monasticism by Saints Cadoc of Llancarfan (f.d. September 25), David of Menevia (f.d. March 1), and Gildas (f.d. January 29). He lived on bread, herbs, and water, and on the bare ground with a stone for his pillow. About 520, Finnian returned to Ireland, armed with the sanctity and sacred learning to reinvigorate the faith of his countrymen.


To further God's work, he founded churches and several monasteries, including Aghowle (County Wicklow) and Mugna Sulcain. His most notable foundation was Clonard on the Boyne in Meath, which was the greatest school of the period, renowned for several centuries for its biblical studies (Finnian was a great Biblical scholar). During his abbacy, he is said to have gathered 3,000 disciples at Clonard. As each left the monastery to preach, he took with him a Book of the Gospels, a crozier, and a reliquary around which he would built a church or monastery.


He is often called the "Teacher of Irish Saints." At one time his pupils at Clonard included the so-called Twelve Apostles of Ireland:

Brendan of Birr (f.d. November 29)
Brendan the Voyager (f.d. May 16)
Cainnech (f.d. October 11)
Ciaran of Clommacnois (f.d. September 9)
Columba of Iona (f.d. June 9)
Columba of Terryglass (f.d. today)
Comgall of Bangor (f.d. May 11)
Finian of Moville (f.d. September 10)
Kieran of Saigher (f.d. March 5)
Mobhi (f.d. October 12)
Molaise (Laserian) of Devendish (f.d. August 12)
Ninidh of Inismacsaint (f.d. January 18)
Ruadhan of Lothra (f.d. April 15)
Sinell of Cleenish (f.d.October 12)


St. Columba (Colm) of Tyrdaglas, Abbot

Born in Leinster, Ireland; died 548; feast may also be December 13. Saint Columba, son of the Leinster noble named Crimthain, was a disciple of Saint Finnian (f.d. today) and himself became a great master of the spiritual life.


Finnian often had Saint Senach (f.d. March 8) keep an eye on the younger seminarians at Clonard. Once Senach reported back to the holy abbot that he found Columba kneeling in prayer, oblivious to everything about him, with his arms stretched out to heaven and the birds alighting on his shoulders. Finnian replied, "He is the one who will offer the Holy
Sacrifice for me at my death."


St. Cormac, Abbot

6th century. The eminently holy, ancient Irish abbot, Saint Cormac, was friend of Saint Columba (f.d. June 9), according to Adamnan (Benedictines, Husenbeth).


St. Colman of Glendalough, Abbot

Died 659. An abbot Colman of Glendalough is mentioned in the Irish calendars (Benedictines, Husenbeth).