9th of October
In 1967, revolutionary leader Ernesto “Che” Guevara is executed in Bolivia, a day after being captured, on the charge of attempting to incite a revolution in the country. Che, who had previously been involved in a coup d’état in Guatemala, the revolution in Cuba and various conflicts across the world, including the “Congo Crisis” of 1965. On a ‘world tour’ in early 1965, Guevara visited Ireland, reportedly celebrating St.Patrick’s Day in Limerick. A man of Irish ancestry (his father’s last name was “Lynch”), An Post are this year commemorating the 50th anniversary of his death with a stamp that bears the iconic ‘Che’ artwork.
10th of October
The sometimes enigmatic writer-director of Citizen Kane, Orson Welles, died of a heart attack on this day in 1985. Welles got his break on the stage of Dublin’s Gate Theatre, first coming to prominence in a 1938 radio production of H.G. Well’s The War of the Worlds. Despite receiving acclaim (and, at times, condemnation) for his work on stage & the radio, it is film where Welles is most known; the aforementioned Citizen Kane and 1958’s A Touch of Evil are generally regarded as all-time great films. His last role as an actor came in 1986’s The Transformers Movie as the primary antagonist, Unicron. He famously left one project unfinished at the time of his death, The Other Side of the Wind (1970), which reportedly finally entered into post-production earlier this year.
11th of October
On this day in 1649, following a ten-day siege, the town of Wexford is sacked by Oliver Cromwell and his New Model Army. Wexford had become a key base for Irish Catholics during the Eleven Years’ War (also known as the Irish Confederate Wars), being used to disrupt shipping routes between Dublin, Liverpool and Chester. Cromwell arrived to Wexford on the 2nd of October, less than a month after the massacre at Drogheda. While negotiations were going on between the leaders, Captain Stafford surrendered Wexford castle to the English for reasons yet unknown. The New Model Army stormed the walls, killed around 3,500 people (including 1,500 civilians), burned the town and destroyed the harbour.
12th of October
On this night in 1972, a race riot broke out on the USS Kitty Hawk, which was stationed off the coast of Vietnam. The Kitty Hawk had been involved in Operation Linebacker, an operation to disrupt supply shipping lines while providing the capability of airstrikes on Vietnam. Orders had been given for the ship to return to Vietnam following sabotage that disabled the USS Ranger and USS Forrestal. Marines had reportedly attempted to disrupt protest meetings of African-American sailors, and the crew members responded violently. 45-60 were injured in the riot, and the USS Kitty Hawk eventually had to be retired from service & from the war.
13th of October
In 54CE the Roman Emperor Claudius died under suspicious circumstances. Most contemporary writers & historians believe the Emperor was poisoned, with blame being put on many different people. Modern scholars conclude his wife, Agrippina, was the most likely culprit, as she and Claudius had begun to fight in the preceding months. These fights lead Claudius to consider his own son, Britannicus, as his heir, but Agrippina politicked and maybe poisoned her way into getting her own son, Nero, to be nominated as heir.