seamus dubhghaill

Promoting Irish Culture and History from Little Rock, Arkansas, USA


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Record Number of Participants Take Part in the 2017 Dublin Marathon

A record 20,000 people take part in the Dublin Marathon on October 29, 2017, making it the fifth largest marathon in Europe. The first Dublin Marathon takes place in 1980 with just over 2,000 runners participating.

The Dublin Marathon is an annual 26.2 mile (42.2 km) road marathon in Dublin held on the last Sunday in October. Prior to 2016, the race takes place on the last Monday in October, which is a public holiday in Ireland. In October 2015, it is announced that from 2016 the marathon will be held on Sunday rather than the October Bank Holiday Monday to attract more overseas runners. Held each year since 1980, the marathon has a record 22,500 registrants for the 2019 race, including over 5,000 entrants from outside Ireland.

The race is founded in 1980 by a group led by Noel Carroll, who persuades the Business Houses Athletic Association (BHAA) to take up the idea. In the first year, 2,100 take part, of whom 1,420 finish. Dick Hooper of Raheny club Raheny Shamrock Athletic Club claims first place, in a time of 2:16:14. The women’s winner is Carey May who finishes in 2:42:11. That year’s runner-up is Neil Cusack, who returns in 1981 to post a winning time of 2:13:59.

Jerry Kiernan‘s 1982 time of 2:13:45 is a long-standing men’s course record. This is finally improved upon by Lezan Kipkosgei Kimutai over twenty years later in 2004, but Russian runner Aleksey Sokolov twice breaks the record with consecutive wins in 2006 and 2007, running 2:11:39 and 2:09:07 respectively. Moses Kangogo Kibet becomes the first man under 2:09 in Dublin with his win in 2:08:58. The current men’s record is 2:08:06 set by Othmane El Goumri in 2019.

Moira O’Neill is the first woman under two hours and forty minutes with her win of 2:37:06 in 1988 and home athlete Christine Kennedy improves this with a run of 2:35:56 three years later. Kenyan Ruth Kutol‘s win in 2:27:22 in 2003 is the first sub-2:30 time and Russian Tatyana Aryasova breaks this record in 2010 with her current women’s record of 2:26:13.

The participation level of the race has followed an upward trend: by 1988 the number of participants increases to 8,700 – up from 4,000 the previous year. It is not until 2000 that the 1988 participation record is finally broken when 8,900 take part. An increasing number of people take part every year in the late 2000s, with 11,000 at the 2007 edition. Entry levels have since increased significantly year-on-year with 19,500 completing the 2016 event.

In 2001 the marathon becomes part of the Dublin Race Series, which includes pre-marathon events of 5 miles, 10 kilometres, 10 miles and half marathon distance over the preceding months, run in the Phoenix Park and Swords, Dublin.

The 2020 and 2021 editions of the race are canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, with all entries made valid for the following year and all registrants given the option of obtaining a full refund.


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First “Twelfth of July” Sectarian Riots in Belfast

orange-order-paradeThe first recorded “Twelfth of Julysectarian riots erupt in Belfast on July 12, 1813 as clashes break out between Orange marchers and Irish nationalists. Several Orangemen open fire on a crowd in Hercules Street, killing two Protestants and wounding four other people.

The Twelfth, also called the Glorious Twelfth or Orangemen’s Day, is an Ulster Protestant celebration held on July 12. It is first held in the late 18th century in Ulster. It celebrates the Glorious Revolution (1688) and victory of Protestant King William of Orange over Catholic King James II at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690, which begins the Protestant Ascendancy in Ireland.

On and around the Twelfth, large parades are held by the Orange Order and Ulster loyalist marching bands, streets are bedecked with British flags and bunting, and large towering bonfires are lit. Today the Twelfth is mainly celebrated in Ulster, especially in Northern Ireland where it is a public holiday, but smaller celebrations are held in other parts of the world where Orange lodges have been established. The Twelfth involves thousands of participants and spectators.

In Ulster, where about half the population is from a Protestant background and half from a Catholic background, the Twelfth has been accompanied by violence since its beginning. Orange marches through Irish Catholic and Irish nationalist neighbourhoods are usually met with opposition from residents, who see the Orange Order and its marches as sectarian, triumphalist and supremacist. This sometimes leads to violence.

The Order is also politically a unionist/loyalist organisation. Violence related to the Twelfth in Northern Ireland escalates during the 30-year ethno-political conflict known as the Troubles. The Drumcree conflict is the most well-known dispute involving Orange marches.

Attempts have recently been made to downplay the political aspects of the marches and present the Twelfth as a cultural, family-friendly event at which tourists are welcome. The majority of events pass off peacefully, however, there is a small contingency who occasionally stir up trouble.

When July 12 falls on a Sunday, as it does this year, the parades are held on the following day instead.