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13 of the most attractive people from Leaving Cert History books

From Roger Casement to Edna O’Brien, we run through the best looking people on the Irish history course.

IF YOU TOOK History as a subject in the Leaving Cert, there’s a good chance that you spent much of your class flicking through the photographs in your textbook.

Unlike Junior Cert history, which only had illustrations of dolmens and boring old settlements, Leaving Cert History had plenty of photos of real people, who had lived in the last century or two. Most of these photos were in black and white, which made everyone look quite handsome.

In no particular order, here are thirteen of the most attractive people in Leaving Cert history books.

1. James Larkin

PastedImage-8494 Source: Wiki

James Larkin was an Irish trade union leader and socialist who was born on the 21st of January 1876 and died on the 30th of January 1947. While living conditions of workers got steadily worse in the early 20th century, James Larkin was organising workers in Belfast and Dublin, helping them to go on strike and improve their working conditions.

The low wages people were paid at the time meant that they were living in bad housing and eating bad food, which resulted in bad health. 142 of every 1000 babies born were dying before the age of one. James Larkin did his best to unite workers to fight these conditions. And he had lovely eyes too.

Image Ref. No. 0511/017 Source: RTÉ

2. J.M. Synge

synge Source: Trinity College Dublin

John Millington Synge was an Irish playwright and poet, best known for writing The Playboy of the Western World. When The Abbey Theatre staged Synge’s play The Playboy of the Western World, it ended in riots after nationalists believed it was mocking Irish people and showing them in a bad light.  Controversy aside, look at those cheekbones. The volume of his hair.

3. Roger Casement

Ed15-Casement Source: RTÉ

Roger Casement was famous for his humanitarian work in Africa and South America, but he later committed himself to the IRB.  He headed to Germany during WWI to secure Germany’s recognition of Ireland as a republic and to see if Irish prisoners of war would join an Irish Brigade. He also got a shipload of guns from the Germans, which he planned to use in the Easter Rising. For these crimes, he was later executed for treason.

Everybody who goes to Workman’s on a Saturday wishes they looked like him.

4. Constance Markievicz

Countess Markievicz In Ball Gown Circa 1900 Source: Wiki

Constance Markievicz ran a soup kitchen during the 1913 lockout before joining the Citizen Army, where she was second in command at Stephen’s Green during the 1916 Rising. She was very fond of her revolver, which she kissed before handing over to the Brits who arrested her for her role in the Rising.

image_uploaded_from_ios_1024 Source: Ireland: History in the Making 1868 - 1966

Unlike many of the other leading participants in the 1916 Rising, Markievicz was spared her life because she was a woman. She wasn’t too happy about this and told the Brits “I wish you lot had the decency to kill me.” We all have a friend who carries on like that towards the bouncers in Coppers.

She was also the first woman ever elected to the House of Commons, but she refused to take her seat. Yeats once compared her to a gazelle.

5. Maud Gonne (1866 – 1953)

main-qimg-a1c54a23c183e724735170d4c4d3d855-c Source: Wiki

Speaking of Yeats, this was the poor woman he constantly had tormented. Actress, suffragette and revolutionary Maud Gonne founded Inghinidhe na hÉireann, which later merged into Cumann na mBan. Yeats hounded her since he first met her in 1899. As a result, he proposed no less than three times and was pied each time because his nationalism wasn’t radical enough for her.

6. Dr. Noel Browne

12310716_10205474230394872_5378089289726146785_n Source: RTÉ

Dr. Noel Browne made a huge difference in Irish society. As Minister for Health, he was very frustrated by the fact that 10,000 people were needlessly dying from Tuberculosis  every year, especially after he lost his father to the disease when he was just 9-years-old.

He did not want to profit on the misfortune of the poor people suffering from TB, so he rolled out several measures to wipe out the disease in Ireland. He brought in free X-rays to identify people suffering with TB, free hospital treatment for people who had been diagnosed with TB (as well as support for their dependants while they were in hospital) and facilitated the introduction of new drugs to treat the disease.

On top of that, he proposed to the Mother and Child Scheme to reduce infant mortality and improve the welfare of women and their children living in poverty, but Catholic bishops thought this was scary communism and poor Noel was forced to resign.

000c1424-1500 Source: RTÉ

7. Edna O’Brien (1930 – present)

26OBRIENJP-master768 Source: Evening Standard

How glam was Edna O’Brien? This Co. Clare woman found her religious upbringing to be very suffocating and repressive. So she married and fled to London, where she wrote her first book The Country Girls in 1960. The Country Girls, and the two books that followed in the same trilogy were banned and burned in Ireland because the young people in the novels had sex lives. Even internationally, the reception was fairly scandalous.

It was nothing Edna couldn’t handle, because her parents despised literature and had burned a Seán O’Casey book they found in her possession when she was young. Edna O’Brien had a huge impact on the way that Irish women’s experiences were voiced in literature. She remains extremely glamorous and cool to this day.

image_uploaded_from_ios_1024 (1) Source: Ireland: History in the Making 1868 - 1966

8. Bernadette McAliskey (née Devlin) (1947 – present)

Politics - Britain's Youngest Female MP - Bernadette Devlin - Belfast - 1969 Source: PA Archive/PA Images

Bernadette McAliskey is one of the most remarkable Irish women alive today. She was kicked out of university for leading a student civil rights organisation called People’s Democracy, but didn’t let that discourage her from political activism. She became the youngest MP in Westminster when she was 21-years-old and witnessed the events of Bloody Sunday.

In 1981, Ulster Freedom Fighters entered her home and shot her fourteen times in front of her children. She survived and proved that she is unstoppable. In 1969, the mayor of New York gave Bernadette the key to the city. She gifted it to the Black Panthers.

At seventy years of age, she’s still campaigning for those who are excluded from society, and offered words of solidarity and support at 2017′s March for Choice.

Eamonn Andrews and Bernadette Devlin. Source: PA Archive/PA Images

9. Keir Hardie (1856 – 1915)

British-politician-James-Keir-Hardie-1856--1915 Source: Wiki

1888 Secretary of the Miner’s Union Keir Hardie began working at the age of seven. From the age of ten, he was working 10 hour shifts as a trapper at a Scottish mine. Because of this, he did not have the opportunity to attend school but his parents worked hard to teach him to read and write during the evenings. When he took on the prominent union role, he ran a soup kitchen for striking miners out of his own home.

He then went on to found the Scottish Labour Party. After he made a speech in parliament attacking the British monarchy, he was abdicated.

_85562388_keir_hardie_gettyone Source: Wiki

10. Lenin (1870 – 1924)

386b0d5f3670dc8b9f964a1f4dd541da--vladimir-lenin-russian-revolution Source: Wiki

Russian communist revolutionary Vladimir Ilyich Lenin was an important political theorist and one of the most influential figures of the twentieth century. Yeah, he might be divisive but the extent to which he loved cats is quite cute.

facebook_1489597688650 Source: Wiki

11. Patrice Lumumba (1925 – 1961)

discours-lumumba-620x400 Source: Wiki

Patrice Lumumba was the first Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo and played a very significant role in transforming the Congo to an independent republic, after years of Belgium colonisation. After mutiny in the Congolese army, Lumumba urged the United States and the UN to intervene and suppress Katangan secessionists, who were supported by Belgium.

They refused to step in, so Lumumba turned to the Soviet Union, who stood by him and demanded his release when he was arrested with the logistical assistance of the United States and Belgium. He was taken to an isolated location and executed. Details of his death were covered up and it wasn’t announced to the public until three weeks later. Lumumba was later seen as a martyr for the Pan-African movement.

12. Fidel Castro (1926 – 2016)

baed074179651089dab210de04534f24 Source: Wiki

For 52 years, Fidel Castro was Cuba’s anti-imperialist Marxist-Leninist leader. Over the course of his life there were 634 attempts/plots made to assassinate him and outlasted 9 US presidents. He was good friends with Ernest Hemingway and had an impressive collection of comfy tracksuits. He kept a dairy cow that made it to the Guinness Book of Records, because it could yield 110 litres of milk in a single day – a feat he attributed to the breeding techniques used under his communism.

As well as that, Fidel Castro’s Cuba had an impressive healthcare system, with lower rates of infant mortality than the US and similar life expectancy, thanks to Castro’s prioritisation of free healthcare and education.

13. Young Stalin

PastedImage-30529 Source: Wiki

Say what you will about Stalin, but there’s no denying there are many people out there who wished they looked like him.

BORN ON THIS DAY - 21/12/1879 - Joseph Stalin Source: PA Archive/PA Images

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Kelly Earley

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