4The Damned Tudors
Folks really seem to love the Tudors, the English dynasty that ruled England from 1485 to 1603 and included monarchs like King Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. You seemingly can't swing Anne Boleyn's decapitated head without hitting a new TV show or movie starring either Henry VIII or Elizabeth, most of which focus on what Henry's penis happened to be doing while he was king or how Elizabeth made it in a man's world baby. But what was arguably the Tudor's favorite pastime is almost always overlooked. What was that you ask? Why brutally suppressing Ireland and trying to wipe out Irish culture of course!
Yes, once again Lady Luck had pissed in the Irish's stew. The Tudor line came to power when Henry VII defeated Richard III in the War of the Roses (a war that was a lot longer, more bitter and bloody than it's fruity name implies) and true to form the Irish had supported the losing side. Whoops.
From that point on the Tudors saw Ireland as a possible threat and a geographically vulnerable location. So they spent the next 100-years or so violently beating on the Irish like Moe on Curly.
Elizabeth in particular, contrary to the heroic soft-lit portrayal of her you see in the two "Elizabeth" movies, was one supreme bitch when it came to Irish. While trying to subdue Ireland, Elizabeth ordered the English to use scorched-earth tactics, burning the land and slaughtering man, woman and child. This caused widespead famine and countless thousands died from starvation alone.
She also set up plantations across Ireland populated with Protestant English settlers, the idea being that these would be the seeds from which English Protestantism would spring forth and overtake traditional Irish Catholic culture. What could go wrong with that?
3The Life and Ridiculous Death of Wolfe Tone
Wolfe Tone (1763 - 1798), besides being the proud owner of one of the most kick-ass names ever to grace a history book, was an Irish-born lawyer and the father of the Irish Republican independence movement. Some have even called him the Irish George Washington. Of course, since this is the Irish George Washington we're talking about, he didn't valiantly lead his forces to victory, founding an independent nation that would go on to become the most powerful in the world. Instead, Wolfe Tone stayed true to his roots and was repeatedly kneed in the testicles by ol' Lady Luck.
Irish Washington co-founded the Society of United Irishmen, whose goal was to get the Catholic and Protestant factions of Irish society to unite their powers Marvel Team-up style to defeat their Dr. Doom-esque English overlords. Unfortunately for the fate of a free Ireland, Wolfe decided to ally himself with ... the French.
Thus, they formed a true dream-team combining the rotten luck of the Irish with the military incompetence of the French. When Tone launched an invasion from France to free Ireland from the English, the luck of the Irish kicked in immediately, sending gales and fog to meet the French fleet whose ships of course all promptly sunk or turned sail and ran away.
Tone and the French made a few more attempts to invade Ireland with a similar lack of success until finally Wolfe Tone was taken prisoner when the English captured his ship. Tone's captors didn't even recognize him and he most likely would have gotten away if Lady Luck hadn't, in a last ditch effort, managed to deliver a flying dropkick to his nuts yet again. By sheer shit luck, while stepping off the prison boat he happened to be witnessed by a lawyer he had faced off against several times back when he was practicing law, who still held a grudge and ratted him out.
Tone was charged with treason and sentenced to death. All Tone requested was that he be given what he considered a more honorable death -- firing squad instead of hanging. The English, presumably just to be pricks, insisted that hanging was the only way to go. So Tone, in a ballsy but perhaps strategically ill-considered move, countered by cutting his own throat. English plans to get the last laugh by dressing Tone's corpse in women's clothes and shooting it out of a cannon were fortunately called off when they couldn't find a gown in his size.