#OTD in 1960 – In a lab deep in Trinity College, Dublin, in 1954, Dr Vincent Barry and his research team created a new drug, Clofazimine, in a bid to beat tuberculosis.

It didn’t help TB, but on this date, it was trialled on leprosy patients, with miraculous results. The drug is now part of a treatment that has saved millions of people from this horrible disease. Interestingly, St Stephen’s Green in Dublin was once a leper hospital, and the disease lives on in Irish place names […]

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#OTD in 1688 – Goodwife ‘Goody’ Ann Glover is hanged in Boston, Massachusetts, accused of witchcraft.

The last woman to be hanged in Boston as a witch was Goodwife ‘Goody’ Ann Glover, an Irish laundress. This North End resident was wildly accused in 1688 of practicing witchcraft by the infamous Reverend Cotton Mather, pastor of the old North Church. Her Puritan accusers were caught up in a witch mania that was […]

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#OTD in Irish History – 16 November:

1272 – Henry III dies; his son Edward I, who has been Lord of Ireland since 1254, succeeds him. 1688 – Goodwife ‘Goody’ Ann Glover is hanged in Boston, Massachusetts, accused of witchcraft. 1745 – Death of James Butler, 2nd Duke of Ormonde KG. He was an Irish statesman and soldier. He was the third […]

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#OTD in 1998 – Bridget Dirrane, who was imprisoned with Kevin Barry and who canvassed for John F. Kennedy in the United States, celebrated her 104th birthday with news that she was to be featured in the new edition of the Guinness Book of Records.

Bridget Dirrane was the oldest native of Ireland’s Aran Islands and the second oldest person in Ireland. Éamon de Valera was the Irish political leader she most admired, but in a life touching three centuries, she met Pádraig Pearse, went on hunger strike in Mountjoy gaol, campaigned for John F Kennedy in Boston, and was […]

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#OTD in 1981 – Death of Bridget ‘Brede’ Connolly who played a pivotal role in the 1916 Rising by dispatching messages for James Connolly in the GPO.

Born in Friarstown near Killerig, Co Carlow in 1890, her parents were Peter Connolly and Elizabeth Gaynor, the daughter of a nearby farmer in Grange. By 1911, the Connollys were living in Artane, Dublin and, according to local tradition, they may have been evicted from their home and farm in Friarstown. While no trace of […]

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#OTD in 1881 – Birth of William Pearse, brother of Pádraig, in Dublin.

Pádraig’s younger brother was also educated at Westland Row and was a promising sculptor. He founded the Leinster Stage Society and acted in the Abbey Theatre. William shared his brother’s dream for an independent Ireland and assisted him at St Enda’s. The two brothers fought alongside each other in the GPO. Although not a ringleader, […]

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#OTD in Irish History – 15 November:

1777 – The Articles of Confederation, the first written constitution of the United States was adopted by the Continental Congress. A number of the Congress hailed from Ireland including Secretary of the Congress Charles Thomson who was born in Maghera, Co Derry in 1729. Thomson was the permanent Secretary of the Continental Congress for more […]

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#OTD in 1973 – Eight IRA members (six men, two women – sisters Marian and Dolours Price) are convicted of the London bombings in March 1973.

Dolours Price and younger sibling Marian were part of a four-strong IRA unit which planted four car bombs outside the Old Bailey courthouse. Two detonated, causing massive damage and injuring more than 200 people, but no-one was killed directly. One man later died of a heart attack he suffered at the time. The IRA Volunteers […]

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#OTD in 1972 – Death of Lucy Agnes Smyth, section Leader of the Central Branch of Cumann na mBan, during the 1916 Easter Rising.

Lucy Agnes Smyth was born in 1882 and lived in Amiens Street, Dublin. She was a fluent Irish speaker and joined Cumann na mBan at its inception in 1914. By 1921, having been a section leader, she had ascended to the position of 1st Lieutenant in the Ard Craobh, Central Branch. During Easter week Lucy […]

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#OTD in 1920 – Catholic priest, Father Michael Griffin was killed.

Fr Griffin would have been known to the Crown Forces, as a known republican sympathiser. On the night of 8 September 1920, he was called out to attend Seamus Quirke, a First-Lieutenant in the local IRA after he was shot seven times at the docks. He also took part in the funeral mass of Michael […]

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