#OTD in 1504 – Battle of Knockdoe/Battle of Axe Hill

The Battle of Knockdoe took place on 19 August 1504 at Knockdoe, in the Parish of Lackagh, Co Galway, between two Anglo-Irish lords—Gerald FitzGerald, Earl of Kildare, the Lord Deputy of Ireland, and Ulick Fionn Burke, Lord of Clanricarde—along with their respective Irish allies. The cause was a dispute between Maelsechlainn mac Tadhg Ó Cellaigh, […]

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#OTD in 1930 – Birth of Frank McCourt in Brooklyn, NY.

Writer and educator Francis “Frank” McCourt was born on 19 August 1930, in Brooklyn, New York, as the eldest of seven children. McCourt’s father, Malachy, worked odd jobs while his mother, Angela, worked to raise the children. The family frequently struggled to make ends meet and, after a long stint of unemployment during the Depression, […]

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#OTD in 1907 – A memorial arch is dedicated at St Stephens Green Dublin in honour of the Irish soldiers who died fighting for “King and country” in the Boer war.

Five years on from the war, the Fusiliers’ Arch was unveiled in the heart of Dublin, as a testament to the actions of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers in South Africa. While the war ended in a British victory, it was a bloody and costly one. In financial terms, a war that would supposedly be over […]

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#OTD in 1876 – The ship Catalpa arrives in the U.S. with Irish Fenian prisoners rescued from Australia.

The “Fremantle Six” were Irish political prisoners who made an audacious escape from the notorious British prison in West Australia aboard the U.S. whaling ship “Catalpa” in 1876. Captain Anthony and the Catalpa arrive at Rockingham beach near Fremantle to rendezvous with the escaped prisoners; after a fierce confrontation with the Georgette, an armed British […]

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#OTD in Irish History – 19 August:

1504 – Battle of Knockdoe/Battle of Axe Hill. After Ulick Burke of Clanricard seizes Galway city, Edward Fitzgerald, the Earl of Kildare, goes to Connacht and defeats Burke at Knockdoe. This is the largest battle ever fought between Irishmen, with 10,000 participants and 2,000 fatalities; however, most of the fighting is done by gall óglach […]

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Revival of the Irish Wolfhound

The Irish wolfhound is a persistent symbol of ancient Celtic nobility and integrity. By the middle of the 19th century the original Irish wolfhound had all but disappeared, along with its foe the Irish wolf, and no one really had a clear idea of what it had looked like in its heyday. Around this time, […]

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#OTD in 1994 – Death of prominent criminal, Martin Cahill.

Cahill generated a certain notoriety in the media, which referred to him by the sobriquet “The General”. The name was also used by the media to discuss Cahill’s activities while avoiding legal problems with libel. During his lifetime, Cahill took particular care to hide his face from the media; he would spread the fingers of […]

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#OTD in 1579 – Death of rebel leader, James Fitzgerald.

Fitzgerald was a Roman Catholic nobleman who led two unsuccessful uprisings against English rule in the province of Munster. He was a member of the 16th century ruling Geraldine dynasty who rebelled against the crown of Queen Elizabeth I in response to the onset of the Tudor conquest of Ireland. He led the first of […]

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#OTD in Irish History – 18 August:

In the liturgical calendar, today is the feast day of St Fiacre of Breuil. He was a Catholic priest, abbot, hermit, and gardener of the seventh century who was famous for his sanctity and skill in curing infirmities. He emigrated from his native Ireland to France, where he constructed for himself a hermitage together with […]

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#OTD in 1878 – Birth of Oliver St John Gogarty, writer, and the model for the ‘stately, plump Buck Mulligan’ in Joyce’s “Ulysses”.

Oliver St John Gogarty was a poet, author, otolaryngologist, athlete, politician, and well-known conversationalist. As a Sinn Féiner during the Irish War of Independence, Gogarty participated in a variety of anti-Black and Tan schemes, allowing his home to be used as a safe house and transporting disguised IRA volunteers in his car. Following the ratification […]

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