#OTD in 1861 – The Irish Brigade fights at the First Battle of Bull Run under General Michael Corcoran from Co Sligo.

General Michael Corcoran led the 69th New York Militia, Irish Brigade, into action at the First Battle of Bull Run and was taken prisoner. Corcoran was one of the founders of the Fenian Brotherhood in America. While in jail, Corcoran wrote, “One half of my heart is Erin’s, and the other half is America’s. God […]

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#OTD in 1972 – Muhammad Ali fights Al “Blue” Lewis in Dublin and defeats him via a TKO (technical knockout) in round 11.

“Don’t count the days, make the days count.” –Muhammad Ali Twenty-four hours after arriving in Dublin, Muhammad Ali rang his publicist Harold Conrad. “Hey, Hal?” said Ali, “where are all the black people in this country?” “Ali,” replied Conrad, “there aren’t any.” On 19 July 1972, it took Muhammad Ali 11 rounds to defeat Al […]

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#OTD in 1863 – American Civil War: Thomas Francis Meagher on Battle of Chancellorsville.

Report of Brig. Gen. Thomas Francis Meagher, U. S. Army, commanding Second Brigade APRIL 27-MAY 6, 1863 –– The Chancellorsville Campaign BANKS’ FORD, NEAR FALMOUTH, VA. April 28, 1863––1.30 p.m. Maj. JOHN HANCOCK, Assistant Adjutant-General, Hancock’s Division. MAJOR: I have the honour to inform the major-general commanding the division that, in accordance with instructions received […]

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#OTD in 1861 – The American Civil War began; 150,000 Irishmen would serve with the Union forces, and 40,000 with the Confederacy.

The American Civil War began, a war that would not only pit American against American but also Irish against Irish. An estimated 150,000 Irish fought on the Union side while about 40,000 fought for the confederacy. While the majority fought with the Union, many Irish had a strong antipathy to a northern culture which they […]

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#OTD in 1947 – Death of Henry Ford, automobile production pioneer and son of Irish immigrants.

“When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.” –Henry Ford Henry Ford’s father, William Ford, was born in Co Cork and was one of many to emigrate from Ireland due to poverty and hunger (An Gorta Mór). Ford visited Ireland in 1912, 65 […]

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#OTD in 1916 – Birth of actor, Gregory Peck, in La Jolla, California.

Gregory Peck was born in La Jolla, California. One of the world’s most popular film stars from the 1940s to the 1960s, Peck continued to play major film roles until the late 1970s. Catherine Ashe, the paternal grandmother of Gregory Peck, who emigrated to the United States in the 19th century was a relative of […]

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#OTD in 1881 – Birth of Martin John Sheridan. He was ‘one of the greatest athletes [the United States] has ever known’ according to his obituary in the New York Times.

Martin John Sheridan was ‘one of the greatest athletes the United States has ever known’ according to his obituary in the New York Times. He was born in Bohola, Co Mayo, and died in St Vincent’s Hospital in Manhattan, New York, the day before his 37th birthday, a very early casualty of the 1918 flu […]

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#OTD in 1915 – Typhoid Mary, the first healthy carrier of the disease ever identified in the United States, is put in quarantine, where she would remain for the rest of her life.

Mary Mallon was born in 1869 in Cookstown, Co Tyrone. She emigrated from Ireland to the United States in 1884. An Irish immigrant cook, Mallon became the focus of one of the best-known episodes in the history of communicable disease when U.S. health officials identified her as a healthy carrier of the organism causing typhoid […]

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#OTD in 1876 – The Molly Maguires: The murder trial of Edward Kelly, a member of the militant Irish labour group The Molly Maguires, began in Pennsylvania.

In total, twenty members of the group were found guilty of murder and executed. While the Molly’s were responsible for a large number of violent incidents, a number of those executed were likely innocent. The Dubliners were responsible for reminding us of this group with a stirring rendition of The Molly Maguires a song composed […]

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#OTD in 1847 – Choctaw Indians collect money to donate to starving Irish Hunger victims.

Moved by news of starvation in Ireland, a group of Choctaws gathered in Scullyville, Ok, to raise a relief fund. Despite their meager resources, they collected $170 and forwarded it to a U.S. famine relief organisation. The Choctaw Indians may have seen echoes of their own fate in that of the Irish. Just 16 years […]

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