#OTD in 1845 – Frederick Douglass delivers a speech in Belfast: ‘The Cambria Riot, My Slave Experience, and My Irish Mission’.

In 1845, as Ireland was descending into the despair of the Great Hunger, Frederick Douglass arrived for a four-month lecture tour of the island. Douglass had escaped slavery in Maryland seven years earlier, and had recently published his autobiography Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave. Douglass was greeted in Dublin, Belfast, […]

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#OTD in 2009 – Death of actor and folk singer, Liam Clancy, from Carrick-on-Suir, Co Tipperary.

‘The best ballad singer I ever heard in my life’ was Bob Dylan’s verdict on Liam Clancy, who died at age 74 on this date. He was the last remaining member of the best-known of all Irish folk groups, the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem, who made an impression that was strong enough for them […]

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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 1942 – Five Sullivan brothers from Iowa die when their ship the light cruiser SS Juneau is torpedoed by a Japanese submarine.

The Sullivan brothers were raised in an Irish-Catholic family, the brothers great-grandfather had emigrated from Ireland. Early on the morning of 13 November, during the naval Battle of Guadalcanal, the SS Juneau was torpedoed and badly damaged. Late that morning, while south of San Cristobal Island withdrawing with other survivors of the 13 November action, […]

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#OTD in 1954 – Ellis Island closes.

Ellis Island, the gateway to America, shuts it doors after processing more than 12 million immigrants since opening in 1892. Today, an estimated 40 percent of all Americans can trace their roots through Ellis Island, located in New York Harbour off the New Jersey coast and named for merchant Samuel Ellis, who owned the land […]

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#OTD in 1998 – Paddy Clancy, Irish folk musician dies.

Paddy Clancy, was an Irish folk singer best known as a member of the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem. In addition to singing and storytelling, Clancy played the harmonica with the group, which is widely credited with popularising Irish traditional music in the United States and revitalising it in Ireland. He also started and ran […]

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#OTD in 1938 – Death of Mary Mallon, also known as Typhoid Mary.

Mary Mallon was born in 1869 in Cookstown, Co Tyrone. She emigrated from Ireland to the United States in 1884. 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 fever. Mallon, who refused […]

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The Fenian Brotherhood

The Fenian Brotherhood, the Irish Republican Brotherhood’s US branch, was founded by John O’Mahony and Michael Doheny, both of whom had been “out” (participating in the Young Irelander’s rising) in 1848. Members were commonly known as “Fenians”. O’Mahony, who was a Celtic scholar, named his organisation after the Fianna, the legendary band of Irish warriors […]

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#OTD in 1982 – Five men charged with conspiring to smuggle arms to the IRA in 1981 were acquitted in Federal Court in Brooklyn, NY.

Five men charged with conspiring to export arms to the Irish Republican Army were acquitted in Federal Court in Brooklyn, NY, apparently because a jury believed defence contentions that the Central Intelligence Agency had sanctioned their gun-running operation. No evidence directly linking the CIA to the operation was offered at the seven-week trial, and denials […]

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#OTD in 1862 – At the Battle of Perryville, Kentucky, “Little Phil” Sheridan is one of the key officers leading Union soldiers against the Confederate forces of Braxton Bragg.

Phil Sheridan’s parents John and Mary Meenagh Sheridan had emigrated from Co Cavan. Sheridan’s diminutive stature of five feet five inches earned him the nickname “Little Phil”. In his memoirs, Sheridan writes: “My parents, John and Mary Sheridan, came to America in 1830, having been induced by the representations of my father’s uncle, Thomas Gainor, […]

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