#OTD in 1945 – In a radio broadcast, Churchill accuses De Valera’s government of frolicking with the Germans and Japanese.

In his Victory in Europe speech, Winston Churchill slams Éamon de Valera and his war-time policy. (To add fuel to an already bitter relationship, de Valera had not distinguished himself or Ireland’s reputation when he offered condolences to Germany on the death of Hitler.) “(By the dawn of 1941), The sense of envelopment, which might […]

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#OTD in 1916 – Ernest Shackleton and five men of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition launch a lifeboat from uninhabited Elephant Island in the Southern Ocean to organise a rescue for the ice-trapped ship Endurance.

The voyage of the ‘James Caird’ was an open boat journey from Elephant Island in Antarctica to South Georgia in the southern Atlantic Ocean, a distance of approximately 830 nautical miles (1,500 km; 920 mi). Undertaken by Sir Ernest Shackleton and five companions, their objective was to obtain rescue for the main body of the […]

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#OTD in 1969 – Bernadette Devlin, a newly elected MP, made a controversial maiden speech in the House of Commons.

I understand that in making my maiden speech on the day of my arrival in Parliament and in making it on a controversial issue I flaunt the unwritten traditions of the House, but I think that the situation of my people merits the flaunting of such traditions. I remind the hon. Member for Londonderry (Mr. […]

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#OTD in 1941 – 15/16: In the Belfast Blitz, two-hundred bombers of the German Luftwaffe attacked Belfast, killing one thousand people.

Belfast was poorly prepared for the blitz compared with cities in Britain, few children had been evacuated, air raid shelters were sparse and defensive arrangements weak. Yet the Harland and Wolff ship building yards and Northern Ireland’s strategic role in the battle of the Atlantic made it a likely target. When German bombers struck on […]

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#OTD in 1613 – A charter incorporates Derry as the city of ‘Londonderry’ and creates the new county of ‘Londonderry’.

Despite the official name, the city is more usually known as simply Derry, which is an anglicisation of the old Irish Daire, which in modern Irish is spelt Doire, and translates as ‘oak-grove/oak-wood’. The name derives from the settlement’s earliest references, Daire Calgaich (‘oak-grove of Calgach’). The name was changed from Derry in 1613 during […]

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#OTD in 1650 – Kilkenny surrendered to Oliver Cromwell.

The success of Oliver Cromwell’s Irish campaign during the autumn of 1649 caused further divisions in the Marquis of Ormond’s Royalist-Confederate coalition. With the defeat of British and Scottish forces in Ulster and the defection of most of Lord Inchiquin’s Protestant troops to the Parliamentarians, Ormond was obliged to rely increasingly upon Catholic support. Early […]

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#OTD in 1872 – Birth of Irish patriot, Mary MacSwiney (Maire Nic Shuibhne), in London.

Mary MacSwiney (Máire Nic Suibhne) was born in London to an Irish father and English mother. The family returned to Cork when she was six and she was educated at St. Angela’s Ursuline convent school. She obtained a teaching diploma at Cambridge University and taught at schools in England before returning to Cork on the […]

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#OTD in 1981 – Day 17: Final Entry | Bobby Sands recorded his diary for the first seventeen days of his hunger strike in which he detailed his thoughts and feelings on the momentous task that lay ahead of him.

Lá Pádraig inniú ‘s mar is gnách níor thárla aon rud suntasach, bhí mé ar aifreann agus mo chuid gruaige gearrtha agam níos gaire, agus é i bhfad níos fearr freisin. Sagart nach raibh ar mo aithne abhí ag rá ran aifreann. Bhí na giollaí ag tabhairt an bhia amach do chách abhí ag teacht […]

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#OTD in 1981 – Day 16 | Bobby Sands recorded his diary for the first seventeen days of his hunger strike in which he detailed his thoughts and feelings on the momentous task that lay ahead of him.

I had a wonderful visit today with my mother, father and Marcella. Wonderful, considering the circumstances and the strain which indeed they are surely under. As I expected, I received a lot of verbal flak from Screws going and coming from the actual visit. Their warped sense of humour was evident in their childish taunts, […]

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#OTD in 1981 – Day 15 | Bobby Sands recorded his diary for the first seventeen days of his hunger strike in which he detailed his thoughts and feelings on the momentous task that lay ahead of him.

Frank has now joined me on the hunger-strike. I saw the boys at Mass today which I enjoyed. Fr Toner said Mass. Again it was a pretty boring day. I had a bit of trouble to get slopped out tonight and to get water. I have a visit tomorrow and it will be good to […]

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