#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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#OTD in 2017 – While on a 16 day State visit to Australia, President Michael D. Higgins visited Fremantle Prison near Perth, Australia, where 62 Irish prisoners were held for their part in the Fenian Rising of 1867.

“Most of the evidence on which the men were convicted related to meetings with me. I felt that I, more than any other man then living, ought to do my utmost for these Fenian soldiers.” —John Devoy, writing about his plan to rescue the Fremantle Six An American whaling ship brought together a crew with […]

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#OTD in 1943 – The US Navy commissions the destroyer The Sullivans.

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 1892 – Death of Patrick Sarsfield Gilmore.

Patrick Sarsfield Gilmore served as a musician and stretcher-bearer in the 24th Massachusetts Infantry during the American Civil War. His incredible post-army musical career includes penning “When Johnny Comes Marching Home”, the tune he took from an old Irish antiwar folk song, “Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye”, that was published under the name Louis Lambert. […]

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