#OTD in 1874 – Irish painter, Frederic Burton, was appointed director of the National Gallery, London, and began an unprecedented programme of art collection.

As Director of the National Gallery, London, Burton bought over 500 works, many of them masterpieces by Botticelli, Canaletto, van Dyck and Leonardo da Vinci, creating possibly the finest art collection in the world. Burton’s painting, ‘Meeting on the Turret Stairs’ was voted by the Irish public as Ireland’s favourite painting in 2012 from among […]

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#OTD in 1942 – Birth of artist and musician, Phil Coulter, in Co Derry.

Coulter’s father, also called Phil, encouraged music in the house. He played the fiddle whilst his wife played the upright piano. The younger Coulter recalls this piano, made by Challen, as ‘the most important piece of furniture in the house’. ‘I always stayed away from the fiddle, having inflicted enough pain on my family with […]

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#OTD in 2011 – Renowned rock guitarist Gary Moore dies in a hotel room while on holiday in Spain.

Blues guitarist, Gary Moore was born in Belfast and was a guitar prodigy who was mentored in his teens by Peter Green of Fleetwood Mac. Green gave Moore his 1959 Les Paul Standard guitar after he left Fleetwood Mac. Moore’s first band was Skid Row which featured a young Phil Lynott. Moore went on to […]

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#OTD in 1984 – Death of Luke Kelly, lead vocalist and 5-string banjo member of the Dubliners.

Luke Kelly was a singer and folk musician from Dublin, most famous as a member of the band ‘The Dubliners’. Indeed, while Luke often sang of the poor, the oppressed, the worker, the lover or the rebel –the realities of his own life and upbringing enlivened and gave weight to his songs and the emotional […]

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#OTD in 1955 – Birth of singer/songwriter, Liam Reilly, in Dundalk, Co Louth.

Liam Reilly was an Irish singer/songwriter and a member of the popular Irish rock band Bagatelle. After receiving an offer from Gus Dudgeon (Elton John’s producer, now deceased) Reilly began a solo career. It didn’t gain much popularity but he wrote some of Bagatelle’s most popular songs during this time such as ‘Somewhere In Europe’. Reilly […]

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#OTD in 1907 – J. M. Synge’s Playboy of the Western World is performed for the first time at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin.

John Millington Synge’s ‘Playboy of the Western World’ opens at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin to riots, literally! What happened is best described by two telegrams Yeats (a founder of the Abbey) received while he was in Aberdeen from a fellow Abbey supporter Lady Gregory. Telegram one read “Play a great success.” Two acts later, she […]

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‘The Plantation of Ulster’ © Aine Kelly 2016. All Rights Reserved.

‘The Plantation of Ulster’ © Aine Kelly 2016. All Rights Reserved. We stood and watched the ships as they sailed into the bay, little realising that they’d come to enslave us and take our homes and lands away. I held my newborn baby tight, and stood in defiance of that fearsome sight, little knowing that […]

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#OTD in 1972 – Death of Longford poet and playwright, Padraic Colum. He was one of the leading figures of the Irish Literary Revival.

Padraic Colum was an Irish poet, novelist, dramatist, biographer and collector of folklore. He was one of the leading figures of the Celtic Revival. Colum wrote and met a number of the leading Irish writers of the time, including W. B. Yeats, Lady Gregory and Æ. He also joined the Gaelic League and was a […]

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#OTD in 1957 – Birth of musician and singer, Shane MacGowan.

Shane MacGowan was born in Pembury, Kent, to Irish parents. MacGowan spent his early childhood in Tipperary before his family moved back to England when he was six and a half. He lived in many parts of the south-east, including Brighton and London. Drawn to the punk music scene, he formed the folk-punk band the […]

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