#OTD in 1964 – Death of Brendan Behan, an Irish poet, short story writer, novelist, and playwright who wrote in both Irish and English.

He was also a committed Irish Republican and a volunteer in the Irish Republican Army. He died in Meath hospital after reportedly telling a nun looking after him: ‘Ah, bless you, Sister, may all your sons be bishops’. Brendan Behan was born in Dublin into a republican family, and became a member of the IRA’s youth […]

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#OTD in 1824 – Birth of poet, William Allingham, in Ballyshannon, Co Donegal.

William Allingham was a poet, diarist and editor. He wrote several volumes of lyric verse, and his poem ‘The Faeries’ was much anthologised; but he is better known for his posthumously published Diary, in which he records his lively encounters with Tennyson, Carlyle and other writers and artists. His wife, Helen Allingham, was a well-known watercolourist and […]

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‘The Dear Little Shamrock of Ireland’by John William Cherry

‘The Dear Little Shamrock of Ireland’ by John William Cherry There’s a dear little plant that grows on our isle. ‘Twas St. Patrick himself that sure set it; and the sun on his labour with pleasure did smile, and with dew from his eye often wet it. It shines thro’ the bog. Thro’ the brake […]

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#OTD in 2015 – Death of entertainer and folk musician, Jim McCann.

Jim McCann was an entertainer and folk musician. Although a solo artist for most of his career, McCann was a member of the folk group the Dubliners from 1974 until 1979. He rejoined the group in 2002 for their 40th anniversary album and last performed with them in 2012. It was on ‘The McCann Man’ […]

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#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 is 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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