#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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#OTD in 1939 – Bernard Noël ‘Banjo Barney’ McKenna of the Dubliners is born.

Barney McKenna was the last surviving founding member of the Irish folk group the Dubliners. While Ronnie Drew’s gravelly voice gave the band its memorable vocal sound, it was McKenna’s playing of the tenor banjo, coupled with John Sheahan’s fiddle, that gave the Dubliners their original instrumental quality. In the process, McKenna redefined the role […]

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‘A Childhood Christmas’ by Patrick Kavanagh

One side of the potato‑pits was white with frost— How wonderful that was, how wonderful! And when we put our ears to the paling‑post The music that came out was magical. The light between the ricks of hay and straw Was a hole in Heaven’s gable. An apple tree With its December‑glinting fruit we saw […]

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‘My Fair Irish Maid’ by Michael Walsh

‘My Fair Irish Maid’ by Michael Walsh Ma Vourneen is language of, A sweet land called Desire, From glens of Donegal to Cork, She sets the heart on fire, There’s beauty in a colleen Blue eyes and auburn hair, Or hair in flame, or Saxon blonde, Much more than heart can bear. There’s a beauty […]

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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 1944 – Birth of Ralph McTell in England. Best known for his song ‘Streets of London’, which has been covered by over two hundred artists around the world, and for his tale of Irish emigration, ‘From Clare to Here’.

One of the great storytellers, Ralph McTell, known for his virtuoso guitar style, is primarily a prolific and gifted songwriter. With a style that invites you into a unique world, he weaves a narrative that is both significant and poignant. Ralph made his debut in 1968 with the album ‘Eight Frames a Second’ and in […]

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History of Irish Dance

The history of Irish dance started when the Celts arrived in Ireland from central Europe over 2,000 years ago. They brought with them their individual styles of dances and music. There are vague references to the early history of Irish dancing but evidence shows that its first participants were the Gaels. They danced in religious […]

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