#OTD in 1940 – Birth of Maeve Binchy, an Irish novelist, playwright, short story writer, columnist, and speaker best known for her humorous take on small-town life in Ireland, her descriptive characters, her interest in human nature and her often clever surprise endings.

Her novels, which were translated into 37 languages, sold more than 40 million copies worldwide, and her death, announced by Vincent Browne on Irish television late on 30 July 2012, was mourned as the passing of Ireland’s best-loved and most recognisable writer. In September 2012, a new garden behind the Dalkey Library in Dublin was […]

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#OTD in 1897 – First publication of Dracula, written by Dublin man Abraham ‘Bram’ Stoker.

The well-known theatre manager and part-time writer Bram Stoker released Dracula, a Gothic adventure novel about the exploits of a Transylvanian vampire in England and the attempts by a crew of respectable professional men (and one woman) to destroy the ancient evil. After suffering a number of strokes, Stoker died at No. 26 St George’s […]

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#OTD in 1939 – Birth of musician and composer, John Sheahan, who was a member of the The Dubliners.

John Sheahan was the quiet one in The Dubliners. In that cast of beardy and hairy rogues and rascals, Sheahan stood out by not standing out. Brought in to stand shoulder to shoulder with founder members Luke Kelly, Ronnie Drew, Barney McKenna and Ciarán Bourke, Sheahan’s playing brought a touch of elegant class to that […]

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#OTD in 1961 – Enya (Eithne Ní Bhraonáin) is born in Gweedore, Co Donegal.

Enya began her musical career in 1980, when she briefly joined her family band Clannad before leaving to perform solo. Enya is a four-time Grammy Award-winning singer, an Academy Award-nominated songwriter, and Ireland’s best-selling solo artist (her record sales stand at 80 million as of 2009). As a musical group, Enya is a collaboration between […]

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#OTD in 1995 – Father Ted was broadcast for the first time.

A television programme offers to interview Father Ted Crilly. However Ted goes to extreme lengths to ensure the other members of the clergy on the island don’t interrupt his moment in the spotlight. Meanwhile Craggy Island hosts Fun Land, a fun fair to which Dougal is desperate to go. Ted takes the film crew to […]

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#OTD in 1918 – Birth of comedian, writer and actor, Spike Milligan, in India.

‘All I ask is the chance to prove that money can’t make me happy.’ –Spike Milligan Spike Milligan’s early life was spent in India, where he was born, but the majority of his working life was spent in the United Kingdom. He became an Irish citizen in 1962 after the British government declared him stateless. […]

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#OTD in 1742 – Handel’s Messiah is performed for the first time, conducted by the composer, at Mr. Neale’s Great Music Hall, Fishamble Street, Dublin, before an audience of 700.

George Frideric Handel (who had lived in London for many years) decided to visit Dublin. He also had received an invitation from the British Viceroy of Ireland, the Duke of Devonshire in Dublin.  At the time, Handel apparently was somewhat discontented with recent London reviews and with the treatment of some of his works, as a result […]

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#OTD in 1923 – The Shadow Of A Gunman by Sean O’Casey premiered at the Abbey Theatre.

The Shadow of a Gunman, drama in two acts by Sean O’Casey, performed at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin in 1923 and published in 1925. Originally titled ‘On the Run,’ it was the fifth play O’Casey wrote but the first to be produced. The comic-tragic play is set in the tenement slums of Dublin in […]

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#OTD in 1816 – Birth of painter, Sir Frederick Burton, in Corofin, Co Clare.

Born in Co Clare, Frederic William Burton moved to London as a young man to make his living as a watercolour painter. His painting, ‘The Meeting on the Turret Stairs’ was voted Ireland’s favourite painting in 2012. Painting is on view at the National Gallery of Ireland | Merrion Square West, Dublin 2, Ireland  SaveSave

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