#OTD in 1895 – Oscar Wilde was arrested, in the Cadogan Hotel, London, after losing a libel case against John Sholto Douglas (9th Marquess of Queensberry), who had called Wilde a homosexual.

Oscar Wilde was an Irish playwright, novelist, essayist, and poet born in Dublin. At the height of his fame and success, while his masterpiece, The Importance of Being Earnest, was still on stage in London, Wilde had the Marquess of Queensberry prosecuted for libel. Married to Constance Lloyd and father of two children Cyril and […]

Read More

#OTD in 2012 – Death of Bernard Noël “Banjo Barney” McKenna.

Barney McKenna was the last surviving founding member of the Irish folk group the Dubliners. With Luke Kelly’s powerful voice and force of nature on stage, Ronnie Drew’s gravelly 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 […]

Read More

#OTD in 1902 – Premiere of W.B. Yeats’ Cathleen ni Houlihan starring Maud Gonne. The play is about the failed rebellion of 1798, with a woman representing the ideal of an independent Irish republic.

Cathleen ni Houlihan is a one-act play written by William Butler Yeats and Lady Gregory in 1902. It was first performed on 2 April of that year and first published in October on Samhain. The play centers on the 1798 Rebellion. The play is startlingly nationalistic, in its last pages encouraging young men to sacrifice their […]

Read More

#OTD in 1955 – Birth of actor, Brendan Gleeson, in Dublin.

“I tend to look for the good in bad people and the bad in good people, to make them human. ‘Cause I don’t think that people generally are that black and white. Maybe in movie-land they can be… but that isn’t necessarily all there is.” –Brendan Gleeson Gleeson is the recipient of three IFTA Awards, […]

Read More

#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 […]

Read More

#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 […]

Read More

‘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 […]

Read More

#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 […]

Read More

#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 […]

Read More

#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 […]

Read More