#OTD in 1964 – Death of dramatist and memoirist, Sean O’Casey, in England. A committed socialist, he was the first Irish playwright of note to write about the Dublin working classes.

Born John Casey, in Dublin, O’Casey had a strong interest in the Irish nationalist cause. He joined the Gaelic League in 1906 and learned the Irish language. At this time, he Gaelicised his name from John Casey to Seán Ó Cathasaigh. He also learned to play the Uilleann pipes and was a founder and secretary […]

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#OTD in 1851 – Death of Anne Devlin, in The Liberties, Dublin.

Born in Rathdrum, Co Wicklow. Her cousins, Michael Dwyer and Arthur Devlin, took part in the 1798 Rebellion. After the acquittal and release from Wicklow Gaol of her father in 1800, her family moved to Rathfarnham, Co Dublin, where she met Robert Emmet who was leasing a house in nearby Butterfield Lane from where he […]

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#OTD in 1889 – Kathleen Behan, née Kearney, ‘Mother of All the Behans’ and folk singer is born in Dublin.

“What I have, I hold.” –Kathleen Behan History has cast Kathleen Behan in supporting roles, reducing her to the “sister of” or “mother of” someone important. But she deserves so much more – Kathleen was a political powerhouse, raconteur, and gifted singer who, in the course of her long and often tragic life, managed to […]

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#OTD in 1867 – The Escape that Sparked the Manchester Martyrs: Thomas Kelly and Timothy Deasy are rescued in a Fenian attack on a police van in Manchester during which a police sergeant is shot dead.

The Manchester Martyrs – William Philip Allen, Michael Larkin, and Michael O’Brien – were members of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, an organisation dedicated to ending British rule in Ireland. They were executed for the murder of a police officer in Manchester, England, in 1867, during an incident that became known as the Manchester Outrages. The […]

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#OTD in Irish History – 18 September:

1830 – Sir Frederick Matthew Darley is born in Co Wicklow to an eminent Irish legal family. He was called to the Bar at the King’s Inn in 1853. Although he had a relatively successful career, he opted to emigrate to Australia in 1862 where he would go on to become the sixth Chief Justice […]

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#OTD in 1903 – Frank O’Connor, (pseudonym of Michael O’Donovan), short-story writer and author of poetic translations from Irish is born in Cork.

Frank O’Connor’s memoir ‘An Only Child’ is an evocative work detailing his upbringing in poverty in his native Cork. He fought in the Irish War of Independence and supported the Anti-Treaty side in 1922 for which he was interned for a period of time. O’Connor served as a director of the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, in […]

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#OTD in 1862 – The Irish Brigade suffered over 60% casualties at the Battle of Antietam at an area that came to be known as Bloody Lane.

At the Battle of Antietam, the Irish Brigade led its division in attacking the infamous Bloody Lane. In preparation for the deadly work ahead, Father William Corby, one of the brigade’s chaplains and future president of Notre Dame, rode down the firing line and administered a general rite of absolution to the men. Thomas Meagher […]

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#OTD in Irish History – 17 September:

1711 – John Holwell, surgeon and survivor of ‘Black Hole of Calcutta’ is born in Dublin. 1798 – 3,000 French troops depart for Ireland from Brest. 1862 – The Irish Brigade suffered over 60% casualties at the Battle of Antietam at an area that came to be known as Bloody Lane. Over 500 Irish Brigade […]

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#OTD in 1961 – Hurricane Debbie hits Ireland.

As early as 13 September, residents were made aware that a storm might strike parts of Ireland with hurricane-force winds. Two days later, forecasters believed the storm would take a more southerly course towards France. This forecast was later withdrawn as the storm failed to turn eastward. Consequently, gale warnings were issued for much of […]

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