#OTD in 2009 – Death of Whitbrook Prize winning author, Chrisopher Nolan, aged 44.

Christopher Nolan’s lifelong struggle against cerebral palsy proved himself a man of almost superhuman fortitude and tenacity. With the three acclaimed books he produced, Nolan proved himself a significant Irish literary figure – winning the Whitbread Prize at the age of 21. He could not speak or move, his condition being so severe that moving his eyes was […]

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#OTD in 1882 – Birth of writer and poet, Padraic Ó Conaire, in Galway.

Patrick Joseph Conroy (Pádraic Ó Conaire) was born in Galway City in 1882 to middle-class Catholic publicans. Following the untimely deaths of his parents (his father in 1887 and his mother in 1894), he was reared by extended family members in the Connemara Gaeltacht and Co Clare. He attended Rockwell College, County Tipperary, before transferring […]

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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 1914 – Fethard Lifeboat Disaster: the tragedy saw nine crewmen of the Fethard on Sea ‘Helen Blake’ Lifeboat lose their lives while trying to rescue the crew of the Mexico that had gone aground at the treacherous islands.

The tragedy saw nine crewmen of the Fethard ‘Helen Blake’ Lifeboat lose their lives while trying to rescue the crew of the Mexico that had gone aground at the treacherous islands. One of the Mexico crew – a Portuguese sailor – died of exposure on the Keeragh Islands on 21 February 1914, as relatives of […]

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#OTD in 1921 – The Clonmult Ambush: Twelve IRA volunteers were killed in Clonmult, near Midleton, Co Cork by British soldiers and Auxiliaries after being surrounded in a house.

Irish Republican Army volunteers occupying a farmhouse in Clonmult, Co Cork were surrounded by a force of British Army, Royal Irish Constabulary and Auxiliaries. In the action that followed, twelve IRA volunteers were killed, four wounded and four captured. A total of 22 people died in the ambush and subsequent executions – 14 IRA members, […]

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#OTD in Irish History – 20 February:

1743 – James Gandon, possibly the most influential architect in Irish history is born in London. 1794 – Birth of William Carleton, near Clogher, Co Tyrone. He was one of the most graphic writers about An Gorta Mór. He is best known for his Traits and Stories of the Irish Peasantry. 1871 – Death of […]

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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 Irish History – 19 February:

1366 – Statutes of Kilkenny promulgated. 1887 – Ireland wins its first ever game in international soccer beating Wales 4-1 in Belfast. Prior to 1921 and the partition of the country, Ireland was represented by one national team. 1904 – Birth of writer, Muiris Ó Suilleabhain, on the Great Blasket Island, Co Kerry. Best known […]

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#OTD in 1964 – Death of novelist Maurice Walsh, author of the original story of The Quiet Man, in Blackrock, Co Dublin.

Maurice Walsh was born in Ballydonoghue, near Listowel, Co Kerry, and is best known for the short story The Quiet Man which was later made into an Oscar-winning movie directed by John Ford and starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara. He was one of Ireland’s best-selling authors in the 1930s. John Walsh’s main interests were […]

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