#OTD in Irish History – 17 November:

1814 – Joseph Finegan, a Confederate general in the American Civil War, is born in Clones, Co Monaghan. 1852 – Sligo-born Brigadier Michael Corcoran’s Irish Legion is mustered into the Federal service; it is involved in the defense of Washington D.C. 1869 – For nearly 150 years, the Suez Canal has played a vital role […]

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#OTD in 1944 – Birth of entertainer and folk musician, Jim McCann.

As a young man, McCann attended University College Dublin as a student of medicine, but became interested in folk music during a summer holiday in Birmingham in 1964. He began to perform in folk clubs in the area, and, upon his return to Dublin, he joined a group called the Ludlow Trio in 1965. In […]

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‘The Ballad of Bella Brooks’ © Joe Canning 2019. All Rights Reserved.

[Local history | ‘The Ballad of Bella Brooks’ | Purportedly murdered in 1876 and found drowned in the Finn near Castlefin, Co Donegal | No one was convicted of the crime tho’ rumours abounded at the time] Joe Canning ‘ A look at Ireland in verse’ ‘The Ballad of Bella Brooks’© Joe Canning 2019. All […]

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#OTD in 1607 – The Earls of Tyrone and Tyrconnell, along with a close circle of family and associates, boarded a ship at Rathmullan on Lough Swilly, bound for Spain.

This event has become known as ‘The Flight of the Earls’ and is widely regarded as one of the most enigmatic events in Irish history, virtually defying explanation. A French ship sailed from the northern harbour of Rathmullan in Lough Swilly. On board were Hugh O’Neill, Earl of Tyrone, and Rory O’Donnell, Earl of Tyrconnell, […]

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#OTD in 1949 – Birth of Thin Lizzy lead singer, Phil Lynott.

Image | When asked by a journalist what it felt like to be black and Irish, Phil quipped, “Kinda like a pint of Guinness”. Irish rock star, bassist, singer and founder of Thin Lizzy, Phil Lynott is born in England to single mom Philomena Lynott. At about age four, Lynott moved to Dublin to live with […]

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#OTD in 1823 – Birth of Irish nationalist and American politician, Thomas Francis Meagher, in Waterford.

‘I am here to regret nothing I have already done, to retract nothing I have already said. The history of Ireland explains this crime, and justifies it.’ –Thomas Francis Meager Born the son of Waterford’s mayor, one of the few wealthy Catholic businessmen in town in 1823; Meagher benefited from a quality education (partly in […]

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#OTD in 2007 – Death of Tommy Makem, an internationally celebrated Irish folk musician, artist, poet and storyteller.

He was best known as a member of The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem. He played the long-necked 5-string banjo, tin whistle, low whistle, guitar, bodhrán and bagpipes, and sang in a distinctive baritone. He was sometimes known as “The Bard of Armagh” (taken from a traditional song of the same name) and “The Godfather […]

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#OTD in 1608 – Preparations commence for the plantation of six Ulster counties (Armagh, Cavan, Coleraine, Donegal, Fermanagh and Tyrone).

The Plantation of Ulster was presented to James I as a joint “British”, or English and Scottish, venture to ‘pacify’ and ‘civilise’ Ulster, with at least half the settlers to be Scots. James had been King of Scots before he also became King of England and needed to reward his subjects in Scotland with land […]

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‘Auntie Lizzie’s Bucket’ © Joe Canning 2019. All Rights Reserved.

Auntie Lizzie’s bucket sat on Auntie Lizzie’s table,On a tablecloth of painted garden flowers.Auntie Lizzie’s bucket had a wire handle on it,Connected to the bucket’s upright ears.Semi circled like a rainbow it reached from end to end,With a little wooden handle on the top,Auntie Lizzie’s bucket cost my uncle two and sixpence,When he bought it […]

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#OTD in 2014 – Author and activist, Gerry Conlon dies of cancer, aged 60.

“I have been in prison for something I did not do. I am totally innocent. The Maguire Seven are innocent. Let’s hope the Birmingham Six are freed.” Gerry Conlon, was one of the so-called Guildford Four, convicted on fabricated evidence of the Guildford pub bombings in 1974 which killed five people and injured dozens more; […]

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