#OTD in 1867 – Eoin MacNeill, Gaelic scholar and co-founder of the Gaelic League, is born in Glenarm, Co Antrim.

Born in Co Antrim to middle-class Catholic parents, he was educated at St Malachy’s College, Belfast and became law clerk. In 1893, together with Douglas Hyde and others he founded the Gaelic League, an organisation devoted to the preservation of the Irish language, literature, and traditional culture. A brilliant historian and linguist, he was the […]

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#OTD in 1916 – Irish Patriots, Seán MacDiarmada and James Connolly are executed at Kilmainham Gaol.

The last executions of 1916 rebels are carried out. Ninety rebels were condemned to death. All but 15 were commuted to lengthy prison terms (most of whom were released in 1917). The executions were a watershed in Irish attitude to English rule. The vast majority of the Irish population begrudgingly accepted English rule and believed […]

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#OTD in Irish History – 12 May:

563 – St Columcille establishes a community on Iona. 1641 – Thomas Wentworth, English viceroy of Ireland and Earl of Stafford is beheaded. From 1632–39 he was Lord Deputy of Ireland, where he established a strong authoritarian rule. Recalled to England, he became a leading advisor to the king, attempting to strengthen the royal position […]

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#OTD in 1916 – During the House of Commons debate on the Irish crises, John Dillon urges the cessation of executions.

‘This series of executions is doing more harm than any Englishman in this House can possibly fathom.’ [Dillon makes mention of the shooting of Mr Sheehy-Skeffington.] ‘Horrible rumours which are current in Dublin, and which are doing untold and indescribable mischief, maddening the population of Dublin, who were your friends and loyal allies against this […]

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#OTD in Irish History – 11 May:

1745 – At the Battle of Fontenoy, near Tourney in modern Belgium, the Irish Brigade of the French army under Lieutenant Charles O’Brien repulses the British and wins the day. 1788 – Presbyterian minister, Henry Cooke, is born at Grillagh, near Maghera, Co Derry. Cooke is famous for leading Ulster Presbyterianism away from the free-thinking […]

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#OTD in Irish History – 10 May:

1318 – Richard de Clare, Lord of Thomond, a descendant of Strongbow, is killed while commanding his forces at the Battle of Dysert O’Dea. According to legend, the day before his death, Richard de Clare beheld a woman dressed in white on the river’s edge washing bloody clothing and armour. When he asked whose clothes […]

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#OTD in 1916 – James Connolly’s wife and daughter visit him in the Red Cross hospital in Dublin Castle where he lies seriously wounded.

James Connolly’s daughter, Nora, wrote later in ‘Portrait of a Rebel Father’: “On Tuesday I went with mother. There were soldiers on guard at the top of the stairs and in the small alcove leading to Papa’s room. They were fully armed and as they stood guard they had their bayonets fixed. In the room […]

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#OTD in 1916 – Irish Patriot, Thomas Kent, is executed at Cork Detention Barracks.

Born into a prominent nationalist family from Castlelyons, Co Cork in 1865, Kent stayed at home after the Eoin MacNeill’s countermand. After the insurrection went ahead on Easter Monday, the Kent home was raided on 2 May 1916 by the Royal Irish Constabulary, who began rounding up nationalists around the country, who were met with […]

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#OTD in Irish History – 9 May:

1423 – Edmund Mortimer, 8th earl of Ulster, earl of March, the greatest Irish landowner and heir presumptive to the throne of England, is appointed lieutenant for nine years. 1650 – The Battle of Clonmel begins with the first of two assaults. Cromwell’s forces are beaten back on this date by Black Hugh O’Neill. Eventually, […]

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