#OTD in 1932 – Death of Augusta Persse, better known as Lady Augusta Gregory, Irish dramatist, folklorist and theatre director; also a co-founder of the Abbey Theatre.

Lady Gregory was an Irish dramatist, folklorist and theatre director; also a co-founder of the Abbey Theatre. George Bernard Shaw once described Lady Augusta Gregory as “the greatest living Irishwoman”. Lady Gregory, also known as Isabella Augusta, was born on 15 March 1852, in Roxborough, Co Galway. She married Sir William Henry Gregory in 1880. […]

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Kathleen Ní Houlihan – Ireland Personified and Irish Nationalism

Kathleen Ni Houlihan (Caitlín Ní Uallacháin, literally, “Kathleen, daughter of Houlihan”) is a mythical symbol and emblem of Irish nationalism found in literature and art, sometimes representing Ireland as a personified woman. The figure of Kathleen Ni Houlihan has also been invoked in nationalist Irish politics. Kathleen Ni Houlihan is sometimes spelled as Cathleen Ni […]

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#OTD in 1953 – Irish revolutionary, feminist and actress, Maude Gonne MacBride died in Roebuck, Clonskeagh, and was later buried in Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin.

“More and more I realised that Ireland could rely only on force, in some form or another, to free herself.” –Maud Gonne MacBride The daughter of an Irish army officer and his English wife, Maud Gonne converted to republicanism by an eviction she saw during the 1880s, and became a speaker for the Land League. […]

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#OTD in 1871 – Birth of poet and playwright, John Millington Synge, in Dublin.

Birth of Irish playwright, poet and author John Millington Synge in Rathfarnham, Co Dublin. Synge was one of the leading lights of what was known as the Irish Literary Revival and along with William Butler Yeats and Lady Gregory, founding members of the Abbey Theatre. His most famous work is The Playboy of the Western […]

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#OTD in 1923 – The Shadow Of A Gunman by Sean O’Casey premiered at the Abbey Theatre.

The Shadow of a Gunman, drama in two acts by Sean O’Casey, performed at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin in 1923 and published in 1925. Originally titled ‘On the Run,’ it was the fifth play O’Casey wrote but the first to be produced. The comic-tragic play is set in the tenement slums of Dublin in […]

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#OTD in 1926 – Rioting greets the Abbey Theatre performance of Sean O’Casey’s The Plough and the Stars because of what is viewed as anti-Irish sentiment.

When Seán O’Casey took his seat for the fourth night of his new drama The Plough and the Stars he dryly noted that two plays were actually taking place: ‘One on the stage and one in the auditorium.’ The Plough and the Stars was first performed at the Abbey Theatre in 1926, less than ten […]

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#OTD in 1878 – Thomas MacDonagh, patriot, poet, critic and scholar, is born in Cloughjordan, Co Tipperary.

‘Lament for Thomas MacDonagh’ (Francis Ledwidge) ‘He shall not hear the bittern cry In the wild sky where he is lain, Nor voices of the sweeter birds Above the wailing of the rain… But when the Dark Cow leaves the moor And pastures poor with greedy weeds, Perhaps he’ll hear her low at morn, Lifting […]

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#OTD in 1967 – Helena Molony, republican and trade unionist, dies in Dublin.

‘I was a young girl dreaming about Ireland when I saw and heard Maud Gonne speaking by the Custom House in Dublin one August evening in 1903… She electrified me and filled me with some of her own spirit.’ –Helena Molony Helena Molony was a prominent Irish republican, feminist and labour activist. She fought in […]

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#OTD in 1907 – J. M. Synge’s Playboy of the Western World is performed for the first time at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin.

John Millington Synge’s ‘Playboy of the Western World’ opens at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin to riots, literally! What happened is best described by two telegrams Yeats (a founder of the Abbey) received while he was in Aberdeen from a fellow Abbey supporter Lady Gregory. Telegram one read “Play a great success.” Two acts later, she […]

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#OTD in 1961 – Death of stage, film and television actor, Barry Fitzgerald.

Barry Fitzgerald was born William Joseph Shields in Walworth Road, Portobello, Dublin. He was the older brother of actor, Arthur Shields. As a child he played with the younger siblings of James Joyce who he called ‘a young man with a beard and very clever.’ He went to Skerry’s College, Dublin, before going on to […]

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