#OTD in 1878 – Death of Fenian General John O’Neill.

O’Neill is best known for his activities leading the Fenian raids on Canada in 1866 and 1871.   He was born in Drumgallon, Clontibrit, Co Monaghan, where he received some schooling. He emigrated to New Jersey in 1848 at the height of An Gorta Mór. He received an additional year of education there and worked […]

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#OTD in 1820 – Birth of Thomas Sweeny in Co Cork. He was a soldier who served in the Mexican-American War and then was a general in the Union Army during the American Civil War.

Thomas William Sweeny was born in Co Cork on 25 December 1820. He immigrated to the United States in 1833. In 1846, he enlisted as a second lieutenant in the 2nd New York Volunteers and fought under General Winfield Scott in Mexico. Sweeny was wounded in the groin at the Battle of Cerro Gordo, and […]

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Christmas with the Irish Brigade

‘Near one of the huge fires a kind of arbour was nicely constructed of the branches of trees, which were so interwoven on one another as to form a kind of wall. Inside this, some were seated on logs, some reclining in true Turkish style. Seated near the fire was Johnny Flaherty, discoursing sweet music […]

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#OTD in Irish History – 13 December:

In the Julian calendar before the Gregorian reform, this was the shortest day and longest night, and widely celebrated as such. 1779 – The demand for the removal of restrictions on Irish free trade through out the colonies is satisfied on this day. After boycotting British goods and parading on College Green, Dublin in November, […]

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#OTD in 1892 – Death of Patrick Sarsfield Gilmore.

Patrick Sarsfield Gilmore served as a musician and stretcher-bearer in the 24th Massachusetts Infantry during the American Civil War. His incredible post-army musical career includes penning “When Johnny Comes Marching Home”, the tune he took from an old Irish antiwar folk song, “Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye”, that was published under the name Louis Lambert. […]

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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 1814 – Birth of Sister Anthony (born Mary Ellen O’Connell) in Limerick.

A Sister of Charity of Cincinnati, she served with distinction as a nurse on the front lines of the American Civil War. Her work with the wounded and in health care in general caused her to be known as “Angel of the Battlefield” and “Florence Nightingale of America.” Her portrait hangs in the Smithsonian Institution […]

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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 1872 – John Mitchel returns to Ireland from America.

John Mitchel was born at Camnish, near Dungiven, Co Derry. The Irish nationalist, writer for The Nation and founder of The United Irishman newspaper openly preached rebellion against England. Convicted of treason in 1848, Mitchel was sentenced to fourteen years’ transportation in Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania). In 1853, he escaped to America, where he published […]

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