#OTD in 1844 – Birth of poet and novelist, John Boyle O’Reilly, in Co Meath.

Poet, writer and nationalist John Boyle O’Reilly was born in Dowth Castle, Co Meath, near Drogheda. For his part in the IRB and Fenian conspiracy, O’Reilly was sentenced to twenty years’ penal servitude. He served nearly two years in English prisons before being put aboard the convict ship Hougoumont, and transported to Australia in 1868, […]

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#OTD in 1854 – William Smith O’Brien, leader of the 1848 rebellion, is pardoned.

Patriot, William O’Brien, was born in Dromoland, Co Clare. His mother was Charlotte, née Smith, whose father owned a property called Cahirmoyle in Co Limerick. William inherited it and adopted the additional surname of Smith, thereafter he is known as William Smith O’Brien. In the 1820’s he took his seat in parliament as the Conservative […]

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#OTD in 1903 – Death of the first editor and proprietor of The Nation newspaper, Charles Gavan Duffy, in Nice, France.

Charles Gavan Duffy was born in Monaghan Town on the 12 April 1816. The son of a Catholic shopkeeper, his parents died when he was very young and he was raised by his uncle, Fr James Duffy, the Parish Priest of Castleblayney. Duffy was educated at St Malachy’s college in Belfast and was admitted to […]

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#OTD in 1861 – Death of dancer and courtesan, Lola Montez (Marie Gilbert), in New York. She was born in Grange, Co Sligo.

Famous both for her self-created ‘Spider Dance’, as well as being the inspiration for the expression, ‘Whatever Lola wants, Lola gets.’ Barry Manilow’s 1978 smash hit “Copacabana” tells the story of: ‘Lola, she was a showgirl, with yellow feathers in her hair and a dress cut down to there”. Girlfriend of bartender Tony at the […]

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#OTD in 1916 – Final evacuation from the ill-advised Gallipoli invasion which saw the death of 3,500-4,000 Irish soldiers fighting either in Australian, New Zealand, New Foundland or British uniform.

Final evacuation from the ill-advised Gallipoli invasion which saw the death of 3,500-4,000 Irish soldiers fighting either in Australian, New Zealand or British uniform. An estimated 44,000 allied soldiers died. The Gallipoli campaign was a costly failure for the Allies, with an estimated 27,000 French, and 115,000 British and dominion troops (Great Britain and Ireland, […]

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The Stolen Children – Hopes and Dreams Deported Down Under

They were sent from orphanages from the north of Ireland and Britain to Australia with the promise of freedom. Many ended up in the care of the notorious Christian Brothers where they were treated as slave labour and suffered horrific physical and sexual abuse. Between 1947 and 1967 up to 10,000 children were shipped to […]

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#OTD in 2017 – President Michael D. Higgins unveiled a memorial commemorating the Great Hunger in Subiaco Park in Perth, Australia.

The memorial sculpture was designed by Charlie Smith and Joan Walsh-Smith, originally from Waterford. In Sydney, the President visited the Australian Monument to the Great Hunger, in the company of the Hon. Gladys Berejiklian, Premier of New South Wales. The sculpture depicts a grieving mother “bent low by the crushing loss of her children” and […]

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#OTD in 2017 – While on a 16 day State visit to Australia, President Michael D. Higgins visited Fremantle Prison near Perth, Australia, where 62 Irish prisoners were held for their part in the Fenian Rising of 1867.

“Most of the evidence on which the men were convicted related to meetings with me. I felt that I, more than any other man then living, ought to do my utmost for these Fenian soldiers.” —John Devoy, writing about his plan to rescue the Fremantle Six An American whaling ship brought together a crew with […]

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#OTD in 1791 – First convicts from Ireland arrive in New South Wales, Australia.

After the end of the American War of Independence, Britain had to find new territory to send its convicts. New South Wales (NSW) was selected as a suitable penal colony. Legislation permitting transportation from Britain to N.S.W. was passed in 1784, and the Irish Act followed in 1786. The eighteen year old, 400-ton ship Queen […]

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#OTD in 1830 – The “Wild Colonial Boy” is shot dead in a gun battle with police at Cambelltown, Sydney.

On this date in 1830, The “Wild Colonial Boy” is shot dead in a gun battle with police at Cambelltown, Sydney. Contrary to the popular song, “The Wild Colonial Boy” was John Donohue, transported from Ireland in 1824. This version was outlawed as seditious, so the name in the song was changed to Jack Doolan. […]

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