#OTD in 1820 – Birth of author, Mary Anne Sadlier, in Cootehill, Co Cavan.

Born Mary Anne Madden in Cootehill, Co Cavan, Sadlier published roughly sixty novels and numerous stories. She wrote for Irish immigrants in both the United States and Canada, encouraging them to attend mass and retain the Catholic faith. In so doing, Sadlier also addressed the related themes of anti-Catholicism, the An Gorta Mór, emigration, and […]

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#OTD in 1821 – Lady Jane Francesca Wilde is born in Co Wexford. Author, poet and the mother of Oscar Wilde, she is also known as Speranza.

Jane Francesca Agnes Elgee, later Lady Wilde and mother of Oscar is born. She became famous in her own right as a writer and poet under the name of “Sperenza.” Sperenza was an ardent nationalist in addition to being a staunch feminist. Her most famous poem is probably ‘The Famine Year’. Weary men, what reap […]

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#OTD in 1895 – Death of Young Irelander, Author and Poet, Denny Lane.

Denny Lane, one of the most popular of the Young Ireland leaders, and the writer of the two well-known poems, ‘Kate of Araglen’ and ‘Carraigdhoun’ (or ‘Lament of the Irish Maiden’). Although a Catholic, he graduated from the mainly Protestant Trinity College, Dublin, where he joined the College Historical Society, became a friend of Charles […]

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#OTD in 1847 – Birth of author of Dracula, Bram Stoker, in Dublin.

“We learn from failure, not from success.” –Bram Stoker Stoker published his masterpiece, Dracula, in 1897. Deemed a classic horror novel not long after its release, Dracula has continued to garner acclaim for more than a century, inspiring the creation of hundreds of film, theatrical and literary adaptations. In addition to Dracula, Stoker published more […]

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#OTD in 1964 – Death of dramatist and memoirist, Sean O’Casey, in England. A committed socialist, he was the first Irish playwright of note to write about the Dublin working classes.

Born John Casey, in Dublin, O’Casey had a strong interest in the Irish nationalist cause. He joined the Gaelic League in 1906 and learned the Irish language. At this time, he Gaelicised his name from John Casey to Seán Ó Cathasaigh. He also learned to play the Uilleann pipes and was a founder and secretary […]

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#OTD in 1903 – Frank O’Connor, (pseudonym of Michael O’Donovan), short-story writer and author of poetic translations from Irish is born in Cork.

Frank O’Connor’s memoir ‘An Only Child’ is an evocative work detailing his upbringing in poverty in his native Cork. He fought in the Irish War of Independence and supported the Anti-Treaty side in 1922 for which he was interned for a period of time. O’Connor served as a director of the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, in […]

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#OTD in 1981 – Death of Christy Brown, the handicapped Dublin author, who learned to type with his left foot.

The film My Left Foot: The Story of Christy Brown encapsulates all that makes Irish acting, theater, writing and film making so compelling. Christy Brown was born into a poor, working class family in 1932 Dublin with severe cerebral palsy. Encouraged by a loving mother, the incapacitated child learned to communicate through writing and painting […]

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#OTD in 1930 – Birth of Frank McCourt in Brooklyn, NY.

Writer and educator Francis “Frank” McCourt was born on 19 August 1930, in Brooklyn, New York, as the eldest of seven children. McCourt’s father, Malachy, worked odd jobs while his mother, Angela, worked to raise the children. The family frequently struggled to make ends meet and, after a long stint of unemployment during the Depression, […]

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Pádraig Ó Siochfhradha – An Seabhac

Pádraig Ó Siochfhradha was born in the Gaeltacht near Dingle in Co Kerry in 1883. Pádraig Ó Siochfhradha went on to become an organiser for Conradh na Gaeilge, cycling all over the countryside to set up branches and promote the Irish language. As a writer, he took the pen-name ‘An Seabhac’, the Hawk, writing books […]

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