#OTD in 1921 – Belfast’s Bloody Sunday.

Bloody Sunday or Belfast’s Bloody Sunday was a day of violence in Belfast on 10 July 1921, during the Irish War of Independence. In retaliation for an IRA ambush of a police raiding party, Protestant loyalists attacked Catholic enclaves, burning homes and businesses. This sparked gun battles between republican and loyalist paramilitaries, and street fighting […]

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#OTD in 1770 – Mary Anne McCracken, patriot and supporter of the United Irishmen, is born in Belfast.

Mary Ann McCracken was a Belfast social reformer. Her father was Captain John McCracken, a prominent shipowner; her mother Ann Joy came from another wealthy family which made its money in the linen trade and founded the Belfast News Letter. Mary Ann’s liberal and far-sighted parents sent her to David Manson’s progressive co-educational school, where […]

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#OTD in 1991 – The convictions of the group of people known as the ‘Maguire Seven’ were quashed by the Court of Appeal in London.

The Court of Appeal overturns the sentences on the Maguire Seven. In 2005, Prime Minister Tony Blair apologised unreservedly for what happened. “I am very sorry that they were subject to such an ordeal and such an injustice. “They deserve to be completely and publicly exonerated.” Forced (beaten) confessions, contaminated forensic kits, a rush to […]

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#OTD in 1981 – Death of activist, writer and member of the Senate, Nora Connolly O’Brien, in Dublin. 1981 – Death of activist and writer, and member of the Senate, Nora Connolly O’Brien, in Dublin.

Nora Connolly was born in Edinburgh in 1893. She was the second daughter of James Connolly, and the family moved to Dublin having lived for a time in the United States and Belfast. Her father was an organiser for the Dublin Socialist club and the family lived in poverty for much of her childhood.   […]

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#OTD in 1986 – Belfast-born Patrick Joseph Magee, is found guilty of planting the Brighton bomb which killed five people and nearly wiped out most of Margaret Thatcher’s cabinet.

Belfast born, Patrick Joseph Magee is found guilty of planting the bomb at the Grand Hotel Brighton which killed five people, but missed its primary target, Margaret Thatcher. The bombing was testament to the ingenuity of the IRA and its bomb makers. The 30 lb bomb had been planted behind a bath in a room […]

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#OTD in Irish History – 5 June:

1646 – The Battle of Benburb: Eoghan Rua O’Neill, a superb military strategist, defeats Robert Munro’s Scottish army at Benburb in Co Tyrone. The victory is celebrated by Pope Innocent X with a Te Deum in Rome. 1686 – Richard Talbot, the Earl of Tyrconnell, appointed Lord Deputy of Ireland, (the first Catholic to hold […]

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#OTD in 1754 – Birth of Dr. William Drennan in Belfast; physician, poet, educationalist political radical and one of the chief architects of the Society of United Irishmen.

William Drennan’s poetic output included some powerful and moving pieces. He is chiefly remembered today for “Erin” written in 1800, in which he penned the first reference in print to Ireland as “The Emerald Isle”: “Nor one feeling of vengeance presume to defile The cause, or the men, of the Emerald Isle.” Drennan came to […]

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#OTD in 1946 – George Best, the greatest player of his generation and the world’s first superstar footballer, is born in Belfast.

George Best is undoubtedly the finest soccer player ever, and probably one of the five finest footballers ever. Best was discovered by famed Belfast scout Bob Bishop who told Manchester United manager Matt Busby “I have found a genius.” He was not exaggerating. Best made his debut as a 17-year-old for United on 14 September […]

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#OTD in 1974 – Three car bombs in Dublin and a fourth in Monaghan exploded without warning, injuring almost 300 people and killing 34, the greatest loss of life on a single day during the Troubles.

On the morning of 17 May 1974, four cars are stolen in Belfast. That evening, they would explode without warning in Dublin and Monaghan resulting in the deaths of 34 civilians and injuries to more than 300. The bombings were the worst single atrocity in Ireland during the “Troubles.” The bombings were a Loyalist reaction […]

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