#OTD in 1941 – Death of painter, Sir John Lavery, in Kilkenny. Best known for his portraits, Belfast-born Lavery attended the Haldane Academy in Glasgow, Scotland, in the 1870s and the Académie Julian in Paris in the early 1880s.

John Lavery was born in Belfast, the son of a wine and spirit merchant, but was orphaned at the age of three and for a number of unsettled years wandered between Moira, Magheralin, Saltcoats, Ayrshire and Glasgow. Finally he started working by touching up photographic negatives in Glasgow and attended evening classes at the Haldane […]

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#OTD in Irish History | 23 December:

1686 – Birth of writer, economist and philanthropist, Samuel Madden, in Dublin. 1688 – James II of flees from England to France. William had married James’ daughter Mary, and they had overthrown him as monarch of Britain and Ireland. James was supported by much of the Irish population because of his Catholic religion. James was […]

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#OTD in 1845 – Frederick Douglass delivers a speech in Belfast | ‘The Cambria Riot, My Slave Experience, and My Irish Mission’.

In 1845, as Ireland was descending into the despair of the Great Hunger, Frederick Douglass arrived for a four-month lecture tour of the island. Douglass had escaped slavery in Maryland seven years earlier, and had recently published his autobiography Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave. Douglass was greeted in Dublin, Belfast, […]

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#OTD in 1887 – Birth of trade unionist and revolutionary, Winifred Carney, in Bangor, Co Down.

Close to the entrance of Milltown Cemetery is a limestone monument which marks the grave of a remarkable woman – Maria Winifred Carney. Winnie was born in Bangor, Co Down, but moved to the Falls Road in Belfast at an early age. She was born into a fairly comfortable family, and was one of seven […]

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#OTD in Irish History | 2 December:

1649 – Oliver Cromwell abandoned the siege of Waterford. Marching west into the territory secured by Lord Broghill, Cromwell dispersed his army into winter quarters at Cork, Youghal and Dungarvan. 1738 – Birth of Richard Montgomery in Swords, Co Dublin. He was a soldier who first served in the British Army. He later became a […]

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#OTD in 1898 – Birth of novelist, C.S. Lewis, in Belfast.

‘Failures, repeated failures, are finger posts on the road to achievement. One fails forward toward success.’ –C.S. Lewis Born in Belfast, on 29 November 1898, C.S. Lewis went on to teach at Oxford University and became a renowned apologist writer, using logic and philosophy to support the tenets of his Christian faith. He is also […]

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#OTD in 2005 – Death of football player, George Best.

‘With feet as sensitive as a pickpocket’s hands, his control of the ball under the most violent pressure was hypnotic. The bewildering repertoire of feints and swerves… and balance that would have made Isaac Newton decide he might as well have eaten the apple.’ –Hugh McIlvanney, Observer sportswriter. The ‘Belfast Boy’ was undoubtedly the finest […]

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#OTD in 1767 – Birth of United Irishman, Thomas Paliser Russell, in Kilshanick, Co Cork.

Although born in the Rebel County, he is now identified in the popular imagination of Co Down and elsewhere as “The man from God Knows Where”, from the ballad which recalls his charismatic but doomed efforts to raise the county in support of Robert Emmet’s rebellion of 1803. Thomas Russell joined the British army in […]

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#OTD in 1943 – Death of suffragist, trade unionist and Irish independence activist, Winifred Carney, in Belfast.

Close to the entrance of Milltown Cemetery is a limestone monument which marks the grave of a remarkable woman – Maria Winifred Carney. Winnie was born in Bangor, Co Down, but moved to the Falls Road in Belfast at an early age. She was born into a fairly comfortable family, and was one of seven […]

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#OTD in Irish History | 18 November:

1657 – Death of Franciscan friar and historian, Luke Wadding, in Rome. Born in Co Waterford, Wadding founded the Pontifical Irish College for Irish secular clergy in Rome. In 1900, Wadding’s portrait and part of his library were in the Franciscan friary on Merchant’s Quay, Dublin. Through Wadding’s efforts, St Patrick’s Day became a feast […]

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