#OTD in 2010 – Death of snooker great, Alexander Gordon Higgins.

Alex Higgins, who hit the snooker world like the hurricane which became his nickname, was to become the biggest box-office draw the game has ever known. Snooker great Alex Higgins died on this date at age 59. Hurricane Higgins was one of the first ‘rock stars’ of snooker, winning world championships in 1972 and 1982. […]

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#OTD in 2004 – Death of Joe Cahill, a prominent Irish republican and former chief of staff of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA).

“I was born in a united Ireland, I want to die in a united Ireland”. –Joe Cahill In May 1920, Cahill was born in Divis Street in west Belfast where his parents had been neighbours with Irish revolutionary James Connolly. Cahill was the first child in a family of thirteen siblings born to Joesph and […]

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#OTD in 1798 – Death of United Irishman, Henry Joy McCracken.

“The rich will always betray the poor.” –Henry Joy McCracken Henry Joy McCracken was a cotton manufacturer and industrialist, Presbyterian, radical Irish republican, and a founding member, along with Theobald Wolfe Tone, James Napper Tandy, and Robert Emmet, of the Society of the United Irishmen. McCracken was born in High Street, Belfast on 31 August […]

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#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.

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. For […]

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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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