#OTD in 1989 – Patrick Finucane is murdered by Unionist assassins.

Pat Finucane, who acted as solicitor for republican hunger striker, Bobby Sands, was shot dead at his north Belfast home in front of his wife and children. The De Silva report into the brutal murder of Pat Finucane, coupled with the prime minister’s searing confession to parliament, revealed probably the worst atrocity by the British […]

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#OTD in 1820 – Death of physician, poet, educator and political radical, William Drennan, 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 1980 – Guiseppe Conlon dies an innocent man in an English prison.

Guiseppe Conlon was arrested while travelling to London from Belfast to help his son, Gerry Conlon. Guiseppe had one lung, emphysema, and had just undergone chemotherapy. He died in prison five years later. On 5 October 1974 the Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA) targeted Guildford, Surrey, because it was situated close to a number of […]

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#OTD in 1941 – Death of painter, Sir John Lavery, in Kilkenny.

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 1883 – The Harbour Grace Affray between Irish Catholics and Protestant Orangemen causes five deaths in Newfoundland.

Tensions between Irish Catholics and Orangemen were not confined to the streets of Belfast. In Newfoundland, a riot breaks out during an Orange parade in which five people are killed. A group of up to 400 hundred marching men of the Loyal Orange Association were confronted by an estimated 150 Catholics who believed the post-Christmas […]

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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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