#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 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 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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#OTD in 1946 – Birth of film and stage actor, Stephen Rea (born Graham Rea) in Belfast.

Stephen Rea has appeared in films such as V for Vendetta, The Butcher Boy, This Is My Father, Evelyn, Michael Collins, Interview with the Vampire and Breakfast on Pluto. Rea was nominated for an Academy Award for his lead performance as Fergus in the 1992 film The Crying Game. He has had important roles in […]

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#OTD in 1845 – Abolitionist Frederick Douglass speaks to a packed house in Cork on the subject of slavery.

Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen,—There is perhaps no argument more frequently resorted to by the Slaveholders in support of the slave system, than the inferiority of the slave. In the name of Christianity, I demand that people of these countries be interested in the question of slavery!

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#OTD in 1803 – Execution of Thomas Paliser Russell in Downpatrick for ‘high treason’. He was a co-founder and leader of the United Irishmen who was executed for his part in Robert Emmet’s rebellion in 1803.

Born in Dromahane, Co Cork to an Anglican family, he joined the British army in 1783 and served in India. He returned to Ireland in 1786 and commenced studies in science, philosophy and politics. in July 1790 he met Theobald Wolfe Tone in the visitor’s gallery in the Irish House of Commons and they became […]

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#OTD in 1989 – After serving 15 years in prison, the “Guildford Four” are released in what is considered to be one of the biggest-ever miscarriages of justice in Britain.

On 19 October 1989, Gerry Conlon stormed out of the Old Bailey in London, with his sisters Bridie and Ann, and delivered an extraordinary, impromptu speech that has become iconic in recent Irish history: “I’ve been in prison 15 years, for something I didn’t do. Something I didn’t know anything about. I’m a totally innocent […]

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