#OTD in 1745 – At the Battle of Fontenoy, near Tourney in modern Belgium, the Irish Brigade of the French army under Lieutenant Charles O’Brien repulses the British and wins the day.

The role of the Irish Brigade at the Battle of Fontenoy, where the French army won a notable victory over the British and Dutch, has been regarded as the greatest of Irish battle honours. However, this event is now largely forgotten, at least in this country. But that they once loomed very large in the […]

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#OTD in 1926 – Dublin-born, Violet Albina Gibson, daughter of Lord Ashbourne, shot Benito Mussolini in Rome on this date.

Italian Fascist leader, Benito Mussolini, had just given a speech in Rome to the International Congress of Surgeons when a bullet nearly ended his life. After Mussolini finished his speech praising modern medicine, he walked to his car. At the time, no one noticed Violet Gibson, a small Irish woman with a long history of […]

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#OTD in 1914 – After 60 cavalry officers at the Curragh resign their commissions – an incident known as ‘the Curragh mutiny’ – the War Secretary stated that the army wi not be used to coerce Ulster into Home Rule.

The effectiveness of the Ulster unionist movement’s opposition (1912-14) to the granting of self-government to Ireland by Britain’s Liberal government was heightened by the support it received from elsewhere in the United Kingdom. In 1912, the Conservative Party backed it even in its formation of a paramilitary force (the UVF) to defy Westminster legislation. Meanwhile, […]

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#OTD in 1957 – Birth of Volunteer, Mairéad Farrell, in Belfast.

‘Your minds your strongest weapon, and that’s how we always counteract whatever they do, because they can’t control our minds, they can’t get inside them, and that’s their failure.’ –Mairead Farrell Mairéad was born in Belfast; the second youngest of six children and the only girl. She was twelve when the British Army took over […]

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#OTD in 1915 – Sir Roger Casement has made public a letter alleging that the British government has been engaged in a criminal conspiracy to have him captured and murdered. 

Roger Casement, currently in Germany, released to the newspapers a letter he has written to Sir Edward Grey, the British Foreign Secretary. In it, Casement accuses British officials in Norway of conspiring with his man-servant, Adler Christensen, a Norwegian, to kill him. It is further alleged that Christensen was promised a sum of $25,000 to $50,000 […]

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#OTD in 1764 – United Irishman, William Sampson is born the son of a Presbyterian clergyman in Derry.

William Sampson was one of many non-Catholics who were disturbed by the level of discrimination and violence against members of the Catholic faith. Anticipating an insurrection in March 1798, as a lawyer, Sampson defended United Irishmen for anti-British actions and was imprisoned, disbarred, and banished from Ireland without trial for his courtroom and literary activities. After eight […]

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#OTD in 1871 – Thirty Fenian prisoners are released by the British in a general amnesty.

British authorities release over thirty Fenian prisoners including John Devoy and Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa. The conditional amnesty of 1871 required those released not to return to Ireland for the term of their respective sentences for treason. Devoy, O’Donovan Rossa and three others: Charles Underwood O’Connell, Henry Mulleda, and John McClure boarded the S.S. Cuba bound […]

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#OTD in 1903 – Roger Casement completes report about abuses in Belgian Congo.

‘Failure to meet the rubber collection quotas was punishable by death. Meanwhile, the Force Publique were required to provide the hand of their victims as proof when they had shot and killed someone, as it was believed that they would otherwise use the munitions (imported from Europe at considerable cost) for hunting. As a consequence, […]

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#OTD in 1921 – After lengthy negotiations, the British give the Irish a deadline to accept or reject the Anglo-Irish treaty.

Negotiations on Irish independence from Britain enter their final and crucial stage at Downing Street. The Irish delegates including Michael Collins and Arthur Griffith had returned from an acrimonious cabinet meeting in Dublin where unfortunately clarity did not exist. The negotiators again met with the British team which included Lloyd George and Winston Churchill. It […]

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#OTD in 1984 – Brighton Hotel Bombing: The PIRA attempted to assassinate British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, and her cabinet.

The IRA detonated a 100lb bomb at the Grand Hotel Brighton where the Conservative Party was holding its annual conference. Five people died while Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher narrowly escaped injury. Following the bombing, the IRA issued a statement, “Today we were unlucky, but remember, we only have to be lucky once; you will have […]

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