#OTD in 2014 – Death of loyalist politician and Protestant religious leader, Ian Paisley.

The career of the Rev Ian Paisley, who has died aged 88, arced from origins as fiery preacher and street agitator, through decades when his harassment helped undermine mainstream unionist leaders who attempted compromise with nationalists. But aged 81 he won praise inside and outside Ireland and made global headlines for sharing the top post […]

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#OTD in 1907 – A memorial arch is dedicated at St Stephens Green Dublin in honour of the Irish soldiers who died fighting for “King and country” in the Boer war.

Five years on from the war, the Fusiliers’ Arch was unveiled in the heart of Dublin, as a testament to the actions of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers in South Africa. While the war ended in a British victory, it was a bloody and costly one. In financial terms, a war that would supposedly be over […]

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The Priest’s Chair (Glenshane Mass Rock), Glenshane Forest, Limvady, Co Derry

Bohilbreaga Hill (Buachaill Bréige) The origin of this mountain’s name, and indeed the mass rock itself, is from The Penal Times of the 17th and 18th centuries. The mountain’s name, An Buachaill Bréige; the lying boy, derived from an incident when The Red Coats were dispatched to hunt down a priest. Local tradition refers to […]

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#OTD in 1581 – The Wexford Martyrs were hanged, drawn and quartered.

The Wexford Martyrs were Patrick Cavanagh, Matthew Lambert, Edward Cheevers, Robert Tyler and two others whose names are not known. They were found guilty of treason for aiding in the escape of James Eustace, Viscount Baltinglass. James Eustace, whose family had links with Clongowes Wood Castle, now a Jesuit boarding school near Dublin, joined the […]

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#OTD in 1689 – Siege of Derry began.

In 1685, the Roman Catholic James II came to the throne of England. His agent Richard Talbot, earl of Tyrconnell, started to dismiss Protestant officers from the army in Ireland, replacing them with Roman Catholics. For English Protestants, the last straw came when the birth of a son to his second wife meant that his […]

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#OTD in 1848 – The tricolour national flag of Ireland was presented to the public for the first time by Thomas Francis Meagher and the Young Ireland Party, in Dublin.

In 1848, Thomas Meagher and William Smith O’Brien went to France to study revolutionary events, and returned to Ireland with the new Flag of Ireland, a tricolour of green, white and orange made and given to them by French women sympathetic to the Irish cause. The acquisition of the flag is commemorated at the 1848 […]

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#OTD in 1973 – The people in the north of Ireland vote overwhelmingly to remain within the United Kingdom.

The abolition of the Northern Ireland Parliament in 1972 raised the question of whether or not a new Assembly should have the power to determine which state Northern Ireland should belong to. The British government decided to put this question directly to the people every ten years by referendum, and the first (and so far […]

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#OTD in 1778 – Robert Emmet, one of Ireland’s most famous revolutionaries, is born in Dublin.

O! BREATHE not his name! let it sleep in the shade, Where cold and unhonoured his relics are laid; Sad, silent, and dark be the tears that we shed, As the night dew that falls on the grave o’er his head. But the night dew that falls, though in silence it weeps, Shall brighten with […]

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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 2017 – While on a 16 day State visit to Australia, President Michael D. Higgins visited Fremantle Prison near Perth, Australia, where 62 Irish prisoners were held for their part in the Fenian Rising of 1867.

“Most of the evidence on which the men were convicted related to meetings with me. I felt that I, more than any other man then living, ought to do my utmost for these Fenian soldiers.” —John Devoy, writing about his plan to rescue the Fremantle Six An American whaling ship brought together a crew with […]

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