#OTD in 1608 – Sir Thomas Phillipps was granted a license by James I to the Old Bushmills distillery in Co Antrim, which is thought to date from at least 1276 – the oldest distillery in the world.

Uisce beatha is the name for whiskey in the Irish language. The word “whiskey” itself is simply an anglicised version of this phrase, stemming from a mispronunciation of the word uisce. This may in turn have influenced the Modern Irish word fuisce (“whiskey”). The phrase uisce beatha, literally “water of life”, was the name given […]

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#OTD in 1980 – Kincora Scandal: ‘Boys suicide bids brought Kincora scandal to light’. Three staff members of the Kincora Boys Home, Belfast, were charged with acts of gross indecency.

The Kincora Boys’ Home was a boys’ home in Belfast, that was the scene of serious organised child sexual abuse, causing a scandal and attempted cover-up in 1980, with allegations of state collusion. The Northern Ireland Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry began examining allegations relating to the Home on 31 May 2016, including claims that there […]

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#OTD in Irish History – 2 April:

World Autism Awareness Day International Children’s Book Day In the Liturgical calendar, today is the Feast Day of St Brónach, a 6th-century holy woman from Ireland, the reputed founder and patron saint of Cell Brónche (church of Brónach), now Kilbroney, in Co Down. 1807 – Birth of Sir Charles Edward Trevelyan, 1st Baronet, KCB, a […]

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#OTD in 1711 – Seven women from Island Magee, Co Antrim were imprisoned and pilloried for ‘bewitching’ a woman named Mary Dunbar, who had experienced strange fits and visions.

Seven women from Island Magee, Co Antrim are imprisoned and pilloried for ‘bewitching’ a woman named Mary Dunbar, who experienced strange fits and visions. The last trial for witchcraft in Ireland–there were never very many–thus given in MacSkimin’s History of Carrickfergus: “1711, March 31st, Janet Mean, of Braid-island; Janet Latimer, Irish-quarter, Carrickfergus; Janet Millar, Scotch-quarter, […]

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#OTD in 1965 – Roger Casement’s body is re-interred in Glasnevin cemetery, Dublin.

‘Self-government is our right, a thing born in us at birth; a thing no more to be doled out to us or withheld from us by another people than the right to life itself.’ Roger Casement was born at Sandycove, Co Dublin in 1864. He joined the British colonial service and was knighted in 1911 […]

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#OTD in 1800 – Execution of Roddy McCorley.

Roddy McCorley was an Irish nationalist from the civil parish of Duneane, Co Antrim. Following the publication of the Ethna Carbery poem bearing his name in 1902, where he is associated with events around the Battle of Antrim, he is alleged to have been a member of the United Irishmen and claimed as a participant in […]

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#OTD in Irish History – 13 February:

1689 – William and Mary, daughter of James II, are proclaimed king and queen jointly. 1820 – Death of lawyer and English informer, Leonard McNally. 1850 – Michael Kelly, fourth Roman Catholic archbishop of Sydney is born in Waterford. Kelly was a leading figure in the foundation in 1901 of the Pioneer Total Abstinence Association […]

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#OTD in Irish History – 25 January:

1356 – The 1st Earl of Desmond dies; Kildare is his replacement as justiciar. 1533 – England’s King Henry VIII, Lord of Ireland and ‘self declared’ King of Ireland (1541) marries Anne Boleyn after divorcing Catherine of Aragon. 1627 – Birth of chemist and alchemist, Robert Boyle, physicist, in Lismore, Co Waterford. Boyle is largely […]

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The War Hollow

Viking influence in the Celtic lands goes back to the very beginning of the Viking Age, when men from Scandinavia decided to make the perilous journey across the seas to take what treasures they could. One of these Viking raiders was Magnus Olaffson (Magnús Óláfsson), better known as Magnus Barelegs or Barefoot, the king of […]

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