#OTD in Irish History – 3 December:

1366 – With the sliotar topping 93mph (150km/h) from a good strike, hurling is the fastest game on grass. It was first played here at least 3,000 years ago, and first crops up in print in statutes banning its mayhem on this date. Ancient chroniclers report violent days-long matches between whole towns, but these might […]

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#OTD in Irish History – 28 November:

1727 – William Connolly is unanimously re-elected Speaker of the Irish House of Commons. 1848 – ‘Saturday Review’ Racist Anti-Irish Rant. As Ireland haemorrhaged population via starvation and emigration, it received little support from elements of the English press. 1856 – Birth of Cardinal Patrick O’Donnell near Glenties, Co Donegal. 1863 – Foundation of the […]

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#OTD in 1977 – A group of Republicans tunneled into the concrete under the cover of darkness and retrieved Frank Stagg’s body to be re-buried with respect to his final wish, beside his fellow hunger striker and friend, Michael Gaughan.

There is a grave in Leigue Cemetery, Ballina, Co Mayo which has a concrete surface, placed there by the Gardaí in 1976, to prevent Frank Stagg’s body from being stolen. Forty years ago, the body was removed from the grave, during the night, without disturbing the concrete, and buried elsewhere in the cemetery. When Stagg […]

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#OTD in Irish History – 2 November:

1719 – The Toleration Act for Protestant Dissenters is passed. 1752 – Philip Twisden, Bishop of Raphoe and son-in-law of the politician Thomas Carter, dies bankrupt on this date, having been shot while allegedly masquerading as a highwayman. 1795 – Birth of William Grattan Tyrone Power, known professionally as Tyrone Power, was an Irish stage […]

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#OTD in Irish History – 29 September:

Old Michaelmas Day – Celtic holiday. According to an old legend, blackberries should not be picked after this date. This is because, so folklore goes, Satan was banished from Heaven on this day, fell into a blackberry bush and cursed the brambles as he fell into them. Michaelmas, the Feast of St Michael the Archangel […]

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#OTD in 1922 – Republicans under Michael Kilroy take Ballina, Co Mayo, in a surprise attack while the National Army troops there are at a Mass service for a comrade killed in the fighting.

In Mayo, Republicans organised themselves into Flying Columns of thirty-five men. The Columns were usually named after their Commanders such as Dr John Madden in the West, Frank Carty in the Ox Mountains or Tom Carney in East Mayo. Each Column contained an explosives specialist, machine gunners, signallers, first aiders and riflemen. The field of […]

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#OTD in 1798 – Wolfe Tone’s United Irish and French forces clash with the British Army in the Battle of Castlebar.

The Battle of Castlebar near the town of Castlebar, Co Mayo. A combined force of 2,000 French troops and Irish patriots routed a force of 6,000 British militia in what would later become known as the “Castlebar Races” or “Races of Castlebar”. The long-awaited French landing to assist the Irish revolution begun by Theobald Wolfe […]

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#OTD in Irish History – 23 August:

In the Liturgical calendar, it is the Feast day of St Éogan of Ardstraw. 1170 – Richard De Clare (Strongbow), a henchman of Henry II, arrives in Waterford at the behest of Dermot McMurrough, an event described in the Annals of Ulster as “the beginning of the woes of Ireland”. 1742 – Birth of Walter […]

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#OTD in Irish History – 5 August:

1722 – Birth of William Henry Fortescue, politician and sportsman, who tried unsuccessfully in the 1760s to introduce a bill ‘to preserve partridges and hares and to take away the lives of above half the dogs in the nation’. 1829 – Birth of William Coffey VC DCM in Knocklong, Co Limerick. He was an Irish […]

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