#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 […]

Read More

#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 […]

Read More

#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 […]

Read More

#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 […]

Read More

#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 […]

Read More

Lughnasadh – Ancient Festival

In Irish mythology, the Lughnasadh festival is said to have been begun by the god Lugh (Lú) as a funeral feast and athletic competition in commemoration of his mother (or foster-mother) Tailtiu. She was said to have died of exhaustion after clearing the plains of Ireland for agriculture. Tailtiu may have been an earth goddess […]

Read More

Domhnach Crom Dubh – Dun Briste, Co Mayo

The last Sunday in July was known in Ireland as Domhnach Crom Dubh (meaning the ‘dark, stooped one’), Crom Dubh (originally called Crom Cruiach) was the chief Celtic idol of Ireland. His chief shrine was located on Magh Slécht (The Plain of Prostrations) in Co Cavan, surrounded by twelve other gods. The Domhnach (meaning Sunday) […]

Read More

#OTD in Irish History – 15 July:

1865 – Alfred Harmsworth, 1st Viscount Northcliffe; statesman, journalist and newspaper magnate, is born in Chapelizod, Co Dublin. 1871 – Birth of Gerald O’Donovan, priest and novelist, in Co Down. 1879 – Birth of poet, Joseph Campbell, in Belfast. He is famous for the English words he wrote to the song My Lagan Love. 1899 […]

Read More