St Martin’s Eve | 10 November

St Martin of Tours (France) was much venerated in Ireland, mainly on account of his connection with St Patrick. He was Patrick’s tutor, and according to some, he was his uncle and had a hand in sending him to Ireland. St Martin was a Roman soldier who was baptised as an adult and became a […]

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#OTD in 1968 – Civil Rights March in Derry, considered by many as the start date of ‘The Troubles’.

The protest movements that broke out across the western world in 1968 had captured the imagination of many people in the north of Ireland, leading to the creation of a local civil rights movement that began a series of marches and protests calling for greater equality for the Catholic/nationalist minority. The civil rights movement formed […]

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#OTD in 2013 – Death of uilleann piper, accordion player, singer, composer, researcher, writer and lecturer, Tomás Ó Canainn.

The uileann piper was probably best known as a member of Na Filí, along with fiddler Matt Cranitch and whistle player Tom Barry, who brought Irish traditional music to an international audience in the 1970s. The Derry native was an engineering lecturer and in the early 1970s moved to work at University College Cork, where he […]

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#OTD in 2013 – World-renowned poet and playwright Seamus Heaney died in the Blackrock Clinic in Dublin following a short illness, aged 74.

“History says, Don’t hope On this side of the grave, But then, once in a lifetime The longed-for tidal wave Of justice can rise up, And hope and history rhyme.” ―Seamus Heaney Seamus Heaney was awarded numerous prizes over the years and won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1995. He was born to a farming […]

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#OTD in Irish History – 30 August:

In the Liturgical calendar, today is the Feast day of Saint Fiacra. He was born in Ireland in the seventh century. Fiachra is an ancient pre-Christian name from Ireland. The meaning is uncertain, but the name may mean “battle king”, or it may be a derivative of the word fiach “raven”. The name can be […]

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#OTD in 1969 – The British Army was deployed on the streets in the north of Ireland, which marked the beginning of ‘Operation Banner’.

Following on from the Peoples Democracy march of 1st January 1969 from Belfast to Derry and the subsequent rioting in the Bogside and other towns in the north of Ireland, the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association and its supporters were openly condemned by the Government of Northern Ireland as being manipulated by communists, republicans and […]

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#OTD in 1608 – Preparations commence for the plantation of six Ulster counties (Armagh, Cavan, Coleraine, Donegal, Fermanagh and Tyrone).

The Plantation of Ulster was presented to James I as a joint “British”, or English and Scottish, venture to ‘pacify’ and ‘civilise’ Ulster, with at least half the settlers to be Scots. James had been King of Scots before he also became King of England and needed to reward his subjects in Scotland with land […]

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#OTD in 2010 – David Cameron issues a formal, state apology for the “unjustified and unjustifiable” killing of 14 civil rights marchers by British soldiers on Bloody Sunday in Derry in 1972.

Prior to the publication of the Saville Report, thousands of people converge at the Bloody Sunday Memorial to walk to the Guildhall; symbolically completing the march which was prevented from reaching its destination in 1972. Results of Bloody Sunday Inquiry under the aegis of Lord Saville are published twelve years after it was established by […]

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#OTD in 1972 – Lord Widgery’s report exonerating “Bloody Sunday” troops was issued.

Publication of the Widgery Report into the events of Bloody Sunday brings an avalanche of criticism and incredulity amongst nationalist and independent commentators. The man who served as the Lord Chief Justice of England from 1971-80 found that British paratroopers were not responsible for the deaths of 13 civilians on the day and that “there […]

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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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