#OTD in 2009 – Death of Whitbrook Prize winning author, Chrisopher Nolan, aged 44.

Christopher Nolan’s lifelong struggle against cerebral palsy proved himself a man of almost superhuman fortitude and tenacity. With the three acclaimed books he produced, Nolan proved himself a significant Irish literary figure – winning the Whitbread Prize at the age of 21. He could not speak or move, his condition being so severe that moving his eyes was […]

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#OTD in 1882 – Birth of writer and poet, Padraic Ó Conaire, in Galway.

Patrick Joseph Conroy (Pádraic Ó Conaire) was born in Galway City in 1882 to middle-class Catholic publicans. Following the untimely deaths of his parents (his father in 1887 and his mother in 1894), he was reared by extended family members in the Connemara Gaeltacht and Co Clare. He attended Rockwell College, County Tipperary, before transferring […]

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#OTD in 1935 – Birth of musician, Ciarán Bourke, in Dublin. He was one of the original founding members of The Dubliners.

Ciaran Bourke was one of the original members of The Dubliners, his versatility was his hallmark which included the playing of the tin whistle, harmonica, and guitar, as well as singing. He was the only member of the group to receive a university education and was also fluent in Irish. Bourke collapsed on stage from […]

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Ancient Irish Law

‘Irish law is the oldest, most original, and most extensive of mediaeval European legal systems. It is a unique legal inheritance, an independent indigenous system of advanced jurisprudence that was fully evolved by the eighth century. It is also far less well-known than it deserves.’ ‘Early medieval Ireland evolved a system of law (often called […]

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#OTD in 1981 – The Stardust Ballroom in Artane, Dublin goes up in flames; forty-eight young people are killed and more than 200 are injured.

Forty-eight young people die in a fire at the Stardust club in Artane, Dublin. After sitting for 122 days and hearing evidence from three hundred and sixty-three witnesses, a government report found that the fire was ‘probably started deliberately,’ a finding long deemed contentious. The 2009 Report of Reopened Enquiry found that “on a prima […]

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St Valentine

There are many versions of the Legend of St Valentine, but a few things are known. That he was a priest martyred (as in beheaded) on 14th February, in either 269 AD or 270 AD by the Roman Emperor Claudius II, also known as Claudius the Cruel. Among Valentine’s crimes was secretly marrying Christian lovers. […]

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#OTD in 1926 – Rioting greets the Abbey Theatre performance of Sean O’Casey’s The Plough and the Stars because of what is viewed as anti-Irish sentiment.

When Seán O’Casey took his seat for the fourth night of his new drama The Plough and the Stars he dryly noted that two plays were actually taking place: ‘One on the stage and one in the auditorium.’ The Plough and the Stars was first performed at the Abbey Theatre in 1926, less than ten […]

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#OTD in 1923 – The Father of Government minister Kevin O’Higgins is shot dead by Republicans at the family home in Stradbally, Co Laois.

When the Irish Civil War broke out in June 1922, Kevin O’Higgins tried to restore law and order by introducing tough measures. Between 1922 and 1923 he personally ordered the execution of seventy-seven republican prisoners including, Rory O’Connor (who had been best man at O’Higgins’ wedding), Liam Mellows, Dick Barrett and Joe McKelvey. O’Higgins and […]

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#OTD in 1889 – Richard Piggott, who had a long-standing hatred of Charles Stewart Parnell, is exposed as forger of ‘Times’ Phoenix Park letters.

The Parnell Commission was a judicial inquiry in the late 1880s into allegations of crimes by parliamentarian Charles Stewart Parnell which resulted in his vindication. On 6 May 1882 two leading members of the British Government in Ireland, Chief Secretary for Ireland Lord Frederick Cavendish and the Permanent Under-Secretary for Ireland T.H. Burke were stabbed […]

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