#OTD in 1901 – Death of Fenian leader, James Stephens.

The title Fenian was taken from an old Irish legend about an invincible army called the Fianna that constantly defended Ireland against foreign invaders. The development of the Fenian movement with its obvious influence for self-determination, grew rapidly amongst the men and women of Ireland. It became a stepping stone in the lead up to […]

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#OTD in 1955 – Birth of actor, Brendan Gleeson, in Dublin.

“I tend to look for the good in bad people and the bad in good people, to make them human. ‘Cause I don’t think that people generally are that black and white. Maybe in movie-land they can be… but that isn’t necessarily all there is.” –Brendan Gleeson Gleeson is the recipient of three IFTA Awards, […]

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#OTD in 1948 – Death of Gearóid O’Sullivan. He had the honour of raising the Tricolour over the GPO as fighting raged the streets of Dublin during the 1916 Easter Rising.

Gearóid O’Sullivan, then 25, was the youngest IRB officer fighting in the GPO (three months younger than his cousin Michael Collins). He had been personally chosen by leader Seán Mac Diarmada to serve as his aide-de-camp. He was an Irish teacher, Irish language scholar, army officer, barrister and Sinn Féin and Fine Gael politician. Following […]

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#OTD in Irish History – 26 March:

1787 – The Tumultuous Risings Act imposed penalties for rioting and for interference with the collection of tithes. 1838 – William Edward Hartpole Lecky, historian and philosopher, was born in Blackrock, Co Dublin. 1854 – Harry Furniss, caricaturist, was born in Wexford. 1856 – Birth of New Zealand statesman and Prime Minister from 1912 to […]

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1916 Easter Rising: Desmond FitzGerald and The German Prince

During the occupation of the GPO during the 1916 Rising, Desmond FitzGerald commented ‘I was bemused by the general attitude of security’. At the height of the battle he was in the midst of the conflagration that shook the GPO garrison. Ever the sceptic, Desmond FitzGerald, who was in charge of rations, mentions in his […]

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#OTD in 1922 – The seeds continue to be sown for an Irish civil war.

Rory O’Connor holds what was to become an infamous press conference at the headquarters of the republican party (Cumann na Poblachta) in Suffolk Street, Dublin. He declares that the army is ‘in a dilemma, having the choice of supporting its oath to the Republic or still giving allegiance to the Dáil, which, it considers, has […]

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#OTD in 1914 – After 60 cavalry officers at the Curragh resign their commissions – an incident known as ‘the Curragh mutiny’ – the War Secretary stated that the army will not be used to coerce Ulster into Home Rule.

The effectiveness of the Ulster unionist movement’s opposition (1912-14) to the granting of self-government to Ireland by Britain’s Liberal government was heightened by the support it received from elsewhere in the United Kingdom. In 1912, the Conservative Party backed it even in its formation of a paramilitary force (the UVF) to defy Westminster legislation. Meanwhile, […]

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#OTD in 1964 – Death of Brendan Behan, an Irish poet, short story writer, novelist, and playwright who wrote in both Irish and English.

He was also a committed Irish Republican and a volunteer in the Irish Republican Army. He died in Meath hospital after reportedly telling a nun looking after him: ‘Ah, bless you, Sister, may all your sons be bishops’. Brendan Behan was born in Dublin into a republican family, and became a member of the IRA’s youth […]

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#OTD in 1899 – First issue of Gaelic League’s An Claidheamh Soluis is published.

An Claidheamh Soluis (The Sword of Light) was an Irish nationalist newspaper published in the early 20th century by Conradh na Gaeilge (The Gaelic League).   Eoin MacNeill was its first editor, overseeing its publication from 1899 to 1901. In 1900 the League took control of the weekly bilingual paper Fáinne an Lae, when its […]

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#OTD in 1877 – Birth of author and revolutionary, Michael O’Hanrahan, in New Ross, Co Wexford.

His father, Richard Hanrahan, was involved in the 1867 Fenian rising. The family moved to Carlow, where Michael was educated at Carlow Christian Brothers’ School and Carlow College Academy. On leaving school he worked various jobs including a period alongside his father in the cork-cutting business. In 1898 he joined the Gaelic League and in […]

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