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 […]

Read More

#OTD in 1981 – The Stardust Ballroom in Artane, Dublin goes up in flames; forty-eight young people are killed and more than 100 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 […]

Read More

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. […]

Read More

#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 […]

Read More

#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 […]

Read More

#OTD in 1844 – Daniel O’Connell was convicted of ‘conspiracy’, fined £2,000 and sentenced to 12 months in prison.

Once Catholic emancipation was achieved, Daniel O’Connell campaigned for repeal of the Act of Union, which in 1801 had merged the Parliaments of the Kingdom of Great Britain and the Kingdom of Ireland to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. To campaign for repeal, O’Connell set up the Repeal Association. He argued […]

Read More

#OTD in 1880 – Birth of economist, journalist, barrister, writer, poet, soldier and Home Rule politician, Tom Kettle, in Artane, Co Dublin.

Tom Kettle was a journalist, barrister, writer, poet, soldier, economist and Home Rule politician. As a member of the Irish Parliamentary Party, he was Member of Parliament (MP) for East Tyrone from 1906 to 1910 at Westminster. He joined the Irish Volunteers in 1913, then on the outbreak of World War I in 1914 enlisted […]

Read More

#OTD in 1923 – The Free State suspends executions until 18 February, offering an amnesty to anyone who surrendered before that day.

‘During the Irish Civil War the National Army executed more Irishmen than the British had during the War of Independence.’ In the aftermath of the sudden death of Arthur Griffith and the killing of Michael Collins, in August 1922, William T Cosgrave became chairman of the provisional government. Cosgrave and his colleagues remained wedded to […]

Read More

#OTD in 1873 – Death of journalist, novelist, and short story writer, Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, in Dublin.

Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu – ‘The Invisible Prince’ – is best known for his novel about the ‘venerable, bloodless, fiery-eyed’ uncle, Uncle Silas (1864), however, it was his vampire novella Carmilla (1872) that would contribute to defining the horror genre and influenced Bram Stoker in his writing of Dracula. He was a leading ghost story […]

Read More

#OTD in Irish History – 7 February:

1873 – Death of journalist, novelist, and short story writer, Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, in Dublin. He is often called the father of the modern ghost story. Although Le Fanu was one of the most popular writers of the Victorian era, he is not so widely read anymore. His best-known works include Uncle Silas (1864), […]

Read More