#OTD in 1897 – James Connolly is arrested and detained overnight for organising a series of protests over Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.

But time at last makes all things even, And if we do but watch the hour, There never yet was human power That could evade, if unforgiven, The patient hate and vigil long, Of those who treasure up a wrong. British capitalism was a dominant world power, still expanding. It policed the world for imperial […]

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#OTD in 1815 – Battle of Waterloo, when British forces, under the command of the Duke of Wellington, a Dubliner, defeat Napoleon’s forces.

The Iron Duke wasn’t the only Irish presence on the day — Napoleon’s horse Marengo was reared in Co Wexford, and the Duke of Wellington’s mount was from Co Cork. Arthur Wellesley was born in what is now Dublin’s Merrion Hotel and spent much of his childhood in Ireland, not that he was proud of it. […]

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#OTD in 1981 – Death of activist, writer and member of the Senate, Nora Connolly O’Brien, in Dublin.

Nora Connolly was born in Edinburgh in 1893. She was the second daughter of James Connolly, and the family moved to Dublin having lived for a time in the United States and Belfast. Her father was an organiser for the Dublin Socialist club and the family lived in poverty for much of her childhood. For […]

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#OTD in 1903 – An elephant named Sita kills her keeper tending her sore foot in Dublin Zoo.

Dublin Zoo was opened in 1831, making it the fourth oldest zoo in Europe. The Zoo’s first elephant was a female called Sita, and her keeper was James McNally. In 1903 Sita cut her foot and as James was applying ointment to her wound, she knocked him down with her trunk and stamped on his […]

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#OTD in 1904 – Bloomsday | On this date, James Joyce had his first date with Nora Barnacle; ultimately, it became the date on which everything takes place in his masterpiece, Ulysses.

Today is Bloomsday when Leopold Bloom, the main character in James Joyce’s Ulysses takes a long rambling walk around Dublin. Joyce picked this date as it commemorates his first date with his future wife, Nora Barnacle. Precocious as a writer, Joyce was also precocious sociologically. He had his first sexual experience at the age of […]

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#OTD in 1979 – The memorial statue to James Larkin on O’Connell Street, Dublin is unveiled.

Jim Larkin, a revolutionary socialist, dominated the Irish Trade Union movement. G. B. Shaw once described him as ‘the greatest Irishman since Parnell’. Today a statue of “Big Jim” stands on O’Connell Street in Dublin. The inscription on the front of the monument is an extract in French, Irish and English from one of his […]

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#OTD in 1988 – The Molly Malone statue in Grafton Street was unveiled by then-Lord Mayor of Dublin, Alderman Ben Briscoe during the 1988 Dublin Millennium celebrations, declaring 13 June as Molly Malone Day.

In popular Dublin parlance, Molly Malone is referred to as “The Tart with the Cart and “The Dish with the Fish”. The song tells the fictional tale of a fishmonger who plied her trade on the streets of Dublin, but who died young, of a fever. In the late 20th century a legend grew up […]

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#OTD in 1865 – Birth of writer and nationalist, W.B. Yeats, in Dublin.

William Butler Yeats was the son of painter John Butler Yeats. He spent much of his childhood in Co Sligo which was a huge source of inspiration for him, not least the beautiful ‘Lake Isle of Inisfree’. Yeats was a major player in the Celtic Revival which endeavored (successfully) to raise awareness of the culture […]

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#OTD in 1944 – Death of politician, journalist, intelligence agent and paramilitary activist, Frank Ryan.

Frank Ryan was born in Co Limerick, in 1902. After leaving university he became an active member of the Irish Republican Army and fought in the Irish Civil War. In 1929 Ryan was appointed editor of An Phoblacht, the IRA newspaper. He was imprisoned several times over the following years for publishing seditious articles and […]

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#OTD in 1904 – James Joyce meets the love of his life, Nora Barnacle.

Nora Barnacle was born in the city of Galway, but the day of her birth is uncertain. Depending on the source, it varies between 21 and 24 March 1884. Her birth certificate, which gives her first name as “Norah,” is dated 21 March. Her father Thomas Barnacle, a baker in Connemara, was an illiterate man […]

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