‘A Childhood Christmas’ by Patrick Kavanagh

One side of the potato‑pits was white with frost— How wonderful that was, how wonderful! And when we put our ears to the paling‑post The music that came out was magical. The light between the ricks of hay and straw Was a hole in Heaven’s gable. An apple tree With its December‑glinting fruit we saw […]

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#OTD in Irish History – 9 December:

1791 – Birth of politician and diplomat, Sir Thomas Wyse, in St John, Co Waterford. 1845 – Frederick Douglass delivers a speech in Belfast: ‘The Cambria Riot, My Slave Experience, and My Irish Mission’. 1850 – Stokes Law was published on this date. Why do clouds float through the air? It’s one of those questions […]

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#OTD in 1922 – Liam Mellows, Rory O’Connor, Joseph McKelvey and Richard Barrett, Irish patriots – one from each of the four provinces – are executed by the Free State forces.

It was just one more harrowing chapter in a vicious civil war fought between erstwhile friends. Just one year and two days after Ireland achieved a level of independence, four of the men who fought in the War of Independence against British forces were executed by Irish government edict. On the evening of 7 December, […]

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#OTD in Irish History – 8 December:

In the Liturgical Calendar, today is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. If it falls on a week day, Roman Catholic schoolchildren are given a holiday, marking the beginning of the Christmas season. 1757 – The Rotunda Hospital opened in Dublin. Initially located in George’s Lane on the site of a recently closed theatre, the […]

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#OTD in 1922 – The Parliament of the occupied six counties of Northern Ireland opt out of the Free State.

The parliament of Northern Ireland exercises its option to opt out of the Irish Free State and petitions King George V: “MOST GRACIOUS SOVEREIGN, We, your Majesty’s most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Senators and Commons of Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled, having learnt of the passing of the Irish Free State Constitution Act, 1922, […]

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#OTD in 1921 – Éamon de Valera Summons Collins, Griffith to Emergency Meeting.

Disturbed at reports from London as to the signing of the Treaty, a furious De Valera issued an announcement that ‘in view of the nature of the Treaty with Great Britain, members of the cabinet in London were to provide an immediate report to a Cabinet meeting arranged for the next day, 8 December at […]

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#OTD in 1879 – Birth of Anti-Treaty Nationalist and Politician, Austin Stack, in Tralee, Co Kerry.

Under the influence of his father, Austin Stack joined the local Young Ireland Society and the local branch of the Irish National Foresters, and was a keen student of Irish history. Appalled at the Cinderella status of Gaelic football and hurling, he co-founded the John Mitchel club in Tralee and became its secretary. The remarkable […]

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#OTD in Irish History – 7 December:

521 – Birth of Saint Columba (Columba of Iona) or in Old Irish, as Colm Cille, Columbkill, Columbkille or Columcille (meaning ‘Dove of the church’). He was an outstanding figure among the Gaelic missionary monks who, some of his advocates claim, introduced Christianity to the Kingdom of the Picts during the Early Medieval Period. He […]

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In the Liturgical Calendar, today is the Feast of St Nicholas. St Nicholas (Naomh Nioclás) is believed to have been buried in Newtown Jerpoint in Kilkenny some 800 years ago.

According to local Irish legend, St Nicholas is buried in Co Kilkenny. The grave is said to be in the ruined Church of St Nicholas, Jerpoint. The church is all that remains of the medieval village, Newtown Jerpoint, that fell to ruin by the 17th century. The village was surrounded by the Cistercian Jerpoint Abbey, […]

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#OTD in 1921 – The Anglo-Irish Treaty is signed, ending the Irish War of Independence.

“Think, what have I got for Ireland? Something she has wanted these past 700 years. Will anyone be satisfied at the bargain? Will anyone? I tell you this, I have signed my death warrant. I thought at the time how odd, how ridiculous —a bullet may just as well have done the job five years […]

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