#OTD in 1851 – Birth of American financier, Thomas Fortune Ryan, in Charlottesville, Virginia, with ancestry to Protestant Anglo-Irish settlers in the 17th century.

Thomas Fortune Ryan was born near Lovingston, a small Nelson County community south of Charlottesville, Virginia. Despite certain myths regarding his background, Ryan was neither orphaned nor penniless as a youth and he traced his ancestry to Protestant Anglo-Irish settlers in the 17th century. At age 17, Ryan perceived a lack of economic opportunity in […]

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#OTD in 2017 – While on a 16 day State visit to Australia, President Michael D. Higgins visited Fremantle Prison near Perth, Australia, where 62 Irish prisoners were held for their part in the Fenian Rising of 1867.

“Most of the evidence on which the men were convicted related to meetings with me. I felt that I, more than any other man then living, ought to do my utmost for these Fenian soldiers.” —John Devoy, writing about his plan to rescue the Fremantle Six An American whaling ship brought together a crew with […]

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#OTD in 1928 – The last active Fenian, John Devoy, dies in Atlantic City, NJ.

Fenian, John Devoy, whom the London Times called ‘the most dangerous enemy of this country Ireland has produced since Wolfe Tone’. John Devoy was born in Kill, Co Kildare, on the 3 September 1842. He worked for a short time as a clerk before joining the Fenian organisation. In 1861 Devoy travelled to France where […]

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#OTD in Irish History – 29 September:

Old Michaelmas Day – Celtic holiday. According to an old legend, blackberries should not be picked after this date. This is because, so folklore goes, Satan was banished from Heaven on this day, fell into a blackberry bush and cursed the brambles as he fell into them. Michaelmas, the Feast of St Michael the Archangel […]

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#OTD in 1831 – Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa is born in Rosscarbery, Co Cork.

Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa was born in a small village called Reenascreena near Rosscarbery, Co Cork. He was the son of a tenant farmer, Denis O’Donovan and his wife Nellie O’Driscoll. While a young boy, the failure of the main food crop of the Irish population which was the potato, in successive years between 1845 and […]

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#OTD in 1842 – Birth of journalist and leading member of the Fenians, John Devoy in Kill, Co Kildare.

‘The most dangerous enemy of this country [Britain] Ireland has produced since Wolfe Tone’. –The London Times John Devoy was born in Kill, Co Kildare in 1842 just prior to The Great Hunger (1845-1852) which saw approximately one million Irish starve to death and another million emigrate to America and elsewhere. After Irish defeats by […]

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#OTD in Irish History – 3 September:

In the Liturgical calendar, it is the Feast day of St McNisse, baptised by St Patrick, and later consecrated him the first abbot-bishop of Kells, which became the diocese of Connor. 1649 – The Siege of Drogheda begins. 1654 – The first Protectorate parliament meets; Ireland is represented by 30 members. 1658 – Nine years […]

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#OTD in 1876 – The ship Catalpa arrives in the U.S. with Irish Fenian prisoners rescued from Australia.

The “Fremantle Six” were Irish political prisoners who made an audacious escape from the notorious British prison in West Australia aboard the U.S. whaling ship “Catalpa” in 1876. Captain Anthony and the Catalpa arrive at Rockingham beach near Fremantle to rendezvous with the escaped prisoners; after a fierce confrontation with the Georgette, an armed British […]

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#OTD in 1890 – Death of nationalist, poet and novelist, John Boyle O’Reilly.

“The world is large when its weary leagues two loving hearts divide, “But the world is small when your enemy is loose on the other side.” –John Boyle O’Reilly As a youth in Ireland he was a member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, for which crime he was transported to Western Australia. After escaping to […]

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