#OTD in 1980 – Guiseppe Conlon dies an innocent man in an English prison.

Guiseppe Conlon was arrested while travelling to London from Belfast to help his son, Gerry Conlon. Guiseppe had one lung, emphysema, and had just undergone chemotherapy. He died in prison five years later. On 5 October 1974 the Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA) targeted Guildford, Surrey, because it was situated close to a number of […]

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Dame Alice Kyteler | Kilkenny’s Medieval Witch

Dame Alice Kyteler was born at Kyteler’s House, Kilkenny in 1280 to wealthy Norman parents. Forty-four years later, in 1324, she fled to England to escape being burned as a witch and in July of that year, her property, including Kytelers Inn was confiscated. In the intervening years Dame Alice had married four times, had […]

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#OTD in 1861 – Death of dancer and courtesan, Lola Montez (Marie Gilbert), in New York. She was born in Grange, Co Sligo.

Famous both for her self-created ‘Spider Dance’, as well as being the inspiration for the expression, ‘Whatever Lola wants, Lola gets.’ Barry Manilow’s 1978 smash hit “Copacabana” tells the story of: ‘Lola, she was a showgirl, with yellow feathers in her hair and a dress cut down to there”. Girlfriend of bartender Tony at the […]

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#OTD in 1871 – Alexander Sullivan, barrister and last King’s Serjeant of Ireland, is born in Dublin; best known as the leading counsel for the defence in the 1916 treason trial of Roger Casement.

Best known as the leading counsel for the defence in the 1916 treason trial of Roger Casement. Sullivan failed to win the case and Casement was sentenced to death. After Roger Casement’s capture on Banna Strand he was brought to London. During his interrogation on Easter Monday, news of the Rising filtered through, and by […]

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#OTD in 1952 – An Aer Lingus aeroplane, the St Kevin, crashes in Wales with the loss of 23 lives. It is the airline’s second fatal crash.

A plane crash 68 years ago claimed the lives of 23 people, and remains the worst incident of its kind to take place in North Wales. The Aer Lingus C47 Dakota had been travelling from Northolt Aerodrome in London to Dublin on the night of 10 January 1952 when it crashed into Cwm Edno on the […]

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#OTD in 1870 – Philanthropist and founder and director of homes for poor children, Thomas Barnardo, founded a boys’ orphanage at Stepney Causeway, in London.

Thomas John Barnardo was an Irish philanthropist and founder and director of homes for poor children. From the foundation of the first Barnardo’s home in 1867 to the date of Barnardo’s death, nearly 60,000 children had been taken in.   Barnardo was born in Dublin in 1845. In the 1860s, Barnardo opened a school in […]

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#OTD in 1877 – Irish nationalist and Land League organiser, Michael Davitt, was released from Dartmoor Prison.

“To all my friends I leave kind thoughts, to my enemies the fullest possible forgiveness and to Ireland the undying prayer for absolute freedom and independence, which it was my life’s ambition to try and obtain for her”. –Extract from Michael Davitt’s Will Michael Davitt was involved in a failed raid on Chester Castle to […]

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#OTD in 2000 – A boating accident in Mexico claims the life of singer Kirsty MacColl.

‘The full details of Kirsty’s injuries are too awful for me to describe. Apparently the paramedic threw up on arriving at the scene. But two boys have to live with those last memories of their mother for the rest of their lives.’ –Jean MacColl Kirsty MacColl, well-known female recording artist, was scuba diving in Mexico […]

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#OTD in 1867 – A bomb was planted at Clerkenwell gaol, in London, in an attempt to free Irish Fenian prisoners, notably Richard Burke.

The Fenians simply wheeled a barrel of gunpowder up to the wall of the facility when they expected the inmates to be at exercise in the adjacent yard. The explosion blasted a 60-foot gap in the wall; the inward-collapsing rubble might easily have been the death rather than the salvation of the prospective beneficiaries, except […]

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#OTD in Irish History – 12 December:

In the Liturgical Calendar, today is the Feast Day of Saint Finnian of Clonard (Cluain Eraird) also Finian, Fionán or Fionnán; or Vennianus and Vinniaus in its Latinised form (470–549). He was one of the early Irish monastic saints, who founded Clonard Abbey in modern-day Co Meath. The Twelve Apostles of Ireland studied under him. […]

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