#OTD in 1972 – In what is to become known as Bloody Sunday, the British Army kills 13 civil rights demonstrators in the Bogside district of Derry. A 14th marcher later dies of his injuries.

Thirteen people were shot and killed when British paratroopers opened fire on a crowd of civilians in Derry. Fourteen others were wounded, one later died. The marchers had been campaigning for equal rights such as one man, one vote. Despite initial attempts by British authorities to justify the shootings including a rushed report by Lord […]

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#OTD in 1794 – Archibald Hamilton Rowan, United Irishman, is tried on charges of distributing seditious paper.

Archibald Hamilton Rowan, a distinguished United Irishman, was born in London, 12th May 1757; his father, Gawen Hamilton of Killyleagh, was a gentleman of large landed property in Ireland, whose ancestors came over in James I.’s reign. Educated at Westminster and Cambridge, he formed aristocratic acquaintances, travelled on the Continent, and when his means ran […]

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#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 1941 – Death of painter, Sir John Lavery, in Kilkenny.

John Lavery was born in Belfast, the son of a wine and spirit merchant, but was orphaned at the age of three and for a number of unsettled years wandered between Moira, Magheralin, Saltcoats, Ayrshire and Glasgow. Finally he started working by touching up photographic negatives in Glasgow and attended evening classes at the Haldane […]

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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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