#OTD in 1884/1920 – Tomás MacCurtain (born in Cork City), revolutionary and Lord Mayor of Cork is both born and assassinated on this date.

On his 36th birthday, Sinn Féin Lord Mayor of Cork Tomás Mac Curtain was shot dead in front of his wife and son by a group of men with blackened faces, who were found to be members of the RIC by the official inquest into the event. Mac Curtain’s house in the city’s Blackpool area, […]

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#OTD in 1856 – Birth of Sir John Lavery, an Irish painter best known for his portraits, in Belfast.

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 1919 – Sinn Fein member, Robert Barton, escapes from Mountjoy Jail, courtesy of some excellent planning by Michael Collins which involved smuggling a file into the prison.

Robert Barton was born in Co Wicklow into a wealthy Irish Protestant land-owning family; namely of Glendalough House. He was the double first cousin of and close friend of Robert Erskine Childers and would later be best man at the wedding of Robert Erskine Childers and Molly Osgood. He became an officer in the Royal […]

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#OTD in 1922 – Michael Collins addressed a mass meeting at the Grand Parade in Co Cork.

This British Pathe video shows Michael Collins addressing a large gathering about the Anglo-Irish Treaty before it gets broken up by several men firing guns in the crowd, however, Collins refused to be frightened by the opponents’ tactics. Collins can be seen on a platform above the crowd as they wave hats and handkerchiefs at […]

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An Intelligence Card from the Irish War of Independence

Is this index card taken from a British Intelligence file during the War of Independence? Is it the real thing? We have an ordinary index card, 6 inches by 4 inches, brown and fragile with age, a rough photograph, cropped from something larger, a description, not very accurate, and the typed legend of remarks, intended […]

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#OTD in 1921 – Dáil Éireann debated, resolved and finally on 11 March declared war on the British administration.

In January 1921, at his first Dáil meeting after his return to a country gripped by the War of Independence, de Valera introduced a motion calling on the IRA to desist from ambushes and other tactics that were allowing the British to successfully portray it as a terrorist group, and to take on the British […]

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#OTD in 1898 – Birth of soldier and film producer, Emmet Dalton (he also died on 4 March 1978).

Dalton served in the British Army in the First World War, reaching the rank of Major. However, on his return to Ireland he became one of the senior figures in the Dublin Brigade of the guerrilla IRA which fought against British rule in Ireland. He was a close associate of Michael Collins and travelled separately […]

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#OTD in 1922 – Michael Collins secretly authorised the formation of a specially paid unit of seventy IRA volunteers, known as the Belfast City Guard, to protect districts from loyalist attack.

In Northern Ireland there were continual breaches of the Truce by ‘unauthorised loyalist paramilitary forces’. The predominantly Protestant, Unionists government of Northern Ireland supported polices which discriminated against Catholics in which, along with violence against Catholics, led many to suggest the presence of an agenda by an Anglo-ascendancy to drive those of indigenous Irish descent […]

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#OTD in 1922 – An Garda Síochána – Guardians of the Peace of Ireland – is founded.

Prior to the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty of December 1921, Ireland was policed by the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) and Dublin Metropolitan Police. Needless to say, due to their loyalty to the old British regime and their association with the Auxilliaries and Black and Tans, the RIC was totally unacceptable to the vast majority […]

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#OTD in 1921 – Three IRA prisoners Ernie O’Malley, Frank Teeling and Simon Donnelly escape from Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin.

Ernie O’Malley, Frank Teeling and Simon Donnelly escaped from Kilmainham Gaol. The escape was carried out under the orders of Michael Collins, and he had specific reasons for arranging the escape of each of the men. Simon Donnelly had only been in the prison for four days, but he was well-known to the authorities and […]

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