#OTD in 1846 – Michael Davitt, known universally as ‘The Father of the Land League’, was born in Straid, Co Mayo.

Michael Davitt founded the Irish Land League in 1879, a non-violent action group designed to help Irish tenant farmers who effectively had no rights in 19th century Ireland. The objectives of the Land League were “to bring out a reduction of rack-rents; second, to facilitate the obtaining of the ownership of the soil by the […]

Read More

#OTD in 1907 – Death of separatist and a leading Fenian, John O’Leary.

O’Leary studied both law and medicine but did not take a degree and for his involvement in the Irish Republican Brotherhood he was imprisoned in England during the nineteenth century.   Born in Tipperary town, the Catholic O’Leary was educated at the local Protestant Grammar School, The Abbey School, and later the Catholic Carlow College. […]

Read More

#OTD in 1881 – Irish Land League organiser, Michael Davitt, is arrested again for his outspoken speeches when he had accused chief secretary of Ireland W. E. Forster of ‘infamous lying’.

Davitt’s ticket of leave was revoked and he was sent to Portland jail. Parnell protested loudly in the House of Commons and the Irish members protested so strongly that they were ejected from the House. The government passed the Irish Coercion Bill. On Gladstone’s return to office in 1880, William Edward Forster was made Chief […]

Read More

#OTD in Irish History – 3 February:

1537 – Thomas FitzGerald, 10th Earl of Kildare, also known as Silken Thomas, and five of his uncles are executed at Tyburn. Silken Thomas’s revolt caused Henry to pay more attention to Irish matters, and was a factor in the creation of the Kingdom of Ireland in 1542. In particular the powers of the lords […]

Read More

#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 […]

Read More

#OTD in Irish History – 19 December:

1751 – The Irish Parliament authorises application of a revenue surplus to the reduction of the national debt which causes a dispute between the House of Commons and the Government. 1813 – Thomas Andrews, scientist and research chemist, is born in Belfast. 1864 – Birth of William Plunket in Dublin. He was Governor of New […]

Read More

#OTD in 1892 – Death of Patrick Sarsfield Gilmore.

Patrick Sarsfield Gilmore served as a musician and stretcher-bearer in the 24th Massachusetts Infantry during the American Civil War. His incredible post-army musical career includes penning “When Johnny Comes Marching Home”, the tune he took from an old Irish antiwar folk song, “Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye”, that was published under the name Louis Lambert. […]

Read More

#OTD in 1851 – Birth of nationalist politician, John Dillon, in Blackrock, Co Dublin.

John Dillon served as a Member of Parliament (MP) for over 35 years and was the last leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party. By political disposition Dillon was an advocate of Irish nationalism, originally a follower of Charles Stewart Parnell, supporting land reform and Irish Home Rule. He became a leading land reform agitator as […]

Read More

#OTD in 1870 – Michael Davitt is sentenced to 15 years penal servitude for gun-running.

The Father of the Land League and pioneer of social justice, Michael Davitt, was born in Straide, Co Mayo, on 25 March 1846 during An Gorta Mór. When Michael was six years old, his parents, Martin and Sabina Davitt, were evicted and their cottage was burnt down. Eventually, they ended up in Haslingden, near Manchester. […]

Read More

#OTD in 1906 – Death of Michael Davitt, “Father” of the Irish Land League.

Michael Davitt was born at the height of the Great Huger in Straide, Co Mayo. At four, his family was evicted and forced to emigrate to England. He joined the Fenians in 1865, became organising secretary and was arrested in 1870 for arms smuggling. Released after seven years, he returned to Co Mayo as a […]

Read More