#OTD in 1982 – Five men charged with conspiring to smuggle arms to the IRA in 1981 were acquitted in Federal Court in Brooklyn, NY.

Five men charged with conspiring to export arms to the Irish Republican Army were acquitted in Federal Court in Brooklyn, NY, apparently because a jury believed defence contentions that the Central Intelligence Agency had sanctioned their gun-running operation. No evidence directly linking the CIA to the operation was offered at the seven-week trial, and denials […]

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#OTD in 1997 – All-Ireland champions Kerry play Cavan at Downing Stadium, Randall’s Island, NY in a 50th anniversary celebration of the only time the All-Ireland took place abroad.

The 1947 All-Ireland Football Final between Kerry and Cavan was played at the Polo Grounds in New York. The 50th anniversary of the game was marked when the same two teams played their National League fixture at Downing’s Stadium in New York. A crowd of 8,000 turned out for a unique Irish sporting occasion. Downing […]

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#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. […]

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#OTD in 1947 – All-Ireland Football Final played at the Polo Grounds, New York.

The 1947 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final was the sixtieth All-Ireland Final and the deciding match of the 1947 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship, an inter-county Gaelic football tournament for the top teams in Ireland. For the first and only time, the final was played outside Ireland, at the Polo Grounds in New York City, to […]

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Don’t Go Far … The Young Boys from Dublin Who Ran Away to New York

It was August 1985 and two boys from Darndale, Dublin, aged 10 and 13, hop on a DART train for a ride that will take them a few thousand miles beyond their stop. Keith and Noel were friends. They had a knack for bunking off. One day they hopped on a Dart and skipped out […]

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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 1975 – Death of Éamon de Valera from pneumonia and heart failure, while in Linden Convalescent Home, Blackrock, Co Dublin, aged 92.

Éamon de Valera was a man loved by his supporters but distrusted and hated by those who blamed him for the Irish civil war. (That latter sentence could equally apply to Michael Collins from the opposite side of the political divide.) Although born in Brooklyn, New York, “Dev” had an almost mystical and spiritual belief […]

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#OTD in 1930 – Birth of Frank McCourt in Brooklyn, NY. He was an American-Irish teacher and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, best known as the author of Angela’s Ashes.

Writer and educator Francis “Frank” McCourt was born on 19 August 1930, in Brooklyn, New York, as the eldest of seven children. McCourt’s father, Malachy, worked odd jobs while his mother, Angela, worked to raise the children. The family frequently struggled to make ends meet and, after a long stint of unemployment during the Depression, […]

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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 1861 – The Irish Brigade fights at the First Battle of Bull Run under General Michael Corcoran from Co Sligo.

General Michael Corcoran led the 69th New York Militia, Irish Brigade, into action at the First Battle of Bull Run and was taken prisoner. Corcoran was one of the founders of the Fenian Brotherhood in America. While in jail, Corcoran wrote, “One half of my heart is Erin’s, and the other half is America’s. God […]

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