#OTD in 2009 – Death of author, Frank McCourt, in New York.

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 1863 – Large numbers of Irish immigrants are involved in Draft Riots in New York City.

On the morning of 13th July 1863, thousands of mostly Irish-immigrant workers in Manhattan erupted in what’s still the deadliest rioting in American history. Mobs rampaged through most of the week in a fury of savage murder, arson and looting. They hung African-American men from lampposts and dragged their mutilated bodies through the streets. They […]

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The Great Hunger Memorial at Macy Park in Ardsley, New York

The Great Hunger Memorial at Macy Park in Ardsley, New York was unveiled on 26 June 2001 to commemorate the suffering of millions of Irish who died or were forced to leave lreland. The monument’s sculptor, Eamonn O’Doherty of Ireland, describes the memorial as comprising three related elements. The first represents five members of an […]

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#OTD in 1994 – Birth of actress, Saoirse Ronan in the Bronx, New York.

Saoirse Una Ronan was born in The Bronx, New York, to Irish parents, Monica Ronan née Brennan and actor, Paul Ronan. When Saoirse was three, the family moved back to Dublin. Saoirse grew up in Dublin and briefly in Co Carlow before moving back to Dublin with her parents. Saoirse made her first TV appearance with a […]

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#OTD in 1838 – The Sirius beat the much bigger and faster Great Western – the largest passenger ship in the world.

Sirius was a side-wheel wooden-hulled steamship built in 1837 for the London-Cork route operated by the Saint George Steam Packet Company. The next year, she opened transatlantic steam passenger service when she was chartered for two voyages by the British and American Steam Navigation Company. By arriving in New York a day ahead of the […]

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#OTD in 1881 – Birth of Martin John Sheridan. He was ‘one of the greatest athletes [the United States] has ever known’ according to his obituary in the New York Times.

Martin John Sheridan was ‘one of the greatest athletes the United States has ever known’ according to his obituary in the New York Times. He was born in Bohola, Co Mayo, and died in St Vincent’s Hospital in Manhattan, New York, the day before his 37th birthday, a very early casualty of the 1918 flu […]

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#OTD in 1915 – Typhoid Mary, the first healthy carrier of the disease ever identified in the United States, is put in quarantine, where she would remain for the rest of her life.

Mary Mallon was born in 1869 in Cookstown, Co Tyrone. She emigrated from Ireland to the United States in 1884. An Irish immigrant cook, Mallon became the focus of one of the best-known episodes in the history of communicable disease when U.S. health officials identified her as a healthy carrier of the organism causing typhoid […]

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#OTD in 1921 – Clogheen Ambush: Six IRA men from the 1st Battalion, Cork No.1 Brigade are killed when they are surrounded in a barn in Clogheen by the British Army.

Six IRA men from the 1st Battalion, Cork No. 1 Brigade are massacred when they are surrounded in a barn in Clogheen by the British Army. Their whereabouts may have been provided to army intelligence by a fellow IRA member who broke under questioning. In April 1922, the IRA shot a Patrick O’Connor in New […]

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#OTD in 1839 – John B. Yeats, painter and father of William Butler and Jack B. Yeats, was born in Tullylish, Co Down.

He is probably best known for his portrait of the young William Butler Yeats which is one of a number of his portraits of Irishmen and women in the Yeats museum in the National Gallery of Ireland. His portrait of John O’Leary (1904) is considered his masterpiece (Raymond Keaveney 2002).   His parents were William […]

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#OTD in 1916 – Birth of John Herbert ‘Jackie’ Gleason in Brooklyn, NY.

‘It wasn’t an act of God, it was an act of Guinness’. –Jackie Gleason on Brendan Behan Gleason, nicknamed ‘The Great One’, was known for his brash visual and verbal comedy style. His parents were Mae ‘Maisie’ (née Kelly), from Farranree, Co Cork, and Herbert Walton ‘Herb’ Gleason, an Irish-American insurance auditor. He was in […]

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