1916 Easter Rising: Desmond FitzGerald and The German Prince

During the occupation of the GPO during the 1916 Rising, Desmond FitzGerald commented ‘I was bemused by the general attitude of security’. At the height of the battle he was in the midst of the conflagration that shook the GPO garrison. Ever the sceptic, Desmond FitzGerald, who was in charge of rations, mentions in his […]

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#OTD in 1899 – First issue of Gaelic League’s An Claidheamh Soluis is published.

An Claidheamh Soluis (The Sword of Light) was an Irish nationalist newspaper published in the early 20th century by Conradh na Gaeilge (The Gaelic League).   Eoin MacNeill was its first editor, overseeing its publication from 1899 to 1901. In 1900 the League took control of the weekly bilingual paper Fáinne an Lae, when its […]

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#OTD in 1594 – English expedition sets out from Galway to kill pirate queen, Gráinne Ní Mháille (Grace O’Malley).

England used Galway as a launching pad for capturing the Pirate Queen, Gráinne Ní Mháille — and failed miserably. Gráinne Ní Mháille was chieftain of the Ó Máille clan in the west of Ireland, following in the footsteps of her father Eoghan Dubhdara Ó Máille. Commonly known as Gráinne Mhaol (anglicised as Granuaile) in Irish […]

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#OTD in 1918 – Chairman of the Irish Parliamentary Party, John Redmond dies of heart failure, in Co Wexford.

‘As a Nationalist, I do not regard as entirely palatable the idea that forever and a day Ireland’s voice should be excluded from the councils of an empire which the genius and valour of her sons have done so much to build up and of which she is to remain.’ –John Redmond Born in Kilrane, […]

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#OTD in 1848 – John Mitchel publishes first United Irishmen.

John Mitchel was one of the great propagandists of his day, although the causes he espoused often placed him on the wrong side, he was loved and loathed in equal measure. He was one of the few Irishmen to have incurred the wrath of the British government and of the Federal administration of the USA. […]

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#OTD in 1960 – The Gael-Linn film ‘Mise Éire – I am Ireland’, based on the poem by Pádraig Pearse, with music by Seán Ó Riada, has its first public showing.

George Morrison’s film Mise Éire (‘I am Ireland’) – based on the poem by Pádraig Pearse – has held an iconic status in Irish cultural history since its release in 1960. Seán Ó Riada’s orchestral score drew heavily from Irish traditional sources and has regularly been available ever since its first release in 1960. Mise […]

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#OTD in 1878 – Thomas MacDonagh, patriot, poet, critic and scholar, is born in Cloughjordan, Co Tipperary.

‘Lament for Thomas MacDonagh’ (Francis Ledwidge) ‘He shall not hear the bittern cry In the wild sky where he is lain, Nor voices of the sweeter birds Above the wailing of the rain… But when the Dark Cow leaves the moor And pastures poor with greedy weeds, Perhaps he’ll hear her low at morn, Lifting […]

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#OTD in 1877 – Birth of the leader of the alcohol free 1916 Rising, Canon Patrick Murphy, in Whitehill, Kilmore, Co Wexford.

Canon Patrick Murphy was born in Whitehill, Kilmore, Co Wexford. Murphy is a little known figure in Irish history, but he provided a truly fascinating oral account of the 1916 Rising in Enniscorthy in an interview in 1955. ‘Commandant Galligan arrived from Dublin with instructions from James Connolly that the Enniscorthy Battalion of the Irish […]

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#OTD in 1997 – Death of Lily Kempson, aged 99, the last surviving participant in the Easter Rising.

Born in Co Wicklow, Lily Kempson, trade union activist, lecturer, leader, as well as a rebel in the Irish Citizen Army, was the last surviving member of the Easter Rising of 1916. Lily and her family moved to Dublin when she was young. She lived in poverty: eight members of her family lived in two […]

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#OTD in 1916 – James Connolly vanished for a three-day meeting with the IRB military council where they agreed upon joint plans for an insurrection on Easter Sunday.

A secret meeting between Pádraig Pearse and James Connolly held over three days from 19 January 1916, where the outcome is that Connolly commits the Irish Citizen Army to join with the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) and the date for the Rising is agreed. In early January 1916, and in high anxiety that Dublin Castle would […]

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