#OTD in 1964 – Death of Brendan Behan, an Irish poet, short story writer, novelist, and playwright who wrote in both Irish and English.

He was also a committed Irish Republican and a volunteer in the Irish Republican Army. He died in Meath hospital after reportedly telling a nun looking after him: ‘Ah, bless you, Sister, may all your sons be bishops’. Brendan Behan was born in Dublin into a republican family, and became a member of the IRA’s youth […]

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#OTD in 1824 – Birth of poet, William Allingham, in Ballyshannon, Co Donegal.

William Allingham was a poet, diarist and editor. He wrote several volumes of lyric verse, and his poem ‘The Faeries’ was much anthologised; but he is better known for his posthumously published Diary, in which he records his lively encounters with Tennyson, Carlyle and other writers and artists. His wife, Helen Allingham, was a well-known watercolourist and […]

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#OTD in 1861 – Birth of poet and songwriter, Patrick McCall, in Dublin.

Known mostly as the author of lyrics for popular ballads: ‘Follow me up to Carlow’, “The Boys of Wexford”, ‘Boolavogue’ and ‘Kelly the Boy from Killanne’. He was assisted in putting the Wexford ballads, dealing with the 1798 Rising, to music by Arthur Warren Darley using traditional Irish airs. His surname is one of the […]

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‘The Fairies’ by William Allingham

‘The Fairies’ by William Allingham Up the airy mountain, Down the rushy glen, We daren’t go a-hunting For fear of little men; Wee folk, good folk, Trooping all together; Green jacket, red cap, And white owl’s feather! Down along the rocky shore Some make their home, They live on crispy pancakes Of yellow tide-foam; Some […]

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#OTD in 1880 – Birth of economist, journalist, barrister, writer, poet, soldier and Home Rule politician, Tom Kettle, in Artane, Co Dublin.

Tom Kettle was a journalist, barrister, writer, poet, soldier, economist and Home Rule politician. As a member of the Irish Parliamentary Party, he was Member of Parliament (MP) for East Tyrone from 1906 to 1910 at Westminster. He joined the Irish Volunteers in 1913, then on the outbreak of World War I in 1914 enlisted […]

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#OTD in 1820 – Death of physician, poet, educator and political radical, William Drennan, one of the chief architects of the Society of United Irishmen.

William Drennan’s poetic output included some powerful and moving pieces. He is chiefly remembered today for “Erin” written in 1800, in which he penned the first reference in print to Ireland as “The Emerald Isle”: “Nor one feeling of vengeance presume to defile The cause, or the men, of the Emerald Isle.” Drennan came to […]

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‘Local Hero’ © Joe Canning 2019. All Rights Reserved.

‘Local Hero’ © Joe Canning 2019. All Rights Reserved. Joe Canning ‘ A look at Ireland in verse’   In our street there’s a chap I can’t mention, A character famed in the town, Sure he’s partial to selling the poitín, And many’s a flagon I downed. It’s brewed from his crop on the mountain, […]

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