‘Patient Hero’ © Joe Canning 2018. All Rights Reserved. 

‘Patient Hero’ © Joe Canning 2018. All Rights Reserved.  I speak of Robert Emmet And the words he had to say Before the black hat sent him To an unknown place in clay The words that Gael and hero spoke To those that took his life, To those who broke the heart of Sarah. She […]

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#OTD in 1754 – Birth of Dr. William Drennan in Belfast; physician, poet, educationalist political radical and 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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#OTD in 1870 – Birth of Eva Gore-Booth, poet, trade unionist and feminist, on the Lissadell Estate in Co Sligo.

Eva Selina Laura Gore-Booth was an Irish poet and dramatist, and a committed suffragist, social worker and labour activist. She was born at Lissadell House, Co Sligo, the younger sister of Constance Gore-Booth, later known as the Countess Markievicz. Both she and Constance, who later became a prominent Irish revolutionary, reacted against their privileged background […]

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#OTD in 1897 – Oscar Wilde is released from prison and goes to live in France, where he writes his famous poem, “The Ballad of Reading Gaol”.

The Ballad of Reading Gaol is a poem by Oscar Wilde, written in exile either in Bernevas-Le-Grand or in Dieppe, France, after his release from Reading Gaol. Wilde had been incarcerated in Reading, after being convicted of homosexual offences in 1895 and sentenced to two years’ hard labour in prison. During his imprisonment, on Saturday […]

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#OTD in 1871 – Birth of poet and playwright, John Millington Synge, in Dublin.

Birth of Irish playwright, poet and author John Millington Synge in Rathfarnham, Co Dublin. Synge was one of the leading lights of what was known as the Irish Literary Revival and along with William Butler Yeats and Lady Gregory, founding members of the Abbey Theatre. His most famous work is The Playboy of the Western […]

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#OTD in 1906 – Birth of playwright, Samuel Beckett, in Foxrock, Co Dublin.

“We are all born mad. Some remain so.” –Samuel Beckett An Irish avant-garde novelist, playwright, theatre director, and poet, who lived in Paris for most of his adult life and wrote in both English and French. Beckett is widely regarded as among the most influential writers of the 20th century. During the 1930s and 1940s […]

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#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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