#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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#OTD in 1852 – Death of popular poet and editor of Irish Melodies, Thomas Moore, who was born in Dublin.

Poet, singer, entertainer and songwriter, Thomas Moore, dies at the age of 72. Best remembered for the lyrics of ‘The Minstrel Boy’ and ‘The Last Rose of Summer’. He was responsible, with John Murray, for burning Lord Byron’s memoirs after his death. In his lifetime he was often referred to as ‘Anacreon Moore’. Moore was […]

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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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#OTD in 1896 – Lady Jane Wilde (Speranza), poet, nationalist and the mother of Oscar, dies in London.

Jane Francesca Agnes, later Lady Wilde and mother of Oscar dies in London. She became famous in her own right as a writer and poet under the name of ‘Speranza.’ Speranza was an ardent nationalist in addition to being a staunch feminist. Her most famous poem is probably: ‘The Famine Year’. Weary men, what reap […]

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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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#OTD in 1979 – Death of Eileen Shanahan – one of the small number of Irish women poets.

Eileen Shanahan (1901-1979) was born in Dublin. She worked as a secretary at the League of Nations in Geneva from 1929 until the invasion of France in 1940.  Although she published widely in magazines and anthologies, she never published a collection of her poems during her lifetime and her work remains uncollected. The Three Children […]

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‘The Plantation of Ulster’ © Aine Kelly 2016. All Rights Reserved.

‘The Plantation of Ulster’ © Aine Kelly 2016. All Rights Reserved. We stood and watched the ships as they sailed into the bay, little realising that they’d come to enslave us and take our homes and lands away. I held my newborn baby tight, and stood in defiance of that fearsome sight, little knowing that […]

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‘Dedication’ by Patrick MacGill – The Navvy Poet

‘Dedication’ by Patrick MacGill –The Navvy Poet I speak with a proud tongue of the people who were And the people who are, The worthy of Ardara, the Rosses and Inishkeel, My kindred– The people of the hills and the dark-haired passes My neighbours on the lift of the brae, In the lap of the […]

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