#OTD in 1764 – United Irishman, William Sampson is born the son of a Presbyterian clergyman in Derry.

William Sampson was one of many non-Catholics who were disturbed by the level of discrimination and violence against members of the Catholic faith. Anticipating an insurrection in March 1798, as a lawyer, Sampson defended United Irishmen for anti-British actions and was imprisoned, disbarred, and banished from Ireland without trial for his courtroom and literary activities. After eight […]

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#OTD in 1887 – Birth of trade unionist and revolutionary, Winifred Carney, in Bangor, Co Down.

Close to the entrance of Milltown Cemetery is a limestone monument which marks the grave of a remarkable woman – Maria Winifred Carney. Winnie was born in Bangor, Co Down, but moved to the Falls Road in Belfast at an early age. She was born into a fairly comfortable family, and was one of seven […]

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#OTD in 1946 – Birth of film and stage actor, Stephen Rea (born Graham Rea) in Belfast.

Stephen Rea has appeared in films such as V for Vendetta, The Butcher Boy, This Is My Father, Evelyn, Michael Collins, Interview with the Vampire and Breakfast on Pluto. Rea was nominated for an Academy Award for his lead performance as Fergus in the 1992 film The Crying Game. He has had important roles in […]

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#OTD in 1641 – Rory O’More, Lord Maguire and Sir Pheilim O’Neill initiate a major revolt in Armagh.

The Irish Uprising of 1641 was a long-term result of the “plantation” policy of Tudor and Stuart monarchs under which Ireland was aggressively colonised by Protestant settlers from England and Scotland. From the mid-16th century, Irish landowners were dispossessed to make way for the settlers and a vicious cycle developed whereby rebellion against the English […]

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#OTD in 1968 – Civil Rights March in Derry, considered by many as the start date of ‘The Troubles’.

The protest movements that broke out across the western world in 1968 had captured the imagination of many people in the north of Ireland, leading to the creation of a local civil rights movement that began a series of marches and protests calling for greater equality for the Catholic/nationalist minority. The civil rights movement formed […]

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#OTD in 2014 – Death of loyalist politician and Protestant religious leader, Ian Paisley.

The career of the Rev Ian Paisley, who has died aged 88, arced from origins as fiery preacher and street agitator, through decades when his harassment helped undermine mainstream unionist leaders who attempted compromise with nationalists. But aged 81 he won praise inside and outside Ireland and made global headlines for sharing the top post […]

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#OTD in 1907 – A memorial arch is dedicated at St Stephens Green Dublin in honour of the Irish soldiers who died fighting for “King and country” in the Boer war.

Five years on from the war, the Fusiliers’ Arch was unveiled in the heart of Dublin, as a testament to the actions of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers in South Africa. While the war ended in a British victory, it was a bloody and costly one. In financial terms, a war that would supposedly be over […]

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#OTD in 1929 – Death of historian and nationalist, Alice Stopford Green, in Dublin.

Born Alice Sophia Amelia Stopford in Kells, Co Meath, she lived in London where she met the historian John Richard Green. They were married in Chester on 14 June 1877. He died in 1883. John Morley published her first historical work Henry II in 1888. In the 1890s she became interested in Irish history and […]

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#OTD in 1848 – The tricolour national flag of Ireland was presented to the public for the first time by Thomas Francis Meagher and the Young Ireland Party, in Dublin.

In 1848, Thomas Meagher and William Smith O’Brien went to France to study revolutionary events, and returned to Ireland with the new Flag of Ireland, a tricolour of green, white and orange made and given to them by French women sympathetic to the Irish cause. The acquisition of the flag is commemorated at the 1848 […]

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#OTD in 1778 – Robert Emmet, one of Ireland’s most famous revolutionaries, is born in Dublin.

O! BREATHE not his name! let it sleep in the shade, Where cold and unhonoured his relics are laid; Sad, silent, and dark be the tears that we shed, As the night dew that falls on the grave o’er his head. But the night dew that falls, though in silence it weeps, Shall brighten with […]

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