The Banshee

As we move into the darkest months of the year, it seems fitting to visit a spectre as ancient as life itself – the Banshee. A banshee is a female spirit in Irish mythology who heralds the death of a family member, usually by shrieking or keening. Her name is connected to the mythologically-important tumuli […]

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#OTD in 1316 – Battle of Athenry | Irish rising in support of Edward the Bruce of Scotland.

Many of the men of Erin all, around the great plain— Many sons of kings, whom I name not, were slain in the great defeat: Sorrowful to my heart is the conflict of the host of Midhe and Mumha. On the day of St Laurence the martyr these deeds were committed; and Fedlim was twenty-three […]

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Pobull Fhinn, Outer Hebrides, Scotland

Pobull Fhinn is a stone circle on the Isle of North Uist in the Outer Hebrides. The modern standard spelling would be “Poball Fhinn” – Fionn’s people. The stones were probably named after the legendary hero Fionn mac Cumhaill. The stones are also known as “Sòrnach Coir’ Fhinn,” or “the fireplace of Fionn’s cauldron” and […]

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#OTD in 1608 – Preparations commence for the plantation of six Ulster counties (Armagh, Cavan, Coleraine, Donegal, Fermanagh and Tyrone).

The Plantation of Ulster was presented to James I as a joint “British”, or English and Scottish, venture to ‘pacify’ and ‘civilise’ Ulster, with at least half the settlers to be Scots. James had been King of Scots before he also became King of England and needed to reward his subjects in Scotland with land […]

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Brehon Laws and the Establishment of Copyrights

Copyright law actually began with the Brehon Laws of Ancient Ireland over 1000 years before it appeared in English legislation. It started and ended in a bitter and brutal dispute over royalties. The dispute arose in 563 AD between two of the top contributors in the monastic schools of Ireland: Saint Colmcille and Saint Finian, […]

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#OTD in 1981 – Death of activist, writer and member of the Senate, Nora Connolly O’Brien, in Dublin.

Nora Connolly was born in Edinburgh in 1893. She was the second daughter of James Connolly, and the family moved to Dublin having lived for a time in the United States and Belfast. Her father was an organiser for the Dublin Socialist club and the family lived in poverty for much of her childhood. For […]

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#OTD in 597 – Death of St. Colomcille (meaning “Dove of the Church”), also known as St Columba.

St Colomcille was a missionary monk who, some of his advocates claim, introduced Christianity to the Picts during the Early Medieval Period. He was one of the Twelve Apostles of Ireland. St Colomcille was born on 7 December ca. 521 A.D. to Fedhlimidh and Eithne of the Ui Neill clan in Gartan near Lough Gartan, […]

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#OTD in 1868 – James Connolly is born to Irish parents in Edinburgh.

1916 rebel leader and ardent socialist James Connolly is born to poverty-stricken Irish parents in Edinburgh, Scotland. At age 14, he joined the British Army (Royal Scots Regiment) falsifying his age. He was posted to Ireland, serving much of his time in the Cork area. Despite the fact he left school at age 11, Connolly […]

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