#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 1975 – Death of Éamon de Valera from pneumonia and heart failure, while in Linden Convalescent Home, Blackrock, Co Dublin, aged 92.

Éamon de Valera was a man loved by his supporters but distrusted and hated by those who blamed him for the Irish civil war. (That latter sentence could equally apply to Michael Collins from the opposite side of the political divide.) Although born in Brooklyn, New York, “Dev” had an almost mystical and spiritual belief […]

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#OTD in 1920 – Court-martial of Terence MacSwiney, Lord Mayor of Cork for possession of seditious articles and documents.

‘One armed man cannot resist a multitude, nor one army conquer countless legions; but not all the armies of all the empires of earth can crush the spirit of one true man. And that one man will prevail’. –Terence MacSwiney Lord Mayor, Terence MacSwiney is under court-martial over which Colonel James, Staffordshire Regiment, presided, assembled […]

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#OTD in 1922 – Arthur Griffith, founder of Sinn Féin, dies of a cerebral haemorrhage.

Arthur Griffith was one of the most important players in Irish Independence. Griffith founded Sinn Féin in 1905 as an Irish nationalist party whose objective was “to establish in Ireland’s capital a national legislature endowed with the moral authority of the Irish nation”. It was not until after the 1916 Rising that Sinn Féin became […]

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#OTD in 1919 – The first assassination authorised by Michael Collins – Detective Sergeant the Dog Smith was shot by The Squad.

“Our only way to carry on the fight was by organised and bold guerilla warfare. But this in itself was not enough. England could always reinforce her army. To paralyse the British machine it was necessary to strike at individuals outside the ranks of the military. Without her Secret Service working at the top of […]

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#OTD in 1874 – Cathal Brugha (b. Charles William St. John Burgess) is born in Dublin.

Fuair sé bás ar son Saoirse na hÉireann. Twas England bade our wild geese go, that ‘small nations might be free’; Their lonely graves are by Suvla’s waves or the fringe of the great North Sea. Oh, had they died by Pearse’s side or fought with Cathal Brugha Their graves we’d keep where the Fenians […]

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#OTD in 1921 – Just three days after a truce is implemented, Éamon de Valera, President of Dáil Éireann meets with British Prime Minister David Lloyd George in London.

Francis Stevenson, Private Secretary to Lloyd George recalled: “I have never seen David so excited as he was before de Valera arrived, at 4.30. He kept walking in and out of my room… As I told him afterwards, he was bringing up all his guns! He had a big map of the British Empire hung […]

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#OTD in 1922 – Death of Cathal Brugha from injuries received when shot by Free State forces on O’Connell Street on 5 July.

Fuair sé bás ar son Saoirse na hÉireann. Twas England bade our wild geese go, that ‘small nations might be free’; Their lonely graves are by Suvla’s waves or the fringe of the great North Sea. Oh, had they died by Pearse’s side or fought with Cathal Brugha Their graves we’d keep where the Fenians […]

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#OTD in 1918 – Sinn Féin, the Irish Volunteers, Cumann na mBan and the Gaelic League were all proclaimed as illegal organisations by the Lord Lieutenant, Viscount French.

The proclamation stated that the proscribed organisations are dangerous and a ‘grave menace’ designed to ‘terrorise the peaceful and law-abiding subjects of His Majesty in Ireland’. It goes on to say that these associations ‘encourage and aid persons to commit crimes and promote and incite to acts of violence and intimidation and interfere with the […]

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