#OTD in Irish History – 11 July:

National Day of Commemoration (Lá Cuimhneacháin Náisiúnta) held on the nearest Sunday to this date commemorating all Irish people who died in past wars or United Nations peacekeeping missions. 1792 – A gathering of some ten Irish harpers and one Welsh begins in Belfast; the objective is to collect the remaining fragments of the tradition; […]

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The Uilleann Pipes

The importance of piping during the years of the Irish chieftains is evident in the 9th century representation of a piper on the great stone High Cross of Clanmacnoise in Co Offaly. This seat of Irish culture in Clanmacnoise fostered the great ancient school there which at its height involved six to seven thousand students. […]

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#OTD in 1920 – On hearing of British atrocities in Ireland, soldiers of the Connaught Rangers mutiny in protest; three are shot dead; a fourth, Private James Daly, is court-martialled and executed by firing squad.

The Connaught Rangers (The Devil’s Own) was an Irish line infantry regiment of the British Army originally raised in 1793 as the 88th Regiment of Foot (Connaught Rangers), which gained a reputation both for indiscipline and for its prowess as shock troops and streetfighters with the bayonet while serving under the Duke of Wellington during […]

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#OTD in 1922 – The Provisional Government of the Irish Free State bombards the Four Courts in Dublin, and the Civil War begins.

On 14 April 1922 a column of 200 men led by Rory O’Connor occupied the Four Courts, hoping to provoke an armed confrontation with British forces which were in the process of evacuating from Ireland following the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty the previous winter which had split the IRA into two opposing factions. The […]

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#OTD in Irish History – 28 June:

1798 – United Irishmen Rebellion: General Hunter, who replaced Lake as Commander in Wexford, becomes aware rebellion is not over and begins to re-deploy his troops. He orders General Duff to Bunclody and General Needham to Gorey. 1798 – United Irishmen Rebellion: Death of John Henry Colclough. He was arrested with Lord Edward Fitzgerald on […]

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Uraicecht Becc – Old Irish for ‘Small Primer’

Uraicecht Becc is an Old Irish legal tract on status. Of all status tracts, it has the greatest breadth in coverage, including not only commoners, kings, churchmen and poets, but also a variety of other professional groups, including judges. However, it does not go into as much detail for each group and level as do […]

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#OTD in Irish History – 29 April:

1653 – Birth of shoemaker and astrologer, John Whally, in London. 1665 – Birth of James Butler, 2nd Duke of Ormonde and an ancestor of Princess Diana. The Dublin-born Irish general became one of the most powerful men in the Tory administration, governing England in the early part of the 18th century – from 1710 […]

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#OTD in 1947 – Death of trade union leader and socialist activist, James Larkin.

Union Leader, James Larkin dies quietly (unlike his life) in Dublin. In a beautiful tribute, Playwright Sean O’Casey said of Big Jim, ‘He fought for the loaf of bread as no man before him had ever fought; but with the loaf of bread, he also brought the flask of wine and the book of verse.’ […]

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#OTD in Irish History – 3 December:

1366 – With the sliotar topping 93mph (150km/h) from a good strike, hurling is the fastest game on grass. It was first played here at least 3,000 years ago, and first crops up in print in statutes banning its mayhem on this date. Ancient chroniclers report violent days-long matches between whole towns, but these might […]

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#OTD in Irish History – 17 October:

1171 – Henry II, fearful that Strongbow will grow too powerful in Ireland, lands at Waterford with an army. The Normans, Norse and Irish all submit to him, except for the most remote Irish kings. 1738 – In a duel at Mullingar, Arthur Rochfort, MP for Co Westmeath, shoots Dillon Pollard Hampson in the stomach. […]

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