#OTD in 1902 – Birth of medical student and nationalist revolutionary, Kevin Barry, in Dublin.

Kevin Barry was 18 years old when he was hanged in Mountjoy Jail on 1 November 1920. His death at such a young age is possibly the most poignant in Irish history. He is one of a group of IRA members executed in 1920-21 collectively known as ‘The Forgotten Ten’. Barry’s execution outraged nationalist public […]

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#OTD in 1939 – Bernard Noël ‘Banjo Barney’ McKenna of the Dubliners is born.

Barney McKenna was the last surviving founding member of the Irish folk group the Dubliners. While Ronnie Drew’s gravelly voice gave the band its memorable vocal sound, it was McKenna’s playing of the tenor banjo, coupled with John Sheahan’s fiddle, that gave the Dubliners their original instrumental quality. In the process, McKenna redefined the role […]

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#OTD in 1967 – Death of poet and novelist, Patrick Kavanagh, who was born in Inniskeen, Co Monaghan in 1904.

Patrick Kavanagh was born on 21 October 1904, in Mucker townland, Inniskeen parish, Co Monaghan, the son of James Kavanagh, a small farmer with sixteen acres who was also a cobbler, and Bridget Quinn. He attended Kednaminsha National School from 1909 to 1916 and worked on the family farm after leaving school. His poem ‘Raglan […]

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#OTD in 1940 – Birth of singer and folk musician, Luke Kelly in Dublin. Kelly was a founding member of the band The Dubliners.

Luke Kelly was a singer and folk musician from Dublin, most famous as a member of the band The Dubliners. Kelly was one of the best-known figures of the Irish folk music movement of the 1960s and 1970s. A Dubliner from the north inner city, he attended O’Connell’s Schools before emigrating to Britain in 1958. […]

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#OTD in Irish History – 17 November:

1814 – Joseph Finegan, a Confederate general in the American Civil War, is born in Clones, Co Monaghan. 1852 – Sligo-born Brigadier Michael Corcoran’s Irish Legion is mustered into the Federal service; it is involved in the defense of Washington D.C. 1869 – For nearly 150 years, the Suez Canal has played a vital role […]

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#OTD in 1944 – Birth of entertainer and folk musician, Jim McCann.

As a young man, McCann attended University College Dublin as a student of medicine, but became interested in folk music during a summer holiday in Birmingham in 1964. He began to perform in folk clubs in the area, and, upon his return to Dublin, he joined a group called the Ludlow Trio in 1965. In […]

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#OTD in 1958 – The Springhill Mine bump: An underground earthquake traps 174 miners in the No. 2 colliery at Springhill, Nova Scotia, the deepest coal mine in North America at the time.

By November 1, rescuers from around the world had dug out 100 of the victims, marking the death toll at 74. “The Ballad of Springhill” was composed by American folksinger Peggy Seeger and English folksinger Ewan MacColl about the 1958 disaster. The song has been performed by many, including, Irish folk singer Luke Kelly. ‘The […]

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#OTD in 2008 – Death of singer and folk musician, Ronnie Drew.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam. Ronnie Drew was born in Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin. He was best known for his long beard and his voice, which was once described by Nathan Joseph as “like the sound of coke being crushed under a door”. For more than 30 years, the distinctive voice of the […]

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#OTD in Irish History – 16 August:

1793 – The Convention Act (1793) was aimed at preventing the recurrence of events like the Convention of the Volunteers in 1782 where armed groups (of Protestants) from various parts of Ireland assembled in Dublin and were able to overawe the Government at a time when there were few troops in the country. Contrary to […]

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