#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 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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