#OTD in 1848 – The Paddle Steamer ‘The Londonderry’, with immigrants fleeing The Great Hunger, took shelter in Derry harbour.

The ‘Londonderry’, a paddle-steamer which berthed at the quayside in Derry one Sunday in the winter of 1848 was only seven years old, big for a ship of her kind, weighing 222 tons. She was manned by a crew of 26 and often sailed between Sligo and Liverpool. On this winter trip, while hugging the […]

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#OTD in 1881 – Death of Roman Catholic Archbishop of Tuam, and Irish nationalist, John MacHale.

Born in Tubbernavine, Co Mayo, by the time John McHale was five years of age, he began attending a hedge school. Three important events happened during John’s childhood: the United Irishmen Rebellion of 1798; the landing at Killala of French troops, whom the boy, hidden in a stacked sheaf of flax, watched marching through a […]

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The Fenian Brotherhood

The Fenian Brotherhood, the Irish Republican Brotherhood’s US branch, was founded by John O’Mahony and Michael Doheny, both of whom had been “out” (participating in the Young Irelander’s rising) in 1848. Members were commonly known as “Fenians”. O’Mahony, who was a Celtic scholar, named his organisation after the Fianna, the legendary band of Irish warriors […]

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#OTD in 1846 – Cork Examiner Reports on ‘The Great Hunger’ Deaths.

“In the letter of an “Out-Door Pauper” from Macroom, will be found the recital of the death at Sleaven, from famine, of a poor woman, returning from the Workhouse, where she and her children had received their daily meal. The Tallow Relief Committee, in a resolution just forwarded to the Lord LIEUTENANT and which we […]

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#OTD in 1846 – Cork Examiner reports death by starvation.

‘A Coroners inquest was held on the lands of Redwood, in the Parish of Lorha, on yesterday, the 24th, on the body of Daniel Hayes, who for several days subsisted almost on the refuse of vegetables, and went out on Friday morning in quest of something in the shape of food, but he had not […]

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#OTD in 1847 – In an irate letter published in the Cork Examiner, “A.D.F.” condemns the proselytising (soul-jobbing) of starving Catholics.

“I just now want to draw public attention to a disgraceful practice that was carried on during the period of awful distress, when nothing should sway people from relieving the destitute, the practice of proselytising, a new accompaniment of famine. The duties that devolved on the priest were indeed laborious, inasmuch as they had to […]

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#OTD in 2017 – President Michael D. Higgins unveiled a memorial commemorating the Great Hunger in Subiaco Park in Perth, Australia.

The memorial sculpture was designed by Charlie Smith and Joan Walsh-Smith, originally from Waterford. In Sydney, the President visited the Australian Monument to the Great Hunger, in the company of the Hon. Gladys Berejiklian, Premier of New South Wales. The sculpture depicts a grieving mother “bent low by the crushing loss of her children” and […]

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#OTD in 1892 – Death of Patrick Sarsfield Gilmore.

Patrick Sarsfield Gilmore served as a musician and stretcher-bearer in the 24th Massachusetts Infantry during the American Civil War. His incredible post-army musical career includes penning “When Johnny Comes Marching Home”, the tune he took from an old Irish antiwar folk song, “Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye”, that was published under the name Louis Lambert. […]

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#OTD in 1845 – The arrival of the potato blight in Ireland is reported in the Dublin Evening Post.

To this day, all over Ireland the landscape bears mute testimony to the events that occurred in the horrific period from 1845–1850. Starvation graveyards offer silent tribute to the millions of Irish men, women, and children buried in unmarked mass graves. Thriving villages were replaced by heaps of moss-covered stones. Although historians have not agreed […]

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The Hannah Shipwreck

The brig Hannah transported emigrants to Canada during The Great Hunger. She is known for the terrible circumstances of her 1849 shipwreck, in which the captain and two officers left the sinking ship aboard the only lifeboat, leaving passengers and the rest of the crew to fend for themselves. Hannah was built at Norton, New […]

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