#OTD in 1912 – Birth in Dublin of poet, dramatist and lawyer, Donagh MacDonagh, son of 1916 Easter Rising Leader, Thomas MacDonagh.

Donagh MacDonagh was a writer, judge, presenter, broadcaster, and playwright. He was still a young child when his father Thomas MacDonagh, an Irish nationalist and poet, was executed in 1916. Tragedy struck again when his mother died of a heart attack a year afterwards while swimming at Skerries to Lambay, Co Dublin on 9 July […]

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#OTD in 1887 – Birth of Irish patriot and poet, Joseph Mary Plunkett, in Dublin.

Joseph Plunkett, one of the leaders of the 1916 rising and a signatory of the Proclamation is born into a privileged background. His father was a Papal Count. A gifted writer, he met Thomas MacDonagh when he was tutored by him in Irish in preparation for the University College, Dublin, matriculation examinations. MacDonagh was to […]

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#OTD in 1998 – Bridget Dirrane, who was imprisoned with Kevin Barry and who canvassed for John F. Kennedy in the United States, celebrated her 104th birthday with news that she was to be featured in the new edition of the Guinness Book of Records.

Bridget Dirrane was the oldest native of Ireland’s Aran Islands and the second oldest person in Ireland. Éamon de Valera was the Irish political leader she most admired, but in a life touching three centuries, she met Pádraig Pearse, went on hunger strike in Mountjoy gaol, campaigned for John F Kennedy in Boston, and was […]

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#OTD in 1908 – Poet, educator and eventual Easter Rising leader, Pádraig Pearse, opens St. Enda’s school for boys (Scoil Eanna).

“I dwell on the importance of the personal element in education. I would have every child not merely a unit in a school attendance, but in some intimate personal way the pupil of a teacher, or to use more expressive words, the disciple of a master … the main objective in education is to help […]

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#OTD in 1914 – Irish Volunteers during the Howth Gun Running.

The plan was first conceived in April 1914, in response to the Curragh incident on 20 March. Many Irish believed that the British army could not be relied on to enforce Home Rule when it was enacted, and many Irish Volunteers also felt that availability of arms would aid recruitment. At a lunch attended by […]

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#OTD in 1917 – Muriel MacDonagh, wife of executed 1916 leader Thomas MacDonagh, drowns while swimming on Skerries south beach.

Muriel Gifford was born in Rathmines, Dublin, of a Catholic solicitor father and a fiercely Protestant mother, the children were raised Church of Ireland, an unremarkable phenomenon among the wealthy professional classes of the time. Among the three Gifford sisters, Nellie, Muriel and Grace, Muriel married Thomas MacDonagh and Grace married Joseph Plunkett, who were […]

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#OTD in 1916 – Easter Rising | Irish patriots, Michael Mallin, Eamonn Ceannt, Cornelius “Con” Colbert and Sean Heuston are shot dead in Kilmainham Gaol.

Executions of Easter Rising Leaders continue by a British regime in Stonebreakers’ Yard at Kilmainham Gaol, completely insensitive to the fact it was creating numerous martyrs and generating an emotional calling cry for Irish rebellion that would culminate in the War of Independence. Shot dead on this day: Michael Mallin | Born in Co Dublin, […]

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#OTD in 1916 – Easter Rising | Irish patriot, John MacBride, is executed by firing squad in Kilmainham Gaol.

Born in Westport, Co Mayo, MacBride travelled to America in 1896 to further the aims of the IRB, thereafter travelling to South Africa where he raised the Irish Transvaal Brigade, which became known as MacBride’s Brigade, to fight against the English during the Second Boer War where, as happened far too often in history, Irish […]

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#OTD in 1916 – Joseph Mary Plunkett and Grace Gifford are married in the chapel of Kilmainham Gaol the night before he was to be executed for his part in the Easter Rising.

Grace was the second youngest of twelve children. Her sisters, Nellie and Muriel, were also avid nationalists as well as converts to Catholicism. Muriel married Thomas MacDonagh, who was executed in Kilmainham earlier on the day Grace married Joe Plunkett. It was said of the Gifford girls: “whenever those vivacious girls entered a gloomy Sinn […]

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#OTD in 1916 – Easter Rising leaders | Pádraig Pearse, Thomas Clarke and Thomas MacDonagh were executed by a firing squad in Kilmainham Gaol.

The first of the 1916 rebels were shot dead in the Stonebreakers’ Yard at Kilmainham Gaol after being found guilty (without legal defence or jury) of taking part ‘in an armed rebellion for the purposes of assisting the enemy.’ The fact that they were involved in armed rebellion is beyond doubt, but the primary purpose […]

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