Kathleen Ní Houlihan – Ireland Personified and Irish Nationalism

Kathleen Ni Houlihan (Caitlín Ní Uallacháin, literally, “Kathleen, daughter of Houlihan”) is a mythical symbol and emblem of Irish nationalism found in literature and art, sometimes representing Ireland as a personified woman. The figure of Kathleen Ni Houlihan has also been invoked in nationalist Irish politics. Kathleen Ni Houlihan is sometimes spelled as Cathleen Ni […]

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#OTD in 1916 – Irish patriot and a leader of the 1916 Easter Rising, 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 – Death of Michael Joseph O’Rahilly, ‘The O’Rahilly’, a republican who took part in the Easter Rising, during which he was killed in the fighting.

Michael Joseph O’Rahilly was born in Ballylongford, Co Kerry in 1875. He was a republican and a language enthusiast, a member of An Coiste Gnótha, the Gaelic League’s governing body. He was well-travelled, spending at least a decade in the United States and in Europe. He was a reasonably wealthy man; the Weekly Irish Times […]

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#OTD in 1953 – Irish revolutionary, feminist and actress, Maude Gonne MacBride died in Roebuck, Clonskeagh, and was later buried in Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin.

“More and more I realised that Ireland could rely only on force, in some form or another, to free herself.” –Maud Gonne MacBride The daughter of an Irish army officer and his English wife, Maud Gonne converted to republicanism by an eviction she saw during the 1880s, and became a speaker for the Land League. […]

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#OTD in 1871 – Birth of poet and playwright, John Millington Synge, in Dublin.

Birth of Irish playwright, poet and author John Millington Synge in Rathfarnham, Co Dublin. Synge was one of the leading lights of what was known as the Irish Literary Revival and along with William Butler Yeats and Lady Gregory, founding members of the Abbey Theatre. His most famous work is The Playboy of the Western […]

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#OTD in 1954 – Death of Iseult Lucille Germaine Gonne. She was the daughter of Maud Gonne and Lucien Millevoye, and the wife of the novelist Francis Stuart.

Iseult Gonne, was the daughter of Maud Gonne and Lucien Millevoye, and the wife of the novelist Francis Stuart. Iseult was born on 6 August 1894, the daughter of Maud and her then married French Boulangist lover Lucien Millevoye. Maud Gonne claimed that Iseult was conceived in the mausoleum of Iseult’s late brother, Georges Silvère […]

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#OTD in 1852 – Lady Isabella Augusta Gregory (née Persse), playwright, folklorist and co-founder of the Abbey Theatre, is born in Roxborough, Co Galway.

Lady Gregory was a dramatist, folklorist and theatre director; also a co-founder of the Abbey Theatre. George Bernard Shaw once described Lady Augusta Gregory as ‘the greatest living Irishwoman’. Lady Gregory, also known as Isabella Augusta, was born in Roxborough, Co Galway. She married Sir William Henry Gregory in 1880. Sir Gregory owned an estate […]

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#OTD in 1939 – Death of William Butler Yeats in France.

William Butler Yeats was born in Dublin, the son of painter John Butler Yeats, he spent much of his childhood in Co Sligo which was a huge source of inspiration for him, not least the beautiful ‘Lake Isle of Inisfree’. In 1917, William Butler Yeats published ‘The Wild Swans at Coole’, and from then onward […]

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#OTD in 1907 – J. M. Synge’s Playboy of the Western World is performed for the first time at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin.

John Millington Synge’s ‘Playboy of the Western World’ opens at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin to riots, literally! What happened is best described by two telegrams Yeats (a founder of the Abbey) received while he was in Aberdeen from a fellow Abbey supporter Lady Gregory. Telegram one read “Play a great success.” Two acts later, she […]

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#OTD in 1920 – Éamon de Valera returns from America.

Éamon de Valera had presented himself as ‘President of Ireland’ during his trip although he was not recognised in this capacity by the US government. De Valera evoked generous financial, emotional and political good will for Ireland during his eighteen month trip. He spoke at Madison Square Garden and Fenway Park drawing audiences in some […]

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