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1794 Reverend William Jackson was arrested in Dublin on this day in 1794. He was a French spy trying to gain support from Irish nationalists to lead a rebellion against the British. Jackson was born in Ireland, but spent much of his early life in England.
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1846 Wellesley C Bailey was born in County Laois on this day in 1846. He grew up during the ‘Great Famine’ in Ireland when millions were forced to emigrate to survive as the country was suffering with starvation and disease. Bailey travelled to India to join his brother, who worked there as a policeman.
Bailey learnt the local language, and became involved with missionary work, as a teacher in a school. One day, he was invited to visit a leprosy home, by a man who cared for the sufferers. Bailey was astonished by the reality of the condition, as he had only read about leprosy in the Bible.
He immediately dedicated his life to the care of leprosy sufferers, and set up The Leprosy Mission charity. Bailey travelled to Ireland, Britain, America and Canada to speak of the suffering, and to gather support. He spent nearly 50 years, travelling round the world building shelters and homes for leprosy sufferers, and publicly speaking of his work to generate funds.
He retired in 1917, aged 71, due to his own and his wife’s health deteriorating. At that point The Leprosy Mission was caring for 14,000 people in 12 different countries. The charity is still going today and is active in more than 50 countries around the world.
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1865 Eric Mayne was born in Dublin on this day in 1865. He was an actor, and featured in numerous stage productions in London and Dublin. He was an imposing figure, standing 6 ft tall and had a large bushy beard. His appearance often led him to play the leading villain, although he also played the hero on occasions.
He moved to Los Angeles and worked as a lecturer in Shakespeare to aspiring actors. He starred in several silent films in the early 20th century, and worked with legendary director John Ford.
When sound was introduced into Hollywood films, Mayne found leading roles harder to come by, but he remained a regular on set, though more often in supporting roles.
Click here to read about more Irish actors
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1987 Happy birthday to Simon Cox, born in Reading on this day in 1987. He is a professional footballer and has represented the Republic of Ireland national team, after qualifying to play because of his Irish grandmother.
Cox made his debut for Ireland in 2011 in a 5-0 win against Northern Ireland, scoring the last goal of the match. He was also part of the squad that played in the European Championships in 2012, playing in all of Ireland’s three matches.
Click here to read about the top Irish sports stars
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1992 Irish painter Francis Bacon died on this day in 1992. His career began slowly, as he was unsure he had the talent to make a career out of art. He did eventually get the recognition he desired though, and his work has been exhibited in New York, Paris and London. His most famous work is probably The Scream, which is a sinister image of a man with his mouth open and face contorted.
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2013 Keith Hanley won The Voice of Ireland on this day in 2013. The singer from County Cork beat off the competition to land a recording contract after being mentored by British pop star Jamelia. His debut single Beggin’, which he sang on the night of the final, only reached a disappointing number 37 in the Irish charts.