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1883 Peadar Kearney was born in Dublin on this day in 1883. He is the man who wrote the lyrics to The Soldier’s Song, the Irish national anthem. Kearney was a stage actor and producer at the Abbey Theatre. He was also a nationalist and was a co-founder of the Irish Volunteers in 1913.
He fought under Thomas McDonagh in the Easter Rising in 1916, turning down the chance to tour London on the stage. He managed to escape when his stronghold was seized by the British. He also fought alongside his close friend, Michael Collins, in the War of Independence until he was captured and put in prison.
After his release he returned to Collins’ side and supported the Irish Free State government after the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty. However, after Collins was assassinated in 1921, Kearney became disillusioned with the political and military struggles. He left the nationalist fight to others and ended his life working as a painter and decorator.
Kearney left a lasting legacy on Ireland. His songs were popular amongst the Irish rebels throughout the early 20th century. He also wrote the lyrics to the national anthem which is still used today. Other songs that Kearney wrote include Down By the Liffeyside,
He was also the uncle of Irish nationalist brothers Brendan and Dominic Behan. Both of whom made their own mark on music and literature.
Read more about Peadar Kearney with two videos of The Soldier’s Song
Click here to read more about the song Down By the Liffeyside + videos + lyrics and chords
Click here for more great Irish songs
Click here to read about more Irish songwriters
Click here to read more about the Easter Rising
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1920 The Black and Tans continued their rampage of violence and destruction through the city of Cork in the early hours of this day in 1920. They were retaliated to an IRA attack on two of their army vehicles, and driven by revenge and rage, they set about burning the city of Cork to the ground.