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1852 Dublin poet and songwriter Thomas Moore died on this day in 1852. He was a great entertainer and wrote the songs Last Rose of Summer and Minstrel Boy that are still used often in films and television today.
Moore also had a brief rivalry with Lord Byron, after Byron mocked him for taking part in a duel when his opponent allegedly had an unloaded gun. The two men settled their differences and became friends.
So much so that Byron entrusted his memoirs to Moore, with the instruction to publish them after his death. However, when the time came, Moore was persuaded by Byron’s family not to publish them but to burn them, as the brutal honesty from Byron would bring shame upon the family.
Tommy Maken with The Minstrel Boy.
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1877 Tom Crean was born on this day in Co Kerry in 1877. He was one of the leading explorers of the early 20th century, and was involved in three separate gruelling expeditions across the Antarctic.
Crean showed bravery, leadership and loyalty throughout his career, and became known as the ‘Irish Giant’ both for his physical stature and his determination.
On one expedition, Crean spent 17 days at sea in tiny lifeboat after his team had become stranded on Elephant Island. Once Crean had raised the alarm, he travelled for 36 hours back through the harsh Antarctic conditions to rescue his colleagues who had been left behind.
Click here to read more about Tom Crean, the ‘Irish Giant’.
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1951 Irish film director, Neil Jordan was born in County Sligo on this day in 1951. He has written novels and made numerous films throughout his career, working with some of the top actors in Hollywood such as Jodie Foster and Julianne Moore, as well as Irish stars Colin Farrell and Saoirse Ronan. Jordan directed the 1996 film Michael Collins, which told the life story of the iconic Irishman, with Liam Neeson playing the lead role.
Click here to read more about Liam Neeson, Colin Farrell and Saoirse Ronan
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1952 Joey Dunlop was born on this day in Ballymoney in 1952. He was a world champion motorcyclist who won countless races throughout his career. He was awarded an OBE in 1996 for his charity work, in which he personally delivered clothes and food to orphanages in Romania. Dunlop was tragically killed in a motorcycle crash in 2000, while he was competing in Estonia.
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1991 Alan Green, the Director of Public Prosecution in Britain, announced that the Birmingham Six ‘’convictions can no longer be considered safe and satisfactory”. After 17 years in prison, they were just weeks away from freedom.
In 1975, Hugh Callaghan, Patrick Hill, Gerard Hunter, Richard McIlkenny, William Power and John Walker were jailed for life for an IRA attack on two Birmingham pubs in November 1974 in which 21 people died.
ITV documentary: The Birmingham Six: Their Own Story.
A poem written by William Power, one of the ‘Birmingham Six’.
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2003 On this day in 2003, the Vatican announced that for the first time the number of Catholics around the world had exceeded one billion. This, despite the fact that religion has become a less prominent part of society in the 21st century.