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1854 On this day in 1854, William Smith O’Brien, leader of the 1848 Young Irelander Rebellion, is released.
He had been convicted of sedition (inciting landlords and tenants in rebellion) and sentenced to be hanged, drawn, and quartered.
After 70,000 people in Ireland and 10,000 people from England petitioned for clemency, his sentence was reduced to deportation to Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania today).
In 1854, after five years in Van Diemen’s Land, he was released, but exiled from Ireland. He went to live in Brussels until 1856 when he was given an unconditional pardon and allowed to return to Ireland. He never returned to politics.
Find out why on more why William O’Brien was a leading light in Irish nationalism.
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1940 Jimmy Ferguson, one of the founders the Irish Rovers was born on this day in 1940. Ferguson was born in Belfast before moving to Canada where he joined up with George Millar to form a folk duo. They went on to become one of the most popular bands on the folk circuit around the world.
Click here to read more about The Irish Rovers
Irish Rovers – celebrate 30 years together.
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1972 Happy birthday to Snow Patrol drummer, Jonny Quinn, who was born in Bangor, Northern Ireland on this day in 1972. The band have enjoyed worldwide fame since the success of their 2005 album, Eyes Open which features the brilliant rock ballad Chasing Cars (below).
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1997 Donegal born singer Enya, was awarded with the Grammy for Best New Age Album on this day in 1997 for her album The Memory of Trees, which sold more than 9 million copies worldwide.
Click here to read more about Enya
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1983 On this day in 1983, Northern Irish goalkeeper Pat Jennings set a new record in English football by becoming the first ever player to play 1,000 professional games.
The milestone capped off a marvellous career for the goalkeeper, in which he won the FA Cup with both Tottenham and then their bitter rivals Arsenal. Jennings was also named Player of the Year by both his fellow professionals and football writers and played in 119 international matches for Northern Ireland.
Jennings kept goal for the landmark 1,000th in style, by keeping a clean sheet for his side in a 0-0 draw at West Bromwich Albion.
Video showing some great saves by Pat Jennings