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1800 Roddy McCorley died on this day in 1800. He was an Irish nationalist who took part in the Irish Rebellion of 1798. McCorley’s father was executed for stealing sheep by the British as they wanted to send a warning to any potential troublemakers.
This injustice led McCorley to join the radical group, the United Irishmen who attempted to take back control of Ireland. The Irish Rebellion of 1798 was a bloody battle lasting two months and spread across the whole country before British troops managed to quell the rebels. McCorley was executed by British troops on this day in 1800, after being caught trying to flee to America.
Full story about Roddy McCorley and videos (including Dubliners, Shane MacGowan, Tommy Makem and The Clancy Brothers) and lyrics to the song here.
Here’s Tommy Makem performing Roddy McCorley.
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1882 On this day, 28 February 1882 Pádraic Ó Conaire in Galway. He was an author and short story writer – most of his work was written in Irish. He was the first writer to tackle controversial issues in Ireland – he wrote of the poor and unfortunate of society. His novel, Deoraíocht, published in 1910 is one of the most important novels from the Gaelic revival.
He wrote 26 books, over 450 short stories, over 200 essays and 6 plays.
Ó Conaire and Patrick Pearse were the two most important short story writers (in the Irish language) of the start of the 20th century.
Padraic O’Conaire – An Fear (2008) Seanchas Productions
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1898 Hugh O’Flaherty was born in Cork on this day in 1898. He was a Catholic priest and is credited with saving the lives of 6,500 Jewish people from the Nazis during the second World War. A memorial to him stands in Killarney.
Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty who is dubbed ‘Ireland’s Oskar Schindler’ was in Italy at the time of the collapse of the Italian government during the Second World War.
Click here to read more about Father Hugh O’Flaherty
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1998 The much loved actor Dermot Morgan died on this day in 1998. He played the iconic Father Ted Crilly in the crazy Irish comedy, Father Ted.
Tragically, Morgan died of a heart attack in 1998 aged just 45, but the success of Father Ted was such that it remains a favourite on British and Irish television today.
However, 24 hours after finishing the recording of the last episode of Father Ted, while hosting a dinner party at his south west London home, Morgan had a heart attack and died soon after in Hounslow, London, three days before his 46th birthday.
A chair is erected in memory of Dermot Morgan in Merrion Square, Dublin.
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2012 Hal Roach, the much loved Irish comedian died on 28 February 2012. Not to be confused with the American film director of the same name, Roach set a Guinness World Record for the longest running regular slot for a comedian at the same venue, performing at Jury’s Ballsbridge Hotel, Dublin for 26 years.
Roach was popular with American tourists and celebrated successful gags with his catchphrase: “Write it down, it’s a good one!”