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1902 Kevin Barry was born on this day in Dublin in 1902. Barry was executed by British officials aged just 18 after he was involved in an IRA attack that led to the death of three British soldiers.
Barry was sentenced to death after he refused to name the other IRA members that took part in the attack.
His story was made into a powerful ballad of Irish nationalism that has been performed by numerous artists including Leonard Cohen and the Dubliners.
Click here to watch videos of the song and read more about Kevin Barry
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1902 Aubrey Thomas de Vere died. He was a poet. Wordsworth called his sonnets ‘the most perfect of the age’.
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1961 John F. Kennedy was inaugurated as the 35th President of the United States on this day in 1961. He was the first Catholic president and the first president to have won a Pulitzer Prize.
He was a charismatic and strong leader and famously asked the United States public: “And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you–ask what you can do for your country.”
He visited his ancestral home in Wexford, Ireland in June 1963. It was a great state occasion in front of the world’s media. He wanted to return the following year for a private visit where he could rediscover his roots away from the media spotlight. As he left Ireland, he promised relatives and friends. “I’ll be back in the Spring.” Tragically, it was a promise he was unable to keep. Within five months, he had been assassinated.
Below is President Kennedy’s 1961 Inaugural Address
Click here to read some more great quotes
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1973 On this day in 1973, Irish rock band, Thin Lizzy, released their cover of classic irish folk song, Whiskey in the Jar.
The single got to number one in the Irish charts and earns the band their first appearance on the BBC’s Top of the Pops.
Phil Lynott was one of the founding members of Thin Lizzy with Brian Downey. They were school friends and formed Thin Lizzy in 1969. Brian Downey played the drums and Phil Lynott played the bass guitarist and was the main vocalist.
Lynott was the major composer of the band’s songs, and he was the first black Irishman to achieve commercial success in rock music.
Here’s Thin Lizzy performing Whiskey in the Jar.
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1981 Charles Kennedy, the cartoonist and co-founder the satirical magazine, Dublin Opinion, died on this day in 1981. His son Frank Kelly played Father Jack in the brilliant 1990s Irish comedy, Father Ted.
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1981 Happy birthday to Snow Patrol guitarist, Nathan Connolly born on this day in 1981.The Belfast band’s 2003 debut album, Final Straw, sold more than 3 million copies worldwide and catapulted them to the top of the music industry. Several more releases including a Greatest Hits album have kept them there ever since.