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1681 Oliver Plunkett was hanged, drawn and quartered on this day in 1681, after being found guilty of treason in London. He was Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of all Ireland in the years after Oliver Cromwell had ravaged the country and the public practice of the Catholic faith was outlawed. He was executed in 1681 due to the ‘Popish Plot’ that had nothing to do with him.
Plunkett’s execution is regarded as one the worst miscarriages of justice in Irish and British history. Discover more about Oliver Plunkett
1867 Thomas Meagher died on this day in 1867 after falling from his boat into the Missouri River and drowning. He was in America after escaping from Van Diemen’s Land, a prison labour camp in Australia, where he had been sent to spare him the death penalty in Ireland.
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1979 I Don’t like Mondays entered the British charts on this day in 1979. It eventually got to the number one spot, and is possibly the most memorable song by the Boomtown Rats. Bob Geldof wrote the song after hearing about an American teenager giving the reason: “I don’t like Mondays”, as an explanation for going on a shooting spree in a children’s playground.
Dublin-born Geldof was one of the biggest stars in music during the late 1970s and early 80s. He used his profile and contacts to form Band Aid in 1984. It was a huge music concert with most of the world’s top stars performing free of charge. The concert was designed to raise awareness and money to tackle the poverty being suffered by people in Africa.
The song Do They Know it’s Christmas? was written by Geldof and Midge Ure of Ultravox. It was performed by the world’s top stars and released as a single to raise money. It sold more than 6 million copies worldwide, and is still one of the most recognisable songs played at Christmas time.
The song serves as a reminder to people to be grateful for their blessings, and do what they can to help those in less fortunate positions.
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1989 Happy birthday to Leah McFall, born in Newtownabbey, Northern Ireland on this day in 1989. She is a singer songwriter and shot to fame in 2013 when she finished as runner-up on the BBC singing contest The Voice. McFall was mentored by Black Eyed Peas superstar Will.i.am, and he immediately collaborated with her on various tracks after the show had finished.
Click here to read about more Irish singers
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1990 Half a million people lined the streets of Dublin to welcome the Ireland football team home. They had just returned from Italy and taking part in their first ever World Cup Finals. The team progressed through the group stages with draws against England, Egypt and Holland before beating Romania in the last-16 on penalties. They were eventually eliminated by hosts Italy, but not before the nation had been swept up in the World Cup fever. The team returned to Ireland as heroes.