Irish History Bitesize
Proclamation of Irish Independence prints

July 27


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1669 Mary (Molly) Malone was baptized. Molly Malone’s baptismal and death certificates were found in the archives of the demolished St John’s Church in Fishamble Street. She died 13 June 1699. Molly is a variant of Mary.


This isn’t definite proof that these are from the Molly Malone of the statue, as Mary and Malone were common names in Ireland at the time, but it is a possiblity.

Searching for Molly Malone – was she fact or fiction? Consider the evidence. Does it matter whether or not she was a real character? Find out more here

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1805 Brian Merriman died on this day in 1805. He was a poet and spent much of his life writing and also teaching about the Irish language. He was born in Co Clare but moved around Ireland throughout his life.

Merriman is most famous for his poem Cúirt An Mheán Oíche, which is regarded as one of the funniest and witty poems in the history of Irish literature. It is written entirely in Irish, and tells the story about a poet who encounters several mythical and supernatural beings during an otherwise ordinary day.

The poem has been translated into English under the name The Midnight Court. It was voted as one of Ireland’s favourite poems by readers of the Irish Times in a 1999 survey.

Click here to read both the Irish original or English translation of Cúirt An Mheán Oíche/The Midnight Court
Click here to see the full list of Ireland’s 100 favourite poems
Click here to read about more great Irish writers

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1846 William Smith O’Brien led Young Irelanders in an uprising on this day in 1846. They successfully took control of three counties before the British authorities acted to regain control. O’Brien was charged with treason and sentenced to death, although that sentence was later reduced to transportation to Van Diemen’s Land.

William-Smith O'Brien-Image copyright Ireland CallingClick here to read more about the life of William Smith O’Brien

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1862   Arthur Vicars, the man who had the Irish Crown jewels stolen from under his nose, was born.
Discover the story of the mysterious jewels theft.

Arthur Vicars was employed to guard the Irish Crown Jewels. They were stolen. Image copyright Ireland Calling* * *

1938  Tom Crean died. Crean showed bravery, leadership and loyalty throughout his career, and became known as the ‘Irish Giant’ both for his physical stature and his determination.

7_27 1938 Tom_Crean - Gentle Giant-died Image copyright Ireland CallingClick for more about his amazing life.

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1977 Happy birthday to Jonathan Rhys Meyers, born in Dublin on this day in 1977. He is an actor who has made it to the top of the showbiz world despite having a tough start in life. Meyers’ parents split up when he was a small child and he lived with his mother in Cork. She drank heavily and Meyers often got into trouble at school. He has since spoken about his childhood and how he effectively grew up in poverty.

However, Meyers’ life turned around when he was invited to audition for a role. He soon began to realise that he had the talent to have a real career in acting. Meyer landed several minor parts in the early 1990s, before appearing opposite Liam Neeson in the 1996 film Michael Collins. Meyer actually played the young man that assassinated Collins.

Throughout the 2000s Meyer starred in several successful films such as Bend It Like Beckham, Match Point and Mission Impossible III. However, the pinnacle of Meyer’s career so far was his performance as Elvis Presley in the 2005 series about the King of Rock and Roll. Meyer won a Golden Globe for his portrayal of the music legend.
Click here to read about more great Irish actors

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1980 A young Irish rock band named U2 first performed an open-air show on this day in 1980. Bono and co were performing at the Dublin Festival in front of 15,000 people at Leixlip Castle. They grew and grew throughout the 1980s and became one the biggest bands in the world.

Now, more than 30 years later U2 are showing no signs of stopping, and are still amongst the elite group of music performers around. In 2014, they signed a mega-deal with technology giant Apple in which all buyers of the new iPhone would receive the band’s free with their phone.

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Although U2 have split opinion throughout their career, they have always tried to use their profile and status to raise money and awareness for worthy causes and those less fortunate.

Click here to read about Bono busking in Dublin to raise money for a charity for the homeless
Click here to read about Adam Clayton and the Funky Shoe mental health campaign
Click here to read about more great Irish bands


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