1854 Sarah Grand was born Frances Elizabeth Bellenden Clarke in County Down on this day in 1854. She was a feminist writer and a major character in the New Woman movement in the late 19th century, when women were beginning to have careers that could offer them financial independence from a man. Sarah Grand was the pen-name she adopted for her work.
In 1868 she was expelled from her school for actively protesting against the Contagious Diseases Act, which solely blamed prostitutes for the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Grand married an army surgeon and through his work she gained an extensive understanding of the anatomy.
Grand drew on her own experiences in her work, and became a leading female writer. She separated from her husband after they became estranged. Grand trusted her writing to support her and moved to London. Her most notable works were The Heavenly Twins and Babs the Impossible.
Grand wasn’t always praised for her work, but she did have a following, and her publications always attracted attention and created debate. One of her most noted fans was fellow Irish writer George Bernard Shaw.
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1904 James Joyce met Nora Barnacle. They married 27 years later, on 4 July 1931, after living together for 27 years.
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1944 Frank Ryan died on this day in 1944. He was a journalist, who supported the pro-Treaty faction of the IRA. He co-founded the Republican Congress, a separate body to the IRA that would gather support for a mass revolution amongst Irish working classes.
However, he became distracted by the Spanish revolution. Ryan opposed Franco and actively tried to dissuade people from supporting the fascist cause. This was a dangerous move as the general feeling amongst the public was that of sympathy to Franco.
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1953 Happy birthday to Garry Hynes, born in County Roscommon on this day in 1953. She is a theatre director, and was one of the co-founders of the Druid Theatre Company. Hynes has been involved in theatre production since the 1970s, and is noted as being the first woman to win a Tony Award for direction of a play for The Beauty Queen of Leenane in 1998.
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1955 Bob Crowley was born on this day in Cork in 1955. He is a theatre costume and scenic designer, and has won awards for his work in several major productions in the West End and Broadway. Crowley has worked with industry legends such as Andrew Lloyd Webber as well as musicians entering into theatre like Phil Collins.
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1969 Happy birthday to Brendan Galway, born in County Donegal on this day in 1969. He is one of the most successful Irish dancers in the world, and was part of the sensational success of Riverdance in the 1990s and 2000s. Galway has performed for royal dignitaries from all around the world including Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Diana, King Hussein of Jordan and Prince Rainier of Monaco.
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2000 Frank Patterson died on this day in 2000.
He was an internationally renowned opera singer, and performed at prestigious venues such as London’s Royal Albert Hall and Carnegie Hall in New York.
Patterson also performed for important guests in his career, including President Reagan and Clinton.
Patterson was a committed Catholic, and in 1979 when Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass in Dublin’s Phoenix Park, he sang before a congregation of nearly a million people.
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