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1651 Henry Ireton began his military campaign to take control of Limerick on this day in 1651. Ireton was the son-in-law of Oliver Cromwell, and had taken over the Irish campaign when Cromwell had to return to England.
Ireton began a four month siege on the city of Limerick on this day, with British troops blocking any supplies or arms from being delivered into the city. Ireton knew that the army of Hugh Dubh O’Neill, ruled in Limerick, was ferocious, and that the city itself was well fortified.
So rather than try to storm the city, Ireton and his men effectively tried to starve O’Neill and his army out. O’Neill even sent some of the city’s elders, women and children away, to make his supplies last a little longer.
O’Neill believed Ireton would allow them to leave, as they were defenseless and held no threat to him. However, Ireton saw what O’Neill was doing and had 40 of the innocent civilians slaughtered and the rest sent back to Limerick to report their murders to O’Neill.
O’Neill was left with no choice and surrendered the city in October, four months after the siege had begun.
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1798 Battle of Tuberneering took place on this day in 1798. It was one of a string of conflicts in and around Wexford during the United Irishmen’s rebellion in 1798.
Around 400 British soldiers were ambushed as they marched through a narrow passage between two mountains in Tuberneering. The United Irishmen, led by Father John Murphy, attacked them with pistols and muskets, killing around 100 men.
The remaining British troops fled and regrouped. The United Irishmen successful took three British cannons to use against their enemy in the next conflict.
Boolavogue, one of Ireland’s finest rebel songs, is probably the best and certainly the most well known song to have come out 1798 rebellion in Ireland. Boolavogue features Father Murphy.
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1952 Ciaran Fitzgerald was born on this day in Galway in 1952. He was an international rugby player, who captained the Ireland team to Triple Crown victories in 1982 and 1985. He also led the team to the Five Nations Championship in 1983.
Fitzgerald then went on to coach the national team in the early 1990s, leading them to the quarter-finals of the 1991 World Cup. He now works as a pundit on television, giving expert analysis on the current team.
Fitzgerald is a legendary figure in Irish rugby, but what many people may not know about him is that throughout his career, he was also serving in the Irish army as a day job, as rugby players were not professional in his era. He was also a skilled hurler who played for Galway in the minor final against Cork in 1970. He also has two All-Ireland boxing championships in his trophy cabinet, which he won as a teenager.
Click here to read about more top Irish sports stars
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1956 Gerry Ryan was born on this day in Dublin in 1956. He was one of the most recognisable faces on Irish television during the 1990s and 2000s. Since getting his first major presenting job at the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest, Ryan went from strength to strength and became a fixture on primetime entertainment shows.
He was bold in his style, not being afraid to cause controversy. In the late 1980s, he claimed to have killed and eaten a lamb, while on an extreme survival challenge for television. The claim turned out to be untrue. He also once asked;
“Would it be considered blasphemous if someone said on air that ‘God is a bollocks?'”
Ryan often upset his audience but his popularity grew as his antics shocked people. He was one of the highest paid television personalities in Ireland in the 2000s, and was given a €100,000 advance by Penguin books for his autobiography.
Ryan died in 2010, after complaining that he felt unwell and cancelling his appointments for the night. It was later revealed that he was a regular user of cocaine, and had admitted himself that he drank ‘too much for his own good’.
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1978 James Galway reached the UK top ten with An instrumental cover of John Denver’s Annie’s Song. It is Galway’s only UK hit to date, with his musical talents being more suited as part of an orchestra for operas and ballets.
Galway is known as the ‘man with the golden flute’, and is regarded by many as the world’s greatest flautist. He was given the National Concert Hall Lifetime Achievement Award in Dublin in 2013 for his years of service to Irish music.
James Galway playing Danny Boy – sublime…
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2001 It was announced on this day in 2001 that a piece of unseen work by Irish writer James Joyce is to be sold at auction. The mystery work is an early draft of a chapter from the bestselling novel Ulysses. It is expected to sell for more than €1m.