Irish History Bitesize
Proclamation of Irish Independence prints

March 11


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William Vincent Wallace1812 William Vincent Wallace was born in Waterford on this day in 1812. He was a musician and played in his father’s band as a child. By the age of nine Wallace was writing his own material for the band to perform. He became skilled in several instruments under the guidance of his father and uncle, who was also in the band.

As an adult, Wallace married a skilled pianist and they emigrated to Australia along with Wallace’s sister and brother who were also talented musicians. The group toured Australia performing shows and set up a music school.

However, Wallace grew restless and after separating from his wife he set off to New Zealand and India to perform on his own. He moved on to tour across South America before settling in New York where he co-founded the New York Philharmonic Society.

William_Vincent_Wallace Image copyright Ireland Calling

He moved back to London but continued to go on tour. He married an American and settled down before eventually dying in France. Wallace left behind a substantial body of work, much of which is still performed by the top orchestras today, such as Maritana and The Amber Witch.

Here is Lurline Ouverture by William Vincent Wallace.

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1858  Thomas Clarke was born on this day in 1858. His parents were Irish and he became involved with the fight for Irish independence from British rule.

He was sent to prison for his involvement in a plot to blow up London Bridge, and upon his release he joined other Irish Nationalists in the planning of the Easter Rising.

Clarke was one of the rebels that took control of the General Post Office in Dublin and his name is the first to appear on the Proclamation of Independence. He was killed by firing squad on 3 May aged of 59 for his part in the Rising.
Thomas-Clarke-quote Image copyright Ireland Calling
Moments before his execution he asked his wife to pass on this message to the people of Ireland: “I and my fellow signatories believe we have struck the first successful blow for Irish freedom. The next blow, which we have no doubt Ireland will strike, will win through. In this belief, we die happy.”
Click here to read more about the Easter Rising

A-commemoratiive-card-for-Tom Clarke

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1926 On this day in 1926 Éamon de Valera resigned as leader of Sinn Féin after failing to gather support for his political approach to achieve an Irish republic state. He set up a new party Fianna Fáil, with the support of Seán Lemass and Constance Markievicz amongst others.

3 mARCH  Éamon de Valera resigned as leader of Sinn Féin iMAGE COPYRIGHT iRELAND cALLING

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Shane_Richie_John-Griffiths_CC21964 On this day in 1964, the Roches, an Irish couple living in London had a son who they named Shane. He grew up to become a household name in Britain and Ireland as an actor and entertainer under his stage name, Shane Ritchie.

He has presented game shows and performed in theatre productions of Boogie Nights and Grease, but is most famous for his role in British soap EastEnders, as the loveable Alfie Moon.
Click here to read about more Irish actors

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1974 Bank robbing brothers Kenneth and Keith Littlejohn escaped from Mountjoy Prison on this day in 1974. They had hidden the saw marks on their prison bars with toothpaste, and managed to scale the outer wall of the prison using wooden planks.

Keith broke his ankle in the escape and was shortly intercepted by the police. Kenneth managed to complete his escape and remained on the run for nine months until he was arrested in Birmingham.

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3_11_Michael_Collins_Georges-Biard_CC32002 On this day in 2002, Limerick writer Michael Collins is named on the shortlist for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award for his novel, The Keepers of Truth. Collins unfortunately missed out on the award, and the €100,000 cash prize, to French writer Michel Houellebecq and his book Atomised.

He is also an ultra distance runner (ultramarathon) which is any sporting event involving running and walking longer than the traditional marathon length of 26 miles. He is a member of the Irish National Team for the 100k distance (62.2 miles), and he was captain of the Irish National Team in 2010 when he won a bronze medal at the World 100k Championships held in Gibraltar,


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