1595 It was on this day March 8 1594 that an English expedition left Galway to capture and kill pirate queen, Grace O’Malley. Granuaile is the nickname given to the remarkable, larger than life Irish woman warrior Grainne Ni Mhaile, (Grace O’Malley – her name in English).
She met Queen Elizabeth I, and Padraig Pearse rewrote the lyrics to Óró Sé do Bheatha ‘Bhaile as a rallying call to Irish nationalists leading up the 1916 Easter Rising in Ireland removing Bonnie Prince Charlie’s name and replacing it with Granuaile.
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1702 Anne Bonny was born in Kinsale on this day in 1702. She moved to America and grew up to become one of the most feared pirates in the Caribbean. A film has been made about her life by Ridley Scott. The song at the end of the film is the haunting Irish ballad, The Parting Glass.
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1905 William Ford died on this day in 1905 in California. He was born in Cork and moved to America with his wife.
One of their children, Henry, grew up to create the Ford car, which is now one of the biggest companies in the world.
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1909 Francis MacManus was born on this day in Kilkenny in 1909. He was an author and broadcaster who wrote several novels throughout the 1930s, 40s and 50s. RTÉ set up the Francis MacManus Short Story Award in 1985 as a tribute to one of Ireland’s most popular writers.
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1959 Happy birthday to Aidan Quinn, born in Illinois on this day in 1959. Quinn’s parents came from Ireland and he spent much of his childhood visiting family in Dublin and County Offaly.
When he was 19, Quinn took his first acting role in the theatre. Since then he has become one of the most recognisable faces on American television. He has appeared in series Weeds, Elementary and Prime Suspect.
Quinn has also appeared in several movies, including playing the part of Harry Boland in the film about Irish hero Michael Collins.
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1966 On this day in 1966, the Nelson Pillar that stood in O’Connell Street, Dublin was blown up the IRA. The motive behind the attack is thought to be to mark the 50th anniversary of the Easter Rising of 1916. No-one was injured in the blast.
The front page of the Irish Times on Tuesday, 8 March 1966 read: “The top of Nelson Pillar, in O’Connell street, Dublin, was blown off by a tremendous explosion at 1.32 o’clock this morning and the Nelson statue and tons of rubble poured down into the roadway. By a miracle, nobody was injured, though there were a number of people in the area at the time.”
Click here to read more about fall of Nelson Pillar.
The Dubliners with the popular song at the time – Nelsons Farewell.
More on The Dubliners -everything you need to know – history of their career, their part in the folk revival, changing lineups and a selection of their videos
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1972 Happy birthday to Fergal O’Brien, born on this day in Ireland in 1972. He is a professional snooker player and goes by the nickname the baby-faced assassin.
The highlight of O’Brien’s career came in 1999, when he was crowned British Open champion after beating Anthony Hamilton in the final.