May 18

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Daniel O'Connell1825 Daniel O’Connell’s Catholic Emancipation Bill was thrown out of the British House of Commons on this day in 1825.

The bill would have given Catholics the right to own land and gain a good enough education to hold important positions in communities. O’Connell continued to campaign for improved rights for Catholics.

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Standish James O'Grady1928 Standish James O’Grady died on this day in 1928. He is often referred to as the ‘Father of the Celtic Revival’, as he wrote about Irish history and key figures from the past. O’Grady was inspired after reading Sylvester O’Halloran’s “General history of Ireland”.

He realised that the public wanted to read about romance and heroes. O’Grady took the stories he knew about various mythical and legendary Irish characters, and transformed them into literary characters.

He also studied Irish and British history and wrote factual accounts of various periods, but these were not as well received by the public. One of his books, A History of Ireland, proved very unpopular with the Irish people because they felt it portrayed Oliver Cromwell in a too positive light. Cromwell was the man who led the British invasion across Ireland in the mid-17th century.

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Click here to read some of the best traditional Irish fairy stories and folk tales

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1981 Alan Leech was born in Dublin on this day in 1981. He is a successful actor, having leading roles both on the stage and on camera. He began starring in a production of A Streetcar Named Desire in Newcastle, England. Since then Leech has had leading roles in several major films such as Cowboys and Angels and Man About Dog.

He has also made appearance in numerous television shows, most notably as the Irish nationalist family chauffeur in Downton Abbey. He begins a relationship with the daughter of his British nobleman employer.

Leech is also something of a heart throb among the ladies. In 2005 he was voted sexiest Irish male by readers of a major trade union magazine.

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1985 Happy birthday to Kelly Gallagher, born in Bangor, Co Down on this day in 1985. She was Britain’s first ever Paralympian to win a gold medal at the Winter Olympics.

Gallagher won her gold in Sochi, Russia in 2014, in the Women’s Super-G Visually Impaired downhill skiing with a time one minute 28.72 seconds.

“It was nerve-wracking but I’m delighted with the result,” Gallagher told BBC Sport.

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Clare-OLeary-and-Pat-Falvey-celebrate-on-the-summit-of-Mount-Everest2004 One year after being forced to give up due to extreme weather and ill health, Clare O’Leary finally achieved her life’s dream and stood atop the summit of Mount Everest on this day in 2004.

The Clonmel doctor, became the first Irish woman to achieve the feat, and her climbing partner and team leader Pat Falvey also set his own record; the first Irish man to climb Mount Everest from both sides.

The extreme athletes were team-mates on another expedition in 2008, when they successfully reached the South Pole.

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2011 The newly built Aviva Stadium in Dublin was the venue for the Europa League Final on this day in 2011. Both teams contesting the final came from Portugal, with Porto beating Braga 1-0 and Colombian forward Rademel Falcao scoring the winning goal.

It was the first major sporting event not involving Ireland or an Irish team that took place at the Aviva, and was the ideal platform to showcase the brand new 60,000 seater stadium to the world.

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