1878 Thomas McDonagh was born in Tipperary on this day in 1878. He was an Irish nationalist and a skilled poet and writer. He was one of the main figures in the Easter Rising of 1916.
McDonagh was one of the signatories on the Proclamation of the Irish Republic, when the Irish took control of the General Post Office in Dublin. However, the rising was unsuccessful and McDonagh was executed by the British government for his part. His friend and fellow poet Francis Ledwidge wrote a poem in his honour after his death. Click here to read more about the Easter Rising
Click here to read the complete Ledwidge’s poem, Lament for Thomas McDonagh (24th most populat Irish poem).
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1859 Victor August Herbert was born in Dublin. Herbert was then raised in Germany and became a prominent composer and cellist.
He moved to New York where he performed and conducted for the top orchestras, although still had to work as a cello tutor in his spare time to make extra money.
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1894 The legendary film director John Ford was born on this day in Maine in 1894. He was a 2nd generation Irish American with a father from Galway and a mother a native of the island of Inishmore.
Ford grew up to become a Hollywood legend. He was famous for Westerns, and adaptations of classic 20th-century American novels eg The Grapes of Wrath. He directed classics such as How Green Was My Valley, Stagecoach and The Quiet Man. Ford worked with the top Hollywood stars of the day including John Wayne and Irish actress, Maureen O’Hara. Ford won four Best Director Academy Awards, a record which still stands today.
Some memorable moments from the film The Quiet Man.
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1987 Two Northern Irishmen contested one of the most exciting Masters snooker finals there has been on this day in 1987. Belfast’s Alex Higgins went head to head with Tyrone’s Dennis Taylor for the prestigious trophy.
The match was a thriller with Higgins leading 8-5 only for Taylor to win the last four frames to claim a 9-8 victory.
Watch the epic final between two Northern Irishmen in 87 at Wembley.
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1990 Happy birthday to Annalise Murphy, born on this day in Dublin in 1990. She is Ireland’s number one sailor, and has represented her country at the London 2012 Olympics, just missing out on the medals finishing fourth. She then won the gold medal at the European Championships a year later on her home waters in Dublin.
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2002 Roy Keane‘s autobiography is nominated at the British Book Awards on this day in 2002. The former Manchester United and Republic of Ireland captain wrote with brutal honesty, criticising many high profile figures in the game as well as himself for his short temper.
The most shocking chapter in the book was undoubtedly where Keane described his hatred of fellow player Alfie Haaland, after the Norwegian accused him of faking injury when he had damaged his cruciate ligaments. Keane was out of the game for a year with the injury and when he next got on the same pitch as Haaland he took out years of anger and frustration in a disgraceful challenge that could have ended Haaland’s career.
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Feast Day – February 1
Brigid of Kildare Find out St Brigid and St Brigid’s cross (and a video how to make one)