1628 Valentine Greatrakes was born in Waterford on this day in 1628. He was religious and claimed that he got a message that he had the ability to heal people by touching them.
Greatrakes travelled around Ireland and England and the sick would gather to be cured by his touch. He received criticism from some, but became so well known that even King Charles II wanted to see these ‘miracles’ for himself. Unfortunately for Greatrakes, a public demonstration of his healing ability for the king was unsuccessful, and his reputation as a healer was destroyed.
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1821 Mary Lee was born on this day in County Monaghan in 1821. She got married and had seven children and moved to Australia to nurse her son after he fell ill after moving there. Sadly he died.
Lee threw her energy into improving the rights of young women in Australia. She set up The Working Women’s Trades Union in 1890 and was the secretary for two years.
Lee gathered supporters and worked to improve the working conditions and rights of women. She also forced the government take steps to protect young girls, most notably increasing the age of consent from 13 to 16 in Australia.
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1895 Seán Treacy was born on this day in Tipperary. He was a member of the Gaelic Brigade, the Irish Republican Brotherhood and the Irish Volunteers. He was involved in the Easter Rising and was arrested. He spent two years in prison.
After his release in 1919, Treacy and six other volunteers ambushed two officers of the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) and sparked the start of the Irish War of Independence.
The Wolfe Tones singing Séan Treacy.
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1924 Albert Rosen was born in Vienna, Austria on this day in 1924. He studied at the Vienna Academy of Music, before building a reputation as a world class orchestra conductor. He then got a job with the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, which he conducted at the Wexford Festival 18 times.
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1981 48 people were killed in a fire at the Stardust nightclub in Dublin on this day in 1981. The club had more than 800 people in it when it caught fire. Upon discovery of the fire, staff attempted to put it out themselves and didn’t raise the alarm immediately, meaning vital time was wasted in evacuating the building. When the crowds realised the building was on fire, they rushed to get out but several of the fire exits were locked. The fire caused the building’s electricity to fail plunging the panicking crowd into darkness. They fled to the club’s main entrance but several people accidently became trapped in the men’s toilets which had metal bars on the windows, tragically leaving them locked in.
In the aftermath of the fire, the owners of the club were heavily criticised for the poor safety standards although they were exonerated of responsibility in court.
Irish folk singer Christy Moore was found in contempt of court after releasing the song, They Never Came Home, which contains the lyrics:
In a matter of seconds confusion did reign.
The room was in darkness, fire exits were chained.
Hundreds of children are injured and maimed,
And all just because the fire exits were chained.
He was forced to remove the song from his album, but he has sang it occasionally since.
Christy Moore performed They Never Came Home on The Late Late Show (on Ireland’s National Television and Radio Broadcaster)
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1996 Happy birthday to Bethany Firth, born in County Down on this day in 1996. She represented Ireland at the 2012 London Paralympics, winning a gold medal in the S14 100m backstroke swimming event.
Bethany only started swimming 4 years earlier.
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2000 On this day in 2000, Castlecove in County Kerry was honoured at the Nations in Bloom competition. Castlecove was named best village and best involvement of the community in environmental projects. Four residents travelled to the awards ceremony in Japan.
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