February 15

1794 On this day in 1794, The United Irishmen published their plans for a parliamentary reform. The plans included a secret ballot and the right to vote for all men. However, the British parliament dismissed the United Irishmen’s requests, leading to the 1798 Rebellion.
United Irishmen Image copyright Ireland Calling

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Shackleton1874 Sir Ernest Shackleton was born in County Kildare on this day in 1874. He grew up in London and became one of the most successful explorers in British and Irish history. He led several crews on trips to and around the South Pole, and flirted with death from starvation and exhaustion on more than one occasion.
He was a charismatic leader and always prioritised the safety of his crew. On one expedition, Shackleton and three of his men crossed a mountainous island in 36 hours in order to get a rescue boat sent back for the remainder of his crew. The expeditions took their toll on Shackleton’s mind and body. He was a heavy drinker and suffered a suspected minor heart attack. During World War I, he took a break to try and gain funds and support for the allied forces, but was unsuccessful.
When the war had ended, Shackleton had grown bored and decided to go on another expedition. He was on board the Quest, heading towards the island of St Georgia, halfway between South America and the Antarctica, when he suffered a fatal heart attack.
Shackleton advert  Image copyright Ireland Calling
Advert to recruit crew for the Endurance expedition. 5,000 men applied, 27 were chosen.
Video of Shackleton and the Endurance. Shackleton’s family motto was ‘By endurance we conquer’.

The Southern Party

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1971 On this day in 1971, Ireland officially switched from to decimal currency, with Irish pounds and pence replacing shillings and pounds.  The currency remained until 1999, when Ireland joined many other countries and switched to the newly formed Euro currency.

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2001 On this day in 2001, plans to build a multi-million pound supermarket were put on hold, after 78 year old Lena Hunt refused an offer of £250,000 for part of her back garden.  The pensioner’s garden in Limavady, County Derry was directly in the way of the development, and her refusal to sell was met with a mixed response in Northern Ireland.

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