1861 Louise Guiney was born on this day in 1861. Her father was an Irish-born American Civil War officer and sent her to be educated at a convent school in Rhode island.
To help support her family, she wrote articles for newspapers and magazines. Later, she became part of the Boston “aesthetic revival” in the 1890s, and is known for her lyrical, Old English-style poems. She became a successful poet as an adult, with her most famous publications being The White Sail and Other Poems (1887) and The Martyr’s Idyl, and Shorter Poems.
* * *
1878 General John O’Neill died on this day in Nebraska in 1878. O’Neill was born in County Monaghan, Ireland, but moved to America as a teenager in the height of the Great Famine. He served as a sergeant in the American Civil War, before joining the Fenian Brotherhood, a movement that wanted to free Ireland from British rule.
O‘Neill led an attack on Canada with his Fenian troops proving too skilled and experienced for the Canadians to resist.
However, as his men became outnumbered O’Neill successfully led them back to the safety of American land. The attack became known as the Battle of Ridgeway and it was the only notable success the Fenians ever had over Canada. O’Neill has since been described as the first ever Fenian.
* * *
1922 On this day in 1922, the Irish parliament, Dáil Éireann voted 64 to 57 in favour of the Anglo-Irish Treaty, paving the way for the Irish Free State.
Click here to read more on the history of Ireland
* * *
1972 Happy birthday to Tom Simpson, DJ, musician and keyboardist of Northern Irish rock band Snow Patrol. Simpson was born on this day in 1972 in Scotland and from a young age it was his ambition to be a DJ.
He joined up with Snow Patrol as there on tour DJ in 1997, and became a permanent member of the band in 2005.
* * *
2001 More than 2,000 people attended the funeral of Irish nun Sister Theresa Egan, which took place on this day in 2001. Irish soil was sprinkled over her coffin as she was buried.
She was a victim of a brutal attack on a church on the Caribbean island of St Lucia, in which two men stormed in during a mass. The men attacked the congregation with machetes, before dousing them in flammable liquid and setting the church on fire.
Sister Egan had worked at a Catholic school in St Lucia for more than 40 years, and was aged 73 when she was murdered.