1794 Frances Ball was born in Dublin on this day in 1794. She became known as Mother Mary Theresa and was a key figure in setting up an Irish branch of the Loretta Sisters, a Christian group of women dedicated to the church. She decided on the name ‘Loreto’ after the village, Loreto, in Italy where the Nazareth house of the Holy Family was said to have been transported.
She founded thirty-seven convents in various parts of the world.
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1873 Three times Olympic gold medallist John Flanagan was born on this day in County Limerick in 1873. He emigrated to New York in 1896 and joined the police force.
He represented the USA at the 1900 Paris, 1904 St Louis, and 1908 London Olympic games, winning the gold for the hammer throw on each occasion, and also picking up a silver medal in St Louis for the weight throw.
Flanagan returned to his native Ireland in 1924 after the death of his father. Four years later in Amsterdam, the USA failed to win the gold in the hammer throw for the first time in Olympic history.
The winner was an Irishman named Patrick O’Callaghan who had been trained by Flanagan.
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1922 Éamon de Valera tendered his resignation as President of the Republic (for the second time – first time on 6 January) – it was accepted. Below is a de Valera quote from three weeks earlier.
When resigning , he said;
“In view of the vote that was taken here on Saturday and which I had definitely to oppose as one that was tending to subvert the Republic which I was elected to my present position to defend and maintain; and as it appeared to me also to be a vote which would tend to subvert the independence of the country, I could no longer continue – as I was beaten in that – I could no longer continue in my present office feeling I did not have the confidence of the House. I therefore wish to place my resignation in the hands of the Assembly.”
Click for more Éamon de Valera quotes
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1929 Irish dramatist Brian Friel was born on this day, 9 January 1929. He has had many plays on Broadway including Philadelphia, Here I Come! which was made into a film. He is considered one of Ireland’s top writers.
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1951 The Great Northern Railway was jointly nationalised by the governments of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland on this day in 1951.
In an attempt to fend off competition from road travel, a direct line between Belfast and Dublin was introduced.
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1998 On this day in 1998, Mo Mowlam entered Maze prison to plead for a peace with Ulster paramilitary leaders.
The former Labour Secretary of State for Northern Ireland spoke with convicted murderers, in an attempt to bring an end to the troubles in Northern Ireland.
A few months later, the IRA and Ulster loyalists both signed the peace treaty, The Good Friday Agreement, along with all the major political parties.
2001 On 9 January, the tiny islands of Inishgort and Inishlyre in Clew Bay got electric power.
According to legend, Clew Bay has 365 islands in it – one for every day of the year.
Clew Bay is a natural ocean bay in Co Mayo. It contains sunken drumlins (a drumlin is a little hill ridge formed by glacial action.)
The bay is overlooked by Croagh Patrick.
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2012 On this day, 9 January 2012, singer Bridie Gallagher passed away aged 87. She was known as the ‘Girl from Donegal’. She was Ireland’s first international pop star.
Her career spanned over 50 years, and she performed across the world including the Sydney Opera House, Carnegie Hall in New York and the Royal Albert Hall in London.
She was born in Creeslough, Co. Donegal and she used to sing in Creeslough Hall, and in 1956, a Decca talent scout saw her there, and her professional career began.
Her first single was ‘A Mother’s Love’s a Blessing’ which became instantly popular. Later she performed regularly on Sunday Night at the London Palladium – a televised variety show which was shown in Ireland and the UK.
In the 50s and 60s, thousands of Irish people emigrated to America, and Australia, Britain and Canada. This helped her popularity grow world-wide – Gallagher played to packed theatres made up initially of Irish audiences.
Bridie Gallagher’s first single – ‘A Mother’s Love’s a Blessing’ by Thomas Keenan.
See the full poem – A Mother’s Love’s a Blessing
Here is a recording of Bridie Gallagher singing ‘A Mother’s Love is a Blessing’