March 4

1778  Robert Emmet was born in Dublin on this day in 1778. He was a key figure in the rebellions of 1798 and 1803 as the Irish tried to break free of the British rule.
-Robert-Emmet Image copyright Ireland CallingEmmet travelled to France to request military support from Napoleon for the 1798 Rebellion, and the French leader agreed.
However, an accidental explosion at one of the rebels’ safe houses exposed their plans and the rebellion had to go ahead of schedule.
Because of this, it was poorly planned and the rebels lacked the arms or military skills to overthrow the British. Emmet was wanted by the British and he fled to France to avoid arrest. He took time to gather support and plan the next rebellion, determined that the same mistakes wouldn’t be made again.
He returned to Ireland and organised his men. Another accidental explosion forced the date to be moved forward again, and Emmet gave the order for the rebels to take control of Dublin Castle on 23rd July 1803. Again, the rebels lacked the numbers and arms to beat the British authorities, and Emmet called a halt to the rebellion. But he had lost control of his men and the fighting continued into the night with the estimated death toll of 20 British soldiers and 50 rebels.
Emmet was arrested and charged with treason. He had no chance as his defence lawyer took a bribe of £200 and a pension from the court to make sure he lost his case. Emmet was executed at Thomas Street on 20th September 1803.
Read Robert Emmet’s history here and his full ‘Speech from the Dock’ and a video of the speech’
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Robert Emmet quoteImage copyright Ireland Calling* * *

1888 Grace Gifford, was born on this day in 1888. She was an Irish patriot and a skilled artist, she drew cartoons to help promote Sinn Féin in the early 20th century.
This image is at the end of her narrow cell – note the air-grid above the painting.
Grace Gifford's cell Madonna and Child painting Image copyright Ireland Calling
However, she is most famous for her tragic love affair with Joseph Plunkett, who was one of the leaders of the Easter Rising. Plunkett was sentenced to death for his part in the rebellion, and the two were married in Kilmainham Gaol just hours before he was executed.
Click here to read more about the Easter Rising
Click here to read more about Joseph Plunkett and Grace Gifford
Grace Gifford and Joseph Plunkett Image copyright Ireland Calling
Jim McCann with The Dubliners performing ‘Grace’, with a moving introduction to the song about Grace Gifford.

More on Jim McCann with videos here

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Terry Druggan 1954 Terry Druggan died on this day in 1954. He was Irish American gangster and was deeply proud of his Celtic roots. Despite having a lisp and being short in size, Druggan became a feared member of his neighbourhood due to his violent nature and short temper.
At a young age he became head of the Valley Gang, a Chicago mobster family, in the 1920s. He amassed numerous properties through his criminal activities, and was a brash, boastful figure. He had a swimming pool and tennis courts built in his mansion, despite the fact that he couldn’t swim or play tennis. He also owned several racehorses, which always wore his family Celtic crest and colours.
He was once ordered from a racecourse when he had been caught fixing a race. Druggan responded by pulling a gun on the course officials and warning them he would kill them there and then unless they reversed the decision, which they promptly did.

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1978 Emmet Dalton died in Dublin on this day in 1978, on his 80th birthday. Dalton had fought for the British army in the First World War, and saw his friend Thomas Kettle die during a conflict in the Battle of the Somme. Kettle wrote a famous poem, To My Darling Daughter Betty (Ireland’s 69th favourite poem), when he went away to fight, with the expectation that he would not return to see his wife and daughter. Dalton was present when his friend’s prediction came true.
Emmett-Dalton-prison-mugshot_1893 Image copyright Ireland Calling
On his return from the war, Dalton became a leading member of the IRA and was one of the commanding officers during the Irish War of Independence. He travelled with Michael Collins to sign the Anglo-Irish Treaty in 1921. On their return to Ireland, Dalton saw another of his close friends killed when the car they were travelling in was ambushed and Collins was killed.
Click here to read more about Irish history

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Paddy-Madden. Photo Copyright - thisiscornwall1990 Happy birthday to Paddy Madden, born in Dublin on this day in 1990. Madden is a professional footballer playing in the English football league. He represented the Republic of Ireland at Under 18, U19 and U21 level, before making his debut for the first team in 2013. Madden scored at Wembley Stadium for Yeovil Town in the 2013 League One Playoff final win over Brentford, which saw his side get promoted.

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1993 On this day in 1993, U2 tied with REM in a Rolling Stones magazine poll for the ‘world’s best band’. The Dublin rockers had just released their album Zooropa, which topped the charts in numerous countries and sold more than 7 million copies around the world.
However, they were up against the equally impressive American four piece, who had released mega albums Out Of Time and Automatic for the People in the previous two years.
Click here to read more about famous Irish bands
Here’s U2 with Beautiful Day.


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