July 11


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1839 William John Hennessy was born in County Kilkenny on this day in 1839. At the age of ten, he moved to New York with his mother and brother to be re-united with his father who had been forced to leave Ireland because of his involvement in the Young Irelanders movement.

Hennessy grew up to be a talented artist, and specialised in wood engraving. He was renowned as a leader in his field, and illustrated the works of famous poets including Lord Tennyson.


Hennessy developed a skill in wood engraving and was hired to illustrate the works of renowned poets, including Lord Tennyson.
Read more about Irish art

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1921 The IRA and the British army declared a truce on this day in 1921. It was supposedly the end to the Irish War of Independence, but fighting and killings continued in the north of Ireland for several more months.
Crowd_Mansion_House_Dublin_ahead_of_War_of_Independence_truce_July_8_1921 Image copyright Ireland CallingRead more about the Irish War of Independence

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1929 David Kelly was born on this day in Dublin in 1929. He was an actor and had a long and distinguished career. Viewers may remember him as the incompetent builder O’Reilly in Fawlty Towers, or more recently Grandpa Joe in the 2005 film Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Unfortunately Kelly passed away in 2005.
Click here to read about more great Irish actors

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1962 Happy birthday to Pauline McLynn, born on this day in 1962 in Sligo. She is a successful comedy actress, most recognisable as the tea-making housekeeper in the hilarious 1990s sit-com Father Ted.

Mrs Doyle was a side-character in the show, but produced numerous memorable scenes of her own, such as learning how to become a football supporter, deliberately breaking a tea-making machine and getting arrested for fighting with her friend after both insisted they would pay the bill in a coffee shop.

McLynn won the 1996 British Comedy Award for Best Comedy Actress for her portrayal of Mrs Doyle.

She has since featured in several other television shows, including the Channel 4 comedy-drama Shameless as a love interest of alcoholic waster Frank Gallagher. McLynn has also appeared in the iconic British soap opera Eastenders, and has written several novels outside of her acting career.
Click here to read about more Irish actors

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1967 More than 5,000 previously banned books were made available to buy and sell in Ireland on this day in 1967. The government passed amendments to the Censorship Act, relaxing the rules on what content could and couldn’t be published.

The Act and the Censorship Board were heavily criticised in the past for being too prudish and sensitive about what was acceptable reading material for the Irish public.

The Censorship laws are still considered by many to be far too strict in Ireland today. The Act was originally set up when religion held a much stronger place in society. Several great writers such as John Steinbeck and DH Lawrence have had their careers and reputations stalled in Ireland because their work has been censored.

banned-books Image copyright Ireland Calling

A campaign to end the strict censorship of publications in Ireland was backed by many of the country’s top writers of the day.
Click here to read about the 2013 motion to abolish strict censorship laws

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1985 Happy birthday to Johnny Sexton, born in Dublin on this day in 1985. He is one of the key players in the Irish rugby team, and was part of the 2014 Six Nations winning side. Sexton has also won the Heineken Cup for Leinster three times in his career, and moved to Racing Metro in France in 2014.

Outside of his sporting career, Sexton also holds a Bachelor of Commerce from University College Dublin and is an ambassador for the Make-A-Wish charity in Ireland which grants wishes to seriously ill children.
Read about more top Irish sports stars


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