May 12


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Thomas_Wentworth_1st_Earl_of_Strafford1641 Thomas Wentworth, Lord Deputy of Ireland was beheaded on this day in 1641. He had worked to try and improve the conditions for Irish people but despite this he remained an unpopular figure. Wentworth also made enemies of several key figures in Ireland.

He tried to remove Richard Burke, 4th Earl of Clanricarde from his position and Burke died after the stress of the ordeal. His son took over his position and swore to gain revenge on Wentworth. Richard Boyle, 1sdt Earl of Cork also disliked Wentworth and cast a doubt in the minds of the British parliament about his motives.

When Wentworth advised King Charles to issue a forceful military response to a potential attack from Scotland, the British parliament lost their patience with the difficult Lord.

They charged him with treason and the only man who could save him, King Charles, had also by now turned his back on Wentworth. He was beheaded in London in front a crowd of an estimated 300,000.

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1823 On this day in 1823, Daniel O’Connell founded the Catholic Association to campaign for better rights for Catholics in Ireland and Britain. At the time, Catholics weren’t allowed to own land, gain a proper education or hold respected roles in communities.

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Daniel O'Connell There is nothing politically right Image copyright Ireland Calling

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1916 Seán MacDiarmada and James Connolly were executed at Kilmainham Gaol on this day in 1916. They were two of the leaders in the Easter Rising, and both had signed the proclamation of Independence, stating Ireland was an independent republic, free from British rule.

The two men were the fourteenth and fifteenth Irish rebels to be executed for their part in the Rising. After their deaths, mood amongst the Irish public changed as they felt the leaders had been punished far too severely by the British government.

The desire for independence grew in Ireland and in the following years were the Irish War of Independence and the Irish Civil War as the conflict continued.

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Seán MacDiarmada and James Connolly executed in Kilmainham Gaol Image copyright Ireland Calling

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1944 The Venerable Edel Mary Quinn died on this day in 1944. She was born in Cork and was a missionary who worked to help people in poor conditions in Ireland during the 1920s and 30s. This was in spite of suffering severely with tuberculosis.

In 1936, Quinn travelled to Africa where she worked to help set up hundreds of aid centres in countries such as Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Malawi. In 1944, while working in Kenya, Quinn’s health deteriorated to such an extent that she could no longer be active in helping others. She died on 12th May in Nairobi, Kenya.

Father McCarthy, who later became Bishop of Zanzibar, paid tribute to Quinn after spending time working with her:

“Miss Quinn is an extraordinary individual; courageous, zealous and optimistic. She wanders around in a dilapidated Ford, having for sole companion an African driver. When she returns home she will be qualified to speak about the Missions and Missionaries, having really more experience than any single Missionary I know.”

Venerable Edel Quinn

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Gabriel_Byrne_Ian-Smith_CC21950 Happy birthday to Gabriel Byrne, born in Dublin on this day in 1950. He is an actor who began his career as a stage actor and worked with some illustrious names such as Richard Burton and Laurence Olivier.

He then moved into films, and appeared alongside several Hollywood A-listers including Leonardo DiCaprio in The Man in the Iron Mask and Will Smith in Enemy of the State. Byrne has since had leading roles in major films such as Ghost Ship, Attack on Leningrad and Vikings.

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1952 Happy birthday to Pat Hooper, born in Dublin on this day in 1952. He is a former long distance athlete and won the Irish National marathon Championships in 1979. A year later, he represented Ireland at the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow, but unfortunately failed to gain a medal.

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