On this day: the destruction of Duckett’s Grove

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Rare image of the house pre-fire. X

Duckett’s Grove, a great house in County Carlow, Ireland, was destroyed by fire on the 20th of April, 1933.

Built around 1830 for the Duckett family, they lived at the house until 1916, when a family dispute between the only remaining family members – none of them male (males would usually inherit) – led to the house’s management being taken over by locals.

By 1930 the house was being used by the Irish Republican Army, and when they left the property it was still in good condition.

In 1933, a week after local farmers – who had been managing the estate – reported a minor fire at the house, Duckett’s Grove burnt in earnest over the course of a night.

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Today, the frame of the house still stands.

On this day: the Irish government stands up to the Catholic Church

On the 12th of March, 1985, the government of the Republic of Ireland finally stood up to the powerful Catholic Church and legalised contraception.

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Women leave Dublin on their protest journey to Belfast.

The 1970s saw feminists travelling to Belfast in Northern Ireland and returning home with contraceptives, risking arrest for importing illegal products. They were met by protestors upon their arrival home.

Illegal in the Republic in all circumstances until 1980, a new law allowed some contraception to be dispensed by a pharmacist to people with a doctor’s prescription.

This highly restrictive law was finally changed five years later, despite conservative opposition.

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Some Americans were so outraged that “Holy Ireland” now allowed contraception, they wrote to the Prime Minister to complain.

Even so, advertising of contraceptives was still banned, and Ireland continued to have one of the highest birth rates in the developed world.

On this day: Bloody Sunday

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A British soldier chases an unarmed man from the scene. X

On the 30th of January, 1972, the largest single shooting incident of The Troubles in Northern Ireland occurred at a protest against internment.

Significant because of the high number of civilians who were shot or otherwise injured by British soldiers, thirteen people were killed at the scene, while another died of their injuries a few months later. A further twelve people were injured by gunshots, while others were hurt by vehicle impact, and from being shot at with rubber bullets.

The massacre occurred in the Bogside area of Derry, beginning shortly before 4pm. In the aftermath of the massacre, recruitment for the IRA significantly rose.

Guy Fawkes

Guy Fawkes Night is celebrated in Great Britain on the 5th of November. Below is an 1867 anti-Irish Guy Fawkes illustration from Punch magazine. Fenian refers to Irish nationalists.

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American magazine Harper’s Weekly ran a similar anti-Irish image, titled The Usual Irish Way of Doing Thingsin 1871.

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