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Ep 257 – Michael Davitt Memorial, St Mary’s Football Club and John Duffy’s memories of coming to the UK

This week…

In Part 1, we’re at the Michael Davitt Memorial, Haslingden. We look back on the life of this influential reformer. Davitt was born in 1846 at Straide, County Mayo. When he was four years old, his entire family was evicted from their home. With his parents and siblings, they emigrated to England, arriving in Liverpool and then walking 40 miles to Haslingden. Aged 9, Michael Davitt started work in the local mill but within two years, he had suffered a life changing injury, losing his right arm. Once he had recovered, he was sponsored to go to school, a highly unusual thing in the 1850s.

Davitt went on to become a major figure in Irish land reform and the Republican movement. Often controversial, he was arrested for treason, served prison terms and was elected to parliament.

Davitt spent all of his life working in some form or another as an activist, highlighting social injustice. His actions have directly led to land reform and the shaping of modern Ireland.

Staying in Haslingden, we go to St Mary’s Football Club and meet the team there. They have active programmes for getting children of all ages engaged with the game. Their open-arms policy gets every ability playing, right from little tots to adults.

In Part 2, we meet John Duffy and his family. Born in 1929 in County Mayo, John took himself to the UK at the age of 16. Working the land and travelling round, John’s life mirrors that of many that made the journey from Ireland. His wife and family talk fondly of their times in the UK.

For more information…
Haslingden Old and New… haslindensblogspot.com
Michael Davitt Museum… michaeldavittmuseum.ie
Haslingden Democratic League… thelandleague.org
Google Haslingden St Mary’s Community Centre for more info

Watch the Irish in the UK every Thursday night at 7.30pm on SKY 191 or Freesat 162. Repeated on Tuesday at 1 pm

To advertise in the UK section of the show please call Martin Logan 07808 573 142 alternatively email martinloganmanchester@gmail.com