#OTD in Irish History | 26 April:

1718 – Thomas St Lawrence, 13th Baron of Howth, received £215 14s 1 1/2d for the expense he incurred in building a quay at Howth for landing coals for the lighthouse.

1745 – John Allen, 3rd Viscount Allen, former MP for Carysfort, killed a dragoon in a street brawl. ‘His Lordship was at a house in Eustace Street. At twelve in the night, three dragoons making a noise in the street, he threw up the window and threatening them, adding as is not unusual with him a great deal of bad language. The dragoons returned it. He went out to them loaded with a pistol. At the first snapping of it, it did not fire. This irritated the dragoon who cut his fingers with his sword, upon which Lord Allen shot him.’ The wound occasions a fever which causes Lord Allen’s death on 25 May.

1756 – John Ponsonby was unanimously elected Speaker of the Irish parliament.

1784 – Death of Nano Nagle, ‘God’s Beggar’. Born in Ballygriffin, Co Cork, she was the founder of the Order of the Presentation Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

1808 – Benjamin Burton, son of William Burton (former MP for Gowran and Co Carlow) fractured his skull in a fall from his horse while hunting but, having apparently recovered, went out again with the hounds and died from ‘brain fever’.

1877 – Birth of politician, James Dooley, in Co Longford. He emigrated to Brisbane, Australia at the age of 8, and served twice, briefly, as Premier of New South Wales during the early 1920s.

1895 – The trial of Oscar Wilde for homosexuality, then a crime, began at the Old Bailey.

1904 – Edward VII began a visit to Ireland.

1907 – The Belfast lockout took place in Belfast from 26 April to 28 August 1907. The strike was called by Liverpool-born trade union leader James Larkin who had successfully organised the dock workers to join the National Union of Dock Labourers (NUDL). The dockers, both Protestant and Catholic, had gone on strike after their demand for union recognition was refused.

1916 – Francis Sheehy-Skeffington, writer, suffragist, pacifist and patriot, was apprehended while trying to stop Easter Rising looting and was later murdered by the British without trial.

1916 – Easter Rising: The Battle of Mount Street Bridge, Dublin.

1921 – Private of East Lancashire Regiment was killed.

1922 – Provisional Government’s Northern Advisory Committee met and urged Michael Collins to start IRA operations again by 2 May if Craig did not accede to his three demands. At this time, Collins was preparing for a major Northern offensive by the IRA (without knowledge of his cabinet colleagues). Northern IRA staff paid for as part of pro-Treaty army and supplied with arms from anti-Treaty divisions after Collins negotiated with Liam Lynch.

1922 – 22/28: Dunmanway Massacre – After the fatal shooting of a local IRA officer in a dispute over a car which the IRA wanted to commandeer, elements of the local IRA killed 13 local Protestant loyalists in revenge, in and around Dunmanway, Co Cork.

1932 – Aengus Finucane, priest, and charity worker deeply involved with the organisation, Concern, was born in Limerick.

1966 – In 19th Century Dublin, Montgomery St was the largest red-light district in Europe. At least 1,600 ladies conducted their business and the future King Edward VII lost his virginity there. This specialisation was immortalised in the song ‘Monto’ (Take Me Up To Monto) by the Dubliners, recorded on this date.

1969 – There was another explosion at a water pipeline carrying supplies to Belfast. It was later established that the bomb was planted by Loyalists who were members of the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) and the Ulster Protestant Volunteers (UPV). Much of Belfast was without water following the latest explosion.

1984 – The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) issued a series of proposals for the future of Northern Ireland. The UUP suggested that the area should have a regional council with administrative powers.

1986 – Death of Séamus Turlough McElwaine (also spelt Seamus McElwain), a volunteer in the South Fermanagh Brigade of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) killed by the Special Air Service (SAS).

1988 – Two members of the security forces were killed in separate incidents.

1988 – A delegation from the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) met with Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Tom King, at Stormont.

1991 – There was a meeting of the Anglo-Irish Intergovernmental Conference. This was the last meeting for a 10 week period to allow talks to take place between the political parties.

1994 – A Catholic civilian, Joseph McCloskey (52), was killed by the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF), a cover name (pseudonym) used by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), at his home, Lepper Street, New Lodge, Belfast.

1995 – The Independent Police Complaints Commission for Northern Ireland reported that the number of complaints made against the RUC during 1994 was 2,503. This represented an increase of 16 per cent over the figure for 1993.

1995 – The Irish News claimed that there had been secret talks between the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) and the Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP). The IRSP was considered to be closely aligned with the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA).

1996 – The IRA accepted responsibility for the bomb at Hammersmith Bridge, London (25 April 1996).

1996 – Chairman of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), Jim Nicholoson, stepped down as UUP Chairman. Vice-Chairman of the UUP, Dennis Rogan, succeeded him.

1998 – Catriona McKiernan becomes the first Irish woman to win the London Marathon.

1998 – An Orange Order parade was banned from walking along the mainly Catholic lower Ormeau Road in Belfast. Those taking part in the parade held a protest meeting at the police line. The march passed off peacefully.

1998 – Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, addressed a crowd at an Easter Rising commemoration in Dublin, and said that Britain had been ‘effectively ruled out of the equation’ in regard to the future of Northern Ireland. The principle of consent, he said, was now the guiding factor in any future developments. The remarks were thought to have given the ‘No’ campaign a boost.

1999 – Former Supreme Court Justice, Hugh O’Flaherty, confirmed he would give a full and frank account of his role in the Philip Sheedy affair before the Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Equality and Women’s Rights.

1999 – It was revealed that Leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), David Trimble, and Chairman of the UUP, Dennis Rogan, were both facing expulsion from the Orange Order because they had attended the funeral mass of three of the victims of the Omagh bombing on 15 August 1998. The ‘Qualifications of an Orangeman’ expressly state that he should: ‘strenuously oppose the fatal errors and doctrines of the Church of Rome, and scrupulously avoid countenancing (by his presence or otherwise) any act of ceremony of Popish worship’.

1999 – The results of an Ulster Marketing Surveys (UMS) opinion poll conducted for The Irish Times and RTÉ were published. The results suggested that the Good Friday Agreement would receive a slightly higher level of support, 73 per cent, among voters in Northern Ireland in the event of a second referendum. However, only half of those questioned in Northern Ireland felt that the Agreement would survive another year. Of those questioned a majority in Northern Ireland were also in favour of forming an Executive only after paramilitary weapons were decommissioned.

2001 – Leading Sinn Féin members were among the 5,000 people who attended the funeral of former chief of staff of the Provisional IRA, Joe B. O’Hagan. Party president Gerry Adams gave the oration at the graveside when the leading republican figure was buried in Lurgan, Co Armagh.

2002 – More than a million postcards were delivered to Prime Minister Tony Blair and the Prince of Wales as part of an Irish bid to have the Sellafield nuclear installation closed down. People throughout Ireland posted the cards after weeks of campaigning, backed by celebrities such as soccer international Roy Keane and pop stars Ronan Keating and Samantha Mumba.

2003 – The Government said a deal securing the future of the North’s power-sharing executive was now closed following the latest statement from Sinn Féin. Irish and British governments hailed a speech by Sinn Féin president, Gerry Adams, as a significant advance.

2003 – Police in North Belfast tried to keep rival factions apart after rioting erupted in the Limestone Road area of the city.

2019 – Musician and founding member of Bagatelle, John O’Brien, passed away after a short illness.

Image credit | The Seven Signatories, Declan Kerr – Irish Art

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