#OTD in Irish History | 13 May:

1842 – Arthur Sullivan, the son of an Irish musician, is born. Along with William Gilbert he invented the English operetta. Sullivan’s last work is entitled “The Emerald Isle”.

1848 – The Irish Confederation splits; John Mitchel starts the militant United Irishman; he is arrested on this date and is sentenced to 14 years transportation under the new Treason-Felony Act.

1851 – Wexford physician Arthur Leared invented the binaural stethoscope (a design with two earpieces) and first presented a model of this ‘double’ stethoscope at the Great Exhibition in London on this date.

1852 – Anna Catherine Parnell, sister of Charles and Fanny, and co-founder of the Irish Ladies Land League, is born in Avondale, Co Wicklow.

1906 – According to his birth certificate, this is the day playwright and novelist, Samuel Beckett is born in Foxrock, Co Dublin. Throughout his life, he insists his birth is on Good Friday – 13 April 1906.

1919 – Dan Breen and Seán Treacy rescue their comrade Seán Hogan from a Dublin-Cork train at Knocklong, Co Limerick; two policemen guarding him are killed.

1921 – 13-15: “Black Whitsun”. A general election for the parliament of Southern Ireland was held on 13 May. Sinn Féin won 124 of the new parliament’s 128 seats unopposed, and its elected members refused to take their seats. If that had happened, under the terms of the Government of Ireland Act, the Southern Parliament would have been dissolved, and Southern Ireland would have been ruled as a crown colony. Over the next two days (14–15 May) the IRA killed fifteen policemen. These events marked the complete failure of the Coalition Government’s Irish policy.

1945 – In a radio broadcast, Churchill accuses de Valera’s government of frolicking with the Germans and Japanese.

1954 – Sean Patrick Michael Sherrard, better known as Johnny Logan, is born. He is considered to be the most successful Eurovision Song contestant of all time.

1971 – The decision to appoint a Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland was announced.

1972 – A car bombing outside a crowded pub in Belfast sparks a two-day gun battle involving the Provisional IRA, Ulster Volunteer Force and British Army. Seven people are killed and over 66 injured.

1973 – Two members of the British Army were killed by the IRA in a bomb attack on the Donegall Road, Belfast.

1973 – A member of the IRA was killed as he drove through an Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) Vehicle Check Point (VCP) in Co Tyrone.

1974 – Two members of the IRA were killed in a premature explosion as they were planting a bomb at a petrol station near Dungannon, Co Tyrone.

1977 – Death of Mickey Spillane, an Irish-American mobster from Hell’s Kitchen, New York City. Spillane, who was called the “last of the gentleman gangsters,” was a marked contrast to the violent Westies gang members who succeeded him in Hell’s Kitchen.

1977 – The United Unionist Action Council (UUAC) called an end to its strike. The strike had failed to stop many aspects of industry and commerce. Ian Paisley declared the strike a success. However, many commentators considered that in comparison with the Ulster Workers Council Strike of 1974, the UUAC strike was not a success. The RUC were to report later that 3 people had been killed, 41 RUC officers injured, and 115 people charged with offences committed during the strike.

1980 – Leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), John Hume, travelled to Downing Street, London, to hold a meeting with British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher.

1981 – Pope John Paul II survives an assassination attempt in St Peter’s Square, Rome.

1981 – A Catholic teenager, Julie Livingstone (14), was shot dead by a plastic bullet fired by the British Army. She had been walking along Stewartstown Road in the Suffolk area of Belfast.

1981 – Leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), John Hume, travelled to London to meet British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher. Hume asked Thatcher to concede to the hunger strikers demand for free association and the right to wear civilian clothes. No concessions were forthcoming from Thatcher.

1982 – The European Parliament called on member states to ban the use of plastic bullets.

1987 – Birth of Laura Elizabeth Arabosa Izibor in Dublin to Irish mother, Trish, and Nigerian father, Saul. She is a recording artist, musician and producer. She won the RTÉ 2fm song contest while still in secondary school. She went on to win an award at the 2006 Meteor Music Awards. She also performed at that year’s Electric Picnic music festival and Music Ireland 2007. Izibor has opened for Aretha Franklin, India.Arie, Estelle, Maxwell, and John Legend on tour.

1990 – Loyalist prisoners climbed on to the roof of the Crumlin Road Prison in continuing protests over the issue of segregation.

1992 – A submission made to Strand One of the political talks (known as the Brooke/Mayhew talks) by the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) was leaked to the media. The main element of the submission was a proposal for a six-member Commission that would act as the cabinet of any future government. Three members would be elected (treating Northern Ireland as a single constituency) and three appointed (one each by the British government, Irish government, and the European Community). In turn an elected assembly would scrutinise their performance as well as making its own recommendations to the commissioners.

1992 – Death of surrealist sculptor, F.E. McWilliam. Born in Bainbridge, Co Down, he worked chiefly in stone, wood and bronze. In September 2009 Bainbridge District Council opened a Gallery and Studio dedicated to the work of and named after McWilliam.

1997 – Vice-President of Sinn Féin and MP for Mid-Ulster, Martin McGuinness, paid a visit to Roisín McAliskey, being held in Holloway Prison awaiting a decision about extradition. McGuinness described McAliskey’s treatment as “inhuman and degrading”.

1998 – Delegates at the Church of Ireland Synod in Dublin vote down a proposal that the church stop investing in companies involved in the production and selling of arms.

1998 – Taoiseach Bertie Ahern calls on Sinn Féin and the IRA to state unequivocally that the war in Northern Ireland is over.

1998 – The British Government appoints Adam Ingram as “Minister for Victims” to co-ordinate a drive towards new proposals to help the forgotten victims of terrorist violence in Northern Ireland.

2000 – More than 3,500 people march through the centre of Dublin to show their opposition to the rising levels of racism directed at refugees.

2003 – Ferocious winds force an Irish team hoping to scale Mount Everest to return to their base camp. Two members of the team, Clare O’Leary, 31, from Cork and Hannah Shields, 37, from Derry, hope to become the first Irish women to scale the world’s highest peak.

2015 – Death of RTÉ TV presenter Derek Davis. Mr Davis was born in Co Down and began his media career as a news journalist, working with the US network ABC and BBC before moving to the newsroom in RTÉ.

Image | St Patrick’s Well, Clonmel, Co Tipperary

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