Today in Irish History: 27 December _______________.

1601 – Red Hugh O’Donnell leaves Ireland for Spain; Hugh O’Neill withdraws to Ulster.

1727 – Arthur Murphy, actor and playwright, is born in Cloonyquin, Co. Roscommon.

1791 – 68 conservative members secede from the Catholic Committee, which thereby becomes more militant.

1804 – Birth of George Barrington, an Irish pickpocket and later a policeman.

1821 – Lady Jane Francesca Wilde is born in Co. Wexford. Author, poet and the mother of Oscar Wilde, she is also known as Speranza.

1849 – James Fintan Lalor, Young Irelander, dies.

1904 – Séamus Byrne, lawyer and playwright, is born in Dublin.

1904 – The Abbey Theatre opens with productions of Yeat’s “On Baile’s Strand” and “Cathleen ni Houlihan”, as well as Lady Gregory’s “Spreading the News”.

1904 – George Bernard Shaw’s John Bull’s Other Island is performed in London.

1920 – Republicans took over the unoccupied mansion at Caherguillamore, County Limerick, for a fund-raising dance. However British troops and RIC police surrounded them and in the ensuing gun battle five IRA volunteers and one Black and Tan were killed.

1921 – In Belfast there was a shootout between an RIC patrol and an IRA unit, one RIC constable and one IRA volunteer were killed.

1960 – Death of Elizabeth Crotty, Irish traditional musician and activist for Comhaltas Ceoltóiri Éireann.

1969 – Dan Breen, IRA leader during War of Independence dies.

1997 – A leading protestant paramilitary, Billy Wright, is shot dead at the maximum security Maze prison in Northern Ireland.

1999 – After a five-year delay, the construction of the £204 million Dublin Port tunnel is finally approved.

2000 – A White Christmas arrives late in many parts of the country. The post Christmas whiteout leaves the west and north west blanketed in snow with even offshore islands, where snow rarely lies, covered to a depth of several inches.

2001 – Sales fever drives bargain hunters from their beds to join pre-dawn queues as the nation goes on a record £1bn consumer splurge.

2002 – A young man is “executed” in north Belfast as the simmering feud among loyalist paramilitaries erupts.

2002 – Leopardstown loses up to €500,000 in revenue. Day two of the big Dublin race meeting is cancelled because of water-logging.

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