Today in Irish History: 8 January _________________.

1547 – Henry VIII suppresses the Chapter of St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin; it will not be restored until 15 June 1555.

1779 – Birth in Newry of actress Julia Glover.

1815 – Death of Anglo-Irish Army Officer and Politician, The Honourable Sir Edward Pakenham GCB. He was the brother-in law of the Duke of Wellington, with whom he served in the Peninsular War. Appointed as commander of British forces in North America in 1814, he was killed in action at the Battle of New Orleans.

1860 – The Church of St Andrew in Suffolk Street, Dublin, is destroyed by fire.

1871 – James Craig, Ist Viscount Craigavon, Unionist politician and PM of Northern Ireland from 1921 to 1940, is born in Belfast.

1873 – Home Rule Confederation of Great Britain is founded.

1876 – Lucien Bul, inventor of the electrocardiograph, is born in Dublin.

1888 – Irish-born American actor and director, Matthew Moore, is born in Kells, County Meath.

1901 – Death of John Barry VC, born St Mary’s parish, Kilkenny and was by birth an Irish recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

1916 – Death of American actress, Ada Rehan. She was born as Ada Crehan in County Limerick and brought to the United States at about the age of six years.

1916 – Evacuation of Gallipoli Peninsula in the Dardanelles is completed; there are 100,000 casualties, mostly Australian, New Zealanders and Irish, in the eight-month campaign.

1921 – Thomas Kirby was abducted and shot by the IRA near Golden, Tipperary, as a spy and informer. His body was never recovered at the time, but was found in 1990 about 4 miles from where he disappeared.

1922 – Intermittent sectarian violence continues in Belfast. Two Catholics are killed in separate incidents on this day, but both sides (Catholic and Protestant) are involved in ongoing vicious and fatal attacks.

1922 – Arthur Griffith is elected second president of Ireland by Dáil Éireann.

1926 – Birth of international showjumper and equestrian Iris Kellett.

1945 – Familiarly known as the voice and rhythmic heartbeat of the legendary Irish folk group, The Chieftains, Kevin Conneff, is born in Donore, County Meath.

1945 – Peggy Vonnaro grandaughter of Maggie Milligan and Jame Patrick Donlin is born.

1950 – Birth of Irish American lawyer and Irish republican political activist, Martin Galvin.

1968 – Taoiseach Jack Lynch meets Terence O’Neill (Prime Minister of Northern Ireland) in Dublin. In December 1967 Taoiseach Jack Lynch travelled to Stormont for his first meeting with O’Neill. On 8 January 1968 they met again in Dublin. On 19 January 1968, O’Neill made a speech marking five years in office to members of the Irish Association, calling for “a new endeavour by organisations in Northern Ireland to cross denominational barriers and advance the cause of better community relations”. On 20 May 1968, O’Neill was pelted with eggs, flour and stones by members of the Woodvale Unionist Association who disapproved of his perceived conciliatory policies.

1979 – An oil tanker explodes at Whiddy Island oil terminal on Bantry Bay, Cork, killing at least 50 people.

1998 – The first licensed drug to treat mild to moderately severe Alzheimer’s disease is launched in Ireland.

1999 – French, Irish, English and Dutch relatives gather at the hilltop granite memorial sculpture in Bantry’s Abbey Cemetery for a wreath-laying ceremony in memory of those who perished when the oil tanker Betelgeuse blew up at the Whiddy Island oil terminal.

1999 – The British Government comes under pressure to stop the early release of prisoners in Northern Ireland after an upsurge in paramilitary shootings and beatings.

2000 – Thousands of acres are still flooded, roads blocked and farmyards remain under water after the River Shannon bursts its banks.

2001 – All schools are to receive a CD ROM of one of the masterpieces of Western art — the Book of Kells. On behalf of the schools, the Minister for Education and Science, Dr Michael Woods, accepts the CD ROMs from Trinity College Library in Dublin and leading internet company, X Communications.

2002 – Death of David McWilliams; was a Belfast singer, songwriter, and guitarist, best known for his 1967 song “Days of Pearly Spencer” and “Can I Get There By Candlelight?”.

2002 – Thousands of commuters experience delays after fallen cables knock out DART services at some of Dublin’s busiest stations.

2002 – Former Soviet leader Gorbachev sinks a pint of Guinness with Dublin Lord Mayor Michael Mulcahy in the famous Doheny and Nesbitt pub in Baggot Street.

2007 – Northern ireland’s Progressive Unionist Party leader David Ervine dies at age 53 after suffering a heart attack and later a stroke and a brain haemorrhage. A former UVF prisoner and a key figure in brokering the loyalist paramilitary ceasefire of 1994, a party statement is quoted as saying: “Unionism has lost the most progressive voice of this generation. Politics has lost a statesman. Our peace process has lost its most optimistic advocate and Ulster has lost a devoted son.”

2008 – First Irish expedition arrives at South Pole. Team leader Pat Falvey and Clare O’Leary, Sean Menzies and Jonathan Bradshaw, journeyed for 58 days to reach their destination. Dr O’Leary is the first Irish woman to make the trip. She is also the first Irish woman to climb Mount Everest.

Photo: History of Ireland 1883 – gilt impressed title.

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