Today in Irish History – 17 January:

1649 – Marquis of Ormond James Butler and the confederates sign a peace treaty which grants toleration for Catholics in exchange for troops.

1820 – Anne Brontë was a British novelist and poet, the youngest member of the Brontë literary family. The daughter of a poor Irish clergyman in the Church of England, Anne Brontë lived most of her life with her family at the parish of Haworth on the Yorkshire moors.

1856 – Joseph Hayden, Irish journalist, dictionary compiler and author of Dictionary of Dates, dies.

1860 – Birth in Castlerea, Co. Roscommon, of Douglas Hyde, playwright, folklorist, founder of The Gaelic League and the first president of Éire.

1861 – Lola Montez (Marie Gilbert), dancer and courtesan dies in New York.

1866 – Death of George Petrie, folk music collector who is credited with preserving many of Ireland’s irreplaceable harp tunes.

1873 – T.C. Murray, playwright, is born in Macroom, Co. Cork.

1920 – West Waterford Brigade commanded by George Lennon attacked Ardmore RIC barracks.

1923 – Three National Army soldiers are killed in action.

1932 – Death of Louis Brennan, an Irish-Australian inventor. He was born in Castlebar moving to Melbourne, Australia in 1861 and starting his career as a watchmaker and a few years later was articled to Alexander Kennedy Smith, a renowned civil and mechanical engineer of the period.

1964 – The Campaign for Social Justice (CSJ) is formed. Campaign for Social Justice (CSJ) was an organisation based in Northern Ireland which campaigned for civil rights in the country. The Campaign for Social Justice in Northern Ireland was inaugurated on 17 January, 1964. It was, according to their founding statement, for: “The purpose of bringing the light of publicity to bear on the discrimination which exists in our community against the Catholic section of that community representing more than one-third of the total population.” On 24 August 1968 the CSJ, the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA), and other groups, held the first ‘civil rights march’ in Northern Ireland from Coalisland to Dungannon, in County Tyrone. Loyalists organised a counter demonstration in an effort to get the march banned and in fact the rally was officially banned. Despite this the march took place and passed off without incident. The publicity surrounding the march encouraged other protesting groups to form branches of NICRA.

1980 – Dunmurry train explosion: a PIRA bomb prematurely detonated on a passenger train near Belfast, killing three and injuring five (including the bombers).

1992 – Teebane Massacre: Seven Protestant constructions workers at a security base in Co. Tyrone are killed by an IRA bomb. The driver of their bus also dies.

2000 – Galway city centre is brought to a standstill as hundreds of student nurses take to the streets to protest at plans to charge them to finish their nursing courses.

2000 – A pair of King Billy’s gloves, worn during the battle of the Boyne, and the dress worn by Sinéad de Valera at the second inauguration ceremony of her husband, President Éamon de Valera, are unlikely companions in The Way We Wore, a permanent exhibition of the clothing and jewellery worn by Irish people from the1760s to the 1960s which opens at the National Museum, Collins Barracks.

2012 – The editor of the Sunday Independent, Aengus Fanning, died this morning. He was 69 year old. The Tralee man began editing the Sunday Independent in 1984. He is survived by his wife Anne and three sons. In a statement, the chief executive of Independent News and Media, Gavin O’Reilly, described him as “possibly the greatest and most instinctively brilliant editor that Irish journalism has ever produced”. He said that Mr Fanning will be a huge loss to Irish journalism, but an even bigger loss to his family.

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