Today in Irish History – 16th February:

1768 – The Octennial Act limits Irish parliaments’ life to eight years.

1822 – James Thomson, engineer, is born in Belfast.

1875 – John Mitchell returns from America one day after being elected MP for Tipperary. His election was deemed invalid as he was a convicted felon for his activities with the Young Ireland movement.

1886 – The Irish Catholic Hierarchy formally endorses Home Rule.

1890 – Death of Dublin born scientist Sir Robert John Kane age eighty. In a distinguished career, he founded the Dublin Journal of Medical Science, was Vice-Chancellor of Royal University of Ireland and was director of Museum of Irish Industry.

1902 – Birth of singer Delia Murphy in Ardroe, Claremorris, Co. Mayo.

1921 – Four unarmed IRA men, who had been digging a trench at Kilbritain, Cork, were arrested by British troops of the Essex regiment and shot dead.

1923 – An unidentified man is found shot dead near Thurles, with the warning pinned on him, ‘One out of fifty’.

1932 – Fianna Fáil wins the general election; de Valera succeeds Cosgrave as President of the Executive Council; Seán Lemass is Minister for Industry and Commerce.

1992 – A local Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) unit is ambushed by the Special Air Service at a church yardafter the IRA men had launched a heavy machine gun attack on the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) base in Coalisland.

1998 – Both the British and Irish governments are united on move to expel Sinn Féin from peace talks.

1998 – Michael Flatley announces that he is to make his last live appearance in Ireland this summer.

2000 – Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams accuses the British Government of tearing up the Good Friday Agreement.

2001 – RUC Chief Constable Sir Ronnie Flanagan warns that the Real IRA represents a potent and a growing threat.

2002 – Three republicans accused of training left-wing guerrillas in Colombia could face trial within a month. A spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office in the Colombian capital Bogota confirmed prosecutors have sent their case against Niall Connolly, James Monaghan and Martin McCauley to a federal judge.

2003 – Protesters make formal complaints to the gardaí alleging offences under the National Monuments Act after archeological contractors move on to the Carrickmines Castle site to start taking apart the stone structure.

2011 – For the first time, the morning after pill can now be sold by Irish pharmacies without need for a doctor’s prescription.

Photo: Janus Figure, Boa Island, Co. Fermanagh. In Caldragh Cemetery on Boa Island, Lower lough Erne stand two unique stone carvings. The larger of these is a Janus figure, two figures back to back with pear shaped heads and interlacing between the heads. The East Face is said to be female and the West Male, both figures are described as Celtic Idols.

Boa Island Figures

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