Today in Irish History – 28th February:

1713 – Henry Pyne, MP for Dungarvan, aged about 24 and the father of three children, is killed in a duel with Theophilus Biddulph at Chelsea Fields, London; Biddulph will later be convicted of manslaughter.

1790 – The Northern Whig Club is founded in Belfast.

1799 – William Dargan, railway engineer and philanthropist, is born in Carlow.

1830 – Whitley Stokes, jurist and Celtic scholar, is born in Dublin.

1882 – Birth of Pádraic Ó Conaire, an Irish writer and journalist whose production was primarily in the Irish language.

1884 – Seán MacDiarmada, revolutionary, is born in Kiltycolgher, Co. Leitrim.

1921 – An IRA column led by Sean Moylan ambushed an RIC patrol at Tureengariff County Cork, two RIC men were killed and two rifles were taken.

1921 – Six IRA prisoners were shot in Cork.

1922 – Death of Eugene O’Neill’s mother Mary Ellen “Ella” Quinlan. Ella married Kilkenny born actor James O’Neill in 1877.

1923 – Free State General Denis Galvin dies after the accidental explosion of grenade during a training exercise.

1929 – Poet John Montague, best known for his volume, The Rough Field, is born.

1932 – Noel Euchuria Cornelius Cantwell, an Irish cricketer and football player born in County Cork. He was educated at the Roman Catholic Presentation Brothers College in Cork.

1933 – Birth of Noel Cantwell, captain of Manchester United and Irish international.

1938 – Alice Taylor, writer, is born near Newmarket, Co. Cork.

1944 – John O’Shea, journalist, charity worker and founder of GOAL, is born in Limerick.

1955 – Premiere of Sean O’Casey’s play The Bishop’s Bonfire in Dublin.

1956 – Birth of Francis Hughes, an Irish volunteer in the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA). Hughes was the most wanted man in Northern Ireland until his arrest following an ambush by the Special Air Service (SAS) in which an SAS soldier was killed. At his trial he was sentenced to a total of 83 years imprisonment, and he died during the 1981 Irish hunger strike in HM Prison Maze.

1961 – Birth in Clones, Co. Monaghan of Barry McGuigan, “the Clones Cyclone”, world featherweight boxing champion (WBA) 1985-86.

1973 – General election in the Republic leads to a Fine Gael-Labour coalition government; Liam Cosgrave becomes Taoiseach.

1985 – The Provisional Irish Republican Army carries out a mortar attack on the Royal Ulster Constabulary police station at Newry, killing nine officers in the highest loss of life for the RUC on a single day.

1991 – Birth of Sarah Lee Bolger, an Irish actress. She is known for her role as Princess / Lady Mary Tudor on The Tudors and for her role as Mallory Grace in The Spiderwick Chronicles.

1998 – Death of one of TV’s best-loved comedy stars, Dermot Morgan, who played Father Ted in the hit Channel 4 show.

1999 – Sinn Feín supporters rally in Belfast to urge an end to unionists delaying the establishment of a power-sharing executive.

2001 – Economic disaster is threatened after the first case of foot and mouth disease for 60 years is confirmed in Meigh, South Armagh.

2001 – Dublin Zoo and Fota Island in Cork are closed as a preventive measure designed to protect any animals that may be susceptible to foot and mouth disease.

2002 – U2 and Enya lead the Irish victory celebrations at the Grammys in Los Angeles. Bono’s boys scoop the best rock album title for All That You Can’t Leave Behind, best rock performance by a duo or group with vocal for Elevation, and best pop performance by a duo or group for Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of. Donegal singer/songwriter Enya wins best new age album for A Day Without Rain.

2003 – Soldiers add razor wire to Shannon Airport’s perimeter fences as the army and gardaí brace for trouble at anti-war protest.

2003 – Bono is made a knight of the French Legion – France’s highest award.

2011 – First steps taken to form coalition government. Negotiators from Fine Gael are sit down with Labour representatives in round one of the complex talks. Both sides accept they are under pressure from Europe to strike a deal by the end of the week.

Photo: Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin

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