Today in Irish History – 1st April:

April Fools’ Day is celebrated all around the world on the 1st April of every year. Sometimes referred to as All Fools’ Day, 1 April is not a national holiday, but is widely recognised and celebrated as a day where everyone plays all kinds of jokes and foolishness.

1329 – From April onwards there are risings by the native Irish in various parts of Munster and Leinster, and reprisals against them. This will continue into 1330.

1716 – The first Doggett Coat and Badge sculling race takes place on the Thames; one of the oldest sporting fixtures in the British sporting calendar, it is founded by Thomas Doggett, an Irish actor and theatre manager.

1749 – Samuel Boyse, MP for Bannow, dies as a result of a duel at the age of 33.

1776 – Irish-born Edward Hand is appointed a Brigadier General in the Continental Army.

1839 – St. Clair Mulholland, Union Civil War General and Medal of Honor winner, is born in Lisburn, Co. Antrim.

1848 – Augustus Saint-Gaudens, sculptor, is born in Dublin.

1900 – The Irish Guards is formed by order of Queen Victoria to commemorate Irish troops who fought in the Second Boer War under the British flag.

1911 – The Titanic is launched in Belfast.

1912 – Just 9 days before her scheduled departure, the Titanic sea trials are postponed due to severe weather on the River Lagan.

1919 – Second meeting of Dáil Éireann – Éamon de Valera was elected President of Dáil Éireann (or Príomh Aire) and appointed a cabinet. De Valera issued a statement saying that “There is in Ireland at this moment only one lawful authority, and that authority is the elected Government of the Irish Republic”.

1921 – The IRA’s East Mayo Brigade O/C Sean Corcoran was killed by British troops at Crossard near Ballyhaunis County Mayo. Later that day a Black and Tan is killed by a sniper in the town and an innocent man named Michael Coen is murdered in retaliation.

1922 – The ‘Arnon Street Massacre’ took place in Belfast. Five Catholic civilians were assassinated on Arnon street by uniformed Police after the IRA killed a Constable.

1935 – Death of Francis Arthur Fahy from Kinvara, Co Galway, who wrote the ballad Galway Bay.

1943 – Creation of the Office of Chief Herald of Ireland to replace Ulster King of Arms approved by Government of Ireland.

1966 – Death of writer Brian O’Nolan, also known as Flann O’Brien and Myles na gCopaleen.

1986 – US sub Nathaniel Green runs aground in the Irish Sea.

1998 – The European Commission serves notice on the Government that Ireland faces prosecution in the European Court on charges of damaging the environment and failing to provide secure habitats for some of our most endangered bird species.

1999 – One thousand people, the entire population of Belmullet in Co. Mayo, are evacuated from the town following a fire in a rubber factory.

2000 – John Dennehy, Secretary General of the Department of Education and Science, makes academic history by being elected Chairman of the Education Committee of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) for a three year period. He is the first Irish person to be appointed to this position.

2001 – One of Irish television’s most familiar faces, Brendan O’Reilly, passes away. The 71 year old former television and radio broadcaster and commentator had been ill for a number of months.

2001 – The Department of Agriculture orders the slaughter of all the remaining 15,000 or so sheep in the Cooley Peninsula, Co. Louth.

2002 – Loyalist thugs posing as Glasgow Celtic supporters are hunted by police after a series of attacks in flashpoint north Belfast.

2003 – Veteran actress Pat Leahy, 66, collapses on the set of Fair City.

Photo: St Mary’s Church ruins, Murlough National Reserve situated on the coast below the Mourne Mountains, Co. Down

Photo credit: Stephen Emerson

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