Today in Irish History – 17th May:

1650 – Cromwell’s army is defeated in the second assault on Clonmel, suffering its heaviest losses. The following day, the Mayor of Clonmel negotiates honourable terms for surrender with Cromwell, who did not realise that O’Neill and his soldiers had left the town. Annoyed at being outwitted, Cromwell nevertheless keeps to the terms.

1730 – Elizabeth, widow of William Molyneux, marries Nathaniel St Andre, a Swiss surgeon who wins an action for defamation on a charge of having killed Molyneux by administering opium to him in his last illness by her connivance.

1855 – Birth in Bantry, Co. Cork of Timothy Michael Healy, one of the most brilliant and most controversial of Irish politicians. His career spans from Parnell’s leadership of the Irish Parliamentary Party in the 1880s to the foundation of the Irish Free State in 1922; he becomes the Free State’s first Governor-General.

1865 – Shan Bullock, novelist, is born in Crom, Co. Fermanagh.

1880 – Charles Stewart Parnell is elected Chairman of the Irish Parliamentary Party.

1908 – Birth of Vincent Barry, organic chemist, in Cork.

1911 – Birth in Roscommon of actress Maureen O’Sullivan who is remembered for her role as Jane in a series of five movies opposite Johnny Weissmuller’s Tarzan.

1918 – Almost the entire leadership of Sinn Féin are arrested.

1919 – The first of the Republican law courts was set up at Ballinrobe, County Mayo.

1919 – Members of Dáil Éireann sent a letter to the head of the Paris Peace Conference, repudiating Britain’s claim to speak for Ireland.

1921 – Pvt of 8th Royal Marine Battalion RMLI was kidnapped and killed.

1922 – The IRA launched a series of attacks across Northern Ireland. The RIC barracks at Martinstown, Ballycastle and Cushendall in county Antrim, were attacked, but none were taken. IRA units in Belfast targeted commercial buildings and destroyed 80-90 buildings over the next two months.

1949 – The British Government recognizes the Republic of Ireland.

1961 – Enya [Eithne Ní Bhraonáin] is born in Gweedore, Co. Donegal.

1969 – Dubliner Tom McClean crosses from Newfoundland to Blacksod Bay, Co. Mayo, completing the first transatlantic solo crossing in a rowboat.

1973 – Five British Army soldiers were killed by a PIRA booby-trap bomb in Omagh, County Tyrone.

1974 – Birth of Andrea Jane Corr, an Irish singer, and actress.

1974 – Car bombs explode in Dublin and Monaghan, killing 34 people.

2001 – A horse picture by Jack B Yeats makes a hammer price of £1 million sterling at Christie’s in London. It is bought by London dealer Simon Dickenson for a private client, believed to be racehorse owner John Magnier.

Photo: Ben Crom Reservoir, Mourne Mountains, Co.Down.

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