Today in Irish History – 23 July:

1803 – In opposition to the Act of Union, Robert Emmet leads an armed outbreak that is easily suppressed.

1834 – St. Vincent’s Hospital, established by the Sisters of Charity, opens in Dublin.

1834 – James Gibbons, American Cardinal, Bishop of Richmond from and Archbishop of Baltimore is born in Baltimore MD to parents Thomas and Bridget (née Walsh) Gibbons who had emigrated from Tourmakeady, County Mayo. Not long after his birth, the family returned to Ireland. After his father’s death in 1847 at the height of The Great Hunger, Gibbons’ mother moved the family back to the United States. He was elevated to Cardinal in 1886, only the second American to gain the honour. Gibbons was an active supporter of the working class and unions at a time when labour was exploited by numerous employers, stating ”It is the right of labouring classes to protect themselves, and the duty of the whole people to find a remedy against avarice, oppression, and corruption.”

1883 – Birth of Alan Francis Brooke, 1st Viscount Alanbrooke; military commander, in Bagnéres-de-Bigorre, France.

1883 – Ulysses S. Grant dies after a long painful battle with throat cancer. Grant’s great grandfather John Simpson was born in Northern Ireland around 1738. Grant visited Ireland in 1879, after he left the White House. His reception ranged from heroic in Northern Ireland to a rebuff from Cork Corporation who declined to invite a man they deemed to be anti-Catholic. This does not seem to be particularly accurate and something which the Catholic Generals William T. Sherman and “Little Phil” Sheridan, and others totally disagreed with.

1889 – Birth in Chicago of writer Raymond Chandler, creator of Philip Marlowe. He was born to Irish Quaker and Irish Catholic parents.

1920 – A critical meeting of the Coalition Government’s Cabinet was held in London. The Cabinet was divided on how to proceed. Some Liberal ministers and Dublin Castle officials were in favour of offering dominion status to Ireland. Unionist ministers argued that the Government must crush the insurgency and proceed with the Government of Ireland Bill. Debate continued after the meeting: Walter Long warned of “the gravest consequences in Ulster” if the Government changed course; by 2 August, the hawks prevailed.

1922 – Free State troops under General W.R.E. Murphy take Bruff and Kilmallock in County Limerick.

1948 – John Cushnahan, Alliance Party and Fine Gael politician, is born in Belfast.

1998 – Irish under-18 squad defeat Cyprus to reach final in European Football Championship.

1999 – The nation pays its last respects to arson victim Garda Sergeant Andy Callanan, who is buried with full State honors.

1999- – Guinness Blues Festival gets underway in 30 venues across Dublin.

2001 – Under heavy garda surveillance, the gangland funeral of Seamus “Shavo” Hogan takes place at St Agnes’ Church, Crumlin, Dublin.

2002 – According to the United Nations report, Ireland is regarded as one of the least corrupt countries in the world.

2004 – Death of Joe Cahill, a prominent Irish republican and former chief of staff of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA).

Photo: Overlooking the Devil’s Castle at Bromore Cliffs just a mile north of Ballybunion, Co Kerry, photo credit: Alan Egan Photography

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