#OTD in Irish History – 17 February:

In the Liturgical Calendar today is the Feast Day of Fintan of Clonenagh. Saint Fintan was born in Leinster. He received his religious formation in Terryglass, Co Tipperary under the abbot Colum mac Crimthainn, and was deeply influenced by his penitential practices and the severity of the Rule. Fintan made his own foundation in Clonenagh, Co Laois. He died in 603. His disciples included St Colmán of Oughaval. Though he is sometimes confused with Saint Fintán or Munnu, abbot of Taghmon, they are distinct.

1821 – Birth of Eliza Rosanna Gilbert, Countess of Landsfeld (better known by the stage name Lola Montez). She was an Irish-born dancer and actress who became famous as a “Spanish dancer”, courtesan and mistress of King Ludwig I of Bavaria, who made her Countess of Landsfeld.

1846 – Daniel O’Connell speaks about The Great Hunger in The House of Commons.

1896 – In the House of Commons. Horace Plunkett and W.E.H. Lecky, Irish Unionists, support John Redmond’s plea for clemency for Irish political prisoners.

1928 – Birth of Seán Mac Stíofáin. He was an Irish republican and first chief of staff of the Provisional IRA.

1945 – Brenda Fricker is born in Dublin. Fricker won the 1989 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance as Christy Brown’s mother in My Left Foot. The movie was a triumph for Irish film making. Daniel Day-Lewis won best actor for his portrayal of the disabled Brown while director Jim Sheridan received numerous Best Director nominations at various film festivals.

1978 – An IRA incendiary bomb explodes at the La Mon entertainment complex in Comber Co. Down ; it kills 12 people and injures 30 others. The blast is the second worst since the present wave of troubles began in 1969.

1980 – The Derrynaflan Chalice and other ancient silver and bronze pre-Christian antiquities are discovered in Co. Tipperary.

1998 – Sinn Féin announces it will mount a legal challenge to the British Government’s attempt to have them expelled from the multi-party talks.

1998 – According to a nation-wide survey, “Morning Ireland” is the nation’s favourite radio programme.

1999 – Farmers with tractors and trailers move through the centres of 28 cities and towns during a National Day of Action to protest proposed reforms in the EU Common Agricultural Policy.

1999 – EU governments gear up for an epic battle with the European Commission over the Brussels verdict to end duty free sales.

2000 – Minister O’Donoghue unveils a raft of far reaching proposals for a new legislative initiative at a passing out ceremony at the Garda College in Templemore. He tells the 98 graduating recruits he has received Government approval to draft and bring a new Criminal Justice Bill before the Oireachtas.

2001 – Two explosions near Newry force the closure of the rail line between Portadown and Dundalk
Photo Credit: Photopress, Belfast.

2003 – Supermarket giant Tesco sparks a possible price war with the opening of its first petrol filling station in Killarney, Co Kerry.

2003 – The famine replica ship, the Jeanie Johnston, is forced to drop anchor close to the Valentia Island, 20 hours into her 21-day voyage to Tenerife. Strong winds also lead Aer Lingus to cancel all flights to New York.

Image | Slane, Co Meath | Dáibhí Gibney Photography

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Stair na hÉireann is steeped in Ireland's turbulent history, culture, ancient secrets and thousands of places that link us to our past and the present. With insight to folklore, literature, art, and music, you’ll experience an irresistible tour through the remarkable Emerald Isle.