Today in Irish History – 8 April:

1719 – Birth of Viscount Edmond Pery, speaker of the House of Commons from March 1771 to September 1785.

1805 – Sir William Rowan Hamilton, mathematician and astronomer, is born in Dublin.

1816 – Sir Frederick Burton, painter, is born in Corofin, Co. Clare.

1835 – Jonah Barrington, the Irish Parliament’s leading opponent of the Union with Britain and author of The Rise and Decline of the Irish Nation, dies.

1861 – John George Adair evicts 244 tenants on his estate at Derryveagh, Co. Donegal.

1867 – A. E. (George Russell), pivotal Irish Renaissance poet, painter, journalist and mystic, is born.

1886 – Home Rule Bill introduced in English Parliament by Gladstone.

1923 – Edward Mulhare is born in Co Cork; he grew up to become an actor and starring roles include Capt. Daniel Gregg in the 1968 release of The Ghost and Mrs. Muir.

1930 – Birth in Dublin of Frank Cluskey, politician and Labour Party leader from 1977-1981.

1930 – Writer and critic John Jordan is born in Dublin.

1933 – The Army Comrades’ Association parades in blue shirts on this date.

1951 – A census on this date shows the population of the Republic to be 2,960,593 and that of Northern Ireland is1,370,921.

1960 – The Royal Showband is forced to change its name to the Waterford Showband for an appearance at the Victoria Palace Theatre in London because two members of the British royal family are in attendance.

1981 – Death of Greta Bowen, artist known as “The Irish Grandma Moses”.

1999 – The peace process is plunged into a new crisis after mainstream loyalist paramilitaries make it clear they have no intention of handing over weapons and the Sinn Fein’s leadership brands the Hillsborough Declaration “unacceptable”.

1999 – The Department of Education unveils a new primary school curriculum which replaces the one of 1971.

2002 – The IRA makes a second and substantial gesture of putting arms beyond use which is broadly welcomed by political leaders in Dublin, London and Belfast.

2003 – U.S. president George W. Bush leaves Belfast at the end of a two-day summit attended by British Prime Minister, Tony Blair and Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern.

2003 – Paul Muldoon wins the Pulitzer prize for poetry. The 51-year-old Belfast poet is awarded the prestigious prize for his work Moy Sand and Gravel.

Photo: Rock of Dunamase, Co Laois, photo credit: Gerry Chaney

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