Today in Irish History – 15 April:

1642 – Ormond defeats insurgents at Kilrush, Co. Kildare.

1642 – A Scottish army under Robert Munroe lands at Carrickfergus.

1642 – Irish Confederate Wars: A Confederate Irish militia is routed in the Battle of Kilrush when it attempts to halt the progress of the British Army.

1707 – Birth of Sir Henry Cavendish, MP and incompetent Teller of the Exchequer who left chaos in his wake.

1784 – First unmanned balloon in Ireland is launched by Richard Crosbie.

1840 – The Repeal Association is founded by Daniel O’Connell.

1864 – The first Dublin Horse Show is held.

1882 – Mary Swanzy, painter, is born in Dublin.

1908 – Birth in Greenock, Scotland of Dennis Devlin, poet, translator and diplomat.

1912 – The Titanic sinks on her maiden voyage with the loss of 1,513 souls, many of them Irish; 732 survive.

1919 – 15-19: The “Limerick Soviet”, was a general strike called by the Limerick Trades and Labour Council, as a protest against the declaration of a “Special Military Area” under the Defence of the Realm Act. This covered of most of Limerick city and a part of the County. Special permits were to be issued by the Royal Irish Constabulary, and would have been required to enter the city. The response was a general strike and boycott of the troops. A special Strike Committee was set up to print money, control food prices and publish newspapers. However, by 27 April 1919 the Strike Committee issued a proclamation that the strike was at an end.

1921 – Major McKinnon, an Auxiliary officer, was shot dead by the IRA at Tralee golf course, County Kerry.

1923 – A fire-fight between an Anti-Treaty IRA column and Free State troops takes place at Glenvar, Kerry. The Free State claims that nine Republicans were killed in the action.

1931 – Birth of Sir Kenneth Bloomfield, Northern Ireland public servant.

1936 – Aer Lingus (Aer Loingeas) is founded by the Irish government as the national airline of the Republic of Ireland.

1968 – Birth of rock guitarist Ed O’Brien, grandson of a Tipperary emigrant.

1951 – John O’Keeffe, Kerry Gaelic footballer, is born.

1974 – The 78th Boston Marathon is won by Neil Cusack of Co. Limerick in 2:13:39. He is the first Irishman to win this race.

1989 – Hillsborough disaster: A human crush occurs at Hillsborough Stadium, home of football club Sheffield Wednesday, resulting in the deaths of 96 Liverpool F.C. fans.

1998 – Englishman Mark Robins is awarded £3,000 after winning the first racial abuse case to be heard in Northern Ireland.

2000 – The generosity of two Londoners, Alice and Charles Armstrong, turns a dream into reality as a new state-of-the-art lifeboat is handed over to the RNLI. The craft is named Alice and Charles after its benefactors.

2001 – Security on the border is tightened after a third case of foot-and-mouth is confirmed in Cushendall, Co Antrim.

2001 – Hundreds of people greet the relics of St Therese of Lisieux at Rosslare for the start of a 75 day tour of the country.

2003 – The peace process remains deadlocked as Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and British Prime Minister Tony Blair continue to press the IRA for more clarity about its intentions.

Photo: St. Mura’s Cross, Fahan Churchyard, Co Donegal (ca. 7th Century AD)

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