Today in Irish History – 20 June:

Litha / Midsummer’s eve celebrations

1210 – King John lands at Waterford. He campaigns in Leinster – many of the de Lacys’ followers go over to his side; he then captures Carrickfergus, where the de Lacys have made a stand, after a short siege. On 28 July, he captures William de Braose and confiscates his lands.

1631 – The Sack of Baltimore took place on 20 June 1631, when the village of Baltimore, West Cork, was attacked by Algerian pirates from the North African Barbary Coast, led by a Dutch captain turned pirate, Jan Janszoon van Haarlem, also known as Murat Reis the Younger.

1715 – There is a general election. The first session of the Irish parliament of George I commences on 12 November, and will continue till 20 June 1716. There will be six sessions of this parliament.

1764 – Birth of Theobald Wolfe Tone.

1798 – United Irishmen Rebellion: In Wexford, the Rebels retreat to Vinegar Hill. General’s Loftus, Needham and Johnston close in on Vinegar Hill. General Moore defeats Rebels at Goffs Bridge.

1810 – Parliament passes Unlawful Acts Bill, extending powers against secret societies.

1849 – James Clarence Mangan, poet, dies.

1867 – Clan Na Gael, Irish revolutionary organisation and the counterpart of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, is formed by John Devoy, Daniel Cohalan and Joseph McGarrity in the USA. The objectives of the organisation are to secure an independent Ireland.

1891 – Birth of John Aloysius Costello, Ireland’s third Taoiseach.

1901 – Death of Kilkeel, Co Down born General Robert Nugent, who served in the U.S. Army during the American Civil War and the Indian Wars. He served with the Irish Brigade’s 69th Infantry Regiment, from its days as a National Guard unit and into its incorporation into the Union Army at the start of the war, and was one of its senior officers at the First Battle of Bull Run.

1922 – Three Catholic carters on their way to work in Belfast were shot dead by loyalists.

1924 – Audie Murphy is born in Texas to share-cropping parents of Irish descent. He would become the most decorated US soldier of World War II.

1955 – Aonghus McAnally, RTÉ presenter and broadcaster, is born.

1968 – Austin Currie, then Nationalist Member of Parliament (MP) at Stormont, and a number of other people, began a protest about discrimination in the allocation of housing by ‘squating’ (illegally occupying) in a house in Caledon, County Tyrone.

1990 – IR£1 punt coin replaces one-punt note.

1992 – U2 takes part in a Greenpeace protest at the Sellafield nuclear power plant in northwest England. Wearing radiation suits, the band travels in rubber dingys with Irish dirt allegedly contaminated by the power plant, depositing the drums back on Sellafield grounds.

Photo: Skellig Islands, Co Kerry

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