Today in Irish History – 26 June:

1657 – ‘Act for Convicting, Discovering and Repressing of Popish Recusants’ is passed.

1782 – The Relief Act gives Catholics rights concerning their education.

1798 – United Irishmen Rebellion: Southern column is surprised by Government forces on Kilcumney Hill. They are defeated and decide to disperse. Many men return home but some decide to try and rejoin northern column at Croghan. Northern column remains in camp at Croghan.

1824 – Physicist and mathematician, Sir William Thomson, first Baron Kelvin of Largs, is born in College Square East, Belfast.

1846 – England repeals the Corn Laws. The Corn Law Act had been passed in 1815 as a measure to protect the interests of landowners who looked as if they were about to lose out when highly inflated prices for corn ceased with the ending of the Napoleonic Wars. This kept the price of not only corn but also bread artificially high. Although an Anti-Corn Law League formed to oppose the legislation, it was not until the potato famine in Ireland that repeal was enacted in a belated attempt to alleviate some of the suffering.

1887 – 33 Celsius (92 degrees Fahrenheit), the highest temperature in Ireland since records began, was recorded at Kilkenny Castle.

1916 – Roger Casement goes on trial at the Royal Courts of Justice on a charge of treason. He has been stripped of his knighthood.

1920 – About 200 IRA volunteers attacked an RIC barracks at Borrisokane, north Co Tipperary. The attack was unsuccessful, but the building was so badly damaged that it was evacuated the next day.

1921 – IRA volunteers in Dublin killed Temporary Cadet William F. H. Hunt in the dining-room of the Mayfair Hotel on Baggot Street. Cadet Hunt had previously been a policeman in England, and his widow takes advantage of a loophole in British law to claim two pensions.

1963 – President John F. Kennedy begins his state visit to Ireland.

1980 – Death of Miriam Daly, an Irish republican activist and university lecturer who was assassinated by loyalist paramilitaries. She was born in the Curragh army camp, Kildare. Her father had been active in the Irish War of Independence alongside Michael Collins, but favoured the Anglo-Irish Treaty and then joined the Free State Army.

1981 – Garret FitzGerald succeeds Haughey as Taoiseach.

1986 – After a bitter campaign, the referendum to legalize divorce is defeated, 63.1 percent to 36.3 per cent.

1991 – The convictions of the Maguire Seven are quashed.

1996 – Journalist Veronica Guerin is murdered in Dublin.

2000 – The IRA makes a major symbolic break with the past by disclosing that for the first time, it has opened up its arsenal of guns and bombs to outside inspection.

2001 – Paintings valued at more than £3,000,000 are stolen from Russborough House in Co. Wicklow.

Image | The Gaelic Chieftain, sculptor by Maurice Harron at the site of The Battle of Curlew Pass,  Boyle, Co Roscommon | Mac Creative Photography

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