Today in Irish History – 20 September:

1689 – The Enniskillen Protestants defeat Jacobite forces at Boyle, Co Roscommon.

1784 – Sir Richard Griffith, geologist and civil engineer, is born in Dublin. He was an Irish geologist, mining engineer and chairman of the Board of Works of Ireland, who completed the first complete geological map of Ireland and was author of the valuation of Ireland – known ever since as Griffith’s Valuation.

1803 – Robert Emmet, Irish patriot, is executed in Dublin. Emmet becomes a hero of Irish nationalists, largely on the basis of his stirring speech from the dock: “Let no man write my epitaph…When my country takes her place among the nations of the earth, then, and not till then let my epitaph be written”.

1847 – Birth in Carron, Co Clare of Michael Cusack, GAA founder.

1863 – The 5th Confederate Infantry consisting of a large number of Irish from Memphis fight in one of the bloodiest battles of the war, at Chickamauga. One of the commanders was Cork born Patrick Cleburne whom historians universally recognize as one of the most capable officers on either side during the awful conflict, although Chicamauga, might not have been his finest hour as this Master’s thesis by Major Joseph M Lance on Cleburne at Chicamauga suggests. Cleburne was known as the “Stonewall of the West.” He was one of six Confederate Generals to die at the slaughter at Franklin.

1879 – Cliftonville Football Club, the oldest club in Ireland, are founded by John McCredy McAlery.

1911 – Anna Catherine Parnell, Irish patriot, dies.

1918 – Republican newspapers are banned by English.

1920 – IRA members ambushed of a lorry full of British soldiers on Church St Dublin. Three soldiers were killed, the first in the city since the Easter Rising of 1916. IRA man Kevin Barry was arrested at the scene and charged with murder.

1920 – A newly promoted Head Constable was shot and killed by IRA volunteers in Balbriggan, in north Co Dublin, near the training camp for British police recruits at Gormanston. Later that night, police rioted and attacked Balbriggan, killing two men, Seamus Lawless and Sean Gibbons looting and burning four public houses, destroying a hosiery factory, and damaging or destroying forty-nine homes. This incident known as the Sack of Balbriggan caused a sensation in Britain, receiving headlines from the British press, and making reprisals an important topic for debate in Parliament.

1922 – A national Army soldier is accidentally killed cleaning his rifle in Co Cork and a civilian girl is killed in Kildare by bomb she found in an outhouse.

1931 – Birth of Malachy McCourt. He is an Irish-American actor, writer and politician. He was the 2006 Green Party candidate for governor in New York State, losing to the Democratic candidate Eliot Spitzer. He is the younger brother of Frank McCourt.

1960 – Frederick H. Boland becomes president of the United Nations Assembly.

1968 – Traffic wardens appear in Dublin for the first time.

Photo: Cliffs of Tory island, Co Donegal, Owen clarke photography

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