Today in Irish History – 28 November:

1727 – William Connolly is unanimously re-elected Speaker of the Irish House of Commons.

1848 – ‘Saturday Review’ Racist Anti-Irish Rant. As Ireland haemorrhaged population via starvation and emigration, it received little support from elements of the English press.

1856 – Birth of Cardinal Patrick O’Donnell near Glenties, Co Donegal.

1863 – Foundation of the Fenian newspaper, “Irish People”; John O’Leary is the editor.

1871 – The Gaiety Theatre, Dublin, opens with a performance of She Stoops to Conquer.

1899 – Irish units in the Boer army fight in the battle of Modder River. The Battle of Modder River (known in Afrikaans as Slag van die Twee Riviere, which translates as “Battle of the Two Rivers”) was an engagement in the Boer War, fought at Modder River. A British column under Lord Methuen, that was attempting to relieve the besieged town of Kimberley, forced Boers under General Piet Cronje to retreat to Magersfontein, but suffered heavy casualties themselves.

1905 – The Irish political party Sinn Féin is founded in Dublin by Arthur Griffith.

1919 – Lady Astor is elected as a Member of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. She is the first woman to sit as a British MP, although not the first to be elected – that was Countess Markievicz.

1920 – Kilmichael Ambush: The west Cork unit of the IRA, under Tom Barry, ambushed a patrol of 18 Auxiliaries at Kilmicheal in Co Cork, killing 17 of them (1 survived). It has been alleged that some of the Auxiliaries were killed after they had surrendered, though the IRA volunteers were adamant there had been a false surrender, after which no quarter was given. Three IRA volunteers were also killed in the action.

1921 – After Westminster decided to hand over responsibility for local government to Stormont, Tyrone County Council pledged its allegiance to Dáil Éireann. Eight smaller public bodies followed. That same day a bill was introduced in Stormont which allowed it to dissolve any local authority. Offices of Tyrone County Council were subsequently raided by the police and their records seized on 2 December 1921.

1931 – Birth of Dervla Murphy, an Irish touring cyclist and author of adventure travel books for over 40 years.

1959 – Birth of Tour de France winner, Stephen Roche.

1964 – Four Irish players play on the Manchester United team that beats Arsenal 3-2 in London. Goalkeeper Pat Dunne and full backs Tony Dunne and Shay Brennan were all Republic of Ireland internationals. The youthful Northern Ireland genius George Best was the other player to hail from Ireland. Some of the pre-match commentary is provided by another football icon, Danny Blanchflower.

1967 – All horse racing in Britain has been cancelled indefinitely to help prevent the spread of foot-and-mouth disease.

1969 – Birth of Olympic medalist Sonia O’Sullivan in Cobh, Co Cork.

2008 – President Mary McAleese was welcomed at the hall by Orange Order County Grand Master for Cavan Henry Latimer, who she praised as a “good Orangeman” and a “good Irishman”. “Perhaps here in Brakey Orange Hall this morning it’s a good time and place to acknowledge how far we have come in the last 10 years, since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement and to pledge that the journey of peace-building and peace-making will and must continue.” “We are fortunate to have been witnesses to things that seemed very unlikely just a short time ago,” said the President.

Photo: Achill Head, Co Mayo, Peter Cox Photography

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Stair na hÉireann is steeped in Ireland's turbulent history, culture, ancient secrets and thousands of places that link us to our past and the present. With insight to folklore, literature, art, and music, you’ll experience an irresistible tour through the remarkable Emerald Isle.