Today in Irish History – 14 January:

1753 – Death of George Berkeley, Irish philosopher and Anglican.

1775 – John Hely-Hutchinson, Provost of Trinity College, fights a duel with William Doyle over abusive newspaper articles. Doyle is ill and has to lean on a crutch at the duel; on being challenged he had initially complained of sore eyes, and ‘objected to stand merely to be shot at, without the power of retaliation’. Neither party is injured. One of the Provost’s sons wishes to fight a further duel with Doyle, but the authorities prevent this; they then go abroad and hold the duel, neither being injured.

1871 – Alexander Sullivan, barrister and last King’s Serjeant of Ireland, is born in Dublin; best known as the leading counsel for the defence in the 1916 treason trial of Roger Casement.

1922 – A Provisional Government is set up to administer the handover from British rule to the new Irish Free State. The Cabinet is almost the same as that of the Irish Republic, with the exception of Éamon de Valera, Cathal Brugha and Austin Stack, who resign over the acceptance of the Treaty.

1922 – In Co Tyrone, members of the Monaghan GAA were arrested on their way to Derry. Among them were IRA volunteers, who carried plans to free IRA prisoners from Derry prison.

1937 – Irish Feminism Movement suffered greatly, as Éamon de Valera’s new constitution approved that ‘women’s place’ was in the home.

1961 – Death of Barry Fitzgerald. He was an Irish stage, film and television actor, born William Joseph Shields in Walworth Road, Portobello, Dublin. He is the older brother of Irish actor Arthur Shields. He went to Skerry’s College, Dublin, before going on to work in the civil service, while also working at the Abbey Theatre. By 1929, he turned to acting full-time. He was briefly a roommate of famed playwright Sean O’Casey and starred in such plays as O’Casey’s Juno and the Paycock and the premiere of The Silver Tassie.

1965 – Talks between Seán Lemass, Taoiseach, and Terence O’Neill, Northern Ireland Prime Minister, take place in Belfast.

1997 – Death of Cavan O’Connor. He was an Irish tenor and a variety artist, and spent most of his time performing on stage.

2000 – Unemployment drops to its lowest level in 19 years.

2000 – Unionist politicians are furious after Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams claims that there could be a united Ireland by the year 2016, the centenary of the Easter Rising.

2000 – Eco Warriors and the Green Party meet with members of Wicklow County Council in a last-ditch attempt to get the local authority to abandon its controversial road widening scheme in the Glen of the Downs.

Photo: Saul Abbey, Downpatrick, Co Down, Captive Landscapes by Stephen Emerson

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