Today in Irish History – 21 January:

1600 – Charles Blount, 8th Lord Mountjoy, becomes Lord Deputy of Ireland.

1684 – Chidley Coote, future MP for Kilmallock, is granted £500 for the upkeep of six lighthouses.

1793 – Louis XVI is executed in Paris; he is attended by an Irish priest, Fr. Edgeworth. Lord Edward FitzGerald is the only member of the Irish parliament not to appear in mourning following the execution.

1861 – Katherine Tynan, poet, novelist and journalist, is born.

1876 – James Larkin, organiser of Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union and socialist politician, is born in Liverpool.

1919 – Daíl Éireann, chaired by Sean T. O’Kelly meets for the very first time at Mansion House in Dublin. As part of this meeting, the adoption and the ritual of ‘the Turning of the Seal’ establishing the Sovereignty of the Irish Republic is begun. Cathal Brugha was elected Speaker (Ceann Comhairle). The membership was composed of elected to the Westminster parliament. Only 27 MPs were in attendance with a further 35 reported as “imprisoned by the foreign enemy.” Unionist MPs, primarily from the North of Ireland refused to attend.

1919 – Two members of Royal Irish Constabulary are shot dead by Irish Volunteers including Seán Treacy and Dan Breen in an ambush at Soloheadbeg, Co Tipperary: this is regarded as the first incident in the ‘War of Independence’. Attacks on policemen continue for the rest of the year.

1920 – RIC District Inspector William Redmond of “G” Division DMP is killed by Michael Collins’ Squad.

1921 – Abortive IRA ambush took place at Drumcondra, Dublin city. One IRA man, Michael Francis Magee aged 24, was wounded and died the next day at King George V Hospital, Dublin and five men were captured. Patrick Doyle 29, Francis X Flood 19, Thomas Bryan 24 and Bernard ‘Bertie’ Ryan 21 were later hanged at Mountjoy Prison on 14 March 1921. The fifth man, Dermot O’Sullivan said to be only 17 years old was imprisoned.

1981 – Norman Stronge and his son James Stronge (both former UUP MPs) were assassinated by the IRA at their home Tynan Abbey, which was then burnt down.

1998 – A controversial deal is agreed by the British and Irish governments to transfer the IRA gang which carried out the Guildford and Woolwich bombings to Portlaoise prison.

1998 – The North is plunged into a new crisis after Benedict Hughes, a Catholic, is shot dead in south Belfast in the latest murder aimed at wrecking the peace process.

1998 – The IRA dramatically rejects the Anglo-Irish Stormont settlement plan.

2002 – Sinn Féin MPs will never sit in the British parliament, Gerry Adams vows as they move into Commons offices for the first time. Party policy is also changed to allow MPs to sit in the Dáil.

Photo: Interior of the National Museum of Ireland, Archaeology, Image by Juanfran

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