Today in Irish History – 9 February:

1731 – Birth of Sir Lucius O’Brien, opposition politician; he will eventually be described as ‘a man who disagrees with the rest of mankind by thinking well of himself’.

1854 – Birth of Edward Henry Carson (in Dublin), Baron Carson, PC, KC; hee was a leader of the Ulster Unionist Party. Lord Carson held numerous positions in the Cabinet of the United Kingdom and pursued a career as a senior barrister and a judge; he become one of seven Law Lords. Upon his death, in 1935, he was one of the few non-monarchs to receive a United Kingdom state funeral.

1903 – Charles Gavan Duffy, the first editor and proprietor of The Nation newspaper, dies in Nice.

1921 – Drumcondra Murders: Republican activists James Murphy and Patrick Kennedy were arrested by Auxiliaries in Dublin. Two hours later, Dublin Metropolitan Police found the two men lying shot in Drumcondra: Kennedy was dead, and Murphy was dying when they were discovered.

1923 – Birth in Dublin of playwright Brendan Behan.

1923 – Two Anti-Treaty fighters are killed in a skirmish at Poleberry, Co Waterford, while attempting to hold up a post office

1926 – Birth of Irish statesman,Garret FitzGerald. He was an Irish politician who was twice Taoiseach of Ireland, serving in office from July 1981 to February 1982 and again from December 1982 to March 1987. FitzGerald was elected to the Seanad Éireann in 1965 and was subsequently elected to the Dáil as a Fine Gael TD in 1969. He served as Foreign Affairs Minister from 1973 to 1977. FitzGerald was the leader of Fine Gael between 1977 and 1987.

1932 – The Army Comrades Association is formed; later to be called the National Guard and nicknamed the ‘Blueshirts’.

1983 – A nationwide hunt begins following the kidnapping of prize stallion and 1981 Derby winner Shergar from the Aga Khan’s stables in Co Kildare.

1996 – The Irish Republican Army declares the end of its 18 month ceasefire shortly followed by a large bomb in London’s Canary Wharf, killing two and injuring 100.

1998 – Claremorris show jumper, Carl Hanley receives the Irish Field National Award at the Annual Awards Ball in Dublin.

1998 – Ulster Unionist rebels planning to overthrow leader David Trimble confirm there is ‘widespread concern’ at the political direction of the party following revelations of a possible leadership challenge next month.

1998 – Nationalist politicians in the North respond angrily to a consultative paper described as the most far-reaching British government review of police accountability for 30 years.

2000 – Northern Ireland Secretary, Peter Mandelson, issues a direct appeal to the IRA to start disarming in order to save the peace process from collapse.

2001 – Limerick man, Michael Noonan, is elected leader of Fine Gael.

2007 – Death of author Ben Kiely, one of Ireland’s best acclaimed writers and journalists at the age of 87. Born between Drumskinny in Co Fermanagh and Dromore, Co Tyrone and a former pupil of Mount St Columba Christian Brothers School in Omagh, his career spans six decades and produces many short stories and novels, as well as his autobiography Drink to the Bird: An Omagh Boyhood.

2010 – The Independent International Commission on Decommissioning stood down.

2011 – The last sketch by artist Jack B Yeats, drawn while he lay dying in a Dublin nursing home, sells at auction in London yesterday for £5,760. Roundabout Ponies far exceeded its estimate of £1,500- £2,000 at the inaugural Irish Sale at Bonhams, the New Bond Street fine art auctioneers.

Photo: A view from above at Skryne Tower (as its known locally) in Co Meath. This is what remains of the 15th century Abbey of St. Nicholas which commands the Hill of Skryne, Photo credit: Copter View

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