Today in Irish History – 11 February:

1177 – John de Courcy’s army defeats the native Dunleavey Clan in Ulster. The English establish themselves in Ulster.

1774 – Death of Jacob Poolem antiquary, in Growtown, Co Wexford.

1858 – The Miracle of Lourdes takes place when St Bernadette – Bernadette Soubirous – has her first vision of the Virgin Mary.

1896 – Oscar Wilde languishes in Jail as his play Salomé opens in Paris at Théâtre de l’Oeuvre. Salome is a one-act play, originally written in French, based on the biblical tale of Salome who asks for the head of John the Baptist on a platter as a reward for dancing the Dance of the Seven Veils.

1920 – Commandant Seamus (Jim) O’Brien, IRA Brigade Commander, shot dead by RIC outside his shop in Rathdrum, Co Wicklow.

1921 – James Murphy died in Mater Hospital, Dublin. Before the end, he declared that he and Kennedy were shot by their Auxiliary captors. A court of inquiry was held, and Captain W L King, commanding officer of F Company ADRIC, was arrested for the killings.

1921 – IRA fighters from the 3rd Cork Brigade made an attack on a troop train at Drishabeg, near Millstreet, Co Cork. One British soldier was killed, five were wounded and fifteen were captured but later released. The IRA also seized arms and ammunition.

1922 – IRA volunteers stopped a group of USC constables on a train in Clones, Co Monaghan (a short distance into Southern territory). A gunfight began in which one IRA officer and four USC were killed. The remaining USC constables were captured.

1923 – The Father of Government minister Kevin O’Higgins is shot dead by Republicans at the family home in Stradbally, Co Laois. The house is also burnt down. O’Higgins had taken a hard-line against the anti-Treaty rebels, including sanctioning the execution of Rory O’Connor, the best man at his wedding. Higgins himself would be assassinated by the IRA in 1927.

1923 – Athlone Waterworks is badly damaged by a Republican bomb.

1923 – A civilian carter, James Finlay is shot dead by anti-Treaty fighters near Tullamore, Co Offaly.

1926 – Rioting greets the Abbey Theatre performance of Sean O’Casey’s The Plough and the Stars because of what is viewed as anti-Irish sentiment. Yeats tells the audience ‘You have disgraced yourselves again’.

1936 – The Daunt Rock Rescue.

1948 – John Costello succeeds Éamon de Valera as Taoiseach of Ireland.

1959 – Catherine White is born in Columbus Ohio, USA.

1971 – Death of Delia Murphy. She was a singer and collector of Irish ballads. Her notable voice gave her the nickname the ‘Queen of Connemara’.

1980 – Birth of Cormac McAnallen in Co Tyrone. He was an Irish sportsperson who played Gaelic football at senior inter-county level for Tyrone, as well as at club level for Eglish St. Patrick’s. McAnallen died suddenly in his sleep on 2 March 2004, aged 24, from an undetected heart condition.

1992 – After Haughey’s resignation as Taoiseach, he is succeeded by Albert Reynolds on this date.

1998 – The mother of Stephen Restorick, the last British soldier killed in Northern Ireland, says she is ‘saddened’ by the decision of a member of John Hume’s party to boycott a memorial service in the Co Armagh village where her son died.

2000 – Direct rule was reinstated and the Northern Ireland Assembly suspended by new Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Peter Mandelson, citing insufficient progress on decommissioning.

2003 – Dissident republicans opposed to the peace process in Northern Ireland warn of new bomb attacks.

Photo: Reefert Church, Glendalough, Co Wicklow, Photography by Tony Brierton

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