Today in Irish History – 21 February:

1775 – Edward Denny, MP for Tralee, commits suicide.

1760 – François Thurot lands French forces at Carrickfergus in Belfast Lough, increasing English anxiety about an Irish-Catholic alliance with the French.

1822 – Birth in Dublin of Richard Southwell Bourke, 6th Earl of Mayo; Viceroy and Governor-General of India.

1850 – Medal of Honor awardee Edward Floyd is born in Ireland (location unknown.)

1893 – Peadar O’Donnell, revolutionary and writer, is born in Co. Donegal.

1901 – Death of George Francis FitzGerald (3 August 1851 – 22 February 1901), an Irish professor of “natural and experimental philosophy” (i.e., physics and chemistry) at the Trinity College in Dublin, during the latter quarter of the 19th century.

1910 – Ulster Unionists elect Sir Edward Carson as party leader.

1921 – Two IRA volunteers were killed and two wounded in a shoot-out in Friary Street in Kilkenny city.

1922 – An Garda Síochána – Guardians of the Peace of Ireland – is founded.

1923 – Anti-Treaty IRA attacks income tax offices in Dublin. Attempts are also made to burn Jury’s Hotel, but without success. There are also abortive attacks on Merrion Square, Dawson Street, and Lower O’Connell Street. However tax offices are destroyed at Nassau st, Gardiner st and Beresford Place. A total of 75 Republicans are involved in the action, of whom five are captured.

1958 – Birth of Jake Burns in Belfast. He is a singer and guitarist, and best known as the frontman of Stiff Little Fingers.

1984 – Two PIRA volunteers and a British soldier were killed during a shootout in Dunloy, Co Antrim.

1999 – Seven men, including senior figures in the Real IRA are arrested in connection with the Omagh bombing – five in the Republic and two by the RUC in the North, in a simultaneous operation.

2000 – A new survey reveals that Dubliners have more disposable income than people living in other parts of Ireland.

2001 – The country’s multi billion pound livestock industry is on full alert for signs of foot and mouth disease after the first outbreak in Britain for twenty years is confirmed in pigs.

2001 – Ronnie Drew becomes one of the first non-sportsmen to receive a Posthouse Legend in Life award.

2001 – The British and Irish Governments are considering proposals for round table talks involving the Northern Ireland parties amid growing pessimism about the peace process.

2001 – Desmond O’Connell becomes the first Archbishop of Dublin in over 100 years to be installed as a Cardinal. A large Irish contingent from Church and State, along with family and friends of the Cardinal attend the installation which for the first time takes place at the front of the entrance to St Peter’s Basilica.

2003 – A rare political letter written by Michael Collins fetches a record price of €28,000 at an auction in James Adam showrooms on Dublin’s Stephen’s Green. Despite fierce bidding by the National Library, the letter is purchased by singer Enya’s manager Mickey Ryan who says he wants the letter to remain in Ireland.

2009 – Up to 120,000 people march in Dublin in protest at how the Government is handling the economic crisis.

2011 – Well-known artist Paul Funge dies after a short illness. A native of Gorey, Co Wexford, he taught art in many schools including Clongowes Wood College and Newbridge College. He also lectured at the National College of Art and Design (NCAD), the University of California, and Kunsthistorisch Instituut in Amsterdam. As a portrait artist, among his works are paintings of U2’s Adam Clayton, Frank McGuinness and Colm Tóibín as well as many ministers and academics.

Photo: Fort Dunree, Inishowen Peninsula, Co Donegal


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