Today in Irish History – 28 February:

1713 – Henry Pyne, MP for Dungarvan, aged about 24 and the father of three children, is killed in a duel with Theophilus Biddulph at Chelsea Fields, London; Biddulph will later be convicted of manslaughter.

1790 – The Northern Whig Club is founded in Belfast.

1799 – William Dargan, railway engineer and philanthropist, is born in Carlow.

1800 – Execution of Roddy McCorley. He was arrested whilst trying to emigrate to America, having been betrayed by an informer, tried by court-martial in Ballymena and sentenced to be hanged near the Bridge of Toome. McCorley was an Irish Republican and Presbyterian from the civil parish of Duneane, Co Antrim. He was a member of the radical United Irishmen who took part in the Rebellion of 1798.

1830 – Whitley Stokes, jurist and Celtic scholar, is born in Dublin.

1882 – Birth of Pádraic Ó Conaire, an Irish writer and journalist whose production was primarily in the Irish language.

1898 – Birth of Hugh O’Flaherty in Lisrobin, Kiskeam, Co Cork. He was an Irish Roman Catholic priest and senior official of the Roman Curia, and significant figure in Catholic resistance to Nazism. During World War II, he was responsible for saving 6,500 Allied soldiers and Jews.

1921 – An IRA column led by Sean Moylan ambushed an RIC patrol at Tureengariff Co Cork, two RIC men were killed and two rifles were taken.

1921 – Six IRA prisoners were shot in Cork.

1922 – Death of Eugene O’Neill’s mother Mary Ellen ‘Ella’ Quinlan. Ella married Kilkenny born actor James O’Neill in 1877.

1923 – Free State General Denis Galvin dies after the accidental explosion of grenade during a training exercise.

1929 – Poet John Montague, best known for his volume, The Rough Field, is born.

1932 – Noel Euchuria Cornelius Cantwell, an Irish cricketer and football player born in County Cork. He was educated at the Roman Catholic Presentation Brothers College in Cork.

1933 – Birth of Noel Cantwell, captain of Manchester United and Irish international.

1938 – Alice Taylor, writer, is born near Newmarket, Co Cork.

1944 – John O’Shea, journalist, charity worker and founder of GOAL, is born in Limerick.

1955 – Premiere of Sean O’Casey’s play The Bishop’s Bonfire in Dublin.

1956 – Birth of Francis Hughes, an Irish volunteer in the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA). Hughes was the most wanted man in Northern Ireland until his arrest following an ambush by the Special Air Service (SAS) in which an SAS soldier was killed. At his trial he was sentenced to a total of 83 years imprisonment, and he died during the 1981 Irish hunger strike in Long Kesh prison.

1961 – Birth in Clones, Co Monaghan of Barry McGuigan, ‘The Clones Cyclone’, world featherweight boxing champion (WBA) 1985-86.

1973 – General election in the Republic leads to a Fine Gael-Labour coalition government; Liam Cosgrave becomes Taoiseach.

1985 – The Provisional Irish Republican Army carries out a mortar attack on the Royal Ulster Constabulary police station at Newry, killing nine officers in the highest loss of life for the RUC on a single day.

1991 – Birth of Sarah Lee Bolger, an Irish actress. She is known for her role as Princess / Lady Mary Tudor on The Tudors and for her role as Mallory Grace in The Spiderwick Chronicles.

1998 – Death of one of TV’s best-loved comedy stars, Dermot Morgan, who played Father Ted in the hit Channel 4 show.

1999 – Sinn Feín supporters rally in Belfast to urge an end to unionists delaying the establishment of a power-sharing executive.

2001 – Economic disaster is threatened after the first case of foot and mouth disease for 60 years is confirmed in Meigh, South Armagh.

2001 – Dublin Zoo and Fota Island in Cork are closed as a preventive measure designed to protect any animals that may be susceptible to foot and mouth disease.

2002 – U2 and Enya lead the Irish victory celebrations at the Grammys in Los Angeles. Bono’s boys scoop the best rock album title for All That You Can’t Leave Behind, best rock performance by a duo or group with vocal for Elevation, and best pop performance by a duo or group for Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of. Donegal singer/songwriter Enya wins best new age album for A Day Without Rain.

2003 – Soldiers add razor wire to Shannon Airport’s perimeter fences as the army and gardaí brace for trouble at anti-war protest.

2003 – Bono is made a knight of the French Legion – France’s highest award.

2011 – First steps taken to form coalition government. Negotiators from Fine Gael are sit down with Labour representatives in round one of the complex talks. Both sides accept they are under pressure from Europe to strike a deal by the end of the week.

2012 – Death of Hal Roach. He was a prominent Irish comedian born in Co Waterford. He spent over 60 years in show business, and was featured in the Guinness Book of Records for the longest-running engagement of a comedian at the same venue: 26 years at Jury’s Irish Cabaret, Jury’s Ballsbridge Hotel, Dublin.

2013 – Pope Benedict XVI resigns as the pope of the Catholic Church, becoming the first pope to do so since 1415.

2016 – Death of Frank Kelly, Father Ted’s foul-mouthed priest, aged 77.

Photo: Thatched Roof Cottage, Adare, Co Limerick, Pierre Leclerc Photography

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