Today in Irish History – 19 March:

In the Liturgical calendar, today is the feast of St. Joseph. According to legend, this is a lucky day to be born in the Highlands, where they say children born today cannot be killed in battle.

1642 – Charles I’s ‘Adventurers’ Act’ offers confiscated Irish land in return for investment in the reconquest.

1821 – Birth in Dublin of Sir Richard Francis Burton, adventurer, writer, swordsman, scholar and explorer.

1824 – William Allingham, poet and diarist, is born in Ballyshannon, Co Donegal.

1861 – Joseph MacRory, Catholic Primate of all Ireland and cardinal, is born in Ballygawley, Co Tyrone.

1921 – Tom Barry and the West Cork Flying Column routs a superior force from the Essex Regiment at Crossbarry.

1921 – On the same bloody day, the IRA ambush a convoy of RIC and Black and Tans near Dungarvan, Co. Waterford. Two men die on each side and the IRA subsequently execute the captured RIC sergeant Michael Hickey as a ‘police spy’.

1922 – IRA volunteers raided two RIC barracks in Northern territory; one in Pomeroy and one in Maghera. They tied up the policemen and seized rifles and ammunition.

1922 – In separate incidents along the border, the IRA shot two Special Constables and one Protestant civilian. One of the constables survived, the other two were killed.

1923 – Free State troops of Costume Barracks, Athlone, shoot dead a civilian, John Murphy, they said they were pursing escaped prisoners.

1924 – Death of Charles Villiers Stanford, composer and author.

1928 – Birth of actor Patrick McGoohan.

1961 – Birth of chef, Michael Deane in Lisburn, Co Antrim. Deane started his career at Claridge’s in London. In 1993 he moved back to Ireland and opened Deane’s on the Square with his cousin, the entrepreneur, Haydn Deane in Helen’s Bay, Co Down. It was there they first won their Michelin Star.

1974 – Death of Austin Clarke. He was one of the leading Irish poets of the generation after W. B. Yeats. He also wrote plays, novels and memoirs. Clarke’s main contribution to Irish poetry was the rigour with which he used technical means borrowed from classical Irish language poetry when writing in English.

1988 – Two British soldiers who drive into a Republican area of Belfast during a funeral procession, are seized and killed.

1998 – The country’s beef industry takes a further blow following strong indications from the Department of Agriculture that Co Clare is to be included in the beef export ban to Russia.

1998 – Long Kesh prison crisis deepens after the Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) issues a death threat against warders.The terror gang warns it will specifically target prison officers working in H6 unit over allegations of mistreatment.

2000 – The Irish and British governments begin an all out effort to build on the positive signal from Ulster Unionist Party leader, David Trimble, and rescue the endangered Northern Ireland peace process.

2000 – As many as 250,000 people line the streets of Dublin to watch a spectacular fireworks display which caps off four days of celebration as the grand finale of St Patrick’s Festival.

2000 – Thirty five bands from the United States, Japan, Northern Ireland and across the country take part in the Limerick International Marching Band Competition, Ireland’s biggest band parade.

2001 – Former Taoiseach Charles Haughey is in critical condition in a Dublin hospital after collapsing at his home.

2001 – Mary Robinson, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, announces that she is stepping down from her post, saying she thinks she can do more outside the “restraints” of the UN system.

2003 – Co Clare takes top honours at the CIE National Awards of Excellence.

Photo: Glen Head, Glencolmcille Cliffs, Glencolmcille, Co Donegal, Gareth Wray Photography

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