Today in Irish History – 21 March:

1181 – John Cumin (or Comyn) is elected archbishop of Dublin and consecrated by the pope at Velletri on this date. He is the first Englishman to be appointed to an Irish see.

1656 – Death of Bishop James Ussher. The Dublin-born cleric deduced from biblical studies the exact date of the Creation (23rd October, 4004 BCE), and the date of the end of the world: 4th November 1996. The Bishop had a cult following until then.

1689 – Derry declares allegiance to William III.

1763 – William James McNeven, physician, United Irishman and writer, is born in Aughrim, Co Galway.

1881 – The Peace Preservation Act, controlling possession and importation of arms, is enacted.

1886 – Oscar Traynor, revolutionary, Fianna Fáil politician and Minister; football administrator, is born in Dublin.

1896 – Death of William Quan Judge. He was a mystic, esotericist, and occultist, and one of the founders of the original Theosophical Society. He was born in Dublin and when he was 13 years old, his family emigrated to the United States. He became a naturalised citizen of the USA at age 21 and passed the New York state bar exam, specialising in commercial law.

1904 – Death of William Russell Grace (born in Ballylinan, Co Laois). He was the first Roman Catholic mayor of New York and the founder of W. R. Grace and Company.

1914 – The Curragh Mutiny.

1921 – The Kerry IRA attacked a train at the Headford junction near Killarney. The IRA estimated twenty British soldiers were killed, as well as two IRA volunteers and three civilians. The British reported 7 soldiers killed and 12 wounded.

1921 – In an ambush at Lispole, Co Kerry, three IRA volunteers were killed.

1922 – IRA volunteers shot dead two RIC men in Trillick, Co Tyrone (Northern territory). In reprisal, local loyalists shot dead three Catholic civilians.

1924 – An attack on British Soldiers/Sailors and civilians at Queenstown (Cobh) is mounted by Irregulars with Armoured car and firing on HMS Scythe; 1 killed and 23 wounded.

1970 – Dana (Rosemary Brown) wins the Eurovision Song Contest for Ireland with ‘All Kinds of Everything’.

1978 – Death of Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh, served as fifth President of Ireland, from 1974 to 1976. He resigned in 1976 after a clash with the government. He also had a notable legal career, including serving as Chief Justice of Ireland.

1987 – On this day, the IPLO (Irish People’s Liberation Organisation, a breakaway group from the INLA – Irish National Liberation Army) kills INLA members Emmanuel Gargan in a Belfast bar and Kevin Barry Duffy in Armagh.

1998 – The Good Friday Agreement is signed in Northern Ireland.

1998 – Sonia O’Sullivan wins a gold medal in the World Cross-Country championships.

2001 – Tests for foot-and-mouth disease are carried out on samples from sheep on a farm in Louth.

2001 – Taoiseach Bertie Ahern strongly urges the release of the remaining Government funding to help complete the famine ship Jeanie Johnston.

2001 – Hundreds of students gather outside Leinster House to protest the teacher’s strike.

2003 – The Government insists it is not a participant in the 50-member coalition of countries which the US says is providing support for the war on Iraq. The United States has published a list of 35 countries which make up its ‘coalition of the willing’, but says another 15 members are providing back-up support and do not wish to be named.

2009 – Paul O’Connell and Rory Best celebrate at the final whistle in Cardiff as Ireland beats Wales 17-15 in a dramatic win which gives Ireland their first Six Nations Rugby Grand since the country’s one and only triumph in 1948.

2010 – Pope Benedict apologizes to Ireland’s Roman Catholics in historic papal letter read at Masses throughout Ireland.

2016 – A treasure map drawn by 1916 Easter Rising rebel, Roger Casement, is to be sold at auction with experts predicting a sale price of more than €2,000. Casement buried the ‘treasure’ after his mission to import guns from Germany ahead of the Rising failed.

Photo: Eamhain Mhacha (Navan Fort), Co Armagh

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