Today in Irish History – 22 March:

Feast Day of Saint Darerca of Ireland, sister of Saint Patrick.

1686 – With the return of a Catholic monarchy – James II – payments to the Catholic hierarchy are authorised; Catholics are appointed to government positions; replacement of Protestant by Catholic soldiers intensifies.

1768 – Melasina Trench, writer, is born in Dublin.

1829 – Sir Richard Sankey, soldier and engineer, is born in Cashel, Co Tipperary.

1841 – The Irish Emigrant Society is founded in New York.

1848 – Birth of artist Sarah Purser in Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin.

1912 – Birth of actor Wilfrid Brambell in Dublin.

1921 – Three members of the West Mayo IRA flying column attacked a four man RIC patrol at Clady. Three policemen were wounded and one was killed.

1921 – IRA volunteers in Fermanagh burned the homes and farms of ten local men who were members of the Ulster Special Constabulary. Two Special Constables were shot dead in their beds.

1922 – Irish Civil War Looms: The seeds continue to be sown for an Irish civil war. Rory O’Connor speaking in Dublin states that the Irish army is ‘in a dilemma, having the choice of supporting its oath to the Republic or still giving allegiance to the Dáil, which, it considers, has abandoned the Republic. The contention of the army is that the Dáil did a thing that it had no right to do.’ O’Connor would fight on the anti-Treaty side and be executed in December at the direction of his friend Kevin O’Higgins.

1923 – A fire fight takes place at Windgap on the Kilkenny Tipperary border between an IRA column and NA troops from Kilkenny sweeping the area. One NA soldier Vol. Brown is killed and press reports three ‘Irregulars’ also killed.

1929 – Sixty-six horses run in Irish Grand National Sweepstakes; Alike wins the race.

1954 – Death of Iseult Lucille Germaine Gonne. She was the daughter of Maud Gonne and Lucien Millevoye, and the wife of the novelist Francis Stuart. Iseult was not acknowledged as her mother’s daughter in Maud Gonne’s will when Gonne died in 1953. Iseult died a year later.

1969 – At a time when nationalist emotion was high in Ireland, Sean Dunphy topped the Irish charts with The Lonely Woods of Upton:

1979 – Two members of the IRA assassinate Sir Richard Sykes, British ambassador to the Netherlands, outside his residence at The Hague.

1981 – Raymond McCreesh and Patsy O’Hara began their Hunger strike in the H Blocks of Long Kesh Prison.

1983 – Belfast-born and Dublin-educated Chaim Herzog is elected president of Israel.

1998 – Unionist leaders launch a fresh bid to have Republicans excluded permanently from peace negotiations.

2000 – Over 2,000 student nurses walk out of hospital wards and lecture halls in a protest over tuition fees.

2001 – The Government declares a national emergency in a bid to contain the country’s first foot and mouth outbreak in 60 years.

2002 – At the Four Courts, the conviction of Paul Ward for the murder of Veronica Guerin, is quashed.

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