Today in Irish History – 23 March:

1845 – Birth of John Thomas Browne in Ballylanders, Co Limerick. He was an Irish Catholic Mayor of Houston, Texas.

1846 – Henry George Grey, 3rd Earl Grey speaks in the House of Lords on the state of Ireland and accepts that ‘Ireland is our disgrace’. If such be the state of things, how then does it arise, and what is its cause? My Lords, it is only by misgovernment that such evils could have been produced: the mere fact that Ireland is in so deplorable and wretched a condition saves whole volumes of argument, and is of itself a complete and irrefutable proof of the misgovernment to which she has been subjected.

1847 – Choctaw Indians collect money to donate to starving Irish Hunger victims.

1897 – Birth of John Lighton Synge, an Irish mathematician and physicist.

1889 – Robert Gibbings, illustrator and writer, is born in Cork.

1893 – Birth in Dublin of Cedric Gibbons, designer of the coveted Oscar statuette and winner of eleven Academy Awards himself.

1917 – Birth of singer Josef Locke (Joe McLaughlin) in Derry.

1921 – Scramogue Ambush: An IRA ambush is mounted on Strokestown-Longford road by south Co Roscommon IRA. One British soldier and two policemen were killed. Two Black and Tan constables (Agnew and Buchanan) surrendered and were later shot dead by the IRA. Arms and ammunition including a Hotchkiss machine gun were captured by the IRA, who lost one man killed.

1921 – The Press reported that 28 people were killed and 33 wounded in various ambushes on this day, bringing the total for the previous five days to 65 killed and 67 wounded.

1921 – Clogheen Ambush: Six IRA men from the 1st Battalion, Cork No.1 Brigade are killed when they are surrounded in a barn in Clogheen by the British Army.

1923 – A detachment of National Army troops surrounds a house on Albert Road, Dalkey, Co Dublin, which contains six Anti-Treaty fighters. One Free State soldier is killed and two wounded when the house is stormed, one Republican is also killed and another is wounded in the fire fight. The remaining four and a woman civilian are arrested. Some arms and hundreds of rounds of ammunition are seized by the Free State troops. In a separate incident, another Anti-Treaty fighter is killed in Rathmines. Another is shot dead trying to blow up the Carlton cinema in O’Connell Street

1926 – Fianna Fáil Founded by Éamonn de Valera, after a split in Sinn Féin. The aims of the Party were to secure the unity and independence of Ireland as a Republic.

1951 – On this date, Shannon Airport is the base for a rescue operation after a USAF C124 aircraft crashes into the sea – some wreckage is found 450 miles off the west coast, but all 53 people on board are lost.

1971 – Chichester Clark resigns as Prime Minister and is replaced by Brian Faulkner.

1976 – The EEC rejects the Irish government’s application for derogation from its directive for equal pay to men and women.

1998 – Ian Paisley lead his party back to the Northern Ireland peace talks for the first time in eight months — but only to protest at the re-entry of Sinn Féin following its suspension over IRA involvement in two murders.

1998 – History is made in Galway when all vehicles are banned from the city’s main thoroughfare, Shop Street, and its adjoining arteries. The streets are closed to traffic from 11am to 7.30pm as part of a pedestrianisation programme to tackle traffic problems in the city’s narrow streets.

1999 – Under the terms of the Good Friday peace agreement, IRA prisoners, Paul Kavanagh, Thomas Quigley and Gerard McDonnell are freed after a High Court judge rejects a legal challenge by British Home Secretary Jack Straw to keep them in jail.

1999 – The British government signals its growing impatience with the decommissioning deadlock when it issues a legal challenge to the release of Brighton bomber Patrick Magee and three other IRA prisoners.

2001 – Gardaí arrest 12 protesting students as thousands of secondary school pupils take to the streets all over the country demanding an end to the ASTI teachers strike.

2001 – At the Irish Cancer Society’s Daffodil Day Auction, the hottest collectible is Bono’s handmade Black Fly shades, which fetches £4,000.

2002 – At high tide, thirty-nine whales are washed onto Aughcasla Strand, in the Dingle Peninsula.

2010 – Garda mobile phone protest is underway. Thousands of gardai begin a ‘work-to-rule’ – the first action of its kind in the history of the force. The so-called ‘withdrawal of goodwill’ by 11,000 members is in protest over public sector pay cuts and the pension levy.

2011 – Ian Paisley calls for a new era of sharing and reconciliation in an emotional farewell at his final sitting of the power-sharing Assembly he helped to create at Storming.

Photo: Lenticular clouds over Muckish Mountain in the Derryveagh Mountains, Co Donegal.

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