Today in Irish History – 25 March:

In the Liturgical calendar, today is the feast day of the Annunciation to Our Lady.

1635 – A shower of hailstones, with stones as large as four inches in circumference, is reported in Castletown, Co Offaly; a hen is killed and a woman is injured.

1738 – Irish harpist and composer, Turlough O’Carolan, dies at Alderford House, the home of his patron Máire MacDermott Roe, in Ballyfarnan, Co Roscommon.

1735 – Birth of James Agar, 1st Viscount Clifden and politician.

1831 – Arthur Kavanagh, politician and progressive landlord, is born in Borris, Co Carlow.

1840 – Birth of Myles Keogh in Leighlinbridge, Co Carlow. Soldier in the US army, it is said by the Sioux that he is the last man killed at the Battle of Little Big Horn, where his horse is the only US survivor. His niece, Margaret Keogh, was the first victim on Easter Monday in Dublin during the 1916 Rising.

1846 – Michael Davitt, known universally as ‘The Father of the Land League’, is born in Straid, Co. Mayo.

1847 – Pope Pius IX issues an encyclical called ‘On aid for Ireland’.

2000 – David Trimble narrowly beats off a challenge to his leadership of the Ulster Unionist Party casting doubt on its unity and the future of the Northern Ireland peace process.

1920 – The first ‘Black and Tans’ (auxiliary policemen) officially arrive in Ireland.

1923 – Republican leader in Leitrim, Ned Bofin and three of his men are captured in the Arigna Mountains.

1923 – Free State soldiers in Wexford shot dead Michael Furlong (of Ballagh) at Oldcourt, in revenge for the previous days killing of three Free State troops as they suspected that he was an Anti-Treaty IRA member (he had fought in the recent Irish War of Independence in the IRA).

1923 – A republican prisoner, Murphy is shot dead by Free State troops in Kerry.

1939 – Birth of James Joseph “Jim” McCann in Belfast. He is a figure who has been linked with Irish republicanism, drug trafficking and the smuggling of arms to the Provisional IRA in the 1970s. McCann has dual British and Irish citizenship. In 1971 he escaped from Belfast’s Crumlin Road Prison, where he was awaiting trial for a petrol-bombing at Queen’s University.

1946 – To mark the centenary of Michael Davitt’s birth, a major celebration is held in Straide, Co Mayo, primarily at the request of a personal friend and executor of his will, Mr. Dennis O’Rourke of Dublin. An attendance of over 12,000 includes Éamon de Valera, Hugh Delargy, M.P. as well as surviving members of the Davitt family, Dr. Robert Davitt and Miss Eileen Davitt. The occasion is covered live by the BBC.

1948 – Death of Gearóid O’Sullivan. He had the honour of raising the Tricolour over the GPO as fighting raged the streets of Dublin during the 1916 Easter Rising. O’Sullivan, then 25, was the youngest IRB officer fighting in the GPO (three months younger than his cousin Michael Collins). He had been personally chosen by leader Seán Mac Diarmada to serve as his aide-de-camp.

1963 – Captain Terence O’Neill becomes Northern Ireland Prime Minister after Lord Brookeborough resigns.

1969 – Ian Paisley and Ronald Bunting are jailed for organising an illegal counter demonstration in Armagh on 30 November 1968.

1971 – James Callaghan speaks at a rally of the Northern Ireland labour movement, but rejects calls for the Labour Party to open membership to those living in the north of Ireland.

1993 – Castlerock killings: the UDA, using the covername ‘Ulster Freedom Fighters’ (UFF), claimed responsibility for shooting dead four Catholic civilians and a PIRA volunteer at a building site in Castlerock, Co Derry. Later in the day it claimed responsibility for shooting dead another Catholic civilian in Belfast.

1998 – New constitutional arrangements for Northern Ireland that include cross-border bodies with executive powers and a new Northern Ireland Assembly are revealed by the British and Irish Governments.

2001 – More than 1,200 animals are slaughtered in counties Meath, Wexford, Carlow and Laois as a precautionary measure against foot and mouth disease.

2001 – Ballymun, a northside suburb in Dublin, is transformed into the Bogside for the filming of Bloody Sunday, a movie which promises to piece together the controversial events of the 1972 parade. More than 2,000 locals take part in the scenes, including some of the original marchers from Derry.

2002 – An international report ranks Ireland 28th in the top 30 healthiest countries – behind Slovenia, Malta, the Czech Republic and Portugal.

2002 – At an international conference in Co Antrim, Dr Andrew Cooper of the University of Ulster warns that Ireland is shrinking. Every year an estimated 750 acres of coastline is swallowed up by the sea and the situation is likely to get worse unless urgent action is taken.

2003 – Tourism Minister John O’Donoghue launches the Value Menu Restaurant Guide which will offer meals at record low prices. Participating pubs, restaurants and hotels will give customers the choice of meals at fixed prices of €10, €20 and €30.

Photo: Ballybunion, Co Kerry, Ballybunion Prints Beach Photography

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