Today in Irish History – 11 April:

1603 – In the revolt of the towns, or recusancy revolt, Catholic worship is re-established in Kilkenny and the main Munster towns between this date and 10 May, in the hope that James I will grant religious toleration; Mountjoy marches south and forces the towns to submit.

1700 – Richard Levinge, an Irish MP and later a prominent Tory, who had been committed by the English House of Commons to the Tower of London on 16 January for speaking ill of his fellow Commissioners of Forfeited Estates is released on this date.

1784 – (General Sir) Abraham Roberts is born in Waterford, the son of a local magistrate. As an officer in the British East India Company Army he served nearly 50 years in India.

1870 – Birth of Hugh McGinnis in Castlewellan, Co Down. He emigrated to America in 1887, lived in New York and St Louis, Missouri with his sister prior to enlisting in the U.S. Army in 1890. He was a twenty-year-old private in Co. K, 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry during the Wounded Knee Massacre, where he was wounded twice. When he died he was the last survivor of the 7th Cavalry at Wounded Knee.

1877 – Birth of Paul Henry in Belfast. He was an artist noted for depicting the West of Ireland landscape in a spare post-impressionist style. He studied art in Belfast before going to Paris in 1898 to study at the Académie Julian and at Whistler’s studio. He married the painter Grace Henry in 1903 and returned to Ireland in 1910. From then until 1919 he lived on Achill Island, where he learned to capture the peculiar interplay of light and landscape specific to the West of Ireland. In 1919 he moved to Dublin and in 1920 was one of the founders of the Society of Dublin Painters.

1878 – Kathleen Daly Clarke, Irish patriot, is born in Co Limerick.

1912 – The Titanic at Queenstown (now Cobh), Cork. The doomed ship anchors two miles off shore at Roches Point as the port could not accommodate a ship of its size.

1912 – Liberal Prime Minister Herbert Asquith introduces Third Home Rule Bill which would provide self-government for Ireland, an apparent triumph for Nationalist leader John Redmond.

1923 – Six Republican prisoners are executed by firing squad in Tuam, Co Galway.

1923 – Waterford Anti-Treaty IRA Flying Column Leader Tom Keating is mortally wounded. He is transported in a horse and dray and is denied medical attention. The Dungarvan parish priest permits only one mass to be offered for him.

1963 – JFK aide McGeorge Bundy advises Thomas J. Kiernan, Ireland’s Ambassador to the U.S. that the President would not be able to accept honorary Irish citizenship on his then putative visit to Ireland (which would occur June 1963).

1971 – The GAA lifts its ban on members playing or attending ‘foreign’ sports such as soccer or rugby.

1986 – Brian Keenan is taken hostage in Beirut by members of Islamic Jihad, a terrorist organisation with a hatred of the West that carried out several attacks during the Lebanese Civil War. An Evil Cradling is an autobiographical book by Keenan about his four years as a hostage in Beirut. The book revolves heavily around the great friendship he experienced with fellow hostage John McCarthy, and the brutality that was inflicted upon them by their captors.

1999 – The Northern Ireland peace process faces collapse as politicians prepare to return to Stormont, with agreement on the key issue of disarmament as distant as ever.

2000 – In a dramatic end to the two-month trial, a jury at the Central Criminal Court finds Catherine Nevin guilty of all four charges against her arising out of the shooting death of her husband in 1996.

2000 – The newspaper known as The Examiner is re-launched as The Irish Examiner.

2000 – Nelson Mandela receives a hero’s welcome as spectators turn out in droves in Dublin to honour the former president of South Africa prior to his receiving an honorary degree at Trinity. He is the first African leader to be so honoured. He already is a Freeman of the City, an honour granted shortly after being freed from jail.

2002 – During a remembrance ceremony at St Colman’s Cathedral, candles are lit for each of the 79 people who boarded the Titanic on her maiden and final voyage which departed from Cobh, then known as Queenstown, on this date in 1912.

Photo: Cloughoughter Castle, Co Cavan

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