Today in Irish History – 18 April:

1608 – Sir Cahir O’Doherty of Inishowen revolts and sacks Derry.

1689 – Siege of Derry begins. In 1688, James II, a Catholic, was deposed by his Protestant daughter, Mary, and her husband, William of Orange, in a bloodless coup known as the Glorious Revolution. James fled to France and in 1689 landed in Ireland, hoping to incite his Catholic supporters there and regain the British throne. Aided by French forces, James captured Dublin in late March and in April marched on Derry. James, encircled Derry, began a bombardment of the fortified city, causing devastating fires and significant loss of life. However, despite this and other assaults, the city refused to surrender, and its poorly supplied defenders managed to repulse repeated attacks from James’ soldiers.

1690 – Five regiments of Irishmen sail for France and form the nucleus of France’s Irish Brigade.

1768 – Daniel Murray, Archbishop of Dublin, is born in Arklow, Co Wicklow.

1778 – William Bunbury, MP for Co Carlow, dies after being thrown from his horse.

1792 – Langrishe’s Catholic Relief Act allows Catholics to practise law, and Protestants and Catholics to intermarry.

1802 – Robert Patterson, naturalist, is born in Belfast.

1817 – Michael Roberts, Irish mathematician and author of the theory of invariants, covariants and hypereliptic functions, is born in Cork.

1868 – Birth of Patrick Eugene Joseph Prendergast in Inishbofin, Co Galway. He was the assassin of Chicago Mayor Carter Harrison, Sr. His grandfather was reported to have died insane while his mother had “repeated attacks of hysterics” and his father died of consumption. At the age of four, Prendergast was reported to have suffered a severe head injury from a fall, from which he was unconscious for a long period of time.

1870 – Birth in Dublin of Robert Tressell, born Noonan, author of The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists.

1875 – Novelist Katherine Cecil Thurston, née Madden, is born in Cork.

1898 – Birth of industrialist, Patrick Hennessy in Co Cork. During the First World War he served in the British army, between 1914 and 1918, with the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. He started his career in 1920 with Henry Ford and Son in Cork. He relocated to England in 1931 when he was appointed Purchasing Manager with Ford of Britain. He was progressively promoted, appointed General Manager in 1939, Managing Director in 1948 and Chairman in 1956.

1912 – The Cunard liner RMS Carpathia brings 705 survivors from the RMS Titanic to New York City.

1923 – Six Anti-Treaty fighters are executed in Tuam, Co Galway.

1930 – Victor Conlon, Irish activist, is born.

1941 – Birth of Michael Daniel Higgins, the ninth and current President of Ireland, having taken office on 11 November 2011, following victory in the 2011 Irish presidential election.

1945 – Birth of Margaret (Fitzsimmons) Hassan (also known as Madam Margaret) was an Irish aid worker who had worked in Iraq for many years until she was abducted and murdered by unidentified kidnappers in Iraq in 2004, at the age of 59.

1949 – The Republic of Ireland withdraws from the British Commonwealth. The British Parliament recognises the declaration but asserts sovereignty over the six northern counties. Ireland does not recognise the claim.

2000 – Tony Blair arrives in Northern Ireland in an effort to kickstart the ailing peace process.

2000 – A plaque is unveiled in Belfast commemorating those killed or injured in paramilitary violence.

2000 – RTÉ confirms that Glenroe’s, Mary McEvoy, will be killed off in dramatic fashion. For 17 years, she has played the role of Biddy Byrne; however, she is requesting that she be written out in order to take on other challenges.

2000 – The low-fares war on the Shannon-London route intensifies with Ryanair accusing Richard Branson’s Virgin Express of copycat tactics.

2000 – According to an annual survey released on this date, Ireland is named the seventh most competitive nation in the world.

2013 – Death of harpist and singer, Gráinne Yeats. Born as Gráinne Ni hEigeartaigh in Dublin, she was also a historian of the Irish harp and raised bilingually in Irish and English. As well as obtaining a degree in history from Trinity College Dublin, she studied piano, voice and harp at the Royal Irish Academy of Music in Dublin and also studied traditional songs and music from the Irish-speaking (Gaeltacht) areas of Ireland. She was married to Michael Yeats, a Fianna Fáil politician and the son of the poet W. B. Yeats.

Photo: Gypsy Vanner Horse

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