Today in Irish History – 20 April:

1176 – Richard Fitzgilbert de Clare known as Strongbow, Anglo-Norman lord, dies in Dublin. Strongbow came from England to Ireland at the urging of Diarmait Mac Murchadha. Diarmait was the King of Leinster who had fled to Britain. He left his kingdom because he backed the losing contender for the high kingship of Ireland.

1608 – James I grants a licence to the Old Bushmills distillery in Co Antrim which is thought to date from at least 1276 – the oldest distillery in the world.

1689 – The former king, James II of England, now deposed, lays siege to Derry.

1696 – The Guild of Brewers and Maltsters is founded in Dublin; Richard Forster, former MP for Swords and a Dublin brewer, is a member.

1772 – William Lawless, surgeon, United Irishman and general in Napoleon Bonaparte’s revolutionary army, is born in Dublin.

1791 – William Tone, soldier, author and son of Theobald Wolfe Tone is born in Dublin.

1812 – Maurice FitzGerald, MP for Co Kerry, presents the Irish Protestant petition for Catholic relief and calls for measures against grain scarcity in Ireland.

1829 – Margaret Anna Cusack is born to an aristocratic family of English origin in Coolak, Co Dublin; she is the founder of the first Poor Clares convent in the west of Ireland and also a talented writer who publishes on the issues of social injustice. Her writings and actions focus on advocacy of women’s rights including equal pay, equal opportunity for education and legal reform to give women control of their own property.

1857 – Sir Thomas Myles, surgeon, is born in Limerick.

1879 – Robert Lynd, essayist and critic, is born in Belfast.

1896 – A demonstration of the cinématographe is held in Dublin at Dan Lowrey’s Star of Erin theatre of varieties, now the Olympia Theatre.

1912 – Death of Dublin writer Bram Stoker, creator of Dracula.

1915 – Joseph Mary Plunkett travelled to Germany to join Roger Casement and assist him in his efforts to raise an Irish Brigade and garner German support for the planned 1916 Rising. Plunkett was chosen as he possessed the necessary credentials for such a trip during wartime.

1916 – Clare-born Henry Hogan, one of only nineteen people to win two Congressional Medals of Honor dies age 76.

1922 – There is ‘intense firing’ for two hours, starting at midnight, by Anti-Treaty fighters on the Pro-Treaty troops in Dublin stationed at the Provisional Government headquarters in Merrion Square, the Bank of Ireland on College Green, the telephone exchange and City Hall, Dublin. Three people are wounded. The Four Courts Anti-Treaty garrison denies knowledge of the attack.

1922 – Pro-Treaty Brigadier General Adamson is shot dead by Republicans in Athlone in a dispute over who would occupy the military barracks there.

1923 – Frank Aiken is elected IRA Chief of Staff.

1945 – Alan Dukes, politician and Fine Gael leader is born in Dublin.

1954 – Michael Manning becomes the last man to be executed by the state in the Republic of Ireland: he is hanged on this date at Mountjoy jail, Dublin, for the murder of a nurse.

1974 – The conflict in Northern Ireland claims its 1,000 victim, petrol station owner James Murphy of Co Fermanagh.

1991- Short story writer, Sean O’Faolain, dies at 91. Best known for his short stories, collected in such volumes as Midsummer Night Madness, The Man Who Invented Sin, The Heat of the Sun, and The Talking Trees (1971). Among his novels are A Nest of Simple Folk and Come Back to Erin. He was elected Saoi of Aosdána in 1986.

2001 – Two cases of suspected foot-and-mouth rock the North’s agricultural community. Stormont Minister Bríd Rodgers admits her department is concerned about symptoms in animals at Ballintoy, near Ballycastle, and in a herd at Ardboe.

Photo: Rath Esa, Hill Fort, Garristown, Co Dublin, according to Irish mythology, named after a Princess, Esa, who made the hill her home, Copter View Photography

#irish #history #Ireland

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