Today in Irish History – 23 April:

1014 – Battle of Clontarf: The Dublin Norse and the king of Leinster, with Viking allies from overseas, are defeated by Brian Boru’s army at Clontarf. Brian, now an old man, is killed. This thwarts the potential domination of Ireland by the Norse, but they are well established in the coastal towns, and will continue to have a major influence. Máel Sechnaill succeeds Brian as high king.

1357 – Four days after the end of his campaign against the O’Tooles, O’Byrnes and O’Nolans in Leinster, justiciar Thomas Rokeby dies on this date at Kilkea, Co Kildare.

1723 – Mervyn Archdall, antiquary, is born in Dublin.

1727 – Actress George Anne Bellamy is born in Fingal, Co Dublin. The illegitimate daughter of Lord Tyrawley, British ambassador at Lisbon, her mother marries a Captain Bellamy and the child receives the name George Anne, by mistake for Georgiana. She grows up to become an accomplished actress and plays on the stage in London and Dublin. She is a contemporary of Sheridan and Garrick, and is patronized by aristocratic society.

1792 – Thomas Romney Robinson, astronomer and physicist, is born in Dublin.

1805 – James Henthorn Todd, scholar, is born in Dublin.

1831 – Creation of the Diocese of Galway.

1916 – Approximately 1,000 copies of The Proclamation of the Irish Republic are printed in Liberty Hall in a print office set up by James Connolly.

1918 – The Military Service Act 18 April threatens conscription for Ireland: there is a one-day general strike in protest (except in Ulster) on this date.

1921 – The Third Tipperary Brigade, IRA ambushed a small party of British soldiers accompanying two horse-drawn carts approached from Clogheen, near Curraghcloney, close to the village of Ballylooby.The IRA volunteers withdrew southwards towards the Knockmealdown Mountains leaving one British soldier dead and two others wounded, one fatally. By chance, RIC District Inspector Gilbert Potter was returning by car from police duties at Ballyporeen, drove into a section of the withdrawing Column. Potter was held as a hostage for the safe release of Thomas Traynor, an IRA Volunteer under sentence of death. Following the British execution of Traynor by hanging, Potter was shot dead by the IRA.

1926 – Son of irish immigrants, J.P. Donleavy, author of The Ginger Man, is born in New York; he emigrates to Ireland during World War II and becomes an Irish citizen. He now lives in Westmeath.

1927 – Shamrock Rovers player Bob Fulham scores Ireland’s first international goal, against Italy.

1947 – Birth of Bernadette Devlin McAliskey in Cookstown, Co Tyrone; she is the youngest MP ever to be elected to Parliament.

1960 – Birth of classical pianist and conductor, Barry Douglas, in Belfast.

1961 – A census shows the population of Northern Ireland is 1,425,642; an earlier census on 9 April shows the population of the Republic to be 2,818,341.

1967 – A local parish priest voices his extreme opposition to the appearance of Jayne Mansfield at the Mount Brandon Hotel in Tralee, and the concert is duly cancelled. Three weeks later, she is killed in a car accident.

1998 – The Government’s package of measures designed to dampen down rocketing house prices — particularly in the Dublin area — draws mixed reaction.

1998 – The largest dry bulk carrier ever to dock at an Irish port, the 183,000-tonne Buccleuch, arrives at the deep-water jetty of the ESB’s generating station at Moneypoint, Co Clare.

1999 – It emerges that detectives from outside the Royal Ulster Constabulary are being drafted into Northern Ireland to join the murder squad hunting the killers of human rights lawyer Rosemary Nelson.

2002 – Just months after voting No to Nice, Irish support for EU membership hits a record high, according to the latest survey carried out among the 15 member States.

2003 – Key questions to the IRA posed by British Prime Minister Tony Blair spark an angry reaction from Sinn Féin but are supported by the Government. According to Mr Blair, the deadlock in the Northern Ireland peace process is down to uncertainty over the IRA’s future intentions.

2010 – Death of Irish-born American actor, Shay Duffin. He had a role in the 1997 film Titanic. However, was best known for writing and acting the title role in the one-man play Brendan Behan: Confessions of An Irish Rebel.

2010 – A car bomb exploded outside a PSNI station in Newtownhamilton, Co Armagh.

Photo: Castle Roche, Co Louth, Copter View Photography

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