Today in Irish History – 25 April:

1185 – Henry II sends his son John to Ireland; John lands at Waterford on this date to assert control over Hugh de Lacy, but he fails to achieve this. Henry still suspects that de Lacy wants to be king of Ireland.

1681 – Count Redmond O’Hanlon (outlawed chief) is shot dead by his foster-brother. Historian John J. Marshall has called Redmond O’Hanlon Ireland’s answer to Robin Hood and Rob Roy MacGregor.

1707 – Thomas Erle, MP for Cork city, commands the centre at the Battle of Alamanza and loses his right hand on this date; David Dunbar, later MP for Blessington, is wounded and captured in the same battle, and John Upton, later MP for Co Antrim, distinguishes himself.

1819 – Vere Foster, philanthropist and educationist, is born in Copenhagen; he is the inventor of copy books used in schools throughout Ireland until the 1950s.

1820 – Birth of Thomas Eyre Lambert in Co Galway. Captain Lambert inherited his father’s estate in 1867, at Castle Lambert, a few miles northwest of Athenry. In 1869 he evicted the Barrett family from their farm at Moorepark, close to Castle Lambert. The Barrett’s were evicted, moving to Swangate in Athenry. News reached Peter Barrett, one of the family’s older children, who was at the time working as a postman in London. Between 1869 and 1871 he was one of the principals in an attempted murder case which gained national and international attention.

1850 – Birth of William Melville in Sneem, Co Kerry. He first joined the Metropolitan police in 1872 and quickly rose through the ranks. A friend of the magician Harry Houdini, during the 1880s he headed up the Special Irish Bureau designed to deal with the Fenians and anarchists. He was part of the team that foiled the 1887 Jubilee Plot, which was supposedly an assassination attempt against Queen Victoria. In reality it was a state sponsored covert operation, approved by the Prime Minister Lord Salisbury, run through the spy Francis Millen with the aim of discrediting Irish nationalism. It is possible that Melville was not in the loop and as far as he was concerned had foiled a real plot.

1861 – William Ford, who crossed the Atlantic from Ireland by steerage, marries fellow country woman Mary O’Hern. Their son Henry Ford, pioneered the mass manufacturing of the automobile.

1870 – Death of Daniel Maclise. Born in Cork, he was a history, literary and portrait painter, and illustrator, who worked for most of his life in London. Maclise’s vast painting of The Marriage of Strongbow and Aoife (1854) hangs in the National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin. It portrays the marriage of the main Norman conqueror of Ireland “Strongbow” to the daughter of his Gaelic ally. His most prestigious commissions were two enormous murals in the House of Lords: the Meeting of Wellington and Blücher at Waterloo (completed 1861) and the Death of Nelson at Trafalgar (completed 1865).

1877 – Ralph Henry Byrne, architect, is born in Dublin.

1882 – Kilmainham Treaty signed by Charles Stewart Parnell and British Government.

1916 – Easter Rebellion: The United Kingdom declares martial law in Ireland.

1916 – News of the Easter Rebellion started to filter through to the British newspapers. A smattering of local papers managed to squeeze in the late news that at least 12 lives had already been lost, and that Irish rebels were in control of parts of the city.

1918 – Irish Labour Party declares one-day strike in protest over conscription act. Anglo-Irish agreements on defence, finance and trade (25 April) end the ‘Economic War’: the ‘Treaty’ ports are ceded by Britain; the Irish Government pays £10 million to settle financial claims; both sides repeal penal duties on imports.

1920 – IRA ambushed and killed two RIC men near Upton, Co Cork.

1921 – Thomas Trayner is hanged in Mountjoy Prison, captured during an ambush on Auxiliaries in Brunswick Street, Dublin, on 14 March 1921. He was a member of the Irish Republican Army (IRA). Traynor was one of a group of men hanged in Mountjoy Prison in the period 1920-1921, commonly referred to as The Forgotten Ten. In 2001 he and the other nine, including Kevin Barry, were exhumed from their graves in the prison and given a full State Funeral. He is now buried in Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin.

1923 – Three Anti-Treaty prisoners are executed in Tralee.

1923 – A National Army officer, Peter McNicholas, is killed in an ambush near Kiltimagh, Mayo.

1923 – A Free State Lieutenant, Beehan, is shot dead in an ambush near Castleisland, Kerry, while escorting two Civic Guards.

1938 – Anglo-Irish agreements on defence, finance and trade end the ‘Economic War’: the ‘Treaty’ ports are ceded by Britain; the Irish Government pays £10 million to settle financial claims; both sides repeal penal duties on imports.

1946 – Birth of Peter Sutherland; in 1981, he becomes Ireland’s youngest ever Attorney-General in the Fine Gael–Labour coalition government. In 1997, he becomes chairman of BP and when BP merges with Amoco in 1998 he becomes non-executive chairman of the new company. BP Amoco has a market value of about $40 billion. Sutherland is also on the boards of ABB Asea Brown Boveri Ltd., Investor AB and Eriksson. He is chairman of the Overseas Development Council in Washington and the recipient of numerous honorary doctorates and awards in Europe and America.

1976 – Tens of thousands defy a ban on commemorating the heroes of Easter 1916 at the GPO in Dublin.

1998 – The first ever mass demonstrations against immigration laws and racism take place in Dublin, Cork and Limerick. At the same time, protests are staged by Irish people outside embassies all over Europe and the United States. Dublin edges close to a standstill as more than 1,000 protesters march from St Stephen’s Green to the GPO.

1999 – The RUC strongly denies fresh claims of police collusion and cover-up in the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings that claims 33 lives in the Republic 25 years ago.

2003 – Sinéad O’Connor announces her retirement from the music business.

2012 – Death of painter, Louis le Brocquy. Born in Dublin, his work received many accolades in a career that spanned some seventy years of creative practice. Le Brocquy is widely acclaimed for his evocative “Portrait Heads” of literary figures and fellow artists, which include William Butler Yeats, James Joyce, and his friends Samuel Beckett, Francis Bacon and Seamus Heaney.

2015 – Death of Hurling coach Tommy Maher. Fr Maher, regarded as perhaps the most influential coach in the game, took Kilkenny to seven All-Irelands in 18 seasons, the last of which was in 1975, the year of current Kilkenny manager Brian Cody’s first senior All-Ireland as a player, a feat made all the more remarkable by the presence in those same years of the great Tipperary team of the 1960s, the Cork three-in-a-row side of the 1970s and within Leinster a frequently menacing Wexford.

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