Today in Irish History – 10 May:

1318 – Richard de Clare, Lord of Thomond, a descendant of Strongbow, is killed while commanding his forces at the Battle of Dysert O’Dea. According to legend, the day before his death, Richard de Clare beheld a woman dressed in white on the river’s edge washing bloody clothing and armour. When he asked whose clothes they were, she replied, “yours,” and then vanished. This woman was believed to be a banshee foretelling his death the next day when he lay dead with his clothes caked in blood on the battlefield of Desert O’Dea.

1603 – In the revolt of the towns, or recusancy revolt, Catholic worship is re-established in Kilkenny and the main Munster towns between 11 April and this date, in the hope that James I will grant religious toleration; Mountjoy marches south and forces the towns to submit.

1642 – A Catholic confederacy (‘the Confederation of Kilkenny’) is instituted to administer Catholic-controlled parts of the country pending a final settlement.

1739 – John Thomas Troy, Catholic Archbishop of Dublin and opponent of revolution, is born in Castleknock, Co Dublin.

1804 – After resigning as Prime Minister following a disagreement with George III over Catholic Emancipation, William Pitt returns to office.

1832 – Birth of William Russell Grace in Co Laois, the first Roman Catholic mayor of New York and the founder of W. R. Grace and Company.

1838 – James Bryce, 1st Viscount Bryce of Dechmount; jurist, historian and Liberal politician, is born in Belfast.

1870 – Jem Mace defends his heavyweight crown against Irish champ Joe Coburn; it lasts 1 hr and 17 minutes; neither is struck by a punch.

1873 – Leslie Montgomery, comic writer; pseudonym Lynn C. Doyle, is born in Downpatrick, Co Down.

1886 – Richard Mulcahy, pro-Treaty nationalist and Fine Gael politician, is born in Co Waterford.

1908 – Birth of Henry Diamond, Irish Nationalist MP.

1916 – Sailing in the lifeboat James Caird, Ernest Shackleton arrives at South Georgia after a journey of 800 nautical miles from Elephant Island.

1918 – Birth of Desmond J. McNamara in Mount Street, Dublin. He was a sculptor, painter, stage and art designer and novelist. After graduating from University College, Dublin and the National College of Art in Dublin in the early 1940s, he found a place as stage designer and prop maker for the Abbey Theatre and at the Gate Theatre in Dublin, working with the legendary duo Michael Macliammoir and Hilton Edwards. He was an uncredited art designer on the Henry V (1944 film). MacNamara’s sculptures are on display in the National Art Gallery of Ireland and at the Dublin Writers Museum.

1920 – Birth of Basil Kelly, Lord Justice of Appeals for Northern Ireland.

1921 – Two RIC constables Alexander Clarke and Charles Murdock disappeared near Clonmany, Co Donegal. The body of Clarke was washed up on the shore the next day. Murdock was reportedly buried in a bog.

1943 – A mine washes up on a beach in Co Donegal and explodes; 19 men and boys, aged between 14 and 33, who lived in Ballymanus near Kincasslagh, are killed by the blast.

1950 – Charlie Nash, former European and British lightweight champion, is born in Derry.

1956 – Birth of Brendan Howlin, Labour TD and former Minister for the Environment.

1960 – Paul Hewson, better known as Bono, is born at the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin.

1972 – In a referendum in the Republic, 83 per cent favour accession to the European Economic Community.

1988 – Death of musician, Ciarán Bourke. He was one of the original founding members of the Irish folk band The Dubliners; he played tin whistle, mouth organ and guitar, as well as singing. Ciarán was responsible for bringing a Gaelic element to The Dubliners’ music with songs such as “Peggy Lettermore” and “Sé Fáth Mo Bhuartha” being performed in the Irish language

1998 – Members of Sinn Féin vote to accept the Good Friday peace agreement, effectively acknowledging the north-south border.

2000 – Arts and Culture Minister, Síle de Valera, officially opens the fully restored 1817 fountain at the Iveagh Gardens in Dublin.

2013 – Death of actor and director Vincent Gerard Dowling. He was married to the late actress, Brenda Doyle (who died in a car crash in 1981). He is the father of actress Bairbre Dowling, and the former father-in-law of actor, Colm Meaney. In May 2013, the politician and TD, Richard Boyd Barrett, revealed that Dowling was his biological father, as a result of a relationship with actress Sinéad Cusack in 1967. Dowling first came to prominence in Ireland in the 1950s for his role as Christy Kennedy in the long-running radio soap opera, The Kennedys of Castleross and as a member of the Abbey Theatre company.

Photo: Ring of Kerry, Killarney, Photo courtesy Jonathon Epstein

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