Today in Irish History – 16 May:

587 – St. Brendan the Navigator, early transatlantic voyager, dies. In the Liturgical calendar, today is St. Brendan’s Feast Day.

1907 – Birth of Robert Tisdall, gold medalist in the 400 meter hurdles at the 1932 Olympics.

1920 – ‘Soviets’ are proclaimed in 13 Co Limerick creameries, including Knocklong.

1921 – Two IRA men are killed in an attempted ambush of an RIC patrol at Barrowhouse, Co Kildare.

1926 – In response to the signing of the Boundary Agreement between Great Britain and Ireland in December 1925, Sinn Féin held a meeting in March 1926 to discuss the future of the party. Failing to reach an agreement, Éamon de Valera resigned as leader and took rapid steps to establish a new national movement. On 16 May 1926, the inaugural meeting of Fianna Fáil was held in La Scala theatre in Dublin. Among the founding members were Seán Lemass, Gerry Boland, Countess Markievicz and Frank Aiken.

1927 – ‘A’ Reserve established by Oglaigh na hÉireann – the Irish Defence Forces.

1938 – The Department of Justice bans Photography magazine because of ‘attention given to the female nude’.

1945 – Éamon de Valera responds to Winston Churchill’s victory speech during which Churchill took one last jab at Irish neutrality.

1952 – Birth of actor, Pierce Brosnan in Navan, Co Meath.

1955 – Birth of footballer and manager, Páidí Ó Sé, in Ceann Trá, Co Kerry. Ó Sé played as a right half-back for Kerry, with eight All-Irelands to his name as a player and two All-Irelands as a manager, in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, he was one of the most decorated names in the sport and was one of the most recognisable faces in the country. He was one of five men to win eight All-Ireland football medals (the other four were on the same team), and one of two men to win multiple All Irelands as a player and a manager. Before his sudden death in 2012, he was involved in tours with The Gathering Ireland 2013.

1959 – Death of Elisha Scott. Born in Belfast, she was a football goalkeeper who most notably played for Liverpool from 1912 to 1934 (still holding the record as their longest-serving player).

1967 – Birth of actor, Brían Francis O’Byrne in Mullagh, Co Cavan, best known for his work in the United States.

1997 – Tony Blair visits Northern Ireland and gives the go ahead for exploratory contacts between government officials and Sinn Féin.

2000 – An Post officially launches a set of four 30p postage stamps in honour of flamboyant writer and wit, Oscar Wilde.

2001 – Proposals to locate the first wind farm off the country’s west coast are unveiled. The £100 million project is to be located off the north Kerry coast on the southern tip of the Shannon estuary and is to involve the construction of between 20 and 30 wind turbines.

2001 – The United States designates the Real IRA, a splinter group of the Irish Republican Army, as a “foreign terrorist organisation,” a legal term that brings financial and other sanctions. Under US law, any assets the Real IRA has in the United States are frozen, it is illegal to support the organisation and Real IRA members are not eligible for US visas.

2002 – Iarnród Eireann’s first female train driver, Teresa Carey from Kerry, begins her career driving the Cork-Heuston train.

2007 – Taoiseach Bertie Ahern becomes the third longest-serving EU leader in office as France’s Jacques Chirac officially steps down.

Photo: St. Brendan the Navigator Monument, Cahersiveen, Co Kerry

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