Today in Irish History – 23 May:

1561 – The first court of High Commission, a group of officials and Protestant clergy, is set up to enforce the Reformation in Ireland.

1754 – Birth of Dr. William Drennan in Belfast; physician, poet, educationalist political radical and one of the chief architects of the Society of United Irishmen. Drennan’s poetic output included some powerful and moving pieces. He is chiefly remembered today for “Erin” written in 1800, in which he penned the first reference in print to Ireland as “the Emerald Isle”.

1794 – As part of a crack-down on seditious activity during Britain’s war with France, the Dublin United Irishmen are suppressed.

1796 – Death of Waterford architect John Roberts (b. 1712). Much of Waterford bears testimony to Roberts skills. He has the rare distinction of designing both the Catholic and Protestant Cathedrals in a city (especially given the times he lived in).

1798 – United Irish Rebellion begins in Wexford and in Leinster.

1903 – Shelah Richards, actress and producer, is born in Dublin.

1920 – Oliver Plunkett is beatified by Pope Benedict XV.

1920 – Railway workers refuse to transport troops from this date.

1921 – The IRA in Clare ambushed an RIC patrol at Glenwood, between Sixmilebridge and Broadfoot. Six RIC men were killed including a District Inspector and two were wounded. The IRA volunteers captured 10 rifles.

1921 – A British Army Officer (2nd Lt Seymour Livingston Vincent) disappeared, presumed killed, in Co Cork.

1922 – Birth of actress, Maureen Pryor, born Maureen Pook, in Co Limerick. She began acting with Manchester Repertory in 1938 and appeared in the West End in Seán O’Casey’s Red Roses for Me and in Eugene O’Neill’s one-act play Before Breakfast, directed by Bill Gilmour. She made over 500 television appearances.

1934 – Birth of former rugby international, Syd Millar.

1949 – Birth of prominent criminal, Martin “The General” Cahill, in Dublin. Cahill generated a certain notoriety in the media, which referred to him by the sobriquet “The General”. The name was also used by the media to discuss Cahill’s activities while avoiding legal problems with libel. During his lifetime, Cahill took particular care to hide his face from the media—he would spread the fingers of one hand.

1950 – Birth of Martin McGuinness in Co Derry. A former Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) leader, McGuinness was the MP for Mid Ulster from 1997 until his resignation in 2013 (as all Sinn Féin MPs, McGuinness practiced abstentionism in relation to the Westminster Parliament). He is a Sinn Féin politician who has been the deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland since 2007. He was also Sinn Féin’s unsuccessful candidate for President of Ireland in the 2011 election.

1951 – Lord Henry Mount Charles, Slane Castle impresario, is born. He is an Anglo-Irish nobleman who holds titles in the Peerages of Ireland and the United Kingdom.

1954 – Former soccer international, Gerry Armstrong, is born in Fintona, Co Tyrone.

1955 – Mary Black, singer, is born in Dublin.

1955 – Birth of Luka Bloom in Newbridge, Co Kildare (as Kevin Barry Moore), a folk-rock singer-songwriter. He is the younger brother of folk singer Christy Moore.

1981 – Kevin Lynch begins his hunger strike in the H Blocks of Long Kesh prison. He was a member of the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) who died on 1 August after 71 days on hunger strike.

1998 – Britain’s Prime Minister, Tony Blair, welcomes the resounding “yes” vote in the referendum on the Good Friday Agreement on Northern Ireland, calling it “a day for joy”.

1998 – Thousands flock to Ennis for the 29th Fleadh Nua Traditional Music Festival.

1999 – Rural post offices are thrown a life-line when the Government gives its strongest commitment yet to preserving regional services.

2002 – The long simmering division between Roy Keane and manager Mick McCarthy erupts into a huge row and Keane is expelled from the World Cup squad.

2015 – Irish voters make history in gay marriage referendum, becoming the first country to ask it’s electorate to legalise gay marriage.

Photo: Slane Castle, Co Meath

#irish #history #Ireland

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Stair na hÉireann is steeped in Ireland's turbulent history, culture, ancient secrets and thousands of places that link us to our past and the present. With insight to folklore, literature, art, and music, you’ll experience an irresistible tour through the remarkable Emerald Isle.

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