Today in Irish History – 12 July:

1660 – Sir Mark Rainsford was the 36th Lord Mayor of Dublin from 1700 to 1701. During this period the statue of King William of Orange on College Green was unveiled by him, a monument which would become a centre of protest and celebration for generations in the capital. Rainsford was also the original founder of the brewery at St. James’ Gate, which would later become the Guinness Brewery. Rainsford Street, next to the brewery today, is named in his honour.

1690 – Battle of the Boyne and victory for William of Orange.

1691 – Ginkel is victorious over James II’s Jacobites at Aughrim; it is the bloodiest battle ever fought in Ireland.

1691 – Death of Charles Chalmont Marquis of St Ruth. He was a French general. Early in his military career, he fought against Protestants in France. Later, he fought in Ireland on the Jacobite side in the Williamite wars, where he was killed at the Battle of Aughrim.

1722 – A patent is granted to William Wood to coin copper halfpence for circulation in Ireland.

1796 – The Orange Order hold its first ‘Twelfth of July’ demonstration, commemorating the Battle of Aughrim.

1812 – Birth of Father Charles Patrick Meehan, an Irish-Catholic priest, was friend and confessor to Irish poet James Clarence Mangan and encouraged him to write his autobiography. He wrote poetry for The Nation (Irish newspaper), a radical nationalist newspaper, under the pen-name ‘Clericus’. He also published a biography of Mangan in 1884, 35 years after the poet’s death from cholera in 1849.

1813 – The first recorded “Twelfth of July” sectarian riots erupt in Belfast.

1836 – Death of Dr. Barry Edward O’Meara, physician to Napoleon. O’Meara, was born in Ireland in 1770, educated at Trinity College, and at an early age appointed Assistant-Surgeon to the 62nd Regiment serving in Sicily and Egypt. He was serving in the Bellerophon, when Napoleon surrendered, on the 14th July 1815, following his defeat at Waterloo.

1841 – William James McNeven, United Irish leader, dies.

1849 – As many as 20 Catholics are killed by soldiers during an Orange Parade at Dolly’s Brae, near Castlewellan, Co Down.

1903 – The Cork Yacht Club is the world’s oldest yacht club and held the inaugural race on this date in 1903, and won by an icon of female independence, Dorothy Levitt, defeating the French entry Trefle-A-Quatre. In doing so, she set the world’s first water speed record of 19.3mph (31.1km/h).

1922 – Thirteen Republicans are taken prisoner in fighting in Limerick city.

1922 – Anti-Treaty forces capture 47 Free State troops in east Co Limerick.

1922 – Free State troops secure Maryborough after a four hour gun battle. Three Anti-Treatyites are killed and two Free State soldiers wounded.

1935 – Violence in Belfast lasting two months commences on this date; eleven people are killed. After an Orange Order parade decided to return to the city centre through a Catholic area instead of its usual route; the resulting violence left nine people dead. Over 2,000 Catholics were forced to leave their homes across Northern Ireland. Though disputed for decades, many leaders of unionism now admit that Northern Ireland government in the period 1922-1972 was discriminatory, although prominent Democratic Unionist Party figures continue to deny it. One unionist leader, Nobel Peace Prize joint-winner, former UUP leader and First Minister of Northern Ireland David Trimble, described Northern Ireland as having been a “cold house for Catholics.”

1942 – Máire Ni Aodán (Mary Hayden), Irish historian, dies.

1946 – Birth of Seán Keane, an Irish singer and musician, known for his distinctive sean-nós-style voice.

1949 – Death of Douglas Hyde, known as An Craoibhín Aoibhinn (“The Pleasant Branchlet”). He was a scholar of the Irish language who served as the first President of Ireland from 1938 to 1945. He founded the Gaelic League, one of the most influential cultural organisations in Ireland.

1954 – Birth of Brian Cody in Sheestown, Co Kilkenny. He is a hurling manager and former player. He has been the manager of the Kilkenny senior team since 1998, where he has since become the county’s longest-serving manager and most successful in terms of major titles won. Cody is regarded as the greatest manager in the history of the game.

1998 – The three Quinn brothers, Richard, 11, Mark, 10, and Jason 9, are burned to death by a Loyalist firebomb in Ballymoney, 40 miles northwest of Belfast.

1999 – An armed gang steals a 40ft container of cigarettes valued at more than £1m from a freight train at Dunleer, Co Louth.

2000 – Violence erupts as Portadown Orangemen pledge to continue Drumcree protest.

2000 – Plans to introduce pedestrianisation in Killarney on an experimental basis are confirmed.

2005 – Police were attacked with blast and petrol bombs during rioting in the Ardoyne area of Belfast, following an Orange Order parade. Eighty police officers were injured and several people were arrested.

2012 – North Belfast riots: there was rioting in the Ardoyne area of Belfast following the Orange Order’s Twelfth marches. Up to 20 PSNI officers were injured and a number of shots were fired by republicans.

2013 – 12-17: Rioting by loyalists occurred across Belfast and across Northern Ireland after an Orange Order parade was prevented by the PSNI from passing the nationalist Ardoyne shop-fronts in North Belfast during The Twelfth celebrations, in accordance with a Parades Commission ruling. During which loyalists attacked with petrol bombs, blast bombs and even reportedly ceremonial swords. There were also at times clashes between loyalist and nationalist crowds. 71 PSNI officers including 3 mutual aid officers from Britain were injured in the days of rioting, and during disorder on 12 July DUP MP Nigel Dodds was injured after he was knocked unconscious by a brick thrown by loyalists. 62 people involved in the rioting were arrested across Northern Ireland.

Photo: Mourne Mountains, Co Down

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