Today in Irish History – 14 July:

In the Liturgical calendar, it is the Feast Day of Idus of Leinster, an Irish saint of the fifth century. Said to be a disciple of Saint Patrick, who baptized him, he was made bishop of Alt-Fadha in Leinster by Patrick.

1749 – Birth of Matthew Lyon in Co Wicklow. Lyon attended school in Dublin, before emigrating to America where he worked as a printer, farmer, soldier and politician, serving as a United States Representative from both Vermont and Kentucky.

1791 – Demonstrations are held in Dublin, Belfast and elsewhere to commemorate the fall of the Bastille in 1789.

1798 – United Irishmen Rebellion: John and Henry Sheares are convicted of high treason and were hanged, drawn and quartered in Dublin. They were buried at St Michan’s.

1798 – United Irishmen Rebellion: Rebels are defeated at the Battle of Knightstown, Co Louth.

1910 – The Irish Socialist Federation hosts a farewell dinner for James Connolly before he returns to Dublin. Connolly lived in New York 1904-1910 where he was active in socialist and Irish nationalist circles. Connolly co-founded the Industrial Workers of the World (‘the Wobblies’) and was also a national organiser for the Socialist Party of America.

1921 – Just three days after a truce is implemented, Éamon de Valera, President of Dáil Éireann meets with British Prime Minister David Lloyd George in London. Francis Stevenson, Private Secretary to Lloyd George recalled: “I have never seen David so excited as he was before de Valera arrived, at 4.30. He kept walking in and out of my room… As I told him afterwards, he was bringing up all his guns! He had a big map of the British Empire hung up on the wall in the Cabinet room, with its great blotches of red all over it. This was to impress de Valera with the greatness of the British Empire and to get him to recognise it, and the King.” Dev apparently was not impressed. Six days later, Britain made its first formal proposal. The main negotiations would take place in December culminating with the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty on 6 December.

1922 – Seán Mac Eoin and 400 Free State troops re-take Collooney, after an artillery bombardment and protracted fire-fight, taking 74 Republican prisoners. Only one man is killed, however, an Anti-Treaty IRA fighter.

1969 – Francis McCloskey (aged 67), a Catholic civilian, died one day after being hit on the head with a baton by an officer of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) during street disturbances in Dungiven, Co Derry. In some accounts of ‘the Troubles’ this is recorded as the first death.

1972 – There was a series of gun-battles and shootings across Belfast. The PIRA shot dead three British Army soldiers, the British Army shot dead a PIRA volunteer and an OIRA volunteer, while a civilian was shot dead in crossfire.

1988 – Birth of Conor McGregor in Dublin. He is a professional mixed martial artist who is currently signed to the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Throughout his career, he has competed as a featherweight, lightweight and welterweight. McGregor is the current UFC Featherweight Champion. In 2015, McGregor became the first Irish-born UFC champion after he defeated José Aldo, at UFC 194, via knockout after 13 seconds in the first round. This was the fastest victory in UFC title fight history.

1998 – Tánaiste Mary Harney announces that a minimum wage of £4.40 an hour will be introduced in April 2000.

1999 – Fidelma Macken is nominated for the European Court of Justice – the first time a woman judge from any member country has reached such a high rank.

1999 – Ulster Unionists under David Trimble rejected a compromise for the creation of a power sharing government.

1999 – The Cabinet approves the construction of Ireland’s first 50 metre swimming pool at the University of Limerick.

1999 – Over 20,000 litres of fuel oil leaks into the popular fishing resort of Mucrós Bay, Co. Donegal from a supply tank at Abbotts Ireland.

2000 – Angry fishermen blockade a State run fishery port as frustration and tension continues to increase over the alleged harassment of Irish tuna boats by the Naval Service.

2000 – Kerry sheep farmer Patrick Morana earns a place in the Guinness Book of Records as he hand-shears 206 sheep in nine hours and becomes Irish and UK champion.

2014 – Death of Vintage Crop, an Irish-trained Thoroughbred racehorse best known for becoming the first overseas runner to win Australia’s premier race the Melbourne Cup. The chestnut gelding competed in flat racing in Ireland, England, and Australia from 1992 to 1995. He won 16 races in Ireland, England, and Australia. For his performance during the 1993 racing season he earned the Cartier Award for Top Stayer. Vintage Crop also won international fame in 1993 by becoming the first overseas-trained horse to win the Melbourne Cup. He is commemorated by a statue in the Curragh Racecourse. He returned to Australia for the 1994 and 1995 Melbourne Cups, where he finished seventh and third, respectively. Vintage Crop was trained by Dermot Weld, who returned to Australia in 2002 and again won the Melbourne Cup with the Irish horse Media Puzzle. Vintage Crop retired at the Irish National Stud in Kildare and could be visited by the public as part of the stud’s Living Legends exhibit, alongside Kicking King, Beef or Salmon and Moscow Flyer. He died at the Irish National Stud on this date in 2014 at the age of twenty-seven.

Photo: The Saltee Islands, St. George’s Channel consisting of the Great and Little Saltee, are situated approximately 5 kilometers off the coast of Kilmore Quay, Co Wexford, Photo by Sean Fogarty

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