#OTD in Irish History – 15 July:

1865 – Alfred Harmsworth, 1st Viscount Northcliffe; statesman, journalist and newspaper magnate, is born in Chapelizod, Co Dublin.

1871 – Birth of Gerald O’Donovan, priest and novelist, in Co Down.

1879 – Poet, Joseph Campbell, is born in Belfast. He is famous for the English words he wrote to the song My Lagan Love.

1899 – Seán Lemass is born in Dublin. He was the second leader of Fianna Fáil and third Taoiseach of the Republic of Ireland from 1959 to 1966.

1907 – Seumas Murphy, sculptor and stone-carver, is born in Mallow, Co Cork.

1919 – Birth of, author and philosopher, Iris Murdoch in Dublin. Best known for her novels about good and evil, sexual relationships, morality, and the power of the unconscious. Her first published novel, Under the Net, was selected in 1998 as one of Modern Library’s 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.

1922 – National Army troops assault Republican-held Strand Barracks and King John’s Castle in Limerick, with armoured cars, grenades, machine gun and mortar fire, but fail to take them. Six Free State troops are killed and five wounded. One Republican is killed and five wounded.

1922 – A skirmish takes place in Kiltimagh, Co Mayo. Anti-Treaty fighters attempt to kidnap T. Ruane, Chairman of the Swinford District Council, but a fire-fight breaks out in which Ruane, an Anti-Treaty officer and Free State officer are fatally wounded.

1922 – National Army troops surround and take Cappard House, Co Laois where the local Anti-Treaty forces were billeted. Five Republicans are reported killed.

1922 – A Free State soldier is killed in an ambush at Gort, Co Galway.

1922 – Free State troops, equipped with an 18 pounder gun, shell the republican camp at Lough Inch, Co Donegal. They surrender after two days, with 30 taken prisoner.

1927 – Death of Constance, Countess Markiewicz, politician, revolutionary nationalist and suffragette.

1930 – After de Valera abolishes the oath of allegiance and withholds land annuities from the British Government, retaliatory trade legislation begins the ‘economic war’.

1942 – Brendan ‘Paddy’ Finucane from Dublin – the RAF’s youngest ever Wing Commander at 21 years of age – is shot down and killed off the French coast.

1943 – Birth of astrophysicist, Jocelyn Bell Burnell in Lurgan, Co Armagh. As a postgraduate student, she discovered the first radio pulsars while studying and advised by her thesis supervisor Antony Hewish, for which Hewish shared the Nobel Prize in Physics with Martin Ryle, while Bell Burnell was excluded, despite having been the first to observe and precisely analyse the pulsars. The fact that Bell did not receive recognition has been a point of controversy ever since. She helped build the four-acre radio telescope over two years and initially noticed the anomaly, sometimes reviewing as much as 96 feet of paper data per night. Bell later claimed that she had to be persistent in reporting the anomaly in the face of scepticism from Hewish, who was initially insisted that it was due to interference and man-made. She spoke of meetings held by Hewish and Ryle to which she was not invited.

1948 – An Taisce, the National Trust for Ireland, set up.

1987 – U2 plays its first-ever show in Madrid, Spain, attracting 115,000 people for one show, the largest crowd of the year.

1998 – The Irish Nurses Organisation warns that the shortage of qualified nurses has reached crisis levels.

1999 – It’s revealed that since 1998, all telephone, e-mail and fax messages between Ireland and Britain, and probably the United States, were tapped by the British Government.

1999 – The cream of Irish traditional and folk music turn out en masse for the inaugural Irish Music Magazine Awards in Dublin.

2001 – More than 340,000 provisional licence drivers miss out on the new Driver Theory Test because test centres would not be able to handle the flood of applications.

2002 – Tourism Minister John O’Donoghue, announces a new €3m marketing package for the industry.

2015 – Death of Fine Gael politician Alexis Fitzgerald. The former Fine Gael TD, senator and Lord Mayor of Dublin was recalled as “a kind man, who acted with integrity and loved his family and community, country, city and church.”

Image | Dun Bristé, Downpatrick, Co Mayo | Hibernia Landscapes by Stephen Wallace

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