Today in Irish History – 19 July:

1608 – Preparations commence for the plantation of six Ulster counties (Armagh, Cavan, Coleraine, Donegal, Fermanagh and Tyrone).

1735 – Garrett Wellesley, 1st Earl of Mornington, politician, musician, and father of Duke of Wellington, is born in Co Meath.

1771 – Colonel Thomas Talbot is born at Malahide Castle near Dublin. He was the fourth son of Richard Talbot and his wife Margaret Talbot, 1st Baroness Talbot of Malahide. He received a commission in the army as ensign before he was twelve years old, and was appointed at sixteen to aid his relative, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. He saw active service in Holland and at Gibraltar.

1785 – Richard Crosbie’s third attempt to cross the Irish Sea in a balloon is unsuccessful.

1851 – William Wilson, astronomer and physicist, is born in Belfast.

1919 – Ihe IRA kills three RIC policemen in separate incidents in Cork and Galway.

1920 – 19-20: IRA volunteers ambushed a police party near Tuam, Co Galway. Two policemen were killed. The remaining two surrendered, and were then released unharmed. After searching unsuccessfully for the ambushers, police reinforcements rioted in Tuam, firing and throwing grenades in the streets, burned the town hall and a drapery warehouse and threatened to kill some Republican suspects. The Tuam police riot inspired copycat reprisals across Ireland in the summer and autumn of 1920

1921 – Éamon de Valera (in London for discussions with Lloyd George following the ceasefire) writes to Michael Collins: “Things may burst up here suddenly, so all should be prepared. I intend adhering to our original plan as closely as possible, but the changes in the situation have to be met as they arise.” De Valera’s reception in London by Irish sympathisers must have surprised Britain.

1922 – Fall of Limerick. Free State forces capture the Ordnance Barracks and Castle Barracks in Limerick. The Republicans burn the remaining two barracks they are holding and retreat southwards. Fighting in Limerick has cost the lives of six Free State soldiers and 12 civilians, with a further 87 wounded. The press reports about thirty Anti-Treaty IRA men killed but a recent study puts their fatalities at just five.

1922 – An eight-man Free State foot patrol is ambushed at Ballinasloe, Co Galway; one soldier is killed.

1972 – Muhammad Ali fights Al “Blue” Lewis in Dublin and defeats him via a TKO (technical knockout) in round 11.

1982 – Dexy’s Midnight Runners reach No.1 in the UK charts with Come On Eileen.

1994 – Eilis Dillon, novelist and author of Across the Bitter Sea, dies.

1997 – The Provisional Irish Republican Army resumes a ceasefire to end their 25-year campaign to end British rule in Northern Ireland.

1998 – Garvan McGinley, national organiser of the Progressive Democrat Party resigns.

1998 – It is confirmed that three chaplains have quit the Orange Order and another dozen are considering their future in the wake of the Drumcree stand-off and the murders of the Quinn children in Ballymoney.

1999 – Amnesty International honours its longest-serving member in Ireland, Iris Bardon, with a presentation on her 100th birthday.

2009 – Irish author Frank McCourt dies of cancer. A New York city schoolteacher for more than 30 years, he achieved literary fame later in life with his best-selling childhood memoir “Angela’s Ashes”. With a first printing of just 25,000, the book became an instant favourite with critics and readers and is perhaps the ultimate case of the non-celebrity memoir, the extraordinary life of an ordinary man. He received the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Critics Circle Award for the book, which was eventually published in 25 languages and 30 countries then later made into a film. He is also the author of ‘Tis, which continues the narrative of his life, picking up from the end of the previous book and focusing on being a new immigrant in America. Teacher Man, published in 2005, details the challenges of being a young, uncertain teacher.

Photo: View from the Conor Pass, Dingle Peninsula, Co Kerry

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