Today in Irish History – 25 July:

Today is the Feast day of St. James. Since mediaeval times, Dubliners held an annual drinking festival in the Saint’s honour. Fittingly, Guinness chose St. James’ Gate as the site for their brewery. St. James is the patron saint of hatmakers, rheumatoid sufferers, and labourers.

1633 – Thomas (Viscount) Wentworth becomes Lord Deputy of Ireland.

1750 – Birth of John Curran, Irish statesman, in Newmarket, Co Cork.

1758 – Elizabeth Hamilton, author and educator, was born.

1816 – Robert Peel establishes the Peace Preservation Force to counter rural unrest. Rural policing in Ireland began when Robert Peel, then Chief Secretary for Ireland, created the Peace Preservation Force in 1816. This rudimentary paramilitary police force was designed to provide policing in rural Ireland, replacing the 18th century system of watchmen, baronial constables, revenue officers and British military forces.

1820 – Michaelangelo Hayes, painter, is born in Waterford.

1872 – John Mitchel rueturns to Ireland from America. The Irish nationalist, writer for The Nation and founder of The United Irishman newspaper openly preached rebellion against England. Convicted of treason in 1848, Mitchel was sentenced to fourteen years’ transportation in Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania.) In 1853, he escaped to America, where he published his Jail Journal. While in America, he was editor of the Richmond Examiner and a strong advocate of Confederate rights and championed slavery. He was imprisoned for several months after the Civil War ended. His return to Ireland, evoked huge enthusiasm amongst an Irish population devastated by The Great Hunger and emigration. Mitchel was elected as MP for Tipperary in 1875, but was disqualified as a convicted felon.

1917 – The Irish Convention – an attempt by Lloyd George to arrive at a political settlement – meets in Dublin; the opposition of Sinn Féin and the Ulster unionists will render it irrelevant.

1919 – Death of Sir Sam McCaughey, known as ‘the Sheep King’. Born near Ballymena, he owned many millions of sheep in Victoria and New South Wales.

1919 – Éamon de Valera visits Butte, Montana, USA.

1920 – An RIC intelligence officer was assassinated by the IRA outside the local Catholic Church in Bandon as he was leaving Mass.

1922 – Republican fighters attack a lorry full of Free State troops at York Street, central Dublin with small arms and grenades. Six civilians are wounded and two men are arrested. In a separate incident, a Free State soldier is killed in an accidental shooting at Beggar’s Bush barracks.

1962 – Interesting (farcical) discussion in Seanad Eireann (Irish Senate) on what countries constituted the “Iron Curtain” during a debate to “regulate exports and imports from the Iron Curtain countries.

1987 – U2 plays in Cardiff, Wales, in response to a fan who gathered 10,000 signatures on a petition requesting the show.

1988 – Birth of footballer, Anthony Stokes in Dublin. Stokes plays as a striker for Football League Championship side Blackburn Rovers. Stokes played for boyhood heroes Celtic, under the management of Neil Lennon and enjoyed success, but fell out of favour under Ronny Deila. He was loaned to Hibernian for the latter part of the 2015–16 season, who he helped win the 2015–16 Scottish Cup.

1999 – A countrywide lobby is organised to persuade the Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, to ban foxhunting in Ireland.

2000 – An Aer Lingus 737 carrying Irish passengers to Paris is the last aircraft allowed to land in Charles de Gaulle airport after the Air France Concorde explodes, killing 113 people.

Photo: Puffin Island and the Skelligs, Co Kerry, photo credit: Denis McCarthy

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