Today in Irish History – 12 August:

In the Liturgical calendar, today is the Feast day of St Muiredach mac Echdach of Killala.

1646 – Archbishop Giovanni Rinuccini, papal nuncio to the Irish Confederate Catholics, condemns their adherence to Ormond’s peace terms for failing to fully recognise Catholicism.

1652 – ‘Act for the Settling of Ireland’ allows for the transplantation to Clare or Connacht of proprietors whose land is confiscated by Cromwell to meet promises to adventurers and soldiers; also known as the “To Hell or Connacht” Act.

1796 – Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin receives its first prisoners.

1804 – Birth of James Whiteside, orator and Lord Chief Justice, in Delgany, Co Wicklow.

1821 – George IV begins his visit to Ireland; he is received enthusiastically by O’Connell and others.

1822 – Robert Stewart, Viscount Castlereagh, commits suicide by cutting his throat with a penknife.

1852 – Birth of Knights of Columbus founder Father Michael McGivney to Irish immigrants Patrick and Mary (Lynch) McGivney in Waterbury, Connecticut.

1870 – Sir Hubert Gough, soldier and participant in ‘Curragh mutiny’ of 1914, is born in Gurteen, Co Waterford.

1884 – Birth of Arthur Nicholas Whistler Colahan, perhaps more often recognised by the inmates of Leicester’s Welford Road prison than by the millions who purchased his songs, either in sheet music form or as recordings. He was a quiet man who was often homesick for his beloved Galway Bay. These feelings led him to write one of the most popular songs of all time, and the best-selling song of 1953. Sadly, by the time Colahan’s music was selling in the High Street he had died and had been buried in an unmarked grave, back in his Irish birthplace.

1898 – Irish Local Government Act sets up elective county and district councils.

1899 – First issue of James Connolly’s Workers Republic.

1914 – Death of John Philip Holland, from Liscannor, Co Clare, designer of the first submarine.

1920 – Terence MacSwiney, Lord Mayor of Cork, arrested by British; he immediately goes on hunger strike.

1922 – Arthur Griffith, founder of Sinn Féin, dies of a cerebral haemorrhage.

1949 – Birth of piano and organ player, Lou Martin, in Belfast. Most famous for his work with the London-based band Killing Floor, and with fellow Irish musician Rory Gallagher. Martin played alongside Gallagher, and is featured on several of Gallagher’s albums, including Blueprint, Tattoo, Irish Tour ’74, Against the Grain, Calling Card, Defender and Fresh Evidence. He also played rhythm guitar on one track, “Race the Breeze” from Blueprint. He died on 17 August 2012, aged 63.

1969 – As the annual Apprentice Boys parade passed close to the Bogside area of Derry serious rioting erupted. The RUC, using armoured cars and water cannons, entered the Bogside, in an attempt to end the rioting and were closely followed and supported by a loyalist crowd. The residents of the Bogside forced the police and the loyalists back out of the area. The RUC used CS gas to again enter the Bogside area. [This period of conflict between the RUC and Bogside (and Creggan) residents was to become known as the ‘Battle of the Bogside’ and lasted for two days.]

1969 – British troops are deployed in Northern Ireland after riots in Derry and Belfast.

1998 – Freak twister ravages Martinstown in Co Antrim; no injuries or fatalities are reported.

1999 – Memorial service is held for the victims of the Omagh bomb attack.

2001 – Playing to a capacity crowd at the Manchester Evening News Arena, U2 kicks off their European tour with a plea for peace in Northern Ireland.

2001 – Loyalist protesters block a main road in north Belfast to prevent the republican Wolf Tone flute band from joining a major march commemorating the 20th anniversary of the 1981 IRA hunger strikes.

Photo: Hill of Tara, Co Meath

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Round Earthworks at the Hill of Tara, County Meath, Leinster, Ireland
Round Earthworks at the Hill of Tara, County Meath, Leinster, Ireland

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