Today in Irish History – 17 August:

1779 – William Corbet, United Irishman and soldier, is born in Ballythomas, Co Cork.

1786 – Birth of Davy Crockett, American frontiersman and son of an Irishman.

1791 – Birth of Richard Lalor Sheil, dramatist and politician; first Catholic privy councillor, in Drumdowney, Co Kilkenny.

1846 – Lord John Russell’s Whig administration decides not to interfere with internal or export markets for food.

1878 – Birth of Oliver St. John Fogarty, writer, and the model for the ‘stately, plump Buck Mulligan’ in Joyce’s “Ulysses”.

1896 – Bridget Driscoll, who was born in Ireland in 1851, was run over by a Benz car in the grounds of The Crystal Palace, London. She was the UK’s first pedestrian motoring fatality.

1920 – Birth of Maureen O’Hara, born Maureen FitzSimons in Ranelagh, Co Dublin. She was a film actress and singer. The famously red-headed O’Hara was noted for playing fiercely passionate heroines with a highly sensible attitude. She often worked with director John Ford and longtime friend John Wayne. Her autobiography, ‘Tis Herself, was published in 2004. She passed away on 24 October 2015 in Boise, Idaho.

1922 – RIC is disbanded to be replaced by the Garda Síochána.

1922 – Free State troops under Dan Hogan re-occupy Dundalk unopposed. One civilian is killed in the operation.

1922 – Two unarmed National Army medics are shot dead by a sniper at Inisfallen, Co Kerry.

1923 – Voting in Irish general election, 1923 takes place. Cumann na nGaedheal win 63 seats; Sinn Féin 44; Independents 16; Farmers 15; Labour 14; and Independent Labour 1. About 415,00 first preference votes were given to Pro-Treatyites and 286,000 to Anti-Treatyites. (64% of the electorate voted.) Some of the Anti-Treaty members elected are still imprisoned.

1936 – Birth of Seamus Mallon in Markethill, Co Armagh. He is a politician who was the first deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland from 1998 to 2001. He was also the Deputy Leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party from 1979 to 2001. In 2001 Seamus Mallon retired, along with John Hume, from the leadership of the SDLP. Mark Durkan replaced both; Hume as leader and Mallon as Deputy First Minister, when the Northern Ireland Executive was re-established following a suspension. Mallon did not contest his seat in the Stormont Assembly in the 2003 elections, and stood down at the 2005 Westminster election. His seat was taken, as expected, by Conor Murphy of Sinn Féin.

1951 – Death of Winston Dugan, 1st Baron Dugan of Victoria. Born in Co Offaly in 1876 he enlisted in the British Army in 1896 serving in South Africa during the Boer War.

1978 – Thousands gather in Carnsore Point to protest against nuclear power.

1999 – Mandate, the largest union representing bar and retail workers, demands the Millennium New Year’s Eve off for their workers.

1999 – Emir Holohan Doyle is crowned Miss Ireland.

1999 – Junior doctors threaten a period of industrial action throughout the country.

2000 – The last RUC passing out parade takes place in Belfast before the force’s controversial name change to the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

2000 – President Mary McAleese leads mourners at the funeral of former Fine Gael Minister John Boland in St Patrick’s Church, Skerries, Co Dublin.

2000 – Beo 2000, the inaugural festival of Irish traditional music, takes place at the National Concert Hall in Dublin.

2001 – General SemiConductor announces that its plant in Macroom, Co Cork will close; 670 jobs are lost.

2012 – Death of Lou Martin. He was a piano and organ player from Belfast, most famous for his work with the London-based band Killing Floor, and with fellow Irish musician Rory Gallagher.

Photo: Rossbeigh Hill, Glenbeigh, Co Kerry

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