Today in Irish History – 18 August:

1579 – Death of James Fitzgerald, rebel leader.

1728 – James Caulfeild, 4th Viscount and 1st Earl of Charlemont; soldier and nationalist, is born in Dublin.

1814 – Birth of David Moriarty, Catholic Bishop of Kerry and opponent of nationalism, in Kilcarah, Co Kerry.

1886 – Speech by John E. Redmond at the Irish National Convention in Chicago (18 August 1886): Let no man desecrate that principle (of Irish Freedom) by giving it the ignoble name of hatred of England. Race hatred is at best an unreasoning passion. I, for one, believe in the brotherhood of nations, and bitter as the memory is of past wrongs and present injustice inflicted upon our people by our alien rulers, I assert the principle underlying our movement is not the principle of revenge for the past, but of justice for the future. When a question of that principle arises there can be no such thing as compromise. The Irish leader who would propose to compromise the national claims of Ireland, who would even incline for one second to accept as a settlement of our demand any concession short of the unquestioned recognition of that nationality which has come down to us sanctified by the blood and tears of centuries, would be false to Ireland’s history and would forfeit all claims upon your confidence or support. Such a contingency can never arise, for the man who would be traitor enough to propose such a course would find himself no longer a leader. No man can barter away the honour of a nation. The one great principle of any settlement of the Irish question must be the recognition of the divine right of Irishmen, and Irishmen alone, to rule Ireland. This is the principle in support of which you are assembled today; this is the principle which guides our movement in Ireland. But, consistently with that principle, we believe it is possible to bring about a settlement honourable to England and Ireland alike, whereby the wrongs and miseries of the past may be forgotten; whereby the chapter of English wrongs and of Irish resistance may be closed; and whereby a future of freedom and of amity between the two nations may be inaugurated.

1920 – IRA volunteers led by Sean MacEoin raided the British army barracks in Longford town and Ballymahon to obtain arms.

1922 – A lorry of Free State soldiers is ambushed between Clonmel and Cahir, Co Tipperary. Three National Army troops are killed and seven wounded.

1922 – Anti-Treaty fighters attack the Free State barracks in Monaghan town. They are driven off after a half hour gun battle. One National Army lieutenant is killed and three Republicans are wounded. The Republicans also raid the post office in the town, and shoot dead a postman. They get away with £900.

1922 – Anti-Treaty IRA men attack a Free State patrol on Longford Street, Dublin, one civilian is killed and three more wounded.

1923 – A Free State soldier is accidentally shot dead by his comrades, firing in the air to celbrate the election reulsts in Ballybay, Monaghan.

1924 – The First Walter Scott Medal for Valour awarded to Garda James Mulroy. Mulroy was accosted by two armed men who told him he had five minutes to live. relates what happened next. Guard Mulroy waited for his opportunity sprang upon the man with the revolver, tackled him and held him but was shot and seriously wounded by the other man who fired his single barrelled shotgun who then proceeded to beat Guard Mulroy on the head with the shotgun. The struggle ended when the stock of the shotgun separated from the barrel and Guard Mulroy grabbed the barrel with one hand while still holding the other man with the loaded revolver with the other. Guard Mulroy disarmed the man with the revolver while the other ran off. He the told the remaining man to go home. Guard Mulroy fell unconscious and later awoke to find himself in the ditch with the revolver in one hand and the barrel in the other. He returned to his station at 5 a.m. got his wounds dressed and then went out with another Guard and arrested one of the men.

1934 – Birth of singer, entertainer, and political candidate, Ronnie Carroll. He was born Ronald Leghorn in Roslyn Street, Belfast, the son of a plumber. He scored his first hit in 1956 with “Walk Hand in Hand” on the Philips label. He is the only singer to have represented the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest two years in succession. Having taken part in the 1960 UK Eurovision selection contest with the song “Girl with a Curl”, he returned to win the selection and be the UK’s entry in the 1962 contest, and with the song “Ring-a-Ding Girl” shared fourth place, the same placing he reached in 1963 with “Say Wonderful Things”.

1961 – Death of playwright, humorist and writer Lynn Doyle.

1986 – Chris de Burgh reaches no. 1 in British and Irish charts with Lady In Red.

1994 – Death of Martin Cahill. He was a prominent Irish criminal from Dublin. Cahill generated a certain notoriety in the media, which referred to him by the sobriquet “The General”. The name was also used by the media in order to discuss Cahill’s activities while avoiding legal problems with libel. During his lifetime, Cahill took particular care to hide his face from the media and was rarely photographed.

2000 – Guinness agrees to suspend the closure of its Dundalk plant and plans to axe 90 jobs at the Harp Brewery.

2000 – Thousands flock to Kilrush in Co Clare for the 40th anniversary of Ireland’s only concertina-based festival which is held every year in memory of Elizabeth Crotty.

2002 – In a bid to redress the huge population imbalance, it is announced that the Government is to scrap tough planning laws banning the building of single houses in rural Ireland.

2004 – The Dublin Port Tunnel excavation works are completed.

Photo: Glencar Waterfall, Co Leitrim, John Quinn Photography

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