#OTD in Irish History – 26 August:

1725 – Five Dublin children receive the first recorded smallpox inoculations in Ireland.

1798 – General Humbert leaves Ballina bound for Castlebar. He takes an indirect route through the mountains.

1811 – Death of Thomas Fitzsimons. He was an American merchant and statesman of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He represented Pennsylvania in the Continental Congress, the Constitutional Convention, and the U.S. Congress. Fitzsimons’ ancestry has not been proved, but one thought is that Fitzsimons was born at Ballikilty, Co Wexford in October, 1741. He was a member of a collection of Irish families with the name “Fitzsymons” and it variants. In the mid-1750s he immigrated to Philadelphia where his father soon died. However, Fitzsimons had enough education that he could begin work as a clerk in a mercantile house. He married Catherine Meade on 23 November 1761 and formed a business partnership with her brother George. Their firm specialised in the West Indies trade, which would successfully operate for over 41 years.

1904 – Lord Dunraven forms the Irish Reform Association to campaign for some devolution; the following December, unionists form a United Unionist Council to resist Dunraven’s plan.

1913 – Also known as “The Great Dublin Lockout”, the Dublin Transport Strike, led by Jim Larkin and James Connolly, begins.

1921 – Re-election of Éamon de Valera President of Dáil Éireann. He is proposed and seconded by Commandant Sean MacEoin and General Richard Mulcahy — both of whom later line up against him in the Civil War.

1922 – A Free State convoy of 100 troops is ambushed between Tralee and Killorglin, Co Kerry. One officer is killed. The National Army troops are caught in several more ambushes along their line of retreat, taking more casualties.

1922 – Anti-Treaty fighters ambush Free State troops at Glasson, near Athlone. National Army officer Lieutenant McCormack is killed and several more soldiers are wounded.

1922 – Fianna Éireann members Seán Cole and Alf Colley and Anti-Treaty IRA member Bernard Daly, are abducted and killed in Dublin by the Criminal Investigation Department CID, police unit based in Oriel House allegedly in revenge for Michael Collins killing, although possibly in retaliation for the death of a CID man the previous day.

1922 – Two National Army soldiers are killed in an ambush on the road between Nenagh and Limerick.

1922 – A civilian is killed in an exchange of fire at Whitefriars, Dublin city.

1940 – German aircraft bomb a creamery at Campile, Co Wexford; three women are killed.

1997 – U2 plays at the Botanical Gardens in Belfast. It is the band’s first show in Belfast in 10 years.

1998 – British Prime Minister, Tony Blair meets with Taoiseach Bertie Ahern in Ashford Castle, Co Mayo. They join forces to fight terrorism and discuss laws which will be introduced in the aftermath of the Omagh bombing.

2002 – Roy Keane’s journey from unemployed potato picker in Cork to multi-millionaire player on the world stage is related in his book “Keane – The Autobiography” which is released on this date.

2013 – Death of film, television and theatre actor, Gerard Murphy. Born in 1948 in Newry, Co Down, Murphy began his career on stage with the Glasgow Citizens Theatre. He branched out into television work with roles in Z-Cars, Doctor Who, Minder, Heartbeat, Father Ted, Dalziel and Pascoe and The Bill. He narrated the BBC Radio version of Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. Murphy died at the age of 64 from prostate cancer, which he bravely battled for over two years.

Image | Port (An Port), Co Donegal | Gareth Wray Photography

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