Today in Irish History – 12 September:

In the Liturgical calendar, it is the Feast day of St. Ailbe, Bishop of Emly, Tipperary.

Mexico – Commemoration of the mass hanging of the Saint Patrick’s Battalion.

1653 – Ireland and Scotland are represented by six and five members respectively in the ‘Barebones’ parliament which is in effect from 4 July to this date.

1798 – United Irishmen Rebellion: Rebels attack Castlebar and are repulsed.

1854 – Death of Waterford born missionary priest Edward Barron. He is sometimes referred to as America’s first Catholic missionary when he went to Liberia in 1842.

1877 – Death of the founder of Boston College, Enniskillen born Jesuit John McElroy at age of 95. McElroy had emigrated to the United States in 1803.

1907 – Birth of poet and playwright, Louis MacNeice, in Belfast.

1921 – De Valera sends letter to Lloyd George and Accepts Offer of Talks with Britain. De Valera stated that his government (not recognised by England) was ready to “to enter a Conference to ascertain how the association of Ireland with the community of nations known as the British Empire can best be reconciled with Irish national aspirations.”

1922 – Republicans under Michael Kilroy take Ballina, Co Mayo, in a surprise attack while the National Army troops there are at a Mass service for a comrade killed in the fighting. Kilroy’s men capture 100 rifles, 20,000 rounds of ammunition and are reported by Free State authorities to have looted £25,000 worth of goods from local shops. Kilroy later admits to drunkenness and indiscipline on behalf of his men. Two civilians are shot dead in the fire-fight between the combatants. The Republicans leave the town when Free State reinforcements arrive. The Republican’s armoured car breaks down in the retreat and has to be abandoned.

1951 – Birth of Bertie Ahern in Drumcondra, Co Dublin. He is a former Fianna Fáil politician who served as Taoiseach of Ireland from 26 June 1997 to 7 May 2008.

1957 – Birth of Mal Donaghy, former NI and Manchester United player.

1997 – Mary Robinson resigns as President of Ireland. Robinson resigned the presidency before her term of office was complete to take up a new role with the United Nations. Upon her resignation as president the role of president (acting head of state) was transferred to the Presidential Commission (which comprised the Chief Justice, the Ceann Comhairle of the Dáil and the Cathaoirleach of the Seanad) from 12 September to 10 November 1997, when the new president Mary McAleese was elected.

1999 – It is announced that every household in Ireland is to receive a millennium candle to light when the sun sets on New Year’s Eve.

2001 – Irish aid agencies pull out of Afghanistan amid growing fears of a possible US retaliation on the Taliban regime and Osama bin Laden.

2001 – Families in Limerick take in American tourists grounded since 9/11 at Shannon Airport after all flights in and out of the US are cancelled.

2014 – Death of loyalist politician and Protestant religious leader, Ian Paisley. Born in Co Armagh, Paisley saw himself primarily as an Ulsterman. However, despite his hostility towards Irish nationalism and the Republic of Ireland, he also saw himself as an Irishman and said that “you cannot be an Ulsterman without being an Irishman”.

Photo: The unmistakable and magnificent Dartry mountains, home of the plateaus of Benbulbin and Benwiskin, as seen by the Irish Air Corps.

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