Today in Irish History – 15 September:

1643 – Death of Richard Boyle, 1st Earl of Cork aka Great Earl of Cork, was Lord High Treasurer of the Kingdom of Ireland. Boyle is an important figure in the continuing English colonisation of Ireland (commenced by the Normans) in the 16th and 17th centuries, as he acquired large tracts of land in plantations in Munster, at the expense of native landowners. Moreover, his sons played an important role in fighting against Irish Catholic rebellion in the 1640s and ’50s, assisting in the victory of the British and Protestant interest in Ireland.

1851 – Sir William Whitla, physician and professor, is born in Co Monaghan.

1865 – Police raid and close the Irish People offices; Rossa, Luby and O’Leary are arrested.

1866 – John Blake Dillon, Young Irelander and co-founder of The Nation, dies in Killarney.

1881 – First soccer international in Ireland; England beats the Irish squad Total crowd receipts: £9.19s.7d.

1889 – Birth in Castlebar of singer Margaret Burke Sheridan.

1905 – Pat O’Callaghan, physician, hammer-thrower and first man to win an Olympic gold medal while representing Ireland, is born near Kanturk, Co Cork.

1921 – 15-18 Sep: There was further riots in Belfast and two Protestants were killed by a sniper.

1922 – Second consecutive night of sniping attacks in Dublin. Anti-Treaty fighters attempt to take over the Telephone exchange and Kingsbridge Railway Station in Dublin. They also attack the Wellington and Portobello military barracks. The attacks were driven off by Free State troops after several hours of firing.

1922 – In Dundalk, the Anti-Treaty IRA made several attacks on Free State troops and took over the power station, cutting off the town’s electricity supply. One National Army soldier is killed by a hand grenade in the clashes.

1922 – The Free State post at Athboy, Co Meath is attacked. One soldier is killed.

1922 – The Free State’s Lord Chief Justice rules that the country is in a state of war and Habeas Corpus no longer applies. He rejects an application to free two of the 5,000 prisoners taken by National forces since the outbreak of the civil war.

1953 – Long time antagonists Éamon de Valera and Winston Churchill meet for the one and only time at Downing Street.

1955 – Birth of writer, producer, comedian, actor, and director, Brendan O’Carroll in Finglas, Co Dublin. Best known for portraying foul-mouthed matriarch Agnes Brown in the BBC television sitcom, Mrs. Brown’s Boys

1976 – Anne Letitia Dickson is elected leader of the Unionist Party of Northern ireland, becoming the first woman to lead a political party in Ireland.

1978 – Muhammad Ali defeated Leon Spinks in the Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans to win the world title for a record third time. Ali twice fought and defeated “Irish” Jerry Quarry in the early 70’s. Ali passed away on 3 June 2016 from septic shock. The great fighter had Irish origins and visited Ennis, Co Clare – his ancestral home – in 2009 as you can see in this YouTube clip:

1997 – Sinn Féin joins multiparty peace talks in Northern Ireland.

1999 – The Corrs, the Cranberries and the Chieftains take the lion’s share of £15.6 million collected by the Irish Music Rights Organisation (IMRO) on behalf of Irish song writers.

2000 – Sonia O’Sullivan leads the Irish team at a spectacular Olympic opening ceremony in Sydney, Australia.

2001 – Aer Lingus, Delta and Continental Airlines resume services to and from Ireland. The first trans-Atlantic flights to the US leave for New York, Newark, Chicago and Washington. Priority status is given to all relatives of the victims and injured in the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center.

2013 – Death of Tomás Ó Canainn. Born in Co Derry, he was a Uilleann piper, accordion player, singer, composer, researcher, writer and lecturer in both electrical engineering (principally control engineering) and music. He was a founder of the group Na Fili with fiddler Matt Cranitch and whistle player Tom Barry in the late 1960s and 1970s. He took over the Irish music lectures from Seán Ó Riada at the College after his death in 1971 and taught music at the Cork School of music. Ó Canainn’s daughters also play, violin, viola and cello and all 3 three appear with him on his last solo release. Tomás died in The Mercy Hospital in Cork City, aged 82.

Photo: Glosh, Co Mayo, Bryan Hanna Photography

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Stair na hÉireann is steeped in Ireland's turbulent history, culture, ancient secrets and thousands of places that link us to our past and the present. With insight to folklore, literature, art, and music, you’ll experience an irresistible tour through the remarkable Emerald Isle.