Today in Irish History – 19 September:

International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

1757 – Having been funded by a bequest from Jonathan Swift, St Patrick’s Hospital for the insane, Dublin, is opened. St Patrick’s University Hospital is a psychiatric facility located in Dublin, near Kilmainham and the Phoenix Park. It was founded in 1747 with money bequeathed by Jonathan Swift following his death in 1745.

1864 – American Civil War: Third Battle of Winchester: Union troops under General Philip Sheridan defeat a Confederate force commanded by General Jubal Early. With over 50,000 troops engaged it was the largest battle fought in the Shenandoah Valley and was not only militarily decisive in that region of Virginia but also played a role in securing Abraham Lincoln’s election in 1864.

1803 – Robert Emmet is found guilty of high treason, and before sentence of death was pronounced, Emmet was allowed deliver his justly celebrated speech from the dock.

1889 – Seán Keating, painter, is born in Limerick.

1880 – Charles Stewart Parnell delivers his famous speech at Ennis in which he introduces the term for non-violent protest – boycotting. Parnell asked his audience, ‘What are you to do with a tenant who bids for a farm from which another has been evicted?’ Several voices replied, ‘shoot him!’ Parnell answered: “I wish to point out a better way, a more Christian way which will give the lost man an opportunity of repenting. When a man takes a farm from which another has been evicted, you must shun him on the roadside, on the streets, in the shop and even in the place of worship by putting him in a “moral Coventry.” You must show him your detestation of the crime he has committed”.

1881 – Kate Coll and Juan Vivion de Valera are married in St. Patrick’s Church, Greenville, New Jersey. Just over a year later the couple give birth to Éamon.

1905 – Death of Dr. Thomas Barnardo. Dublin-born Barnardo opened his first home for destitute boys in Stepney in 1870.

1919 – Official founding of ‘The Squad’, an IRA counter-intelligence and assassination squad.

1922 – Republican fighter Bertie Murphy is shot dead in Killarney, Co Kerry, by National Army troops in reprisal for ambushes in the area.

1922 – Seán Mac Eoin begins a Free State sweep of northern Co Sligo to clear it of Anti-Treaty guerrillas. The operation is largely successful. By the end of the operation, Free State forces are in control of all the towns in Co Sligo and the conflict there becomes a low-level guerrilla affair. Fifty-four people are killed in the county during the entire civil war, 22 Free State troops, 21 Republicans and 11 civilians. Of these, all but 8 have been killed by the end of September 1922. During MacEoin’s operation, a Republican column, including an armoured car, is cornered north of Sligo town. The car is put out of action and six Republicans flee up the slopes of Benbulben mountain. All six are killed by the pursuing Free State troops, four of them, it is alleged, are killed after surrendering. Among those killed are Cpt. Harry Benson, and Brian MacNeill, (son of Eoin MacNeill, founder of the Irish Volunteers), who is shot at close range in the forehead. One National Army sergeant is killed in the operation and 30 Irregulars are taken prisoner.

1936 – Birth of Martin Fay. He was a fiddler and bones player, and a former member of The Chieftains. In 1962 he became one of the founding members of The Chieftains. In 2001, he decided to stop touring with The Chieftains, limiting his appearances with the group to events in Ireland. He subsequently retired in 2002. He died in Cabra, Dublin after being ill for some time.

1944 – Cork born David Lord (1913) was killed at Arnhem, Holland. Flight Lieutenant Lord was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions in piloting a Dakota during resupply operations.

1949 – Death of dramatist, George Shiels. Born in Ballymoney, Co Antrim, his plays were a success both in his native Ulster and at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin. His most famous plays are The Rugged Path, The Passing Day, and The New Gossoon.

2000 – Aodhnait Fahy, Ireland’s top student is given £30,000 to allow her to pursue the course of her dreams at Oxford University. She swept the board in this year’s Leaving Cert with nine A1s – the highest ever result in the country.

2000 – Fishermen all around the coast tie up their boats in protest at the £15 million hike in their fuel bill which, they claim, will put many of them out of business before Christmas.

Photo: The Skellig islands, Co Kerry

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