Today in Irish History – 11 October:

In the Liturgical calendar, today is the feast day of St. Canice. Saint Cainnech of Aghaboe (also known as Saint Canice in Ireland, Saint Kenneth in Scotland, Saint Kenny and Saint Canicus). A native of Glengiven, he was one of the Twelve Apostles of Ireland and an abbot of great virtue, who preached across Ireland and Scotland. He was a close friend of the missionary priest, Saint Columba of Iona, and witnessed several prodigies in the life of the latter. St. Canice was also a monastic founder, priest and missionary during the early medieval period. He wrote a commentary on the Gospels, known as Chain of Cainnech for centuries. Cainnech was considered a man of virtue, great eloquence and learning. St. Canice is the patron Saint of the shipwrecked.

1649 – Sack of Wexford: After a ten-day siege, New Model Army troops (under Oliver Cromwell) stormed the town of Wexford, killing over 2,000 Irish Confederate troops and 1,500 civilians.

1703 – John Asgill, newly elected MP for Enniscorthy, is expelled from the Irish parliament on this date on account of a pamphlet he published in Dublin in 1698, arguing that man may pass into eternal life without dying. The pamphlet is burned by the common hangman. He will spend much of the rest of his life in prison in England, for blasphemy or for matters arising from land speculation in Ireland.

1741 – Birth of James Barry, painter, in Cork.

1920 – One civilian was killed and Dan Breen was badly wounded in a shoot-out at an IRA safe house in Drumcondra. Two British officers died of their wounds the next day.

1921 – The first meeting of the Anglo-Irish conference was held. Over the next two months there would be seven plenary sessions, 24 sub-conferences and 9 meetings of special committees.

1922 – The Constitution of the Irish Free State (Saorstát Eireann), drafted by W.T. Cosgrave, is adopted.

1922 – Two Free State soldiers are killed in ambush in Cork, between Dunmanway and Clonakilty.

1939 – Birth of Austin Currie (Coalisland, Tyrone) is a former politician who was elected to the parliaments of both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

1962 – Birth of author, Anne Enright, in Dublin. She has published novels, short stories, essays, and one non-fiction book. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, her novel The Gathering won the 2007 Man Booker Prize. She has also won the 1991 Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, the 2001 Encore Award and the 2008 Irish Novel of the Year.

1969 – Three people were shot dead during street violence in the loyalist Shankill area of Belfast. Two were Protestant civilians shot by the British Army and one was an RUC officer shot by the UVF. He was the first RUC officer to be killed in the Troubles. The loyalists “had taken to the streets in protest at the Hunt Report, which recommended the disbandment of the B Specials and disarming of the RUC”.

1974 – Adoption of the Celtic League American Branch. The Celtic League is a non-governmental organisation that promotes self-determination and Celtic identity and culture in Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Brittany, Cornwall and the Isle of Man, known as the Celtic nations. It places particular emphasis on the indigenous Celtic languages. It is recognised by the United Nations as a non-governmental organisation with “Roster Status” and is part of the UN’s Economic and Social Council.

1985 – Death of Christopher Stephen “Todd” Andrews. He was an Irish political activist and public servant. He participated in the Irish Revolution of 1916-23 as a political and military activist in the Irish Republican movement. Later he served as a government minister in several Fianna Fáil governments.

1999 – Hospitals begin scaling down their services after nurses vote overwhelmingly to go on strike.

1999 – Taoiseach Bertie Ahern pays tribute to Mo Mowlam’s courage and understanding after it emerges that she is leaving her Northern Ireland post.

2000 – In a historic move, Ireland’s Bishops vote at the autumn meeting of the Irish Bishop’s Conference in St Patrick’s College, Maynooth to seek the permission of Pope John Paul II to establish a Permanent Diaconate in Ireland. What this means is that Irish men will be ordained as deacons in the Catholic Church within the next five years and will have powers to officiate at weddings, baptisms and funerals.

2002 – Eamon Dunphy announces he will quit his popular radio drive-time show “The Last Word” on Today FM.

2002 – Geraldine Kennedy is appointed editor of The Irish Times and becomes the first female editor of a national daily newspaper.

2009 – The Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) formally vow to pursue its aims through peaceful political means, saying their “armed struggle is over”.

2011 – Historian Annesley John Malley loses his battle with cancer. The Belfast native Annesley was instrumental in charting the history of the north west dating back to the 1600s. He attended Regent House School in Newtownards before being trained in England as a surveyor. When he returned to Northern Ireland he worked as a surveyor in the north west. His friend and fellow historian Ken McCormick said it was that background in surveying which sparked Annesley’s interest in land surveys, old maps and historic properties and monuments.

Photo: St. Canice’s Cathedral, Kilkenny (Cill Chainnigh “The Church of Cainnech”), Sandberg Photography

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