Today in Irish History – 17 October:

1171 – Henry II, fearful that Strongbow will grow too powerful in Ireland, lands at Waterford with an army. The Normans, Norse and Irish all submit to him, except for the most remote Irish kings.

1738 – In a duel at Mullingar, Arthur Rochfort, MP for Co Westmeath, shoots Dillon Pollard Hampson in the stomach. Hampson, a former Junior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge of Irish Freemasons, recovers.

1803 – Birth of William Smith O’Brien in Dromoland, Newmarket on Fergus, Co Clare. He was an Irish Nationalist and Member of Parliament (MP) and leader of the Young Ireland movement.

1851 – Birth of American financier, Thomas Fortune Ryan, in Charlottesville, Virginia, with ancestry to Protestant Anglo-Irish settlers in the 17th century.

1882 – The Irish Nationalist League is founded.

1886 – John Dillon announces “Plan of Campaign” for Irish tenants against unfair rents.

1920 – Cork IRA volunteer, Michael Fitzgerald, dies following a sixty-seven day hunger strike. Eleven IRA men took part in the hunger strike which claimed the lives of two others, most notably Lord Mayor of Cork, Terence MacSwiney.

1921 – Anglo-Irish Treaty negotiations which had commenced 11 October, continued in London, at this stage with little breakthrough.

1922 – An Anti-Treaty force attacks the National Army posts in Charleville, Cork. They claim Two soldiers are killed and one mortally wounded, National Army reports three wounded.

1922 – The National Army garrison in Dundalk is ‘stood to’ in anticipation of night attack by Anti-Treaty fighters. One Free State soldier is accidentally shot and killed.

1960 – Birth of actress, singer and television personality, Bernie Nolan, in Dublin. Formerly lead vocalist of The Nolans, Bernie was the second youngest of siblings Anne, Brian, Denise, Maureen, Tommy, Linda and Coleen Nolan. She was raised in Blackpool, Lancashire, England.

2000 – Ireland becomes the 30th country to pick up the TV show, “Who Wants to be a Millionaire”.

2002 – Chieftains’ harpist Derek Bell (b. Belfast) dies of cardiac arrest in Phoenix, Arizona. He was a harpist, pianist, oboist, musicologist, and composer.

Kilkenny Castle, Kilkenny © Stair na hÉireann

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