Today in Irish History – 19 October:

1610 – Birth of James Butler, 1st Duke of Ormond; royalist soldier; and three times Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.

1649 – New Ross town, Co Wexford, surrenders to Oliver Cromwell.

1680 – Birth of minister and church leader, John Abernethy, in Coleraine, Co Derry.

1745 – Death of Jonathan Swift. He was an Irish satirist, essayist, political pamphleteer (first for Whigs then for the Tories), poet and cleric who became Dean of St. Patrick’s, Dublin.

1751 – Birth in Dublin of Charles Edward Jennings, commonly known as Brave Kilmaine. He was a true revolutionary and the greatest of famous Irish soldiers, who during the eighteenth century battled for France. A gallant and celebrated General, Philanthropist and a Baron, he was committed both to the cause of Irish independence and to France. A devoted friend to Theobald Wolfe Tone and a close confidant of Napoleon I, he is described as the only officer Bonaparte ever trusted completely.

1864 – At Battle of Cedar Creek, VA, Irish-born, Corporal John Walsh engaged in an action which won him the Medal of Honor. The battle was the decisive engagement of Major General Philip Sheridan’s Valley Campaigns of 1864 and was the largest battle fought in the Shenandoah Valley. Citation: “The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Corporal John Walsh, United States Army, for extraordinary heroism on 19 October 1864, while serving with Company D, 5th New York Cavalry, in action at Cedar Creek, Virginia. Corporal Walsh recaptured the flag of the 15th New Jersey Infantry.”

1896 – Birth of Kathleen Barry in Dublin on 19 October 1896 at 8 Fleet Street. She was the eldest of seven children, including Kevin Barry who was executed by the British government on 1 November 1920. Her parents Thomas and Mary (née Dowling) and her aunt Judith ran a prosperous dairy that included an eighty-six acre holding at Tombeagh, Hacketstown, Co Carlow and a retail outlet below the family home in Fleet Street.

1911 – The uilleann pipes are the national bagpipe of Ireland. They were only given the name by music scholar Grattan Flood, on this date, when he translated the expression ‘woollen pipes’ in Shakespeare’s ‘The Merchant of Venice’, back into Irish: ‘union pipes’ is the older name.

1913 – Irish historian, novelist and poet, Emily Lawless dies.

1922 – A Free State soldier is killed by sniper near Naas, Co Kildare. Another dies in an accidental shooting at Corporation Street, central Dublin.

1940 – Birth of actor, Michael Gambon, in Cabra, Co Dublin. Gambon has worked in theatre, television and film and has played the eponymous mystery writer protagonist in the BBC television serial The Singing Detective, Jules Maigret in the 1990s ITV serial Maigret, and Professor Albus Dumbledore in the Harry Potter films after the death of actor Richard Harris who played the part in the first two Harry Potter films.

1955 – Archbishop McQuaid calls for an international football match against Yugoslavia in Dublin to be cancelled, but it goes ahead in front of a capacity crowd which was played at Dalymount Park. The protests arose out of the continued persecution of the Catholic Church in communist Yugoslavia, and were similar in tone to other protests held in Ireland over the previous seven years. The fact that the game went ahead with an attendance of around 21,400 has been read by some as a counter-protest against the forces of conservative Ireland, especially the public influence of archbishop McQuaid.

1982 – Car mogul, John DeLorean, was arrested and charged with cocaine distribution. John DeLorean is a peripheral but very interesting character in the history of Ireland. Four years previously, he started the DeLorean Motor Company in the north of Ireland with the financial support of the Northern Ireland Development Authority to the tune of £80m in the hope it would bring 2,000 jobs to sectarian troubled Belfast. At the time, the Dublin government was disappointed it could not match the incentives provided by London.

1988 – The British Government introduced the broadcasting ban on organisations believed to support terrorism – including 11 Loyalist and Republican groups and Gerry Adams’ voice.

1989 – After serving 15 years in prison, the “Guildford Four”: Gerard ‘Gerry’ Conlon, Patrick ‘Paddy’ Armstrong, Carole Richardson and Paul Hill are released in what is considered to be one of the biggest-ever miscarriages of justice in Britain. Paul Hill was taken to a Belfast prison where he was serving time for murder; he was also expected to be released.

1991 – Seán Kelly wins the Tour of Lombardy.

1998 – Discussions between British Prime Minister Tony Blair, David Trimble and Martin McGuinness fail to break the deadlock on the surrender of arms.

1998 – Justice Minister John O’Donoghue imposes tough new visa rules to curb the arrival of Slovakian gypsies, following an influx of 1,600 in search of asylum in Britain in just two months.

1998 – Agriculture Minister Joe Walsh admits that the Irish beef crisis, which has seen prices collapse to a 25-year-low, could deteriorate even further.

1999 – On the first day of their historic industrial action, thousands of striking nurses take to the picket lines.

2000 – The Dalai Lama meets with fellow Nobel peace laureate John Hume MP at the Ulster Hall, Belfast. The Buddhist spiritual leader is in Belfast for three days at the invitation of the World Community for World Peace.

2000 – A fourth man is arrested in connection with the Omagh bombing.

2001 – Taoiseach Bertie Ahern becomes the latest target of the anthrax scare sweeping the country after a letter containing an unidentifiable white powder is sent to Government Buildings in Dublin.

2001 – The dying wish of IRA volunteer Patrick Maher is fulfilled when his remains are brought from Sarsfield Barracks to his native Co Limerick for burial with full military honours. Mr Maher, 32, was executed after his alleged part in the rescue of IRA man Seán Hogan from a heavily guarded train in Knocklong in May 1919, which resulted in the death of RIC man Peter Wallace. Mr Maher had always protested his innocence.

2003 – Mother Teresa is beatified by Pope John Paul II.

2004 – Care International aid worker Margaret Hassan is kidnapped in Iraq. Margaret Hassan, also known as “Madam Margaret”, was an Irish aid worker who had worked in Iraq for many years until she was abducted and murdered by unidentified kidnappers in Iraq in 2004, at the age of 59. Her remains have never been recovered.

Image | Dunguaire Castle, Co Galway | Tommy Hannon Landscape Photography

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