Today in Irish History – 20 October:

1674 – Birth of James Logan, Colonial statesman and scholar in Lurgan, Co Armagh.

1775 – Two hundred passengers are lost in the shipwrecks of the brigs Trevor Totty and Nonpareil. Among the casualties are The Honourable Major Francis Caulfield, MP for Charlemont, his wife and daughters; also lost is Mr French, Member for the Co of Roscommon.

1794 – John Gustavus Crosbie, candidate in a parliamentary by-election for Co Kerry, takes offence at some real or supposed breach of neutrality on the part of Sir Barry Denny, the sitting MP. A duel follows on this date; at the first fire Denny is shot fatally through the head ‘by the haphazard aim of a man who had never before discharged a pistol in his life’.

1870 – Death of composer Michael William Balfe in Dublin. He is best known for his opera “The Bohemian Girl”.

1892 – Birth near Castleblaney, Co Monaghan of General Eoin O’Duffy, first commissioner of the Garda Síochána.

1910 – The hull of the RMS Olympic, sister-ship to the ill-fated RMS Titanic, is launched from the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast.

1917 – Fifty-two year old William Butler Yeats finally gets married, but not to Maud Gonne, the love of his life. Instead he marries 25-year-old Georgie Hyde-Lees (1892–1968). Although only weeks previously, Yeats had proposed to Maud Gonne’s daughter Iseult MacBride from her marriage to John MacBride, the marriage of Yeats and Hyde-Lees was a happy one producing two children.

1922 – A Free State soldier is shot dead while trying to clear a blocked road at Duagh, Co Kerry. Another is killed the following day at Lawlor’s Cross, Co Kerry.

1922 – National Army troops raid and capture a bomb making factory at Gardiner Street, Dublin. A Free State captain, Nicholas Tobin, brother of Liam Tobin is accidentally shot dead by his own troops.

1933 – The Irish Free State government purchases the copyright of Peadar Kearney’s,’The Soldiers Song’ (Amhrán na bhFiann) which becomes the national anthem.

1949 – Birth of showjumper, Eddie Macken, in Granard, Co Longford.

1962 – Birth of hurler, Nicholas English, in Cullen, Co Tipperary.

1979 – Irish and Munster rugby captain and talismanic leader Paul Jeremiah O’Connell is born in rugby mad Limerick.

1979 – The John F Kennedy library is opened in Boston, Massachusetts.

1998 – Irish dance star, Michael Flatley and his former manager John Reid settled a multi-million pound court battle. Flatley, who revolutionised Irish dancing with his Riverdance and Lord of the Dance spectaculars, had accused his manager, John Reid, of neglecting him while handling the affairs of rock legend Elton John.

1999 – Death in Dublin of footballer, hurler, lawyer, and politician, Jack Lynch. Born in Shandon, Co Cork, he was the fifth Taoiseach of Ireland, serving two terms in office; 1966 to 1973 and 1977 to 1979.

2001 – President Bill Clinton calls on all sides not to give up on the Good Friday Agreement; he also pledges to visit Northern Ireland while still in office.

2002 – The Irish vote Yes to the Nice Treaty.

Photo: Doonagore Castle, Doolin, Co Clare, Amy Meehan Photography

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