Today in Irish History – 14 November:

In the Liturgical calendar, it is the Feast day of Lorcán Ua Tuathail (St. Laurence O’Toole), the first Archbishop of Dublin and the city’s patron saint. It is on this date in 1180 that he died at Eu in Normandy.

1669 – St. Oliver Plunkett becomes Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland.

1832 – Birth near Letterkenny, Co Donegal of Stopford Brooke, chaplain-in-ordinary to Queen Victoria, writer and literary critic.

1869 – Birth of Sir John Lumsden KBE in Drogheda, Co Louth. Lumsden was a physician and the founder of the St. John Ambulance Brigade of Ireland.

1873 – Michael Healy, stained-glass artist, illustrator and painter, is born in Dublin.

1907 – Sir Francis Leopold McClintock, Irish arctic explorer, dies.

1913 – Official founding date of the Provisional Committee of the Irish Volunteers.

1914 – Regarded as one of Dublin’s great curmudgeons and also one of its greatest wits, John Pentland Mahaffy, becomes Provost of Trinity College. When aspiring to be Provost of Trinity College, upon hearing that the incumbent was ill, he is said to have remarked, ‘Nothing trivial, I hope?’ In his academic years, he was acquainted with TCD undergraduate Oscar Wilde, with whom he discussed homosexuality in ancient Greece, and Wilde described him as his ‘first and greatest teacher’. Like his protégés, Wilde and Oliver Gogarty, Mahaffy was a brilliant conversationalist, coming out with such gems as ‘in Ireland the inevitable never happens and the unexpected constantly occurs.’ When asked, by an advocate of women’s rights, what the difference was between a man and a woman he replied, ‘I can’t conceive.’ He is recorded as saying ‘James Joyce is a living argument in defence of my contention that it was a mistake to establish a separate university for the aborigines of this island – for the corner boys who spit into the Liffey.’

1918 – Seamus O’Kelly, playwright, novelist , short story writer, and journalist, dies.

1920 – Catholic priest, Father Michael Griffin was killed.

1921 – Roy McFadden, poet, is born in Downpatrick, Co Down.

1923 – W.B. Yeats receives the Nobel Prize for Literature.

1934 – Birth of Catherine McGuinness, a former President of the Law Reform Commission and a former judge of the Circuit Court 1994-1996 (the first woman to serve on the Court), justice of the High Court 1996-2000 and Supreme Court of Ireland 2000-2006. She was born in Belfast and educated in Belfast and Dublin (Alexandra College, Trinity College Dublin and the King’s Inns). She was called to the Irish bar in 1977. In 1989 she was called to the Inner Bar, and called to the Bar of New South Wales in 1993.

1972 – Death of Lucy Agnes Smyth, section Leader of the Central Branch of Cumann na mBan, during the 1916 Easter Rising.

1973 – Eight IRA members (six men, two women – sisters Marian and Dolours Price) are convicted of the London bombings in March 1973 which killed one person and injuring over 200.

1978 – Over five days, the PIRA exploded over fifty bombs in towns across Northern Ireland, injuring thirty-seven people. Belfast, Derry, Armagh, Castlederg, Cookstown and Enniskillen were hardest hit.

1981 – Three IRA men are involved in the assassination of Unionist MP Robert Bradford. The IRA justified their killing in a statement: “Belfast Brigade IRA claims responsibility for the execution of Robert Bradford MP, one of the key people responsible for winding up the loyalist paramilitary sectarian machine in the North.”

2000 – Teachers begin the first of eight planned days of industrial action. More than 4,200 teachers take to the picket lines in Dublin in pursuit of their 30% pay claim. Over 620 secondary schools are closed as a result of the strike.

2000 – Irate business leaders renew calls for competition on the railways as up to 50,000 commuters are left stranded by the 24 hour strike involving 138 train signal staff.

2002 – Restoration work on a fountain built near Dublin in memory of Queen Victoria is halted following threats made by suspected republican paramilitaries against men carrying out the job.

2002 – Ireland’s first cancer patient retreat and help centre opens outside Mullingar in Co Westmeath.

2012 – Death of fiddler and bones player, Martin Fay, 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. He had been ill for some time.

Photo: Dunluce Castle, Co Antrim, Stair na hÉireann Photography

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