Today in Irish History – 16 November:

1272 – Henry III dies; his son Edward I, who has been Lord of Ireland since 1254, succeeds him.

1688 – Goodwife ‘Goody’ Ann Glover is hanged in Boston, Massachusetts, accused of witchcraft.

1745 – Death of James Butler, 2nd Duke of Ormonde KG. He was an Irish statesman and soldier. He was the third of the Kilcash branch of the family to inherit the earldom of Ormonde. Like his grandfather the 1st Duke, he was raised as a Protestant, unlike his extended family who held to the old religion.

1753 – Birth of James McHenry in Co Antrim. He was an early American statesman and a signatory of the United States Constitution from Maryland and the namesake of Fort McHenry. He was a delegate to the Continental Congress from Maryland, and the third United States Secretary of War (1796-1800), under the first and second presidents, George Washington,(administration: 1789-1797) and John Adams (administration: 1797-1801).

1754 – Birth in Verval, Co Wicklow of William Marsden, orientalist, Malayan scholar and numismatist.

1793 – Francis Danby, landscape painter, is born near Killinick, Co Wexford.

1814 – Michael Kelly Lawler is born in Monabiern, Co Kildare. He was an officer in the United States Army in both the Mexican War and the Civil War. In the latter conflict, as a brigadier general he commanded a brigade of infantry in the Western Theater and served in several battles.

1816 – Benjamin Woodward, architect, is born in Tullamore, Co Offaly.

1893 – Death of George A. Osborne, Irish composer, organist and director of the Royal Academy of Music.

1906 – Death of John Richardson Wigham in Blackrock, Dubin. He was one of the greatest figures in lighthouse engineering. He was born to a Quaker family in Newington, Edinburgh, Scotland.

1920 – Three IRA men were arrested by the Auxiliaires near Killaloe, Co Clare. They were beaten, interrogated and then shot dead.

1931 – Death of Olympic gold medalist Joshua (Jerry) Millner. Millner was born in Dublin in 1847 and represented Britain in 1908 in the free rifle event which he won at the age of 61.

1958 – Birth of singer and actress, Maura O’Connell, in Ennis, Co Clare. She is known for her contemporary interpretations of Irish folk songs, strongly influenced by American country music.

1960 – In a lab deep in Trinity College, Dublin, in 1954, Dr Vincent Barry and his research team created a new drug, Clofazimine, in a bid to beat tuberculosis. It didn’t help TB, but on this date, it was trialled on leprosy patients, with miraculous results. The drug is now part of a treatment that has saved 15 million people from this horrible disease. Interestingly, St Stephen’s Green in Dublin was once a leper hospital, and the disease lives on in Irish place names such as Leopardstown (Town of the Lepers).

1965 – Death of William Thomas Cosgrave, first President of the Irish Free State.

1986 – Death of stage and screen actress, Siobhan McKenna, born Siobhán Giollamhuire Nic Cionnaith, in Belfast. She grew up in Galway City and Co Monaghan speaking fluent Irish. She was still in her teens when she became a member of an amateur Gaelic theatre group and made her stage debut at Galway’s Gaelic Theatre in 1940. She is also remembered for her English-language performances at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin where she would eventually star in what many consider her finest role in the George Bernard Shaw play, Saint Joan.

1999 – In Lismore, Co Waterford, a tradition stretching back almost 130 years passes away as the last remaining Christian Brother, Patrick Ryan, turns the key on the front door of the monastery for the final time; the order has had an uninterrupted presence in the town since 1871.

2000 – Furious taxi drivers have to be restrained from protesting outside Leinster House following reports that the Government is poised to completely deregulate the industry.

2000 – In the largest class of graduates since the BSN degree was introduced in 1997, more than 50 nurses are presented their diplomas at the Royal College of Surgeons.

2000 – Dr Therese Kinsella, a senior lecturer at University College Dublin becomes the first woman to receive the prestigious Royal Irish Academy Medal in Biochemistry.

2001 – American ambassador Richard Egan is presented with a book of condolences compiled from since the 11 September attack on the World Trade Center in NYC.

2002 – Niall Quinn is chosen as Man of the Year at the 28th annual People of the Year awards. A special one-off award to mark the 75th anniversary of the ESB is made to Dr TK Whitaker who is named Greatest Living Irish Person for his role in transforming the Irish economy in the 1950s.

2015 – Death of Soviet Song. She was a racehorse bred and owned by Elite Racing Club. She was foaled on 18 February 2000, sired by Marju (IRE) out of Kalinka (IRE) (Soviet Star). She raced in England, Ireland and France during her career and she was the highest rated older filly in the World in 2004 and 2005.

Photo: Rock of Cashel, Co Tipperary

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