Today in Irish History – 18 November:

1657 – Death of Franciscan friar and historian, Luke Wadding, in Rome. Born in Co Waterford, Wadding founded the Pontifical Irish College for Irish secular clergy in Rome. In 1900, Wadding’s portrait and part of his library were in the Franciscan friary on Merchant’s Quay, Dublin. Through Wadding’s efforts, St Patrick’s Day became a feast day.

1703 – The Commons hears a petition from Sir Kildare Dixon Burrowes, John Allen, Robert Dixon, Francis Spring, Alexander Gradon (all MPs) and ‘other inhabitants of the County of Kildare complaining, that the inhabitants of the said County have been under great oppressions and grievances by the exorbitant power of Maurice [another MP], John and Francis Annesley, Esqrs, Justices of the Peace’. Shortly before this, the burgesses and freemen of Naas have also complained about the activities of the Annesleys. The allegations against Maurice and Francis are found not to be proved, but John is found to have illegally extorted money under cover of warrants and fees and is removed as sheriff.

1709 – Birth of Henry Loftus, Earl of Ely and 4th Viscount; politician and proprietor of several boroughs.

1720 – Calico Jack (born John Rackham) was an English pirate captain operating in the Bahamas during the early 18th century (Rackham is often spelled as Rackam or Rackum in contemporary documentation). His nickname was derived from the calico clothing he wore. Active towards the end of the era known as the golden age of piracy (from 1717-1720) Rackham is most remembered for two things; the design of his Jolly Roger flag, a skull with crossed swords, which contributed to the popularisation of the design, and for having two female crew members (Mary Read and his Irish-lover Anne Bonny) which was unusual at that time.

1873 – A three-day conference begins in Dublin to establish the Home Rule League. It will supersede Isaac Butt’s Home Government Association.

1880 – An historic meeting takes place at Queens Hotel, Belfast which will have far-reaching effects on the administration of football in Ireland. At what is, in effect, the inaugural meeting of the Irish Football Association, the IFA elects its first President, Major Spencer Chichester and agrees to stage an annual Challenge Cup Competition.

1889 – Death of William Allingham, poet. The Allingham Arms Hotel in Bundoran, Co Donegal is named after him.

1916 – Battle of the Somme Ends.

1920 – Capture of Four English Officers: House of Commons debate on capture of four English officers at Waterfall, Co. Cork by “rebels”.

1920 – Three civilians were shot dead in Cork city by masked men (presumed to be RIC/Black and Tans) in reprisal for killing of O’Donoghue.

1922 – Court martial of Erskine Childers begins.

1922 – Four Anti-Treaty IRA fighters are killed when a land mine they are preparing on the Naas road near Dublin explodes prematurely.

1922 – A Free State lorry, driving from Dundalk is destroyed by a remotely detonated landmine in Carrickmacross. One soldier is killed and ten are badly injured. IRA fighters took the wounded men’s weapons and equipment but also tried to give them first aid. Another FS soldier is killed in Manorhamilton, Leitrim.

1926 – George Bernard Shaw refuses to accept the Nobel Prize money of £7,000 awarded to him a year earlier. He said: ‘I can forgive Nobel for inventing dynamite, but only a fiend in human form could have invented the Nobel Prize.’

1928 – ‘Steamboat Willie’ is famed as the film that introduced Mickey Mouse to the world and started Walt Disney on his rise to fame. The film (released on this date) was also one of the first cartoons with synchronised sound, thanks to Pat Powers from Co Waterford. The movie mogul sold Walt Disney the Cinephone system, which enabled sound cartoons to be made (other systems couldn’t get the mouse squeaks right), and when no one would distribute Walt’s films, Powers released them through his own company. Powers also co-founded Universal Pictures.

1956 – Birth of Noel Brotherston. He was an international footballer; a winger, he played in the Football League for Tottenham, Blackburn Rovers, Bury, and Scarborough, and won 27 international caps for Northern Ireland, scoring 3 goals. Noel played in a famous 1-0 win for Northern Ireland over Israel that allowed the team to qualify for the World Cup finals for the first time in 24 years. He also scored the winning goal against Wales in 1980 to give Northern Ireland the British Championship trophy in the Irish Football Association’s centenary year. Noel was well-remembered for his characteristic hairstyle that seemed to emphasise his jinking runs down the wing. He was a fans’ favourite at Blackburn and became a painter and decorator in the town when he retired as a player, but died of a heart attack, aged just 38.

1957 – Birth of poet, Seán Mac Falls,. Belonging to no group or movement and operating outside of literary fashions, his brand of symbolist poetry can, at first reading, appear difficult. His use of allusion, startling diction and subtle punning display submerged metaphor in his work. The overall effect is a fresh implementation of Imagism.

1960 – The first Aer Lingus Boeing jet Padraig arrives at Dublin Airport.

1990 – Fred Daly was the first Irish golfer to win the British Open which was played in Hoylake in 1947.

1999 – Former US senator George Mitchell makes his final report into the Good Friday Agreement; he urges the IRA to appoint its representative to discuss disarmament on the same day the new power-sharing government is set up.

2000 – Ensign Marie Gleeson of Cashel becomes the first female cadet to capture the prestigious Fastnet Trophy. The award is given to the cadet who achieves first place in his or her class.

2002 – The Belfast High Court is told that Sinn Féin’s administration office manager at Stormont, Denis Donaldson, is an active member of the IRA’s intelligence unit with connections to terrorist groups in Europe and in El Salvador.

Photo: Boyle Abbey, Co Roscommon

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