Today in Irish History – 21 November:

615 – Death of Columbanus. He was an Irish missionary notable for founding a number of monasteries on the European continent from around 590 in the Frankish and Lombard kingdoms, most notably Luxeuil Abbey in present-day France and Bobbio Abbey in present-day Italy. He is remembered as an exemplar of Irish missionary activity in early medieval Europe. Columbanus taught a Celtic monastic rule and Celtic penitential practices for those repenting of sins, which emphasised private confession to a priest, followed by penances levied by the priest in reparation for the sins. Columbanus is one of the earliest identifiable Hiberno-Latin writers.

1281 – Stephen de Fulbourne, bishop of Waterford and treasurer, replaces the infirm Robert de Ufford as justiciar and establishes a mint at Waterford.

1759 – Henry Flood enters parliament and becomes leader of the opposition.

1761 – Birth of Dorothea Jordan in Bland near Waterford. She was an Irish actress, courtesan and the mistress and famous companion of the future King William IV of the United Kingdom, while he was Duke of Clarence, for 20 years.

1767 – United Irishman, Thomas Russell, is born in Kilshanick, Co Cork. Although born in the Rebel County, he is now identified in the popular imagination of Co Down and elsewhere as “The man from God Knows Where”, from the ballad which recalls his charismatic but doomed efforts to raise the county in support of Robert Emmet’s rebellion of 1803.

1844 – Birth of William Martin Murphy in Bantry, Co Cork. He was an Irish nationalist journalist, businessman and politician, being MP in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and a member of the Irish Parliamentary Party representing Dublin from 1885 to 1892. He was dubbed ‘William Murder Murphy’ among Dublin workers and the press due to the Dublin Lockout of 1913. He was arguably both Ireland’s first “press baron” and the leading promoter of tram development.

1887 – Joseph Mary Plunkett, Irish patriot and poet, is born in Dublin.

1918 – The Parliament (Qualifications of Women) Act entitles women to sit and vote in the house of commons.

1920 – Irish War of Independence: In Dublin, 31 people are killed in what became known as ‘Bloody Sunday’. This included fourteen British informants, fourteen Irish civilians and three Irish Republican Army prisoners.

1920 – Attacks on RIC barracks at Bray, Cabinteely, Enniskerry and Dundrum were carried out by the 6th Battalion, under specific order of the Dublin Brigade IRA in an effort to draw reinforcements from the city and relieve pressure on the Dublin city Battalions. The attacks continued until the early hours of Monday 22nd.

1920 – Attack on armoured car at Temple Hill, Blackrock, Co Dublin.

1920 – Three IRA volunteers of the West Waterford Flying Column, were recognised driving past Walsh’s Hotel, Cappoquin, and,in an exchange of fire fatally wounded RIC Constable Isaac Rea.

1921 – Thirty people were killed during violence in Belfast over five days.

1922 – A Free State soldier is killed in an ambush between Tallaght and Clondalkin, Dublin.

1929 – Birth in Cork of stage, television and film actor, Niall Toibin.

1943 – Death of suffragist, trade unionist and Irish independence activist, Winifred Carney, in Belfast.

1952 – Birth in Dublin of middle distance runner and former World Champion, Eamonn Christopher Coghlan.

1974 – Bombs believe planted by the Provisional IRA devastate two central Birmingham pubs, killing 21 people and injuring over 180. The Birmingham Six are sentenced to life in prison for the crime but subsequently acquitted.

1999 – Victims of Birmingham IRA bombings are remembered in a 25th anniversary service at St. Philips Cathedral.

1999 – President Mary McAleese pays a warm tribute to former President Dr Erskine Childers on the 25th anniversary of his death. Speaking at Derralossary Cemetery, Co. Wicklow, Mrs McAleese describes Dr Childers as a pivotal figure in politics for more than 35 years.

Photo: King John’s Castle, Limerick

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