Today in Irish History – 15 December: #irish #history #OTD

1760 – John MacNaghten, a gambler, duellist and criminal, is hanged at Strabane jail for his involvement in the killing of Mary Anne Knox, daughter of Andrew Knox MP. At the first attempt to hang him, the rope breaks but, ignoring offers from the crowd to help him make his escape, he declares that he does not wish to be known for ever as ‘half-hung McNaghten’ and asks the hangman to proceed.

1838 – Birth of John King in Co Tyrone. He was the sole survivor of the ill-fated Burkes and Wills expedition across Australia in 1860. The journey was from the south of the island to the northern tip, and then back again.

1810 – First Irish magazine, Shamrock, is published in the U.S.

1854 – Nicholas Bain is hanged in Long Island, New York. Bain had moved from Ireland to America to escape the starvation and disease of the Great Hunger. He worked for James and Francis Wickam on the Wickam Farmhouse on Long Island and had become romantically involved with Ellen Holland, a female servant of the household, but a dispute had arisen between them which led to James Wickam dismissing Bain from his service on 1st June 1854. In the early hours of 2nd June, Bain murdered the Wickams with an axe. He was arrested in the early morning of 6th June. On 15th December, Nicholas Bain was hanged for murder. He is said to haunt the farmhouse.

1899 – Irish units of the Boer army face the Dublin Fusiliers, Connaught Rangers and the Inniskillings in the Battle of Colenso.

1917 – Death of US Army Medic, Bernard Irwin. Born in Co Roscommon, he was an assistant army surgeon during the Apache Wars and the first (chronologically by action) Medal of Honor recipient. His actions on 13 February 13 1861 are the earliest for which the Medal of Honor was awarded.

1920 – An Auxiliary officer named Harte killed a boy and a priest, Fr. Magner, in an apparently motiveless attack at Dunmanway, Co Cork. He was discharged and declared insane by the British authorities.

1921 – In an extremely hostile environment over the Treaty debate, Michael Collins smells some dirty work and addresses the House.

1921 – Fermanagh County Council pledged allegiance to Dáil Éireann. After the meeting the RIC took over the council chamber.

1922 – Seventy Anti-Treaty IRA fighters ambush a Free State patrol between Rathmore and Barraduff. There is a gun battle of several hours, in which one National Army soldier is fatally wounded. The Army claims that the Republicans took “heavy casualties” in the action. The local priest tries to prevent the ambush and mobilises local people to remove a roadblock. The IRA in response seize 4 of his cattle.

1930 – Birth of novelist, playwright, poet and short story writer, Edna O’Brien, in Co Clare.

1933 – Birth of architect, Sam Stephenson, in Dublin. Many of his buildings generated considerable controversy when they were built. He was the youngest of five sons born to Paddy Joe Stephenson, former Chief Librarian of Dublin and a founder of the Old Dublin Society, who had fought in the 1916 Rising and had helped to restore Kilmainham Gaol. Stephenson’s most famous buildings are all in Dublin, and exemplify the style of Brutalist architecture: Central Bank of Ireland Dame Street (1975), Dublin Corporation Offices at Wood Quay – Phase 1 (1976) – The remains of Viking Dublin were discovered during the construction of this building. Despite protests to save the site, construction went ahead.

1971 – Death of General Richard Mulcahy, Irish Volunteer and TD.

1972 – Birth of actor and director, Stuart Townsend, in Dublin. His most notable portrayals are of the characters Lestat de Lioncourt in the 2002 film adaptation of Anne Rice’s Queen of the Damned, and Dorian Gray in the 2003 film adaptation of Alan Moore’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

1993 – Albert Reynolds and John Major sign the Downing Street Declaration: if the IRA stops its campaign for three months, Sinn Féin will be allowed to join all-party talks.

1994 – John Bruton became youngest Taoiseach at that time.

1994 – The Venerable Edel Mary Quinn was an Irish lay missionary in Africa. On 15 December 1994, Pope John Paul II pronounced her venerable.

1995 – Playboy goes back on sale after 36 year ban in Ireland.

1995 – The European Communities Court of Justice hands down the “Bosman ruling”, giving EU footballers the right to a free transfer at the end of their contracts, with the provision that they are transferring from one UEFA Federation to another.

1999 – Marion Price, a former IRA prisoner who had been convicted of causing explosions in London on 8 March 1973, was refused a visa to enter the USA. Price had been due to speak at a fundraising event in New York that had been organised by the Irish Freedom Committee.

2012 – Death of Gaelic footballer and manager, Páidí Ó Sé. Born in Ventry, Co Kerry, he played as a right half-back for Kerry, with eight All-Irelands to his name as a player and two All-Irelands as a manager, in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, he was one of the most decorated names in the sport and was one of the most recognisable faces in the country. He was one of five men to win eight All-Ireland football medals (the other four were on the same team), and one of two men to win multiple All Irelands as a player and a manager.

Photo: Ballysaggartmore Towers, Lismore, Co Waterford

#irish #history #Ireland #OTD


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