Today in Irish History – 1 January:

The Dublin Julian Day (DJD) is the number of days that has elapsed since the epoch of the solar and lunar ephemerides used from 1900 through 1983, Newcomb’s Tables of the Sun and Ernest W. Brown’s Tables of the Motion of the Moon (1919). This epoch was noon UT on 0 January 1900, which is the same as noon UT on 31 December 1899. The DJD was defined by the International Astronomical Union at their 1955 meeting in Dublin.

1628 – Founding of the Irish College in Rome. Among its former students was St Oliver Plunkett, who attended in the late 17th century.

1710 – Charles O’Conor, writer, historian and editor, is born in Kilmactranny, Co Sligo.

1767 – Maria Edgeworth, author of Castle Rackrent and one of the few women literary figures of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, is born.

1790 – James Wills, clergyman and writer, is born in Castlerea, Co Roscommon.

1790 – Birth of George Petrie in Dublin. He was a painter, musician, antiquary and archaeologist of the Victorian era.

1792 – The first edition of the Northern Star was published. It was the newspaper of the Society of United Irishmen, which was published from 1792 until its suppression by the British army in May 1797.

1801 – The Act of Union between Ireland and Great Britain goes into effect.

1801 – George Benn, historian, is born in Tandragee, Co Armagh.

1860 – Birth of sculptor and painter, John Cassidy, in Slane, Co Meath. Ireland.

1862 – Edward Harland’s Belfast shipyard assumes the name ‘Harland & Wolff’.

1869 – Gladstone’s Irish Church Act which disestablishes the Church of Ireland takes effect.

1880 – Gretta Bowen, artist, is born in Dublin.

1889 – Patrick McGill, navvy, novelist and poet, is born in Maas, Co. Donegal.

1892 – Ellis Island becomes reception center for new immigrants. The first immigrant through the gates is Annie Moore, 17, of Co Cork.

1921 – An IRA column led by Eoin O’Duffy mounted an ambush in Ballybay, Co Monaghan, one RIC man and one civilian were killed, three Auxiliaries were wounded.

1922 – 1-2: In Belfast, five people were shot dead by snipers.

1923 – An anti-Treaty IRA column is ambushed by National Army troops at Kyle County Wexford. One IRA fighter is killed and three wounded. One Free State soldier is also wounded in the action.

1926 – 2RN, the forerunner of RTÉ, the Irish national broadcasting service commences broadcasting from a studio at 36 Little Denmark Street. According the RTÉ website, the station call-sign was apparently originated by the British Post Office, the authority responsible at that time, and the name 2RN was thought to be inspired by the last three syllables of the song title “Come Back To Erin”. Douglas Hyde, founder of the Gaelic League and who would become the first President of Ireland (1938-1945) officially opened 2RN.

1941 – On this date and through January 3, German bombs fall on counties Carlow, Kildare, Louth, Meath, Wexford and Wicklow.

1954 – Birth of Dennis O’Driscoll in Thurles, Co Tipperary. He was an Irish poet, essayist, critic and editor. Regarded as one of the best European poets of his time, Eileen Battersby considers him ‘the lyric equivalent of William Trevor’ and a better poet ‘by far’ than Raymond Carver. Gerard Smyth regards him as ‘one of poetry’s true champions and certainly its most prodigious archivist’. His book on Seamus Heaney is regarded as the definitive biography of the Nobel laureate.

1956 – Birth of poet, author, priest, and Hegelian philosopher, John O’Donohue, in the West of Ireland. He was a native Irish speaker, and as an author is best known for popularising Celtic spirituality.

1957 – An Irish Republican Army (IRA) unit attacks Brookeborough RUC barracks in one of the most famous incidents of the IRA’s Operation Harvest (Border Campaign).

1957 – Death of Seán South. He was a member of an IRA military column led by Sean Garland on a raid against a Royal Ulster Constabulary barracks in Brookeborough, Co Fermanagh on New Year’s Day, 1957. South died of wounds sustained during the raid along with another volunteer, Fergal O’Hanlon.

1957 – Death of Feargal O’Hanlon. He was a member/volunteer in the Pearse Column of the Irish Republican Army. O’Hanlon was on a raid against a Royal Ulster Constabulary barracks in Brookeborough, Co Fermanagh on New Year’s Day, 1957. O’Hanlon died of wounds sustained during the raid along with another volunteer, Séan South.

1958 – The European Community is established. Its aim was to bring about economic integration, including a common market, among its six founding members: Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and West Germany. The EEC was also known as the Common Market in the English-speaking world and sometimes referred to as the European Community even before it was officially renamed as such in 1993. It gained a common set of institutions along with the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and the European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM) as one of the European Communities under the 1965 Merger Treaty (Treaty of Brussels). Upon the entry into force of the Maastricht Treaty in 1993, the EEC was renamed the European Community (EC) to reflect that it covered a wider range of policy. This was also when the three European Communities, including the EC, were collectively made to constitute the first of the three pillars of the European Union (EU), which the treaty also founded. The EC existed in this form until it was abolished by the 2009 Treaty of Lisbon, which merged the EU’s former pillars and provided that the EU would “replace and succeed the European Community.”

1969 – Approximately 40 members of People’s Democracy (PD) began a four-day march from Belfast across Northern Ireland to Derry. The Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA) and some nationalists in Derry had advised against the march. The march was modelled on Martin Luther King’s Selma to Montgomery march. The first day involved a walk from Belfast to Antrim. Over the next four days the number of people on the march grew to a few hundred. The march was confronted and attacked by Loyalist crowds on a number of occasions the most serious attack occurring on 4 January 1969.

1984 – Galway City begins year-long celebration of 500th anniversary (quincentennial) of mayoral status with Festival Eucharist in St Nicholas’ Collegiate Church.

1985 – Death of Sigerson Clifford, born Edward Bernard Clifford in Cork. He was an Irish poet and playwright. His parents, Michael Clifford and Mary Anne Sigerson, were from Co Kerry, and they returned there in the following year, to Cahersiveen, where he was raised on the Ring of Kerry. He attended the Christian Brothers school in that town.

1985 – Cork City celebrates 800 years as a chartered city.

1988 – Dublin City (founded AD 988) begins year-long celebration of its Millennium year.

1989 – Dundalk, Co Louth, celebrates 1200 years of history.

1990 – Ireland assumes fourth Presidency of Council of the European Union.

1990 – Northern Ireland Fair Employment Act becomes law.

1997 – Two bombs, estimated at 500 lbs of explosive, were left in the grounds of Belfast Castle. The bombs were safely defused.

1998 – Foreign Affairs Minister David Andrews urges all sides to show the “greatest possible restraint” in the wake of a sectarian barroom gun attack which plunges Northern Ireland into an uncertain New Year.

1999 – The world’s oldest priest, the Venerable Archdeacon Patrick Lyons, passes away at Limerick Regional hospital, just two months before his 106th birthday.

2001 – Retired garda sergeant John Fahy from Kinlough, Co Leitrim catches the first salmon of the season. The accomplished angler is also the first salmon fisherman to insert a blue bar coded tag into the gills and mouth of a freshly caught fish. For the first time, every salmon caught by commercial fishermen or leisure anglers will have to be tagged, as part of a new controls on salmon fishing which are in effect as of this date.

2002 – Euro replaces punt as Irish currency. Taoiseach Bertie Ahern helps write history by spending euros in his local news-agent.

2004 – Ireland takes over as President of the European Commission.

2005 – Cork officially becomes the European Capital of Culture.

2005 – Littlepace housing estate in Clonee, Co Meath, struck by a small tornado.

2005 – Death of Patrick Denis O’Donnell, military historian, writer and former Commandant of the Irish Defence Forces (b.1922).

2005 – Death of show jumper Paul Darragh (b. 1953).

2006 – Philip Hogarty (aged 19) becomes the first road death on Irish roads in 2008 after being struck by a Garda patrol car in Tallaght, Dublin. Philip was chairman of the Irish Chess Union.

2006 – Death of Hugh McLaughlin. He was an Irish publisher and inventor, born in Killygordan, Co Donegal, the youngest child of a stationmaster.

2008 – Death of Peter Caffrey, actor (b. 1949).

2008 – Phase-out of incandescent light bulbs commences.

2009 – Death of John Morrow, Presbyterian minister and peace activist.

2010 – Death of Denis Keeley, 79, long-term partner of writer Philomena Lynott.

2010 – Death of Michael Dwyer, 58, film Correspondent with The Irish Times.

2011 – The Civil Partnership Act comes into effect allowing civil partnerships where hetero- and homosexual cohabiting couples have the same rights.

2012 – Dr. Rhona Mahony becomes the first woman head of a maternity hospital in Ireland, taking up her post as master of the National Maternity Hospital, Holles Street, Dublin. She replaces Dr Michael Robson, whose term expired on December 31st. She was elected to the position by the hospital’s governors during 2011. From Dublin, the 41-year-old, a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist and a specialist in foetal and maternal medicine, is married and has four children.

2017 – Therese MacGowan, 87, (Shane MacGowan’s mother) was killed when the car she was driving struck a wall in Ballintogher on New Year’s Day, 2017. MacGowan, the car’s sole occupant, was pronounced dead at the scene near her home in Silvermines, Co Tipperary.

Photo: Slea Head Drive, Dingle Peninsula, Co Kerry

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