Today in Irish History – 17 January:

1649 – Marquis of Ormond James Butler and the confederates sign a peace treaty which grants toleration for Catholics in exchange for troops.

1815 – Marie-Louise O’Murphy, famous courtesan, dies in Paris. The family of Marie-Louise O’Murphy was of Irish origin, settled in Normandy recently. The presence of her paternal grandfather Daniel Murphy is attested in Pont-Audemer at the end of the 17th century. Militant of the Jacobite army, he followed the deposed King James II of England to his exile in the Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye; in consequence all the Catholic regiments who remained loyal to the King were sentenced to death in absentia by the new English government.

1820 – Birth of novelist and poet, Anne Brontë. She was the youngest member of the Brontë literary family. Anne’s father, Patrick Brontë (1777-1861), was born in a meagre two-room cottage in Emdale, Loughbrickland, Co Down.

1856 – Joseph Hayden, Irish journalist, dictionary compiler and author of Dictionary of Dates, dies.

1860 – Birth in Castlerea, Co Roscommon, of Douglas Hyde, playwright, folklorist, founder of The Gaelic League and the first president of Éire.

1861 – Death of dancer and courtesan, Lola Montez (Marie Gilbert), in New York. She was born in Grange, Co Sligo.

1866 – Death of George Petrie, folk music collector who is credited with preserving many of Ireland’s irreplaceable harp tunes.

1873 – T.C. Murray, playwright, is born in Macroom, Co Cork.

1897 – Birth of trade union activist, lecturer, leader, Lily Kempson, the last surviving participant in the Easter Rising, in Seattle, Washington.

1920 – West Waterford Brigade commanded by George Lennon attacked Ardmore RIC barracks.

1923 – Three National Army soldiers are killed in action.

1964 – The Campaign for Social Justice (CSJ) is formed. It is the forerunner of the civil rights movement and begins a programme of publicising what it sees as widespread discrimination, in a number of areas of life, against Catholics in Northern Ireland.

1971 – At an Ard Fheis in Dublin, Sinn Féin ended the 65 year abstentionist policy and agreed that any elected representative could take their seat at the Dáil, Stormont or Westminster parliaments. It was this issue that caused the split between the Official and Provisional movement in Republicanism.

1980 – Dunmurry Train Explosion: A PIRA bomb prematurely detonated on a passenger train near Belfast, killing three and injuring five (including the bombers).

1992 – Teebane Bombing: A PIRA landmine killed eight Protestant men and wounded six others at Teebane Crossroads near Cookstown, Co Tyrone. The men had been working for the British Army at a base in Omagh and were returning home on a minibus. The PIRA said that the men were legitimate targets because they had been “collaborating” with the “forces of occupation”. Shortly thereafter, Peter Brooke (Secretary of State for Northern Ireland) appeared on the Irish RTÉ Late Late Show and was persuaded to sing “Oh My Darling, Clementine”. Unionists accused him of gross insensitivity for agreeing to do so.

1996 – The British and Irish Governments met with Sinn Féin at Stormont. The meeting was for preparatory talks. Patrick Mayhew, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, and Dick Spring, Tánaiste, again said that all-party talks would begin by the end of February 1996.

1996 – A British television news programme, Channel 4 News, carried a report which presented evidence that soldiers, other than those of the Parachute Regiment, had opened fire on those taking part in the civil rights march on ‘Bloody Sunday’ in Derry on 30 January 1972. It was suggested that members of the Royal Anglian Regiment could have been responsible for the deaths of three of the 14 victims. Relatives of the victims renewed their call for a fresh inquiry into the events of ‘Bloody Sunday’.

2000 – Galway city centre is brought to a standstill as hundreds of student nurses take to the streets to protest at plans to charge them to finish their nursing courses.

2000 – A pair of King Billy’s gloves, worn during the battle of the Boyne, and the dress worn by Sinéad de Valera at the second inauguration ceremony of her husband, President Éamon de Valera, are unlikely companions in The Way We Wore, a permanent exhibition of the clothing and jewellery worn by Irish people from the 1760s to the 1960s which opens at the National Museum, Collins Barracks.

2012 – Death of the editor of the Sunday Independent, Aengus Fanning; aged 69 years old. The Tralee man began editing the Sunday Independent in 1984. He was survived by his wife Anne and three sons. In a statement, the chief executive of Independent News and Media, Gavin O’Reilly, described him as “possibly the greatest and most instinctively brilliant editor that Irish journalism has ever produced”. He said that Mr Fanning will be a huge loss to Irish journalism, but an even bigger loss to his family.

Photo: Blackrock Castle, Co Cork

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