Today in Irish History – 22 January:

1761 – Birth of Henry Welbore Agar (Ellis), 2nd Viscount Clifden, perhaps the only person to sit consecutively in four different Houses of Parliament – the two in Ireland and the two in England.

1856 – Alfred Godley, classical scholar and writer, is born in Ashfield, Co Cavan.

1879 – Death of Nevill Coghill. Born in Drumcondra, Co Dublin, he was a recipient of the Victoria Cross (awarded posthumously), the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces. Coghill was twenty-five years old and a lieutenant in the 1st Battalion, 24th Regiment of Foot (later the South Wales Borderers), British Army, during the Zulu War.

1879 – Death of Anthony Durnford. Born in Co Leitrim, he was an Irish career British Army officer of the Royal Engineers who served in the Anglo-Zulu War. Breveted colonel, Durnford is mainly known for his heroic presence at the defeat of the British Army by the Zulus at the Battle of Isandlwana. In the 1979 film Zulu Dawn, which depicted the battle of Isandlwana, Durnford was portrayed by Burt Lancaster.

1901 – Queen Victoria dies; Edward VII accedes to the throne.

1913 – Birth of William Conway in Belfast. He was a cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church who served as Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland from 1963 until his death, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1965. He was head of the Catholic Church in Ireland during the reforms of the Second Vatican Council.

1923 – Three Anti-Treaty IRA men are executed in Dundalk, having been captured on 7 January.

1925 – Raymond Crotty, radical economist, is born in Co Kilkenny.

1930 – Birth of writer, musician and film maker, Éamon de Buitléar. He was managing director of Éamon de Buitléar Ltd., a company which specialises in wildlife filming and television documentaries. Son of aide-de-camp to the then President of Ireland, Douglas Hyde, Éamon grew up in a house of Irish language speakers in Wicklow. He began his working career in Garnett and Keegan’s and Helys, selling fishing gear and shotguns. It was there where he first met Seán Ó Riada. A 4 km circular walk Slí de Buitléar or The De Buitléar Way on Bray Head commemorates his life and work, calling out notable flora and fauna in the area. It was inaugurated in May 2014 by his wife Lailí.

1950 – Birth of Irish historian, Paul Bew, in Belfast. He has worked at Queen’s University Belfast since 1979, and is currently Professor of Irish Politics, a position he has held since 1991.

1967 – Eleanor McEvoy is born in Dublin. She is one of Ireland’s most accomplished contemporary singer/songwriters. McEvoy composed the song Only A Woman’s Heart, title track of A Woman’s Heart, the best-selling Irish album in Irish history.

1972 – Éamon ‘Ned’ Broy, agent for Michael Collins, and later Commissioner of the Garda Síochána, passed away.

1972 – An anti-internment march was held at Magilligan strand, Co Derry, with several thousand people taking part. As the march neared the internment camp it was stopped by members of the Green Jackets and the Parachute Regiment of the British Army, who used barbed wire to close off the beach. When it appeared that the marchers were going to go around the wire, the army then fired rubber bullets and CS gas at close range into the crowd. A number of witnesses claimed that the paratroopers (who had been bused from Belfast to police the march) severely beat protesters and had to be physically restrained by their own officers. John Hume accused the soldiers of ‘beating, brutalising and terrorising the demonstrators’. There was also an anti-internment parade in Armagh.

1972 – The Republic of Ireland signs a treaty of accession to the European Economic Community.

1998 – It is announced that up to 1 million ounces of high-grade gold have been discovered in a mine in Co Monaghan that will result in the country’s biggest ever gold mine going into production in two years time.

1999 – Pop concerts can be held at Lansdowne Road, Dublin, without the need for planning permission, the Supreme Court decides in a unanimous decision.

2002 – It is announced that one of the British Army’s main bases in Northern Ireland is to close and its 500 soldiers moved back to Britain. Ebrington barracks in the Waterside area of Derry is expected to be cleared by the end of next year.

2002 – Colm Murphy (49) was found guilty at the Special Criminal Court (three judges sitting without a jury) in Dublin, of conspiracy to cause an explosion. He was the first person to be convicted in relation to the Omagh Bombing on 15 August 1998. Murphy was originally from south Armagh but had a home in Co Louth. Murphy was sentenced on Friday 25 January 2002 to 14 years in prison.

2003 – Amid much fanfare and brouhaha, quads Kelly, Katie, Shannon and Amy Murphy return to Cork’s Erinville Maternity Hospital for their first birthday celebration.

2011 – Brian Cowen resigns as party leader of Fianna Fail. He remained Taoiseach until the election. Mr Cowen told reporters at his 2pm press conference in Dublin the decision would allow Fianna Fail to “elect a new leader and fight [the election] in a united and determined manner, free from internal distraction.”

Photo: The majestic Glen Head and Beefan Mountain, Co Donegal, Fiachra Mangan Photography

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