Today in Irish History – 28 January:

1547 – Henry VIII dies (‘self-proclaimed’ King of Ireland). His nine-year-old son, Edward VI becomes King.

1610 – The crown and the Irish Society of London, a consortium of city companies, agree to carry out the plantation of Derry, Coleraine and part of Tyrone. The Honourable Irish Society is the organisation created by royal charter consisting of members nominated by livery companies of the City of London, set up to colonise Co Derry during the plantation of Ulster. Notably it was involved in the construction of the city of Derry, where it continues to own the City Walls. It was also particularly active in the town of Coleraine. Following the end of the primary conflict between the English monarchy and the Chieftains of Ireland with the flight of the Earls in 1607, James I of England set out to defend against a future attack from within or without. In his survey, he found that the town of Derry could become either a great asset as a control over the River Foyle and Lough Swilly, or it could become an inviting back door if the people of the area were against him. He pressurised the guilds of the City of London to fund the resettlement of the area, including the building of a new walled city, and the result was the creation of the society. The Society financed the building of the Guildhall, Derry. Work started in 1887 and it was opened in July 1890, having cost £19,000.

1635 – The City of London and the Irish Society of London are found guilty of mismanagement and neglect of Derry plantation; they are sentenced to a fine of £70,000 and forfeiture of Derry property.

1742 – Clotworthy Skeffington, 2nd Earl of Massereene, is born in Co Antrim.

1786 – By charter, the Irish Academy becomes the Royal Irish Academy.

1807 – Birth of polar explorer and discoverer of the North-West Passage, Sir Robert McClure, polar explorer and discoverer of the North-West Passage, in Co Wexford .

1818 – The Iberno-Celtic Society is founded to preserve and publish the best ancient Irish literature.

1852 – Birth of inventor, Louis Brennan, in Castlebar, Co Mayo.

1892 – Birth of WWI Ace, David Mary Tidmarsh, in Limerick.

1873 – Patrick Malley is killed by his son William Malley at Calla, a remote district of Errismore Co Galway. J.M. Synge based his story ‘The Playboy Of The Western World’ on the tragedy.

1877 – George Fitzmaurice, Irish Renaissance playwright, is born.

1918 – South Armagh by-election campaign begins with Dr Patrick McCartan as the Sinn Féin candidate. Sinn Féin President Éamon de Valera travelled to Silverbridge and Countess Markievicz to Lislea, to campaign on behalf of McCartan.

1921 – British troops in Co Cork were tipped off by a local Loyalist named Mrs Lindsay about an IRA ambush at Macroom-Cork road. Two IRA volunteers were killed and five captured by British soldiers. The five IRA prisoners were later executed under martial law. The local IRA executed Lindsay and her chauffeur James Clarke in reprisal.

1923 – Ballinamore Free State barracks, Leitrim, is attacked and taken by Republicans. They take 35 Free State soldiers prisoner, who they take with them back to the Arigna mountains. The barracks itself and the train station are destroyed with explosives.

1935 – Laurence White Jr. is born in Brooklyn New York, USA.

1939 – Death of William Butler Yeats.

1941 – The Emergency Powers Act provides for the censorship of press messages to places outside the Free State.

1941 – Birth of Dublin artist, George Potter.

1967 – Helena Molony, republican and trade unionist, dies in Dublin.

1972 – The Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA), in an effort to avoid a repeat of the violence at Milligan Strand on 22 January 1972, placed ‘special emphasis on the necessity for a peaceful incident-free day’ at the next NICRA march on 30 January 1972 (Irish News, 28 January 1972). According to a Channel 4 documentary ‘Secret History: Bloody Sunday’, broadcast on 22 January 1992, Ivan Cooper, a Member of Parliament at Stormont, who was involved in the organisation of the march, had obtained assurances from the IRA that its members would withdraw from the area during the march.

1973 – In the run up to the first anniversary of ‘Bloody Sunday’ there was serious rioting in Derry.

1978 – Birth of professional wrestler and actor, Stephen Farrelly, in Cabra, Co Dublin. He is signed to the American professional wrestling promotion WWE, where he performs under the ring name Sheamus shortened from his previous ring name Sheamus O’Shaunessy. He currently appears on the Raw brand where he is one-half of the WWE Raw Tag Team Champions with Cesaro. Prior to joining WWE, Farrelly wrestled on the European circuit and was a two-time International Heavyweight Champion during his tenure in Irish Whip Wrestling (IWW).

1979 – Death of Eileen Shanahan – one of the small number of Irish women poets. Her best-known poem, The Three Children (Near Clonmel), was included in the Oxford Book of Irish Verse (1958).

1981 – Daniel O’Donnell makes his first professional appearance, at a club in Thurles as part of his sister Margo’s band.

1982 – James Prior, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, said that the DeLorean Motor Company would not be offered any further public funding. He also announced that Kenneth Cork would be appointed to examine the whole DeLorean affair.

1983 – The Irish government announced that it would introduce legislation to give full voting rights to approximately 20,000 British citizens.

1988 – The appeal of the ‘Birmingham Six’, the six men imprisoned for the Birmingham pub bombings of 1974, was rejected by the London Court of Appeal. Fresh evidence, particularly the fact that the original forensic tests were flawed, was rejected by the appeal judges. The men were subsequently released on 14 March 1991.

1993 – The IRA bombs Harrods for the third time in 20 years. Four people are injured.

1999 – Death of artist, Markey Robinson. Born in Belfast, he was a prolific artist with a distinctive naïve expressionist style. His main passion was painting, but he also produced sculptures, and designed some stained glass panels.

2000 – Death of well-known Irish actor, Tony Doyle, star of popular programmes such as Ballykissangel and The Riordans.

2000 – Nobel Peace laureate, John Hume, issues a plea to the IRA for a last-minute gesture on decommissioning to ensure the Northern Ireland peace process does not founder.

2001 – Mighty Munster moves a step closer to Heineken European Cup rugby glory when they defeat Biarritz 38 – 29 in the quarter-final.

2002 – Winds of up to 90mph leave 3,000 homes in the west and north-west without power supply for several hours.

2003 – It is announced that actor Peter O’Toole, nominated seven times for an Oscar for his work in films as diverse as the historical epic ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ and the nostalgic comedy ‘My Favourite Year’, will receive an honorary Academy Award at this year’s Oscar ceremonies.

2007 – Sinn Féin Ard Fheis votes overwhelmingly in favour of a leadership motion expressing support for the Police Service of Northern Ireland. Speaking moments after the vote is taken, party President Gerry Adams describes the decision as ‘truly historic’ and says the potential had been created to change the political landscape of the island “forever.”

2011 – Taoiseach Brian Cowen announces he will seek to dissolve the Dáil next Tuesday at which time he will also announce the date of a General Election.

Photo: Uragh Stone Circle near Gleninchaquin Park, Co Kerry, Captive Landscapes by Stephen Emerson

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