Today in Irish History – 29 January:

1768 – Oliver Goldsmith’s ‘The Good-Natured Boy’ is first performed at London’s Covent Garden.

1794 – Archibald Hamilton Rowan, United Irishman, is tried on charges of distributing seditious paper.

1817 – Birth of geographer and explorer, John Palliser, in Dublin. Following his service in the Waterford Militia and hunting excursions to the North American prairies, he led the British North American Exploring Expedition which investigated the geography, climate and ecology of western Canada. In 1859 Palliser was awarded the Patron’s Gold Medal of the Royal Geographical Society for his Survey of the Rocky Mountains. He returned to Ireland in 1862 and presented his findings to the British Parliament.

1923 – The Earl of Mayo’s house is destroyed and burned by Republicans.

1923 – A Free State soldier is killed in an attack on the National Army post in Castlemaine, Co Kerry.

1924 – One garda is killed.

1942 – Members of the US 34th Infantry (Mechanized) Division are some of the first American troops to arrive in Northern Ireland. Their first deployment would be to North Africa. Northern Ireland would be a major training camp for the invasion of the European mainland. American strength in Northern Ireland on this date is reported as 10,433 (including 534 officers, 70 nurses.

1948 – Pat Kenny, Irish broadcaster is born.

1955 – Birth of singer/songwriter, Liam Reilly, in Dundalk, Co Louth. He is a former member of the group Bagatelle. Bagatelle were formed in 1978 by drummer Wally McConville along with bass player Ken O’Brien and guitarist John Doyle. In 1988 he was a finalist in the Irish heats of the Eurovision Song Contest with the song ‘Lifeline’. Reilly came back to arrive second in the event in 1990 with ‘Somewhere in Europe’. He performed this at the Eurovision Song Contest 1990 staged in Zagreb and was placed joint second out of the 22 entries. As a composer, Reilly returned to Eurovision in Rome in 1991 where his song ‘Could It Be That I’m In Love’, performed by Kim Jackson, was placed equal tenth.

1967 – The Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA) is formed.

1976 – Explosions rock London’s West End. One person is injured. The IRA later takes responsibility.

1994 – Bill Clinton, President of the USA, ordered that Gerry Adams, President of Sinn Féin, should be given a ‘limited duration’ visa to enter the USA to address a peace conference. The decision was supported by the National Security Council and Irish-American Senators but was taken against the advice of the State Department and the British government.

1998 – Tony Blair, British Prime Minister, announced a new inquiry into the events surrounding ‘Bloody Sunday’ in Derry on 30 January 1972. Relatives announced that they could now consider Lord Widgery’s report to be ‘dead’. The new inquiry was to be known as the ‘Saville Inquiry’.

1998 – Former Taoiseach Jack Lynch is rushed to Accident and Emergency at the Meath Hospital, Dublin shortly before 10pm. His condition is described as not life-threatening.

1999 – The future of the Apple computer plant in Cork is thrown into doubt with the news that up to 600 jobs are expected to be lost.

1999 – One of the youngest members of the Church of Ireland, Rev. Canon William Paul Colton, is elected Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross. He succeeds the Rt. Rev. Roy Warke.

2001 – Ulster Unionist deputy leader John Taylor pulls out of the running for the next General Election.

2002 – A Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) delegation travelled to Downing Street, London, for a meeting with Tony Blair, British Prime Minister. The meeting discussed the controversy over the investigation of the Omagh bombing and also reforms to the criminal justice system in Northern Ireland.

2002 – U2 battle to save their Dublin recording studios from being pulled to the ground. The millionaire musicians tell a hearing at the Gresham Hotel in Dublin that the musical heritage of their Hanover Quay site should be enough to save it from demolition.

2011 – Irish finance bill passes final hurdle – the senate. The finance bill is a condition of Ireland’s 85bn euro (£72bn) bailout package. The approval leaves the way clear for a general election to be called.

Photo: Kilree Monastic Site, Co Kilkenny, Robert Downie Photography

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