Today in Irish History – 30 January:

1661 – Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland, is ritually executed more than two years after his death, on the 12th anniversary of the execution of the monarch he himself deposed.

1846 – Birth of Katharine O’Shea, also known as Katie O’Shea, Kitty O’Shea or following her second marriage Katharine Parnell. She was an English woman of aristocratic background, whose decade-long secret adultery with Charles Stewart Parnell led to a widely publicised divorce in 1890 and his political downfall.

1859 – Edward Martyn, playwright, co-founder of Irish Literary Theatre, and Sinn Féin president, is born in Tulira, Co Galway.

1859 – Birth of Tony Mullane in Co Cork. Nicknamed “Count” and “The Apollo of the Box”, was an American Major League Baseball player who pitched for seven teams during his 13-season career. He is best known as a pitcher that could throw left-handed and right-handed, and for having one of the highest career win totals of pitchers not in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

1864 – The National Gallery of Ireland officially opened to the public. The collection comprised just one hundred and twelve pictures, including thirty-nine purchased in Rome in 1856 and thirty which were on loan from the National Gallery London and elsewhere.

1864 – Birth of athlete, Jim Mitchel, in Co Tipperary. He represented the United States at the 1904 Summer Olympics. Mitchell competed as a member of the New York Athletic Club at the games, which were held in St Louis, Missouri. In the 56 lb weight throw he won the bronze medal. In the hammer throw competition he finished fifth and in the discus throw event he finished sixth.

1865 – Birth of John Hughes, sculptor, in Dublin.

1869 – Death of writer and novelist, William Carleton Clogher, in Dublin. Born in Co Tyrone, he is best known for his Traits and Stories of the Irish Peasantry a collection of ethnic sketches of the stereotypical Irishman.

1900 – The Irish Party reunites ten years after it split.

1920 – Tomás MacCurtain is elected Lord Mayor of Cork for Sinn Féin.

1923 – Free State Senator John Bagwell is kidnapped in Dublin by Anti-Treaty fighters. Senator O’Sullivan’s house is also burned in Killarney, Kerry.

1947 – Death of trade union leader and socialist activist, James Larkin. Born to Irish parents in Liverpool, England. He and his family later moved to a small cottage in Co Down. Growing up in poverty, he received little formal education and began working in a variety of jobs while still a child. He became a full-time trade union organiser in 1905. Larkin moved to Belfast in 1907 and founded the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union, the Irish Labour Party, and later the Workers’ Union of Ireland. Perhaps best known for his role in the 1913 Dublin Lockout, ‘Big Jim’ continues to occupy a significant place in Dublin’s collective memory.

1948 – Birth of Paul ‘Dingus’ Magee in Belfast. He is a former volunteer in the Belfast Brigade of the PIRA who escaped during his 1981 trial for killing a member of the Special Air Service (SAS) in 1980. After serving a prison sentence in the Republic of Ireland, Magee fled to England where he was imprisoned after killing a policeman in 1992. He was repatriated to the Republic of Ireland as part of the Northern Ireland peace process before being released from prison in 1999, and subsequently avoided extradition back to Northern Ireland to serve his sentence for killing the member of the SAS.

1950 – Birth of musician, Paddy Keenan, in Trim, Co Meath. He plays the uilleann pipes and first gained fame as a founding member of The Bothy Band. Since that group’s dissolution in the late 1970s, Keenan has released a number of solo and collaborative recordings, and continues to tour both as a soloist, and with singer/guitarist Tommy O’Sullivan.

1972 – In what is to become known as Bloody Sunday, the British Army kills 13 civil rights demonstrators in the Bogside district of Derry. A 14th marcher later dies of his injuries.

1984 – The Prison Governors’ Association and the Prison Officers Association both claimed that political interference in the running of Long Kesh Prison resulted in the mass escape on 25 September 1983. Nick Scott, Minister for Prisons, rejected the allegations.

1984 – Death of Luke Kelly, lead vocalist and 5-string banjo member of the Dubliners.

1987 – Birth of Rebecca Quin in Dublin. She is a professional wrestler currently signed to WWE, where she performs on the SmackDown brand under the ring name Becky Lynch. She previously wrestled on the independent circuit under the ring name Rebecca Knox.

1992 – Charles Haughey announced his resignation as both Taoiseach and leader of Fianna Fáil. Haughey’s resignation followed the re-emergence of allegations about phone-tapping in 1982.

1993 – There was a rally in Derry to commemorate the 21st anniversary of the killings on ‘Bloody Sunday’ (30 January 1972).

1996 – Death of Gino Gallagher, an Irish republican who was Chief of Staff of the Irish National Liberation Army. He was killed in Belfast while waiting in line for his unemployment benefit. His killing followed internal disagreements over the future of the republican socialist movement. The opposing “INLA-GHQ” faction, led by former Chief of Staff Hugh Torney disbanded in September of the same year following Torney’s killing. Drug dealer Kevin McAlorum who was paid to kill Gallagher by Torney’s faction was himself murdered in 2004. This was not linked to any political dispute.

1997 – Peter North, Chairman of the Independent Review of Parades and Marches, launched his report (The North Report) in Belfast and recommended the setting up of an independent commission to review contentious parades. Most Nationalists welcomed the Review but Unionists were against the main recommendations. Patrick Mayhew, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, announced that “further consultation” would have to be carried out by the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) before any decisions could be taken. Marjorie (Mo) Mowlam, Labour Party Spokesperson on Northern Ireland, approved of the report.

1998 – Relatives of those killed during the Bloody Sunday Massacre in Derry’s Bogside, gather to remember their dead. It is a ritual observed every year, but this year it is given extra poignancy by the announcement of a new inquiry into the killing of 14 unarmed civilians by the Parachute Regiment.

1998 – Thousands participate in a united peace rally to protest at recent sectarian killings.

1998 – Buried in the sand at Lahinch for almost 100 years, the ship-wrecked Elizabeth McClean emerges to allow a salvage operation to take its valuable cargo. The 58-foot schooner, laden down with Liscannor stone, sank off the Clare coast in 1904, bound for Glasgow.

2000 – Three RUC officers are injured and another man is in serious condition after mobs attack them in Derry and Belfast.

2002 – Relatives of those killed on Bloody Sunday (30 January 1972), together with some of the surviving injured, and about 2,000 other people, gathered in the Bogside in Derry to mark the 30th anniversary of the killings. A minute’s silence was held at the time when the first shots were fired. Dr Edward Daly, Bishop of Derry, rededicated the memorial to the dead. In his address he said he prayed “for victims everywhere – here, in Afghanistan, the Middle East and New York”. He added: “We identify with all people who have suffered, of whatever race or religion or nation”. The Bloody Sunday Inquiry was adjourned until Monday – the Inquiry does not sit on the anniversary of the killings. The Inquiry will resume on Monday when the first Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) witnesses are expected to begin giving evidence. It is anticipated that one of the police witnesses will give evidence from behind a screen.

2002 – Figures released by the Central Statistics Office show that Dubliners have more money to spend than everyone else in Ireland with people in Laois, Offaly and Kerry having the least.

2002 – Publicans warn Health Minister Micheál Martin not to proceed with a proposed ban on smoking in pubs after he announces changes to tough anti-tobacco laws, which will allow him to ban smoking in all or part of licensed premises.

2003 – Vintners claim that next year’s ban on smoking in pubs will be unworkable and accuse Health Minister Micheál Martin of overreacting.

2011 – Thousands of people join what is intended to be the last Bloody Sunday march in memory of the fourteen people who lost their lives on 30 January 1972 when British paratroopers opened fire on a civil rights march in Derry’s Bogside area. A number of options were being considered to mark future anniversaries, including an annual gathering of remembrance at the Bloody Sunday monument, a remembrance Mass, a human rights weekend and an annual Bloody Sunday lecture.

Photo: Free Derry Corner, Co Derry

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