1731 – Birth of Sir Lucius O’Brien, opposition politician; he will eventually be described as ‘a man who disagrees with the rest of mankind by thinking well of himself’.
1854 – Birth of leader of the Ulster Unionist Party, Edward Henry Carson, in Dublin. Lord Carson held numerous positions in the Cabinet of the United Kingdom and pursued a career as a senior barrister and a judge; he become one of seven Law Lords. Upon his death, in 1935, he was one of the few non-monarchs to receive a United Kingdom state funeral.
1861 – Death of painter of the Romantic era, Francis Danby. Born in Co Wexford, his imaginative, dramatic landscapes were comparable to those of John Martin. Danby initially developed his imaginative style while he was the central figure in a group of artists who have come to be known as the Bristol School. His period of greatest success was in London in the 1820s.
1880 – Birth of economist, journalist, barrister, writer, poet, soldier and Home Rule politician, Tom Kettle, in Artane, Co Dublin. As a member of the Irish Parliamentary Party, he was Member of Parliament (MP) for East Tyrone from 1906 to 1910 at Westminster. He joined the Irish Volunteers in 1913, then on the outbreak of World War I in 1914 enlisted for service in the British Army, and was killed in action on the Western Front in the Autumn of 1916. He was a much admired friend of James Joyce, who considered him to be his best friend in Ireland, as well as the likes of Francis Sheehy-Skeffington, Oliver St. John Gogarty and Robert Wilson Lynd.
1903 – Charles Gavan Duffy, the first editor and proprietor of The Nation newspaper, dies in Nice.
1921 – Drumcondra Murders: Republican activists James Murphy and Patrick Kennedy were arrested by Auxiliaries in Dublin. Two hours later, Dublin Metropolitan Police found the two men lying shot in Drumcondra: Kennedy was dead, and Murphy was dying when they were discovered.
1923 – Birth of poet and playwright, Brendan Behan, in Dublin. Noted for his earthy satire and powerful political commentary. Behan died at the age of 41, on 20 March 1964 and was given an IRA guard of honour, which escorted his coffin. It was described by several newspapers as the biggest funeral since those of Michael Collins and Charles Stewart Parnell.
1923 – Two Anti-Treaty fighters are killed in a skirmish at Poleberry, Co Waterford, while attempting to hold up a post office
1926 – Birth of politician, Garret FitzGerald, in Ballsbridge, Co Dublin. He was twice Taoiseach of Ireland, serving in office from July 1981 to February 1982 and again from December 1982 to March 1987. FitzGerald was elected to the Seanad Éireann in 1965 and was subsequently elected to the Dáil as a Fine Gael TD in 1969. He served as Foreign Affairs Minister from 1973 to 1977. FitzGerald was the leader of Fine Gael between 1977 and 1987.
1932 – The Army Comrades Association is formed; later to be called the National Guard and nicknamed the ‘Blueshirts’.
1953 – Birth of film, television and stage actor, Ciarán Hinds, in Belfast. He has built a reputation as a versatile character actor appearing in such high-profile films as Road to Perdition, The Sum of All Fears, The Phantom of the Opera, Munich, There Will Be Blood, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, The Woman in Black, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance and Frozen. He has been cast as Steppenwolf in the film Justice League.
1971 – Five men, two of them British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) engineers, the others construction workers, were killed near a BBC transmitter on Brougher Mountain, Co Tyrone in a landmine attack carried out by the IRA. It was believed that a British Army mobile patrol, which had been visiting the site, was the intended target.
1972 – William Craig, Northern Ireland Minister for Home Affairs, launched ‘Ulster Vanguard’ as an umbrella movement for the right-wing of Unionism. The new group held a series of demonstrations and marches over the next few months. These demonstrations intensified when Stormont was replaced and ‘direct rule’ introduced.
1972 – A Report (Cmnd. 4901) was published by a committee headed by Lord Parker on the methods used by security forces to interrogate those interned. The methods included: ‘in-depth interrogation’, hooding, food deprivation, use of ‘white noise’ to cause disorientation and sleep deprivation, and being forced to stand for long periods – leaning against a wall with their finger-tips. Two members of the committee, including Lord Parker, held that the techniques were justified. Lord Gardiner disagreed.
1981 – Ian Paisley, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), and other senior members of the DUP held a rally at Belfast City Hall were they signed a covenant, the ‘Ulster Declaration’, based on the Ulster Covenant of 1912. Paisley also announced a ‘Carson Trail’ which was to be a series of protest rallies against the continuing dialogue between British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, and Taoiseach Charles Haughey.
1983 – A nationwide hunt begins following the kidnapping of prize stallion and 1981 Derby winner Shergar from the Aga Khan’s stables in Co Kildare.
1990 – Amnesty International published a report which claimed that there was ‘mounting evidence’ of collusion between the security forces and Loyalist paramilitaries. The RUC said that the claims were ‘utter nonsense’.
1996 – The Irish Republican Army declares the end of its 18 month ceasefire shortly followed by a large bomb in London’s Canary Wharf, killing two and injuring 100.
1998 – Claremorris show jumper, Carl Hanley receives the Irish Field National Award at the Annual Awards Ball in Dublin.
1998 – Ulster Unionist rebels planning to overthrow leader David Trimble confirm there is ‘widespread concern’ at the political direction of the party following revelations of a possible leadership challenge next month.
1998 – Nationalist politicians in the North respond angrily to a consultative paper described as the most far-reaching British government review of police accountability for 30 years.
2000 – Northern Ireland Secretary, Peter Mandelson, issues a direct appeal to the IRA to start disarming in order to save the peace process from collapse.
2001 – Limerick man, Michael Noonan, is elected leader of Fine Gael.
2007 – Death of author Ben Kiely, one of Ireland’s best acclaimed writers and journalists at the age of 87. Born between Drumskinny in Co Fermanagh and Dromore, Co Tyrone and a former pupil of Mount St Columba Christian Brothers School in Omagh, his career spans six decades and produces many short stories and novels, as well as his autobiography Drink to the Bird: An Omagh Boyhood.
2010 – The Independent International Commission on Decommissioning stood down.
2011 – The last sketch by artist Jack B Yeats, drawn while he lay dying in a Dublin nursing home, sells at auction in London yesterday for £5,760. Roundabout Ponies far exceeded its estimate of £1,500- £2,000 at the inaugural Irish Sale at Bonhams, the New Bond Street fine art auctioneers.
2013 – The 10th Irish Film and Television Awards took place at the Convention Centre Dublin (CCD). It was hosted by actor Simon Delaney and attracted an audience of 1.24 million viewers. The Show was broadcast on RTÉ One Television on the night.
2013 – Death of hurler, Jimmy Smyth. He played as a full-forward for the Clare senior team. Smyth is regarded as one of the greatest players never to have won an All-Ireland medal. In 1984 he was named on a special Hurling Team of the Century made up of players never to have won an All-Ireland medal. In 2000 he was named on the Munster Hurling Team of the Millennium.
Photo: A view from above at Skryne Tower (as its known locally) in Co Meath. This is what remains of the 15th century Abbey of St. Nicholas which commands the Hill of Skryne, Photo credit: Copter View
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