#OTD in Irish History – 18 March:

In the old Celtic calendar, today is Sheelah’s Day.

1736 – The Irish House of Commons condemns the tithe of agistment (or tithe of cattle and other produce of grass lands).

1768 – Death of Laurence Sterne. He was an Anglo-Irish novelist and an Anglican clergyman. Born in Clonmel, Co Tipperary, he is best known for his novels The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman and A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy; but he also published many sermons, wrote memoirs, and was involved in local politics. Sterne died in London after years of fighting consumption.

1800 – Harriet Smithson, actress and wife of the composer Hector Berlioz, was born in Ennis, Co. Clare.

1801 – Ambrose O’Higgins, Viceroy of Peru, died in Lima.

1821 – The Burgery Ambush: During the evening hours, the IRA executed RIC Sergeant, Michael Hickey, in Waterford. They set light to the vehicle Hickey and his men were travelling in and captured them. Hickey was shot dead with the words ‘police spy’ written on his chest.

1825 – In accordance with the Unlawful Societies Act, the Grand Orange Lodge advises its members that further meetings would be in violation of the law.

1921 – (18–19) Burgery Ambush: West Waterford IRA under Pax Whelan, George Lennon and George Plunkett from Dublin HQ, ambushed a convoy of Black and Tans returning to Dungarvan via the Burgery. One Black and Tan, Redman, was killed along with 2 IRA Volunteers (Pat Keating and Sean Fitzgerald).

1921 – An IRA firing squad executed Dungarvan RIC Constable Michael Hickey. Affixed to his tunic was the notation “police spy”. He was later interred, upon the intercession of the parish priest, in an unmarked grave, belonging to his fiancee’s family, at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church, Dungarvan.

1922 – In Belfast, the RIC and USC raided the IRA’s headquarters, seizing weapons and names of IRA members. The Provisional Government in Dublin condemned this action as a breach of the truce. Meanwhile, four people were killed in the city.

1932 – The order outlawing the IRA is allowed to lapse.

1940 – Death of painter, Roderic O’Conor. Born in Roscommon, he spent much of his later career in Paris and as part of the Pont-Aven movement, O’Conor’s work demonstrates Impressionist and Post-Impressionist influence. In March 2011 a work by O’Conor sold for £337,250 (€383,993). Landscape, Cassis, an oil-on-canvas, was painted by O’Conor in the south of France in 1913 and sold at Sotheby’s for significantly higher than the estimated price.

1949 – Birth in Belfast of Alex ‘Hurricane’ Higgins, snooker player and two-time world-champion.

1952 – Birth of jockey, Pat Eddery, in Blackrock, Co Dublin.

1952 – Birth of Bernie Tormé in Dublin. He is a rock guitarist, singer, songwriter, record label and recording studio owner.

1975 – The two Price sisters, Marion Price and Dolours Price, were transferred from Durham Prison to Armagh Prison following a long protest campaign. The Price sisters had been convicted of causing explosions in London on 8 March 1973.

1982 – Death of Patrick (Paddy) Smith. He was an Irish politician who served in a number of government positions under Éamon de Valera and Seán Lemass. He holds the distinction of being the longest-serving member of Dáil Éireann, having been a member for 53 years, 11 months. Born in Bailieborough, Co Cavan, Smith was involved in the 1916 Easter Rising and later in the Irish Republican Army, during the War of Independence.

1986 – A new prison at Maghaberry, Co Antrim, received its first batch of prisoners.

1997 – The ‘Birmingham Six’ issued a libel writ against David Evans, Conservative Member of Parliament (MP), when comments he had made about the six men in a school magazine subsequently appeared in the national media.

1998 – The funeral of Hugh Coveney, politician and former Lord Mayor of Cork, takes place at St Michael’s Church in Blackrock.

1998 – Founder and executive director of the Chernobyl Children’s Project charity, Adi Roche, is awarded the Frantsysk Skrayna Order by Belarus’s envoy to Britain and Ireland, Uladzimir Shchasny. It is the country’s highest honour and the first time it has been given to a foreigner.

1999 – The funeral of Rosemary Nelson took place in Lurgan, it was attended by thousands of mourners. Nelson had been killed in a Loyalist attack on 15 March 1999. Father Kieran McPartlan called for an independent inquiry to be set up to investigate the circumstances surrounding her killing.

2000 – The end of a 30 year ban failed to bring huge numbers of people out to see the controversial cult movie, A Clockwork Orange.

2000 – Geneva-based financier and professional gambler, JP McManus jumps almost 20 places to 13th in The Sunday Times Irish rich list, with an estimated worth of more than £300 million.

2016 – High Court declared that the area of Moore Street, where the 1916 heroes made their last stand, should be declared a National Monument. It is a blow to the Government which claimed the area of Moore Street in central Dublin was not a national monument.

Image | Mount Errigal, Co Donegal, viewed from a gap in the rocks on Gola Island, Anthony Murphy Photography @ Mythical Ireland

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