#OTD in Irish History – 28 March:

1646 – Peace between the confederates and James Butler, the Marquis of Ormond and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, leads to a split within the confederation, i.e. between confederates and royalists.

1719 – John Cairnes, son of David Cairnes, former MP for the city of Derry, was killed in a duel in Newcastle, England.

1772 – An Act to repress Steelboy disturbances in five Ulster counties was passed. The Hearts of Steel, or Steelboys, was an exclusively Protestant movement originating in Co Antrim, due to grievances about the sharp rise of rent and evictions. The protests then spread into neighbouring counties of Armagh, Down, and Derry, before being put down by the army. The disturbances where so widespread in the affected counties, that the government passed legislation to severely punish the ‘wicked and disorderly persons’, and by the later half of 1772 sent the army into Ulster to crush them. Men were hanged, whilst many others were said to have drowned trying to flee across the sea to Scotland.

1820 – Birth of war correspondent, Sir William Howard Russell, in Tallaght, Co Dublin.

1874 – Birth of Irish patriot, Joseph McGarrity, in Carrickmore, Co Tyrone.

1879 – Birth of Irish patriot and Lord Mayor of Cork, Terence MacSwiney, in Co Cork.

1881 – Birth of Martin John Sheridan. He was “one of the greatest athletes [the United States] has ever known” according to his obituary in the New York Times. He was born in Bohola, Co Mayo, and died in St. Vincent’s Hospital in Manhattan, New York, the day before his 37th birthday, a very early casualty of the 1918 flu pandemic. He’s buried in Calvary Cemetery, Queens, New York. He was part of a group of Irish-American athletes known as the “Irish Whales.”

1892 – Birth of Tom Maguire, an Irish republican who held the rank of commandant-general in the Western Command of the Irish Republican Army and led the South Mayo flying column.

1922 – Moving closer to a vicious Civil War. The IRA Executive issued a statement stating that the Minister of Defence and the Chief-of-Staff (both of whom supported the Treaty) no longer exercised control over the IRA.

1922 – IRA volunteers seized the RIC barracks in Belcoo, Co Fermanagh after a three-hour gun battle. Fifteen policemen were taken prisoner and marched across the border to be held until 18 July.

1923 – Five Republicans who were captured in the Anti-Treaty IRA’s 5 March attack on Cahersiveen, Kerry were executed by firing squad.

1944 – Birth of journalist and feminist, Nell McCafferty, in Derry.

1955 – Birth of Alliance Party leader, John Alderdice, in Ballymena, Co Antrim.

1957 – Death of Jack Butler Yeats, Ireland’s leading painter of the 20th century.

1970 – Easter Rising commemorations led to rioting and the first fighting between the British army and Provisional IRA.

1973 – A ship (the ‘Claudia’) was intercepted off the Waterford coast. It was found to contain 5 tonnes of weapons which were en route to the IRA.

1981 – Ian Paisley, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), addressed a rally, estimated at 30,000 people, at Stormont to protest against the ongoing talks between the British and Irish governments.

2000 – Wildcat action by certain SIPTU rail workers in support of their National Bus and Rail Union colleagues quickly exacerbates the dispute; as the strike appears to worsen, commuters can expect another day of chaos in getting to work. On a lighter note, sales of bicycles in Dublin have soared.

2001 – The Government expresses serious concern about another potential outbreak of suspected foot and mouth in Co Louth.

2003 – A Dublin woman pays 8,500 euros for two tickets for Ireland’s Grand Slam showdown with England. With interest in the game at fever pitch, Ann Higgins secures her seats for one of the biggest games of the year during a charity auction on the Marian Finucane Show.

2006 – Death of Proinsias Ó Maonaigh or Francie Mooney, a fiddler from Gweedore (Gaoth Dobhair), Co Donegal. He was known for his distinguished fiddle playing and his unique and vast contribution to Irish music and culture.

2017 – Theresa May officially invoked Article 50 as she signed a letter to the European Council President, triggering Britain’s exit from the European Union.

Photo: Daffodil Field, Co Cork, Stair na hÉireann Photography

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Stair na hÉireann is steeped in Ireland's turbulent history, culture, ancient secrets and thousands of places that link us to our past and the present. With insight to folklore, literature, art, and music, you’ll experience an irresistible tour through the remarkable Emerald Isle.