#OTD in Irish History – 1 April (Aibreán):

April Fools’ Day is celebrated all around the world on the 1 April of every year. Sometimes referred to as All Fools’ Day, 1 April is not a national holiday, but is widely recognised and celebrated as a day where everyone plays all kinds of jokes and foolishness.

In the Liturgical calendar it is the Feast Day of Cellach of Armagh or Celsus or Celestinus. He was Archbishop of Armagh and an important contributor to the reform of the Irish church in the 12th century. He is venerated in the Roman Catholic Church as St Cellach. Though a member of the laicised ecclesiastical dynasty of Clann Sínaig, he took holy vows and gained priestly ordination. This put an end to the anomalous state of affairs, in effect since 966, whereby the supreme head of the Irish Church had been a layman. Following the Synod of Ráith Bressail, in which a diocesan structure for Ireland was established, he became the first metropolitan primate of all Ireland.

1329 – From April onwards there were risings by the native Irish in various parts of Munster and Leinster, and reprisals against them. This would continue into 1330.

1716 – The first Doggett Coat and Badge sculling race took place on the Thames. Founded by Thomas Doggett, an Irish comedian and actor, who worked as a theatre manager in London.

1749 – Samuel Boyse, MP for Bannow, died as a result of a duel at the age of 33.

1776 – Irish-born Edward Hand was appointed a Brigadier General in the Continental Army.

1839 – St Clair Mulholland, Union Civil War General and Medal of Honor winner, was born in Lisburn, Co Antrim.

1848 – Augustus Saint-Gaudens, sculptor, was born in Dublin. He was a sculptor of the Beaux-Arts generation who most embodied the ideals of the “American Renaissance”. Raised in New York City, he travelled to Europe for further training and artistic study, and then returned to New York, where he achieved major critical success for his monuments commemorating heroes of the American Civil War, many of which still stand.

1900 – The Irish Guards was formed by order of Queen Victoria to commemorate Irish troops who fought in the Second Boer War under the British flag.

1911 – The Titanic was launched in Belfast.

1912 – Just 9 days before her scheduled departure, the Titanic sea trials were postponed due to severe weather on the River Lagan.

1919 – Third meeting of Dáil Éireann – Éamon de Valera was elected President of Dáil Éireann (or Príomh Aire) and appointed a cabinet. De Valera issued a statement saying that “There is in Ireland at this moment only one lawful authority, and that authority is the elected Government of the Irish Republic”.

1921 – The IRA’s East Mayo Brigade O/C Sean Corcoran was killed by British troops at Crossard near Ballyhaunis Co Mayo. Later that day a Black and Tan is killed by a sniper in the town and an innocent man named Michael Coen is murdered in retaliation.

1922 – The ‘Arnon Street Massacre’ took place in Belfast. Five Catholic civilians were assassinated on Arnon street by uniformed Police after the IRA killed a Constable.

1935 – Death of nationalist, songwriter and poet, Francis Arthur Fahy, from Kinvara, Co Galway, who wrote the ballad ‘Galway Bay’.

1935 – Birth of William Augustine Whelan in Dublin, also known as Billy Whelan or Liam Whelan. He was a footballer and one of the eight Manchester United players who were killed in the Munich air disaster. He was 22 years old when he died.

1943 – Creation of the Office of Chief Herald of Ireland to replace Ulster King of Arms approved by Government of Ireland.

1966 – Death of writer Brian O’Nolan, also known as Flann O’Brien and Myles na gCopaleen.

1970 – Serious riots continued in the Ballymurphy estate in Belfast between Catholic residents and the British Army. The Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) became operational. The UDR was introduced to replace the ‘B-Specials’ (the Ulster Special Constabulary). The UDR was a locally recruited regiment of the British Army. Roy Hattersley, then Minister of Defence, visited Northern Ireland to mark the occasion.

1986 – US sub Nathaniel Green runs aground in the Irish Sea.

1998 – The European Commission serves notice on the Government that Ireland faces prosecution in the European Court on charges of damaging the environment and failing to provide secure habitats for some of our most endangered bird species.

1998 – The British government said that it would not order any inquiry into the killing (on 12 February 1989) of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane.

1999 – The multi-party talks at Hillsborough came to an end with a call for the proposed Executive to be established within three weeks. Talks were adjourned until 13 April 1999. The Hillsborough Declaration was agreed by British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.

1999 – One thousand people, the entire population of Belmullet in Co Mayo, were evacuated from the town following a fire in a rubber factory.

2000 – John Dennehy, Secretary General of the Department of Education and Science, made academic history by being elected Chairman of the Education Committee of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) for a three-year period. He was the first Irish person to be appointed to this position.

2001 – One of Irish television’s most familiar faces, Brendan O’Reilly, passed away. The 71-year-old former television and radio broadcaster and commentator had been ill for a number of months.

2001 – The Department of Agriculture ordered the slaughter of all the remaining 15,000 or so sheep in the Cooley Peninsula, Co Louth.

2002 – Loyalist thugs posing as Glasgow Celtic supporters are hunted by police after a series of attacks in flashpoint north Belfast.

2003 – Veteran actress Pat Leahy, 66, collapses on the set of Fair City.

2004 – Google announced Gmail to the public.

Photo: Vartry Reservoir Sunrise, Co Wicklow, David Heath Williams Photography

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