#OTD in Irish History – 13 April:

1593 – Birth of Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford/Viceroy of Ireland. He served in Parliament and was a supporter of King Charles I. From 1632–39 he was Lord Deputy of Ireland, where he established a strong authoritarian rule. Recalled to England, he became a leading advisor to the king, attempting to strengthen the royal position against Parliament. When Parliament condemned him to death, Charles signed the death warrant and Wentworth was executed.

1722 – Death of Dublin-born, controversialist, Charles Leslie.

1728 – Samuel Molyneux, former MP for the University of Dublin and son of the writer William Molyneux, collapsed in the British House of Commons and died, aged 38.

1780 – Birth of civil engineer and inventor, Alexander Mitchell, in Dublin.

1742 – Handel’s Messiah is performed for the first time, conducted by the composer, at Mr. Neale’s Great Music Hall, Fishamble Street, Dublin, before an audience of 700.

1825 – Thomas D’Arcy McGee, Nationalist, writer, and Canadian politician is born in Carlingford, Co Louth.

1829 – The Catholic Emancipation Act receives royal assent on this date; it permits Catholic men who can afford the poll tax to enter Parliament and hold civil and military offices.

1896 – The first x-ray ever taken was in De La Salle College in Waterford city, by Michael Francis O’Reilly, who entered a Jesuit Novitiate in Montreal, Canada. He returned to his native land as Brother Potamian. His last written contribution was to the Catholic World in October 1916 when he wrote an article entitled ‘The Coming of Age of the x-Ray’. Brother Potamian O’Reilly died at St Laurence’s Hospital, New York on 20 January 1917, aged 70 years.

1851 – Birth of mystic, esotericist, and occultist, William Quan Judge, in Dublin. He was one of the founders of the original Theosophical Society. When he was 13 years old, his family emigrated to the United States. He became a naturalised citizen of the USA at age 21 and passed the New York state bar exam, specialising in commercial law. A vigorous, imaginative, and idealistic young man, he was among the seventeen people who first put the Theosophical Society together.

1906 – Birth of playwright, Samuel Beckett, in Foxrock, Co Dublin.

1909 – Death of lawyer and Celtic scholar, Whitley Stokes. He was born at 5 Merrion Square, Dublin and educated at St Columba’s College where he was taught Irish by Denis Coffey, author of a Primer of the Irish Language. He came to know the Irish antiquaries Samuel Ferguson, Eugene O’Curry, John O’Donovan and George Petrie. He entered Trinity College, Dublin in 1846 and graduated with a BA in 1851. His friend and contemporary Rudolf Thomas Siegfried became assistant librarian in Trinity College in 1855, and the college’s first professor of Sanskrit in 1858. It is likely that Stokes learnt both Sanskrit and comparative philology from Siegfried, thus acquiring a skill-set rare among Celtic scholars in Ireland at the time.

1920 – Birth of Fine Gael leader and Taoiseach, Liam Cosgrave, in Castleknock, Dublin.

1921 – 13/15: Captain W L King, the commanding officer of F Company Auxiliary Division, RIC, was tried by court-martial for the murder of James Murphy on 9 February. James Murphy’s dying declaration was ruled inadmissible. Two Auxiliary officers provided alibis for Captain King at the time of the murder. King was acquitted.

1922 – In Belfast, IRA volunteers shot dead two RIC men. In New York, IRA volunteers from Cork shot and wounded a suspected informer.

1922 – Anti-Treaty IRA under Rory O’Connor took over the Four Courts building in Dublin.

1923 – Three republican fighters were surprised and captured in a dug out near Gortaglanna, Co Kerry. One was shot dead, the other two were taken prisoner.

1923 – A National Army scout was shot dead in Glenties, Co Donegal.

1926 – Birth of optical physicist, Peter Carrol.

1939 – Birth of poet, Seamus Heaney, near Castledawson, Co Derry.

1952 – Birth of jockey, Jonjo O’Neill, in Castletownroche, Co Cork.

1968 – Cliff Richard came second in the Eurovision Song Contest with the Phil Coulter composition, Congratulations; it subsequently outsold the winner throughout Europe.

1992 – Celebrations to mark 250th anniversary of world premiere in Dublin of Händel’s Messiah.

1997 – Marjorie (Mo) Mowlam, Labour Party Spokesperson in Northern Ireland, announced that she was recovering from treatment for a brain tumour. Mowlam made the announcement following press comments about her appearance, particularly her weight gain.

1998 – RUC Chief Ronnie Flanagan warned that Northern Ireland could explode into renewed street violence during the Summer marching season.

1998 – One of Ireland’s leading three-day event riders, David Foster was fatally injured in a fall at a show near his Co Meath home.

1998 – The Northern Ireland peace settlement cleared another crucial hurdle when the first contentious day in the marching calendar drew to a close without incident.

1998 – An Apprentice Boys’ parade in Belfast stopped short of the Catholic Lower Ormeau Road, a flashpoint for serious violence in previous years.

1999 – Efforts to break the deadlock over decommissioning resumed at Stormont with a series of meetings, including a round table session involving all the parties supporting the Good Friday Agreement. Prior to the resumption of talks, Marjorie (Mo) Mowlam, Secretary of State of Northern Ireland, issued a statement. Mitchel McLaughlin, Sinn Féin chairman, also issued a statement claiming that the Hillsborough Declaration moved away from the Good Friday Agreement and as such, was formally rejected by SF. The Declaration was also rejected by the Progressive Unionist Party.

1999 – The Northern Ireland Police Authority strongly defended Ronnie Flanagan, Chief Constable of the RUC, against allegations of ‘indifference’ made in the report by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on 12 April 1999. The total number of prisoners released under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement was reported as 257: 131 were Republican, 118 Loyalist, and 8 had no classification.

1999 – Track star Sonia O’Sullivan received an honorary Doctor of Philosophy, the first such conferring by the Dublin Institute of Technology.

2001 – A second foot-and-mouth outbreak in Northern Ireland was confirmed after secondary tests on samples from cattle on a large dairy farm, near the shores of Lough Neagh, proved positive.

2001 – The RIRA issued a statement to mark the 85th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising. The statement read: ‘Partition has failed and those who attempt to uphold it will fail. As for republicans, we will continue to attack the problem at its root and make no apology for undertaking this necessary task.’

2001 – In what has become an Easter tradition, Our Lady’s Choral Society choristers accompanied by soloist Emmanuel Lawlor and the National Sinfonia conducted by Prionnsias O’Duinn performs excerpts from Handel’s Messiah on the site of Neal’s Music Hall, Fishamble Street, where his famous musical work was first performed in 1742.

2001 – Well-known musician and music center/hostel owner, Larry O’Brien, died in a fire which gutted part of the Boghill Centre near Lisdoonvarna, Co Clare.

2005 – Death of singer, Johnny Loughrey, born in Newtownstewart, Co Tyrone. With his mix of country songs, Irish ballads and easy listening music, he achieved success in both England and Ireland.

2008 – Death of poet and member of Aosdána, Robert Greacen in Dublin. Born in Derry, he was educated at Methodist College Belfast and Trinity College Dublin.

2015 – Death of footballer, Pat King. As a player, King was centre-forward for the Tyrone team that won the 1973 Ulster Championship, beating Down 3-13 to 1-11 in the final. He also picked up five Tyrone senior Championships during Trillick’s most illustrious spell in the ’70s and ’80s, being captain for their O’Neill Cup triumph in 1983 and winning his final one at the age of 39 in 1986. He went on to manage Fermanagh, leading them to two All-Ireland B titles and a McKenna Cup in 1997, defeating his native Tyrone on a rain-sonde.
2015 – Death of Singer Ronnie Carroll. The Belfast-born crooner reached fourth place in Eurovision in 1962 with the song Ring-a-Ding Girl. Then he reached the same position in the ranking in 1963 with Say Wonderful Things. He is the only Eurovision performer to have represented the UK two years running.

Photo: Ballybunion Castle (Castle Green), Ballybunion, Co Kerry, Hartney Photographics

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