#OTD in Irish History – 19 April:

1366 – The parliament, alarmed at the apparent undermining by native influences of the settler population’s Englishness, passed the ‘Statutes of Kilkenny’.

1608 – O’Doherty’s Rebellion was launched by the Burning of Derry.

1780 – Henry Grattan moves resolutions in favour of legislative independence in the Irish House of Commons.

1798 – The Earl of Clare began a 3-day visit to Trinity College, Dublin to purge United Irishmen; Nineteen were expelled.

1873 – Birth of rugby player and a doctor, Thomas Crean, in Dublin. During the Second Boer War, he was awarded the Victoria Cross. In 1894, he was a member of the first Ireland team to win both a Home Nations Championship and a Triple Crown. Then in 1896 he helped Ireland win their second Home Nations title. His VC medal is displayed at the Army Medical Services Museum. On 1 August 2001 the South African Post Office issued a stamp featuring Crean as part of their commemorations for the Second Boer War.

1875 – Charles Stewart Parnell was elected MP for Co Meath.

1909 – Conel Hugh O’Donel Alexander, master mathematician, expert on codes, and chess champion, was born in Cork; he learned chess at the age of 8. From a Derry college he went to King Edward’s School, Birmingham, where as a schoolboy he won the Birmingham Post cup, which carried with it the unofficial championship of Staffordshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire. Going on to Cambridge, he not only won the University championship four years in succession, but picked up first-class honours. He won the British championship in 1938.

1912 – The Titanic Inquiry Opened, four days after sinking.

1922 – In Belfast, four people were shot dead and many others injured.

1923 – Two Anti-Treaty fighters were killed in action at Kealkil, West Cork.

1958 – Birth of Denis O’Brien in Co Cork. He is a billionaire who was listed among the World’s Top 200 Billionaires in 2015 and is also Ireland’s richest native-born citizen. O’Brien owns Communicorp, a media holding company which operates across Europe, but particularly in Ireland where it dominates national radio (apart from RTÉ) via stations like Newstalk and Today FM.

1969 – There was serious rioting in the Bogside area of Derry following clashes between Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association marchers, and Loyalists and members of the RUC. A number of RUC officers entered the house of Samuel Devenny, who had not been involved in the disturbances, and severely beat him with batons causing internal injuries and a heart attack. A number of other people in the house were also beaten by the police, including Devenny’s 16-and 18-year-old daughters. Samuel Devenny died on 17 July 1969 as a result of his injuries.

1972 – British Prime Minister Edward Heath, confirmed that the plan to conduct an arrest operation, in the event of a riot during the march on 30 January 1972, was known to British government Ministers in advance.

1972 – Lord Widgery’s report exonerating “Bloody Sunday” troops was issued. The report said that the British troops had only returned fire after coming under attack themselves. The marchers claimed that no one was armed and the British troops opened fire without cause.

1975 – Birth of actor, Hugh Charles O’Conor, in Dublin. He started his acting career when he was ten. His first film appearance was opposite Liam Neeson in the 1985 movie, Lamb. He won Young Artist Awards of 1990 for his role in the film, My Left Foot, in which he portrayed the childhood days of Christy Brown, an Irishman born with cerebral palsy, who could control only his left foot. It was his biggest hit to date. Currently, he has two upcoming projects: Finding Fate and Operation H²O. In 2012 he appeared in the docudrama Saving The Titanic as the ship’s 2nd Engineer Jonathan Shepherd.

1979 – Agnes Wallace (40), a Prison Officer, was shot dead and three of her colleagues injured when the IRA carried out a gun and grenade attack outside Armagh women’s prison.

1981 – James Brown (18) and Gary English (19), both Catholic civilians, were killed when a British Army vehicle drove into a crowd of people on Creggan Road, Derry. There had been rioting in the area but local people stated that the vehicle was driven deliberately at the crowd.

1982 – Stephen McConomy, an 11-year-old Catholic boy, died as a result of the injuries he received when he was hit on the head by a plastic bullet in Fahan Street, Derry. His death called for the weapon to be banned. On 13 May 1982 the European Parliament called on member states not to use plastic bullets.

1997 – US Navy commissions The Sullivans, the second ship to be named after the five Sullivan brothers who perished on the USS Juneau, November 1942 during the Battle of Guadalcanal. The Sullivans were descendants of Irish immigrants.

1998 – Key members of the 32 County Sovereignty Committee, led by the sister of H-Block hunger striker, Bobby Sands, met to draft an outright condemnation of the Good Friday peace deal.

2001 – Jenny Hegarty, a 72-year-old Dublin grandmother, took on a host of international players and won £10,000 at the Irish and European Open Poker Championship.

2001 – EU restrictions on farm exports due to foot and mouth were lifted one month after the Republic’s only outbreak.

2002 – Ireland’s first cash-free petrol station, Carrigdhoun Service Station, near Ballygarvan, Co Cork, opened with all business being transacted by credit card or petrol card.

2003 – The British army was called in to deal with rioting in North Belfast where up to 200 people were involved in disturbances at the junction of Limestone and Halliday Roads.

2003 – Bono surpassed competition from British Prime Minister Tony Blair and French President Jacques Chirac to become Europe’s greatest hero. The U2 lead singer was picked by online voters from a list of 36 other Europeans compiled by Time magazine.

2005 – Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected the 265th Pope of the Catholic Church following the death of Pope John Paul II. The new Pope took on the regnal name Benedict XVI.

Photo: Coumeenole Beach, Dunquin, Co Kerry, Photo credit: Michael Corcoran

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