#OTD in Irish History – 29 April:


1653 – Birth of shoemaker and astrologer, John Whally, in London.

1665 – Birth of James Butler, 2nd Duke of Ormonde and an ancestor of Princess Diana. The Dublin-born Irish general became one of the most powerful men in the Tory administration, governing England in the early part of the 18th century – from 1710 to 1714.

1680 – The first stone of the Royal Hospital, Kilmainham was laid by the Duke of Ormond.

1707 – Death of dramatist, George Farquhar. Born in Derry, he is noted for his contributions to late Restoration comedy, particularly for his plays The Recruiting Officer (1706) and The Beaux’ Stratagem (1707).

1758 – Wide Streets Commission for Dublin is appointed by the Irish Parliament.

1769 – Birth of soldier and statesman, Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, in Dublin.

1803 – Birth of prelate, Paul Cullen, in Prospect, Co Kildare.

1833 – Death of Antrim-born physician and mineralogist, William Babington.

1849 – The brig Hannah transported emigrants to Canada during An Gorta Mór. She is known for the terrible circumstances of her 1849 shipwreck that set out for Quebec City from Newry, Co Down on 3rd April.

1874 – Birth of writer and theatre manager, Conal O’Riordan (pseudonym ‘F. Norris Connell), in Dublin.

1916 – Pádraig Pearse ordered the surrender of the rebels on this date. Approximately 64 rebels, 132 crown forces, and 230 civilians had been killed. 2,500 people had been wounded; the centre of Dublin had been devastated by the shelling.

1916 – Death of Michael Joseph O’Rahilly, ‘The O’Rahilly’, a republican who took part in the Easter Rising, during which he was killed in the fighting.

1921 – The West Waterford Flying Column under George Lennon ambushed a train carrying British troops at the Ballylynch level crossing. One Volunteer was wounded and two British military were killed in a fire-fight.

1938 – Birth of Ray McSharry, Fianna Fáil politician and EU Commissioner.

1941 – Birth of squash player, Jonah Barrington, in Cornwall. A student at Trinity College in the late 1950s/early 1960s (where he started to play squash) one of the greatest squash players of all time, he is considered to be the father of the modern professional game.

1954 – Birth of Kevin Moran, in Dublin. He is a former footballer who excelled at the top levels in both Gaelic and soccer. In Gaelic football, he is known for his time as a Dublin senior team player, winning two All-Ireland Senior Football Championships with them, and in soccer for his career with Manchester United and Ireland. He was the first man to be sent off in an FA Cup Final.

1957 – Birth of actor, Daniel Day-Lewis, in London. One of the most acclaimed actors of his generation, Day-Lewis has earned numerous awards, including three Academy Awards for Best Actor for his performances in My Left Foot (1989), There Will Be Blood (2007) and Lincoln (2012), making him the only male actor in history to have three wins in the lead actor category and one of only three male actors to win three Oscars. He was also nominated in this category for In the Name of the Father (1993) and Gangs of New York (2002). He has also won four BAFTA Awards for Best Actor, three Screen Actors Guild Awards and two Golden Globe Awards. In November 2012, Time named Day-Lewis the “World’s Greatest Actor.” He is the son of the son of poet Cecil Day-Lewis.

1977 – Ian Paisley, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), warned in a statement that if the British authorities failed to alter its policies then loyalists might have to consider taking over the administration of Northern Ireland. He also called for people to consider a rent, rates and Value Added Tax (VAT) strike.

1977 – A meeting was held in Harland and Wolff shipyard at which a large majority of workers voted not to support the planned UUAC strike. In addition workers at the Ballylumford power station made it clear that they would only support the stoppage if it obtained clear support across all sectors of Northern Ireland industry. Following a request by Roy Mason, Secretary of State, it was announced that extra British soldiers would be sent to Northern Ireland to maintain law and order in anticipation of the UUAC strike taking place.

1997 – Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) and Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF) prisoners caused a riot and staged a protest on top of the roofs of blocks H1 and H2 in Long Kesh Prison. There were protesting at the tighter security rules that were approved on 28 April 1997. The Loyalist prisoners said that the new rules should only apply to Republican prisoners.

1998 – Further allegations were made that there had been collusion between the security forces and Loyalists in the killing of Pat Finucane on 12 February 1989. Sir Kenneth Bloomfield, Northern Ireland Victims Commissioner, published his report, We Will Remember Them, on the victims of the conflict in Northern Ireland.

1998 – Triple Olympic champion Michelle Smith came out fighting in response to the most serious drugs-linked threat to her glittering swimming career. She achieved notable success in the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, becoming Ireland’s most successful Olympian to date, and whose career ended with a ban from the sporting authorities for tampering with a urine sample. She was a triple gold medallist at the Atlanta Games, for the 400 m individual medley, 400 m freestyle and 200 m individual medley, and also won the bronze medal for the 200 m butterfly event: these events were marked by allegations of doping which were, however, never proven. Michelle Smith, now more commonly referred to by her married name, Michelle Smith de Bruin, is currently a practising barrister.

1991 – The Combined Loyalist Military Command (CLMC) (acting on behalf of all loyalist paramilitaries) announced a ceasefire that lasted until 4 July. This coincided with political talks between the four main parties (the Brooke-Mayhew talks).

1999 – Governor General of Australia, Sir William Deane, was conferred with an honorary degree at Trinity, and was the guest of honour at the first state dinner held at Dublin Castle under President Mary McAleese’s term.

2001 – The Irish Council for Civil Liberties celebrated the 25th anniversary of its foundation.

2001 – Des O’Malley pledges his co-operation to a new inquiry into the Arms Crisis of 1970 and challenges Charles Haughey to do the same. Mr O’Malley strongly defends his role as Justice Minister during the turbulent events surrounding the most controversial trial in the State’s history.

2001 – A monument was unveiled in Inniscarra, Co Cork, in honour of an Ulster chief who could have changed the history of Europe if he hadn’t been killed in battle. Chief of Fermanagh, Aodh Mag Uidhir (Hugh Maguire) was shot dead during an ambush in 1600 at Carrigrohane before the Battle of Kinsale the following year, which saw the last struggle for an independent Gaelic Ireland fail. “Maguire was a great strategist, and some believe that had he survived, the result of the Battle of Kinsale might have been different, changing the course of European history. He was the Rommel of the 1600s,” said Seán O’Ceallacháin of the Hugh Maguire Commemoration Committee.

2003 – Thornton’s Restaurant in Dublin ranked 25th in Restaurant magazine’s latest list of the top 50th restaurants in the world.

Photo: Glendalough, Co Wicklow, © Stair na hÉireann

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