#OTD in Irish History – 24 May:

1487 – Lambert Simnel (aged 10), the Yorkist pretender to the English throne, is brought to Ireland. It is claimed that he is Edward, Earl of Warwick (Clarence’s son), but in fact, he is a baker’s son – the real Warwick is a prisoner in the Tower of London and will be executed in 1499. Most of the Anglo-Irish believe that Simnel’s claim is genuine and support him (exceptions are the Butlers, Waterford city and the Archbishop of Armagh, Octavian del Palatio); Simnel is crowned King of England as Edward VI in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin on this date. Walter FitzSimons, Archbishop of Dublin, is present at the crowning; he will be imprisoned in the Tower because of this.

1628 – 51 ‘graces’ to Irish interest groups by Charles I are promised but various excuses are used not to grant these concessions.

1798 – Archibald Hamilton Jacob conducts the Enniscorthy Yeomen Cavalry to the village of Ballaghkeen where they flog a man to death.

1813 – A Catholic Relief Bill is introduced by Grattan in the House of Commons, and is narrowly defeated 251 to 247.

1818 – Birth of sculptor, John Foley, in Dublin.

1830 – Birth of soldier, Anthony Durnford, in Manorhamilton, Co Leitrim.

1877 – Birth of Johanna Mary (Hanna) Sheehy-Skeffington, a suffragist and Irish nationalist.

1882 – Birth of actor, Creighton Hale, in Cork.

1915 – Death of soldier, John Condon. Long believed to have been the youngest Allied soldier killed during the First World War, at the age of 14 years, as shown on his gravestone. However, it is now believed from a birth certificate, census, war diaries and other records that John Condon was 18 years old at the recorded date of his death and that the wrong individual is named on the grave.

1921 – First general election for the first parliament for Northern Ireland. Ulster Unionist Party members won two-thirds majority of votes cast and more than three-quarter of the seats in the assembly.

1921 – Members of K Coy, 3rd Battalion Dublin Brigade IRA attacked Black and Tans on Merrion Row. Heavy Tan casualties. No IRA casualties.

1922 – Gun battles break out for several hours between loyalists and republican gunmen on the Falls Road in Belfast. Three people were killed and 20 injured.

1923 – Frank Aiken orders the Anti-Treaty fighters to “dump their arms” and return home. Éamon de Valera supports the order, issuing a statement to Anti-Treaty fighters; “Further sacrifice on your part would now be in vain and the continuance of the struggle in arms unwise in the national interest. Military victory must be allowed to rest for the moment with those who have destroyed the Republic”. End of the war.

1923 – Birth of actress, Siobhán McKenna, in Belfast.

1928 – William Trevor (Cox), prolific short story-writer and novelist is born in Mitchelstown, Co Cork. He has written over 30 works including ‘The Story of Lucy Gault’ which was short-listed for the 2002 Booker Prize.

1956 – The first Eurovision Song Contest is held in Lugano, Switzerland.

1956 – Sean Kelly, cyclist, ranked world number one (1984-1989) is born in Carrick-on-Suir, Co. Tipperary.

1936 – At 9.00am, the inaugural Aer Lingus flight (named Iolar) takes off from Baldonnel Airport just outside of Dublin. Five passengers were on the six-seater De Havilland 84 Dragon to Bristol. In the remaining years prior to the outbreak of World War I, Aer Lingus expanded service to Liverpool and the Isle of Man.

1956 – Birth of professional cyclist, Sean Kelly in Co Waterford. He was one of the most successful road cyclists of the 1980s, and one of the finest classics riders of all time. From turning professional in 1977 until his retirement in 1994, he won nine monument classics, and 193 professional races in total.

1960 – Birth of Patrick Joseph Gary “Packie” Bonner (in Burtonport, Co Donegal) a former football goalkeeper for the Republic of Ireland, who earned 80 caps after making his debut on his 21st birthday. He is remembered for his famous penalty save from Daniel Timofte of Romania at the 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy during the knockout stage.

1974 – Two brothers, Sean Byrne (54) and Brendan Byrne (45), both Catholic publicans, were shot dead at their public house The Wayside Halt, Tannaghmore, near Ballymena, Co Antrim. They had been shot by Loyalist paramilitaries.

1982 – It was announced that the DeLorean car factory would close with the loss of 1,500 jobs.

1984 – John Stalker, Deputy Chief Constable of the Greater Manchester Police, arrived in Belfast to begin an investigation into the alleged ‘shoot to kill’ policy of security forces in the region.

1987 – A referendum in the Republic approves the Single European Act.

1990 – There was further trouble at Crumlin Road Prison over the issue of segregation.

1997 – Death of, actor, Edward Mulhare, whose career spanned five decades. His best-known stage role was as Professor Higgins in the original Broadway production of My Fair Lady, as well as, his starring roles in two television series, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir and Knight Rider.

1998 – Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams signals that the terrorist war is over and that the gun can finally be removed from Irish politics.

1998 – Less than 24 hours after people on both sides of the border gave a resounding Yes to the Stormont peace agreement, dissident republican terrorists cause widespread disruption on the Belfast-Dublin railway line after a suspicious object is found on the line near Lurgan.

1998 – Director John Boorman wins the Best Director prize for The General, about real life Dublin gang leader, Martin Cahill.

1999 – As part of a £4.5m tourism project, Waterford Treasures on the city’s quayside, is opened to the public. On display are an impressive range of Viking artefacts from settlements dating back to 853 and discovered during excavations in the city over the last six years.

2000 – According to a report published on this date, 1 in 10 homeless people in London are Irish.

2000 – Two more members of David Trimble’s Ulster Unionist Assembly team are to oppose his plan to return to power sharing with Sinn Féin.

2002 – European parliament president Pat Cox is awarded the freedom of Limerick city. The former Progressive Democrats TD is presented with the award by Mayor Dick Sadlier at a reception in City Hall. Previous recipients of the award include John F Kennedy, The Pope and Charles Stewart Parnell.

2003 – Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, and the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Brian Cowen, meet Sinn Féin’s chief negotiators Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness in Dublin for talks.

Photo: Sea cliffs at Glinsk near Belderrig Harbour in North Co Mayo, Photo credit: © Colin Cafferty

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