#OTD in Irish History – 26 May:

1562 – Following his submission to Elizabeth at Whitehall in January, Shane O’Neill returns to Ireland on this date.

1650 – Oliver Cromwell leaves Ireland on board the frigate President Bradshaw. His deputy and son-in-law, Henry Ireton takes control of the Irish campaign and captures Birr Castle.

1798 – United Irishman Rebellion: The rebels are defeated at Tara Hill; this marks the end of the rebellion in Co Meath. Rebellion begins in Co Wexford. Fr John Murphy and local people confront the Camolin yeomanry at The Harrow. Thomas Bookey, Lieutenant of the yeomanry, is killed.

1867 – Princess Victoria Mary of Teck: the future Queen Mary, queen consort of George V of the United Kingdom is born.

1868 – Michael Barrett from Kesh, Co Fermanagh is executed for his part in the explosion at Clerkenwell Gaol. From all the evidence, it is likely he is not guilty. He is the last man to be publicly hanged in England.

1873 – Trinity College Dublin abolishes all remaining religious restrictions for entry, with the exception of the Faculty of Divinity.

1897 – Birth of Ernie O’Malley in Castlebar, Co Mayo. He was an Irish Republican Army (IRA) officer during the Irish War of Independence and a commander of the anti-Treaty IRA during the Irish Civil War. O’Malley wrote three books, On Another Man’s Wound, The Singing Flame, and Raids and Rallies.

1897 – First publication of Dracula, written by Dublin man Abraham ‘Bram’ Stoker.

1919 – Members of Dáil Éireann sent a statement concerning “Ireland’s Case for Independence” to the Paris Peace Conference.

1919 – Capture and destruction at Ticknock, Co Dublin of military field kitchen and 2 mules in the charge of 2 unarmed soldiers, by members of the 3rd Battalion Dublin Brigade IRA.

1921 – Attack on Naval base and wireless station Dún Laoghaire. When the attack was in progress one hour, an armoured car leading a party of troops from the naval base advanced up Marine road. Another party from the wireless station proceeded from Clarence St. Both patrols were attacked on the way and shortly after capturing Georges St. they (British patrols) clashed and opened fire on each other. They suffered some killed and 5 wounded before they realised their mistake.

1924 – Dublin-born composer, Victor Herbert dies.

1936 – In the House of Commons of Northern Ireland, Tommy Henderson begins speaking on the Appropriation Bill. By the time he sits down in the early hours of the following morning, he had spoken for 10 hours.

1950 – End of petrol rationing in Northern Ireland.

1951 – Birth of Madeleine Taylor-Quinn in Kilkee, Co Clare. She was educated at the Convent of Mercy Secondary School in Kilrush, and at University College Galway, graduating with a BA, H.Dip.Ed, and LLB. Working as a teacher, she became a founder member of Young Fine Gael in 1977, and Joint Honorary Secretary of Fine Gael from 1979–82, the first woman officer in the party. She served for over twenty years in the Oireachtas as a Teachta Dála (TD) for Clare and as a Senator.

1954 – Birth of Mickey Devine, a volunteer of the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) who died on the 1981 Irish hunger strike.

1972 – In the Republic of Ireland the Special Criminal Court was re-instituted to deal with crimes arising out of the Northern Ireland conflict. As part of the measures trial by jury was suspended.

1979 – Death of Grand Prix motorcycle road racer, Tom Herron. Born in Lisburn, Co Antrim, Herron’s career started in 1965 when he competed in numerous events throughout Ireland, building up his experience along the way. The 1979 North West 200 will always be remembered as “Black Saturday”; as it claimed the lives of Scotsman Brian Hamilton, Armoy man Frank Kennedy, who died of injuries months later, and Herron himself. In the last lap of the last race, Herron had been fighting for third place along with Jeff Sayle, Steve Parrish and Greg Johnstone, when he crashed at Juniper. He died later in Coleraine hospital, leaving behind his wife and two daughters.

1979 – Death of actor, George Brent. Born in Ballinasloe, Co Galway, during the Irish War of Independence, Brent was part of the IRA. He fled Ireland with a bounty set on his head by the British government, although he later claimed only to have been a courier for guerrilla leader and tactician Michael Collins. He eventually moved to Hollywood, and made his first film in 1930. Highly regarded by Bette Davis, he became her most frequent male co-star, appearing with her in 13 films.

1980 – Derry band The Undertones reach No. 1 in the UK charts with My Perfect Cousin.

1981 – Brendan McLaughlin, who had joined the hunger strike on 14 May 1981, was taken off the strike when he suffered a perforated ulcer and internal bleeding.

1985 – The Lear Fan aircraft company announced the closure of its Northern Ireland plant. Most of the 350 people that had been employed by the company had lost their jobs following the first announcement about the firm’s future on 31 May 1985.

1993 – The European Court of Human Rights considered an appeal against the use, within the United Kingdom (UK), of a period of seven-day detention under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA). The Court rejected the appeal on the grounds that the situation in Northern Ireland justified the detention of suspects for longer than four days.

1994 – Jack Charlton is made a Freeman of Dublin City.

2003 – Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary snubs an awards ceremony in Dublin after the no-frills airline is beaten by Aer Lingus in the Best Overall Value for Money category. It is the first time in the 10-year history of the event, hosted by the Air Transport Users Council (ATUC), that Ryanair fails to win the award.

2006 – Death of Kevin Patrick O’Flanagan, also referred to as Dr. Kevin O’Flanagan. Born in Dublin, he was a former sportsman, physician and sports administrator. An outstanding all-rounder, he represented his country at both soccer and rugby union. He was also a noted sprinter and long jumper and as a youth played Gaelic football.

2010 – Death of Kieran Phelan. Born in Co Laois, he was a Fianna Fáil politician and member of Seanad Éireann on the Industrial and Commercial Panel.

Photo: Kilkee, Co Clare, © Stair na hÉireann

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