#OTD in Irish History – 11 July:

National Day of Commemoration (Lá Cuimhneacháin Náisiúnta) held on the nearest Sunday to this date commemorating all Irish people who died in past wars or United Nations peacekeeping missions.

1792 – A gathering of some ten Irish harpers and one Welsh begins in Belfast; the objective is to collect the remaining fragments of the tradition; melodies are transcribed by Edward Bunting and others See our article on the great harpist/composer O’Carolan.

1798 – United Irish Rebellion: Rebels attack Clonard, Co Meath.

1798 – Sir Joseph Larmor, mathematician, physicist and politician, is born in Magheragall, Co Antrim.

1806 – Death of delegate, James L. Smith. He was an American lawyer and a signer to the United States Declaration of Independence as a representative of Pennsylvania. He was born in the province of Ulster, and his family immigrated to Chester County, Pennsylvania, in 1729.

1839 – Birth of artist and engraver, William John Hennessy in Thomastown, Co Kilkenny. His father, John Hennessy, was forced to leave Ireland in 1848 as a result of his involvement in the Young Ireland movement. William, his mother Catherine, and brother joined their father in New York in 1849. Hennessy developed a skill in wood engraving and was hired to illustrate the works of renowned poets, including that of Tennyson, Longfellow and Whittier. He became the co-founder of the Artists’ Fund Society, and an honorary member of the American Society of Painters in Watercolours. In 1870 he moved to London where he became a member of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters in 1902.

1879 – Birth in Dublin of Hugh Kennedy, first Chief Justice of the Irish Free State.

1890 – Birth of William O’Dwyer, in Co Mayo. He was the 100th Mayor of New York City, holding that office from 1946 to 1950.

1920 – Alexander Will, from Forfar in Scotland, is the first Temporary Constable (Black and Tan) to die in the Irish War of Independence. He is killed during an IRA attack on the RIC barracks in Rathmore, Co Kerry.

1921 – The Truce: Actions commanded by IRA H.Q. ended in the south at midday under the Truce. Violence in the north of Ireland and unofficial violence in the south continue.

1922 – Fighting breaks out in Limerick between Pro and Anti-Treaty factions. National Army troops open fire on the Republicans holding the Ordnance Barracks.

1922 – Two Free State soldiers are killed and three wounded in an ambush at Drumkeen, Co Donegal.

1924 – Birth of footballer, Charlie Tully, in Belfast. Famous for playing with the Celtic Football Club.

1929 – Birth of David Kelly in Dublin. He was an Irish actor, who had regular roles in several film and television works from the 1950s onwards. One of the most recognisable voices and faces of Irish stage and screen, Kelly was known to Irish audiences for his role as Rashers Tierney in Strumpet City, to British audiences for his roles as Cousin Enda in Me Mammy and as the builder Mr. O’Reilly in Fawlty Towers, and to American audiences for his role as Grandpa Joe in the film Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Another notable role was as Michael O’Sullivan in Waking Ned.

1929 – Restored General Post Office, Dublin, opened by President W. T. Cosgrave.

1932 – Extract from the minutes of a meeting of the Cabinet indicates that the Cabinet was beginning to think more globally. Development of Markets other than British: It was decided that the Acting Minister for Industry and Commerce should cause preliminary investigations to be made as to possibilities of developing markets other than British, and to report thereon in due course to the Cabinet.

1935 – Birth of Oliver Napier, politician and Alliance Party leader from 1972 to 1984.

1938 – British garrison which still controlled key Irish ports finally hands them over to the Irish army, seventeen years after the Treaty. Churchill’s view was that the ports were of strategic importance and should not have been handed over. The handover probably ensured Ireland was able to maintain neutrality during World War II, as had they stayed in British hands, it is almost certain they would have been bombed aggressively by Germany.

1962 – Birth of actress, comedienne and author, Pauline McLynn, in Co Sligo. Best known for playing Mrs Doyle in the Channel 4 sitcom Father Ted, and Libby Croker in the Channel 4 comedy drama Shameless.

1957 – Birth of Patsy O’Hara in Co Derry. He was an Irish republican hunger striker and member of the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) who died on hunger strike on the H Blocks on 21 May 1981.

1967 – Censorship Act lifts the ban on certain books that had been banned for more than a decade.

1971 – The IRA exploded a number of bombs in the centre of Belfast injuring a number of people. A number of commentators saw these bombs as an attempt to increase tension and confrontations between the two main communities.

1975 – During the trial of the ‘Birmingham Six’ the prosecution admitted that the men were physically assaulted while in custody.

1978 – John Boyle (16), a Catholic teenager, was shot dead by undercover members of the British Army near an IRA arms dump in Dunloy, Co Antrim. Boyle had earlier found the dump and his family had reported the matter to the RUC. The RUC, together with the British Army, took the decision to monitor the dump in the hope that members of the IRA would return to it. Boyle’s curiosity must have taken him back unsuspectingly to the dump.

1986 – U2 plays at the Half Moon Club in London; it’s the first time they sell out a venue in the UK.

1986 – The Orange Order agreed to accept an alternative route through Portadown, Co Armagh, to avoid the mainly Catholic Obins Street area. The route suggested by the RUC caused resentment among Nationalists in the town as it took the parade along the mainly Catholic Garvaghy Road. Trouble over the new route broke out again in 1995. During the evening the RUC fired plastic bullets at Loyalists following disturbances at the traditional bonfire celebrations. There was rioting in Protestant areas of Belfast and Portadown and the disturbances continued for most of the week.

1994 – Raymond Smallwoods (44), a member of the Ulster Democratic Party (UDP), was shot dead by the IRA outside his home in Lisburn, Co Antrim. Smallwoods had been a member of the Ulster Defence Association (UDA).

1994 – The Belfast High Court ruled that the Coroner investigating the events surrounding the alleged ‘shoot to kill’ incidents in November and December 1982 could not have access to the contents of the Stalker report.

1996 – Hugh Annesley, Chief Constable of the RUC, reversed his decision and ordered his officers to allow the Orange march to pass along the Garvaghy Road in Portadown. 1,200 Orangemen were allowed to proceed down the Garvaghy Road. Protesting residents were forced off the road. Rioting broke out in the Catholic housing estate and was followed by serious rioting in other nationalist areas including Armagh, Belfast, Derry and Lurgan. Three RUC officers were injured by gunfire in north Belfast. There was widespread condemnation of the decision in nationalist circles with many political and community leaders claiming there had been a surrender to the threat of physical force.

1998 – The Tour de France began in Dublin. The tour was brought to Ireland because of the French link in the 1798 Rising by the United Irishmen. It represented the largest sporting event ever staged in Ireland.

1999 – Four RUC officers were injured when trouble flared at a Loyalist bonfire site in Derry. British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, tried to reassure Unionists by stating that ‘failsafe’ legislation would be introduced in the House of Commons which would safeguard the Unionist position.

1999 – The Sunday Tribune stated that it would fully support Ed Moloney, Northern Editor of the newspaper. Moloney had been served with a court order requesting him to provide the RUC with notes of an interview with William Stobie. On 24 June 1999, Stobie was charged with the killing of the Belfast solicitor, Pat Finucane, who had been shot dead on 12 February 1989. The interview had been conducted in 1990 and this formed the basis of an article that appeared in The Sunday Tribune on 27 June 1999.

1999 – An immense security operation swings into action as tens of thousands of Orangemen prepare to parade into Ormeau Park in the flashpoint south Belfast area on the banks of the River Lagan.

1999 – Hundreds of train travellers are left stranded in Cork despite advance warnings by Ianroad Eireann management of an unofficial dispute by locomotive operators.

1999 – One hundred and fifty Irish war veterans gather for the annual commemoration ceremony at the Royal Kilmainham Hospital in honour of Irish soldiers killed on UN peace keeping duties and on foreign battlefields.

2000 – The world’s top golfers, including Tiger Woods and David Duval, begin play at the JP McManus Invitation Pro Am in Limerick.

2000 – A public health seafood scare leads to a temporary ban on the collection and harvesting of shellfish in Dungarvan, Co Waterford.

2000 – For the first time in its history, the Dáil elects to appoint a parliamentary law adviser. Miss Lia O’Hegarty is chosen to fill the position.

2000 – Loyalists attempted to block roads across Northern Ireland as Orangemen at Drumcree continued their protest about not being able to parade through the mainly nationalist Garvaghy Road in Portadown, Co Armagh.

2001 – 11-13: The worst rioting for several years took place in Belfast.

2007 – Artist Patrick Scott was honoured by President Mary McAleese as Saoi in Aosdána at the Arts Council office, in Merrion Square, Dublin. The President presented Scott, a founder member of Aosdána, with a gold torc, the symbol of the office of Saoi. No more than five members may hold this honour at any one time. Born in Kilbrittain, Co Cork, in 1921, Scott worked on the mosaics in Busáras and had painted full-time since 1960. He passed away on 14 February 2014.

Photo: Kilmogue Portal Tomb and Dolmen (Leac an Scail), Co Kilkenny © Stair na hÉireann

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