#OTD in Irish History – 9 August:

1690 – Siege of Limerick commences when William of Orange encamps just outside the walls of the old city, with an army of about 26,000; the Irish defenders were similar in number though not nearly as well armed.

1850 – Irish Tenant League is founded.

1878 – Birth of architect and furniture designer, Eileen Gray, in Enniscorthy, Co Wexford. She was a pioneer of the Modern Movement in architecture. The National Museum of Ireland, Dublin, has a permanent display of her work. In the 1970s Gray was made Royal Designer for Industry, Royal Society of Arts (1972), and Fellow of the Royal Institute of Irish Architects.

1886 – Death of poet, barrister, antiquarian, artist and public servant, Sir Samuel Ferguson. Born in Belfast, he is perhaps the most important Ulster-Scot poet of the 19th century, because of his interest in Irish mythology and early Irish history; he can be seen as a forerunner of William Butler Yeats and the other poets of the Celtic Twilight.

1911 – Birth of politician and boxer, John McQuade, in Belfast. Known as Johnny McQuade, e was a professional boxer under the name of Jack Higgins.

1918 – Birth of playwright and prolific radio dramatist, Giles Cooper, in Carrickmines, Co Dublin. He wrote over sixty scripts for BBC Radio and television. He was awarded the OBE in 1960 for “Services to Broadcasting”. A dozen years after his death at only 48 the Giles Cooper Awards for Radio Drama were instituted in his honour, jointly by the BBC and the publishers Eyre Methuen.

1920 – The Restoration of Order in Ireland Act received Royal assent. The Act gave Dublin Castle the power to govern by regulation; to replace the criminal courts with courts-martial; to replace coroners’ inquests with military courts of inquiry; and to punish disaffected local governments by withholding their grants of money.

1922 – There is fighting at Douglas County Cork. The Free State troops take 36 republican prisoners.

1922 – A National Army soldier is killed in ambush at Ferrycarrig, Wexford.

1922 – General Prout’s Free State column takes Redmondstown, Co Kilkenny, with the aid of artillery.

1936 – Carlow Gaelic Park Formal Opening. It was named in honour of Dr. Matthew Cullen (Catholic Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin 1927–36) who had died on 2 January 1936.

1939 – Birth of journalist, Vincent Hanna, in Belfast with a Catholic background. Famed for his coverage of United Kingdom by-elections, his father, Frank, was a prominent solicitor and a member of the Stormont Parliament.

1971 – Internment is introduced in Northern Ireland. As violence continued to flare in the North, Unionist Prime Minister Brian Faulkner was under increasing pressure to halt Republican violence and bombings against the institutions of Northern Ireland. A conflict that had simmered, sometimes boiled since the introduction of the Northern Ireland state in 1922 was by now reaping terrible toil. The introduction of internment gave the authorities the power to indefinitely detain suspected terrorists without trial. In a series of raids across Northern Ireland, 342 people were arrested and taken to makeshift camps. There was an immediate upsurge of violence and 17 people were killed during the next 48 hours. Of these 10 were Catholic civilians who were shot dead by the British Army Faulkner claimed that Northern Ireland was “quite simply at war with the terrorist.” (In the 1940s, Éamon de Valera in the South, had also introduced internment against Republicans, many of whom would have fought with Dev and his colleagues during the War of Independence.) Internment provoked even greater violence in the North. Arrests were often made based on outdated information. Internment was to continue until 5 December 1975. During that time 1,981 people were detained; 1,874 were Catholic/Republican, while 107 were Protestant/Loyalist. Internment had been proposed by Unionist politicians as the solution to the security situation in Northern Ireland but was to lead to a very high level of violence over the next few years and increased support for the IRA. Even members of the security forces remarked on the drawbacks of internment.

1971 – 9-11: During the internment round-up operation in west Belfast, the Parachute Regiment killed 11 unarmed civilians in what became known as the Ballymurphy massacre.

1972 – There was widespread and severe rioting in Nationalist areas on the anniversary of the introduction of Internment.

1974 – A report on the Dublin bombings investigation was completed by the Garda Síochána (the Irish police). A number of further inquiries were carried out by the Garda Síochána between 1974 and 1976 but nothing of consequence resulted.

1977 – The Queen began a two-day visit to Northern Ireland as part of her jubilee celebrations. It was the first visit by the Queen for 11 years.

1979 – The first Vietnamese boat people arrive in Ireland.

1980 – Following protests on the ninth anniversary of Internment there was continuing violence and three people were killed and 18 injured in a number of incidents.

1984 – Martin Galvin, leader of NORAID (Irish Northern Aid Committee), appeared at a rally in Derry despite being banned from the Northern Ireland. Galvin appeared at another rally in Belfast on 12 August 1984.

1995 – Taoiseach, Albert Reynolds, said that the decommissioning of paramilitary weapons had not been highlighted in the talks leading to the Downing Street Declaration. He further stated that if the issue had been raised he would not have signed the Declaration.

1996 – Jimmy Smith, one of those who had escaped from Long Kesh prison in 1983, was extradited from the United States.

1998 – U2’s PopMart movie debuts at the Festival Revue in Edinburgh, Scotland.

2000 – Secondary picketing by striking train drivers, who are members of the Irish Locomotive Drivers’ Association, causes transport chaos for thousands of Dublin commuters.

2017 – Death of two-time All-Ireland winning hurler, Tony Keady. Born in Attymon, Co Galway, Keady’s league and championship career with the Galway senior team lasted nine seasons from 1985 until 1993. On 8 August 2017, Keady suffered a heart-attack and was rushed to University Hospital Galway. On 9 August 2017, Keady passed away.

Photo: Old Church Dunlewey, Co Donegal, Fiachra Mangan Photography

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