#OTD in Irish History – 24 August:

In the Liturgical calendar it is the Feast Day of Abbán moccu Corbmaic, also Eibbán or Moabba, a saint in Irish tradition. He was associated, first and foremost, with Mag Arnaide (Moyarney or Adamstown, near New Ross, Co Wexford) and with Cell Abbáin (Killabban, Co Laois). His cult was, however, also connected to other churches elsewhere in Ireland, notably that of his alleged sister Gobnait.

1210 – King John sails from Dublin for England. He had landed at Waterford in June and campaigned in Leinster; after a short siege, he captures Carrickfergus, where the de Lacys have made a stand. On 28 July he captures William de Braose and confiscates his lands. Hugh and Walter de Lacy, lords of Ulster and Meath, forfeit their lands but escape to Scotland. John has defeated the hostile Norman magnates and has established relations with various Irish kings. Cathal Crovderg O’Connor, king of Connacht, has fought in John’s army but then quarrelled with him – O’Connor offered his son Aedh to John as a hostage, but Aedh’s mother refused to allow this. The dispute is later resolved.

1680 – Death of Colonel Thomas Blood. He was an Irish-born colonel best known for attempting to steal the Crown Jewels of England from the Tower of London in 1671. Described as a “noted bravo and desperado”, he was also implicated in one attempted kidnapping and one attempted murder of the Duke of Ormonde, had switched allegiances from Royalist to Roundhead during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms and later, despite his notoriety, found favour at the court of King Charles II.

1747 – Birth in Dublin of William La Touche, founder of the Bank of Ireland.

1798 – Generals’ Cornwallis and Lake leave Dublin. Lake travels fast by road with a small force. Cornwallis travels with the main force down the Grand Canal.

1803 – James Napper Tandy, Irish patriot, dies in exile in France. Originally a small tradesman in Dublin, he gained attention by his attacks on municipal corruption and his proposal to boycott English goods as a reprisal for the restrictions placed on Irish commerce.

1847 – Charlotte Brontë finishes “Jane Eyre”. “Jane Eyre” is divided into 38 chapters, and most editions are at least 400 pages long. The original publication was in three volumes, comprising chapters 1 to 15, 16 to 26, and 27 to 38; this was a common publishing format during the 19th century.

1878 – Birth of Margaret Mary Pearse, teacher, politician and sister of Pádraig Pearse, in Dublin.

1921 – Ongoing correspondence between Lloyd George and Éamon de Valera to bring a halt to the War of Independence sees De Valera write a powerful response to Lloyd George. The official letter was dictated and sent in Irish. The following is the official translation at http://www.difp.ie.

1958 – Death of Paul Henry. Born in Belfast, he was an artist noted for depicting the West of Ireland landscape in a spare post-impressionist style.

1962 – Death of Agnew McMaster, the last of the touring actor-managers who presented Shakespeare’s plays throughout rural Ireland.

1968 – The Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association marches from Coalisland to Dungannon in Co Tyrone in one of the first large-scale marches of the six-county civil rights movement.

1974 – Birth of Órlagh Fallon in Knockananna, Co Wicklow. Known as Órla Fallon, she is a soloist, songwriter and former member of the group, Celtic Woman, and the chamber choir Anúna.

1990 – Brian Keenan is released on 24 August, having spent 52 months as a hostage in Beirut.

1998 – Shops re-open in Omagh; among the shops to open was Wattersons, which lost three members of staff, and the Oxfam shop, whose two teenager volunteers were also killed.

1998 – Eight Navy divers are injured during an air-sea rescue display. The men who are all members of the Navy Diving Team were taking part in a demonstration by the Defence Forces as part of the Tall Ships festival in Dublin.

1999 – Waterford Crystal is chosen to usher in the millennium in the city of New York with a gigantic cut glass Star of Hope ball. The component parts of the six-foot diameter sphere, made of 572 crystal panels each consisting of five diamond shapes, will be assembled in New York. It is planned to hang 22 stories high over Manhattan and be lowered down a 77ft high flagpole in time for the stroke of midnight.

2000 – Additional troops are ordered onto the streets of Belfast night as fears grow for the fragile peace process.

2001 – Bono’s father, Bob, is laid to rest at Old Balgriffin Cemetary in Co Dublin.

2012 – Death of Maureen Toal. She was an Irish stage and television actress whose professional career lasted for more than sixty years. She was born in 1930 and was originally from Fairview, Dublin. Toal began performing at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin in 1946, when she was just sixteen years old. She became a fixture at the theatre, portraying Bessie Burgess in The Plough and the Stars and the Widow Quinn in The Playboy of the Western World. She also appeared in several one woman shows, including Baglady, which was written by Irish playwright Frank McGuinness. Another playwright, John B Keane, wrote the role of Mame Fadden in his play, The Change in Mame Fadden, specifically for Toal. Hugh Leonard also penned characters in his plays A life and Great Big Blonde with the intention of casting Toal in the parts.

Photo: St Patrick’s Cathedral, Co Armagh

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