#OTD in Irish History – 11 October:

In the Liturgical calendar, today is the feast day of St Canice. St Cainnech of Aghaboe (also known as Saint Canice in Ireland, St Kenneth in Scotland, St Kenny and St Canicus). A native of Glengiven, he was one of the Twelve Apostles of Ireland and an abbot of great virtue, who preached across Ireland and Scotland. He was a close friend of the missionary priest, St Columba of Iona, and witnessed several prodigies in the life of the latter.

1649 – Sack of Wexford: After a ten-day siege, New Model Army troops (under Oliver Cromwell) stormed the town of Wexford, killing over 2,000 Irish Confederate troops and 1,500 civilians.

1698 – Death of writer on science, politics and natural philosophy, William Molyneux. Born in Dublin, he is noted as a close friend of fellow philosopher John Locke, and for proposing Molyneux’s Problem, a thought experiment widely discussed.

1703 – John Asgill, newly elected MP for Enniscorthy, is expelled from the Irish parliament on this date on account of a pamphlet he published in Dublin in 1698, arguing that man may pass into eternal life without dying. The pamphlet is burned by the common hangman. He will spend much of the rest of his life in prison in England, for blasphemy or for matters arising from land speculation in Ireland.

1741 – Birth of James Barry, painter, in Cork.

1920 – One civilian was killed and Dan Breen was badly wounded in a shoot-out at an IRA safe house in Drumcondra. Two British officers died of their wounds the next day.

1921 – The first meeting of the Anglo-Irish conference was held. Over the next two months there would be seven plenary sessions, 24 sub-conferences and 9 meetings of special committees.

1922 – The Constitution of the Irish Free State (Saorstát Eireann), drafted by W.T. Cosgrave, is adopted.

1922 – Two Free State soldiers are killed in ambush in Cork, between Dunmanway and Clonakilty.

1939 – Birth of politician, Austin Currie, in Coalisland, Co Tyrone. He was elected to the parliaments of both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

1962 – Birth of author, Anne Enright, in Dublin. She has published novels, short stories, essays, and one non-fiction book. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, her novel The Gathering won the 2007 Man Booker Prize. She has also won the 1991 Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, the 2001 Encore Award and the 2008 Irish Novel of the Year.

1969 – Three people were shot dead during street violence in the loyalist Shankill area of Belfast. Two were Protestant civilians shot by the British Army and Victor Arbuckle (aged 29), a member of the RUC, was shot dead by Loyalists during street disturbances. Arbuckle was the first member of the RUC to be killed in ‘the Troubles’. The loyalists “had taken to the streets in protest at the Hunt Report, which recommended the disbandment of the B Specials and disarming of the RUC”.

1974 – Adoption of the Celtic League American Branch. The Celtic League is a non-governmental organisation that promotes self-determination and Celtic identity and culture in Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Brittany, Cornwall and the Isle of Man, known as the Celtic nations. It places particular emphasis on the indigenous Celtic languages. It is recognised by the United Nations as a non-governmental organisation with “Roster Status” and is part of the UN’s Economic and Social Council.

1983 – Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, James Prior, said that he would resign his post if the inquiry into the Long Kesh prison escape on 25 September 1983 found that his policies had been responsible. The report of the inquiry was published on 26 January 1984.

1984 – The European Parliament voted in favour of a motion calling on the British government to ban the use of plastic bullets by the security forces in Northern Ireland. An opinion poll published in the Belfast Telegraph, showed that 58 per cent of Protestants and 50 per cent of Catholics, among those questioned, were ‘basically satisfied’ with direct rule.

1985 – Death of Christopher Stephen “Todd” Andrews. He was an Irish political activist and public servant. He participated in the Irish Revolution of 1916-23 as a political and military activist in the Irish Republican movement. Later he served as a government minister in several Fianna Fáil governments.

1987 – Taoiseach, Charles Haughey, expressed his disappointment in the achievements of the Anglo-Irish Agreement (AIA).

1988 – Ian Paisley, Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for Northern Ireland, was physically removed from the European Parliament building when he mounted a protest at a speech being made by the Pope.

1994 – The RUC began patrolling west Belfast without the support of British Army soldiers.

1995 – Taoiseach, John Bruton, said that he believed that Sinn Féin had satisfied the conditions of a commitment to exclusively peaceful means and thus all-party talks should begin.

1996 – At the Conservative Party conference in Bournemouth, British Prime Minister, John Major, told delegates that the IRA would not bomb its way into the Stormont talks. About 1,000 people attended a peace rally organised by Women Together outside the City Hall in Belfast.

1999 – Hospitals begin scaling down their services after nurses vote overwhelmingly to go on strike.

1999 – Taoiseach Bertie Ahern pays tribute to Mo Mowlam’s courage and understanding after it emerges that she is leaving her Northern Ireland post.

1999 – Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Marjorie (Mo) Mowlam (Dr), who had been in post since 3 May 1997 was replaced in a Cabinet reshuffle by Peter Mandelson. Although thought “too green” in her political leanings, Mowlam insisted she had not been forced out by Unionists. Mandelson had first been suggested for the position by David Trimble, leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP).

2000 – In a historic move, Ireland’s Bishops vote at the autumn meeting of the Irish Bishop’s Conference in St Patrick’s College, Maynooth to seek the permission of Pope John Paul II to establish a Permanent Diaconate in Ireland. What this means is that Irish men will be ordained as deacons in the Catholic Church within the next five years and will have powers to officiate at weddings, baptisms and funerals.

2002 – Eamon Dunphy announces he will quit his popular radio drive-time show “The Last Word” on Today FM.

2002 – Geraldine Kennedy is appointed editor of The Irish Times and becomes the first female editor of a national daily newspaper.

2009 – The Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) formally vow to pursue its aims through peaceful political means, saying their “armed struggle is over”.

2011 – Historian Annesley John Malley loses his battle with cancer. The Belfast native Annesley was instrumental in charting the history of the north-west dating back to the 1600s. He attended Regent House School in Newtownards before being trained in England as a surveyor. When he returned to Northern Ireland he worked as a surveyor in the north-west. His friend and fellow historian Ken McCormick said it was that background in surveying which sparked Annesley’s interest in land surveys, old maps and historic properties and monuments.

Photo: St. Canice’s Cathedral, Kilkenny (Cill Chainnigh “The Church of Cainnech”), Sandberg Photography

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