#OTD in Irish History – 24 October:

1641– Sir Felim O’Neill of Kinard the leader of the Irish Rebellion issues his Proclamation of Dungannon justifying the uprising and declaring continued loyalty to Charles I.

1642 – Irish Confederate rebels establish government in Kilkenny. The Confederate’s constitution was written by Galway lawyer, Patrick D’Arcy.

1789 – Work begins on the construction of the Royal Canal.

1842 – Death of Chilean independence leader, Bernardo O’Higgins, who, together with José de San Martín, freed Chile from Spanish rule in the Chilean War of Independence. Although he was the second Supreme Director of Chile (1817–1823), he is considered one of Chile’s founding fathers, as he was the first holder of this title to head a fully independent Chilean state. O’Higgins was of Spanish and Irish ancestry.

1847 – In an irate letter published in the Cork Examiner, “A.D.F.” condemns the proselytising (soul-jobbing) of starving Catholics.

1854 – Birth of Sir Horace Plunkett, agricultural reformer and politician.

1872 – Birth of track and field athlete, Peter O’Connor. Born in, England, O’Connor grew up in Co Wicklow. He joined the GAA in 1896 and in 1899 he won All-Ireland medals in long jump, high jump and hop, step and jump (triple jump). Over the next ten years he consistently beat British athletes in international competitions. The (British) Amateur Athletic Association invited him to represent Britain in the Olympic Games in 1900, but he refused as he only wished to represent Ireland. O’Connor set a long-standing world record for the long jump and won two Olympic medals in the 1906 Games.

1880 – Fanny Parnell launches the Ladies’ Land League in New York. Known as the Patriot Poet, Fanny Parnell is the leading spokeswoman throughout the United States for the organisation.

1922 – Three Free State soldiers are killed in an ambush at Graney, Co Kildare and five wounded. Their tender is ambushed on the road to Baltinglass.

1922 – A Free State soldier is also killed in Limerick.

1940 – Pat Gallagher is born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

1942 – Birth of novelist, journalist and broadcaster, Frank Delaney, in Co Tipperary.

1969 – Birth of playwright, literary historian, novelist, and screenwriter, Emma Donoghue, in Dublin. Her 2010 novel Room was a finalist for the Man Booker Prize and an international best-seller. Donoghue’s 1995 novel Hood won the Stonewall Book Award and Slammerkin (2000) won the Ferro-Grumley Award for Lesbian Fiction. Room was adapted into a film of the same name, for which Donoghue wrote the screenplay which was subsequently nominated for the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.

1971 – A member of the IRA was shot dead by undercover RUC officers during a bomb attack in Belfast.

1971 – Ruairi O’Brady, President of Sinn Féin, addressed the Ard Fheis in Dublin and said that the North of Ireland must be made ungovernable as first step in achieving a united Ireland.

1971 – Birth of television and stage actress, Dervla Kirwan, in Dublin. Kirwan has had roles in British television shows which included Ballykissangel and Goodnight Sweetheart among others. She also appeared in the Doctor Who Christmas special episode The Next Doctor, and provided the voiceovers for the “This is not just food” television advertising campaign for UK retailer Marks and Spencer.

1972 – Two Catholic men (Michael Naan and Andrew Murray) were found dead at a farm at Aughinahinch, near Newtownbbutler, Co Fermanagh. The incident was referred to as ‘the pitchfork killings’ and was initially thought to have been carried out by Loyalists. However, it was later discovered that British soldiers had carried out the killings.

1974 – The IRA carried out a bomb attack on a cottage in the grounds of Harrow School in north-west London. No one was injured in the explosion. The time bomb, estimated to have contained 5lbs of explosives, exploded shortly before midnight just outside the cottage which had until just before this date been occupied by the head of the school’s Combined Cadet Force. At 11.30pm a telephone warning about the bomb had been given to the Press Association.

1986 – The Northern Ireland Office (NIO) announced that legislation would be introduced to allow public houses in Northern Ireland to open on Sundays.

1990 – The IRA kills 6 soldiers and a civilian in bomb attacks at Derry and Newry.

1998 – New British proposals for a European defence force which could undermine Irish neutrality are outlined at a key summit of EU heads of government in Austria.

1990 – Proxy bomb attacks – the PIRA launched three “proxy bombs” or “human bombs” at British Army checkpoints. Three Catholic men, whom the IRA claimed had worked for British security forces, were tied into cars which had been loaded with explosives and ordered to drive to the check points. At the Coshquin checkpoint near Derry five soldiers and the man who was forced to drive the car were all killed. In a second attack, at Killeen near Newry, a soldier was killed. The third bomb, that had been driven to Omagh, Co Tyrone, failed to detonate. The attacks resulted in widespread outrage.

1999 – The first state funeral ever held in Co Cork takes place for former Taoiseach Jack Lynch at St Mary and Anne’s Cathedral in Cork.

2000 – Halloween firework displays are dampened after gardaí seize rockets and bangers worth close to £1 million in a warehouse north of Omeath, Co Louth.

2001 – Cyril Ramaphosa and Martti Ahtisarri, the two independent arms inspectors, announced that they had resigned their positions. They said that they were no longer required given that the IICD and the IRA were dealing with the weapons issue. The arms inspectors had been appointed on 14 May 2000.

2001 – The Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) called on Loyalist paramilitaries to begin the process of decommissioning their weapons.

2002 – President Mary McAleese is named the Irish Tatler Woman of the Year. Northern Ireland Woman of the Year is awarded to blind world water-skier champion Janet Gray.

2003 – A smoking ban in all enclosed workplaces except private dwellings is signed into law. Prisons will be excluded to prevent security and conduct problems. The law will go into effect on 26 January 2004. Hoteliers and publicans consider legal action.

2015 – Death of actress and singer, Maureen O’Hara, born Maureen FitzSimons in Ranelagh, Co Dublin. The famously red-headed O’Hara was known for playing fiercely passionate but sensible heroines, and often worked with director John Ford and longtime friend John Wayne. She was one of the last surviving stars from the Golden Age of Hollywood.

Photo: Dún Briste, Downpatrick, Co Mayo, Hibernia Landscapes by Stephen Wallace

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