#OTD in Irish History – 25 October:

In the Liturgical calendar it is the Feast Day of Blessed Thaddeus McCarthy. He was a bishop who never ruled his see, even though he was appointed to two of them: Bishop of Ross, Ireland in 1492 and Bishop of Cork and Cloyne in 1490.

1212 – John Comyn, Archbishop of Dublin, dies and is buried in Christ Church Cathedral.

1683 – Birth of Charles FitzRoy, 2nd Duke of Grafton. He was an Irish and English politician. Grafton Street in Dublin was named after him.

1784 – A radical reform congress commences in William Street, Dublin.

1818 – Birth of opera singer Catherine Hayes in Limerick.

1864 – Irish-born Joseph Keele is awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. His citation reads: Rank and organization: Sergeant Major, 182nd New York Infantry. Place and date: At North Anna River, Va., 23 May 1864. Entered service at: Staten Island, N.Y. Birth: Ireland. Date of issue: 25 October 1867. Citation: Voluntarily and at the risk of his life carried orders to the brigade commander, which resulted in saving the works his regiment was defending.

1899 – Birth of Micheál Mac Liammóir, actor and writer.

1909 – The Engineering and Scientific Association of Ireland assures the population that flying machines will never be of any practical use.

1920 – After 74 days on Hunger Strike in Brixton Prison, England, the Sinn Féin Lord Mayor of Cork, Terence MacSwiney died. He was arrested by the British on charges of sedition and imprisoned in Brixton Prison. His death brought him and the Irish struggle to international attention.

1920 – Three RIC men were killed and three wounded in an IRA ambush at Moneygold, Co Sligo. Three IRA volunteers and their female driver were subsequently arrested and imprisoned.

1920 – An IRA assault on the RIC barracks in Tempo, Co Fermanagh is attacked in turn and forced to retreat by the UVF. RIC Sergeant Samuel Lucas later dies of his injuries. Civilian Philip Breen, believed to have republican sympathies, is later shot in the doorway of his family’s pub in the village and also dies later.

1922 – Dáil Éireann approves the Constitution of the Irish Free State.

1922 – Éamon de Valera, at the request of the IRA Army Executive, sets up a “Republican Cabinet”, formed from Anti-Treaty TDs to: “be temporarily the Supreme Executive of the Republic and the State, until such time as the elected Parliament of the Republic can freely assemble, or the people being rid of external aggression are at liberty to decide freely how they are to be governed”.

1922 – Two Free State soldiers are killed, one in a firefight near Abbeydorney, Co Kerry, the other by a sniper in Dundalk.

1922 – At an action near Castletownroche, Co Cork, three IRA fighters are reported by the press to have been killed and nine wounded, having returned to the village for a funeral.

1922 – A Free State soldier is fatally wounded by a sniper in Castletownmount, near Dundalk.

1931 – Birth of James “Jimmy” McIlroy in Lambeg, near Lisburn, Co Antrim and Co Down. He is a former football player and manager, regarded as one of the greatest players in the history of Burnley.

1957 – Death of Edward Plunkett (Dunsany). He was an Anglo-Irish writer and dramatist, notable for his work, mostly in fantasy, published under the name Lord Dunsany. More than eighty books of his work were published, and his oeuvre includes many hundreds of published short stories, as well as successful plays, novels and essays. Born to one of the oldest titles in the Irish peerage, Dunsany lived much of his life at perhaps Ireland’s longest-inhabited home, Dunsany Castle near Tara, worked with W.B. Yeats and Lady Gregory, received an honourary doctorate from Trinity College, was chess and pistol-shooting champion of Ireland, and travelled and hunted extensively. He died in Dublin after an attack of appendicitis.

1960 – Death of Harry Ferguson, environmental pioneer, aircraft designer, inventor of the Ferguson tractor and revolutioniser of mechanised farming. He was from Dromore, Co Down.

1961 – Birth of airline executive, Willie Walsh, in Dublin. He is CEO of International Airlines Group, and has been CEO of Aer Lingus and British Airways. At age 17 he became a pilot at Irish flag carrier Aer Lingus, joining as a cadet in 1979. He acquired a Master’s degree in management and business administration from Trinity College, Dublin during his pilot years, while advancing to become a Boeing 737 captain. He joined company management in various positions including chief executive of then company subsidiary, Futura from 1998 to 2000. He returned to Aer Lingus at that time as Chief Operating Officer (COO).

1971 – A man died two days after being shot during an IRA attack on the British Army in Belfast.

1979 – Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Humphrey Atkins, announced that he was going to invite the four main parties (Ulster Unionist Party, UUP; Democratic Unionist Party, DUP; Social Democratic and Labour Party, SDLP; and Alliance Party, APNI) to a conference held at Stormont to discuss potential political settlements. The UUP rejected the invitation and called on the government to introduce a system of two-tier local government. At the time of the Atkins initiative there was little support for another round of talks and some commentators believed the initiative was a response to try to ease growing American pressure for action.

1981 – By this date most Republican prisoners had ended their ‘blanket protest’.

1984 – Nineteen Republican prisoners appeared in court on charges related to the killing of a Prison Officer. The men had been part of the group of 38 who escaped from Long Kesh Prison on 25 September 1983.

1985 – First commercial flight from Knock Airport (Horan International Airport) in Co Mayo.

1987 – Birth of footballer, Darron Gibson, in Co Derry. He plays as a midfielder for English club Sunderland and the Republic of Ireland national team. He has also played for Everton, Manchester United and on loan for Royal Antwerp and Wolverhampton Wanderers.

1990 – Birth of hurler, Niall Donohue. Born in Kilbeacanty, Co Galway, Donohue played at senior level for the Galway senior team. Donohue was found in his home on 23 October 2013, three days before his 23rd birthday. His death brought the topic of suicide into public consciousness. His funeral was attended by a large number of mourners from the GAA community across the country, including Donohue’s Galway teammates. A number of other figures in the GAA such as Kilkenny manager Brian Cody and association president Liam O’Neill called to the Donohue family home to pay their respects.

1991 – The Fair Employment Commission (FEC) announced that a Belfast company had been disqualified from receiving government contracts because it did not comply with the fair employment legislation. The company had failed to provide details of the religious composition of its staff.

1995 – PresidentMary Robinson travelled to London for a first public engagement with the Queen. The meeting was to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the founding of Queen’s University, Belfast, University College, Cork, and University College, Galway.

1996 – Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Patrick Mayhew, stated that there would be no concessions for Loyalist prisoners as a “reward” for the continuing ceasefire.

1999 – Inter-party talks resume at Stormont as the Northern Ireland peace process enters its final and most crucial phase.

1999 – A cache of weapons believed to belong to the rIRA was uncovered near Stamullen, Co Meath, close to the spot where an underground firing range was discovered on 20 October 1999. Garda Síochána said the new cache contained a type of rocket launcher – an RPG 18 – never before seen in arms finds on either side of the Border.

1999 – Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Peter Mandelson, held a meeting with Chief Constable of the RUC, Ronnie Flanagan. Mandelson said the that the proposed Patten reforms would strengthen the police.

2000 – The IRA announced that it would permit a further inspection of some of its arms dumps. The IRA also stated that its representative would hold more talks with General John de Chastelain, Head of the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD).

2002 – Limerick-born movie star, Richard Harris, loses his battle to cancer.

Photo: Part of a photographic collection depicting Irish life in the 1950s from the Irish Photo Archive. (Castlebar, Co Mayo)

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