#OTD in Irish History – 26 October:

1601 – A Spanish army under Don Juan del Aguila, which had landed at Kinsale on 21 September, is besieged by Lord Mountjoy on this date.

1771 – Birth of Brigadier Juan Mackenna, in Clogher, Co Tyrone. He was a Chilean military officer and hero of the Chilean War of Independence. He is considered to have been the creator of the Corps of Military Engineers of the Chilean Army.

1791 – Founding of the United Irishmen movement.

1831 – Birth of painter, Nathaniel Hone, in Dublin.

1837 – Birth of Union general in the America’s Civil War, James Lawlor Kiernan, in Mount Bellew, Co Galway.

1862 – John J Nolan Sergeant, Company K, 8th New Hampshire Infantry is awarded the Medal of Honor for an action that took place at Georgia Landing, Louisiana. He entered service at: Nashua, New Hampshire Born: 24 June 1844, Ireland. The Citation reads: The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Sergeant John J. Nolan, United States Army, for extraordinary heroism on 27 October 1862, while serving with Company K, 8th New Hampshire Infantry, in action at Georgia Landing, Louisiana. Although prostrated by a cannon-shot, Sergeant Nolan refused to give up the flag which he was carrying as Color Bearer of his regiment and continued to carry it at the head of the regiment throughout the engagement.

1866 – Death of John Kinder Labatt. Born in Co Laois (then Queen’s County), he was a brewer, and the founder of the Labatt Brewing Company. Labatt immigrated to Canada in the 1830s and initially established himself as a farmer near London, Upper Canada. In 1847 he invested in a brewery with a partner, Samuel Eccles, launching “Labatt and Eccles”. When Eccles retired in 1854, Labatt acquired his interest, and renamed the interest the “London Brewery”.

1878 – Mayo Tenants Defence Association, the precursor to the Irish Land League holds its first meeting in Castlebar, Co Mayo, demanding The Land of Ireland for the people of Ireland.

1920 – Newspaper cutting from the ‘Daily Graphic’. The caption accompanying the photograph reads: ‘Mrs Muriel MacSwiney, widow of the Lord Mayor of Cork, Terence McSwiney, leaving Brixton Prison for the last time before her husband’s death, which occurred yesterday, the 75th day of his hunger strike.

1921 – Birth of George Forrest. He was a Unionist politician in Northern Ireland who served as MP for Mid Ulster from 1956 until his death.

1932 – Margaret “The Unsinkable Molly” Brown, daughter of Irish immigrants, dies in New York.

1940 – Birth of John S. Horgan, the Press Ombudsman in the Republic of Ireland. An author and former Labour Party politician who served from 1969 to 1981 as a senator and then as a Teachta Dála (TD), he was Professor of Journalism at Dublin City University before taking up the ombudsman post in 2007.

1943 – Comhdháil Náisiúnta na Gaeilge, the coordinating body for Irish-language organisations, is formed.

1944 – Birth of entertainer and folk musician, Jim McCann. Although a solo artist for most of his career, McCann was a member of the Dubliners from 1974 until 1979, then later appearing with them in their 2002 reunion and their 50th anniversary tour in 2012. McCann’s death was announced by his family on 5 March 2015. He had been battling throat cancer for some time.

1947 – Birth of poet, Trevor Joyce, in Dublin. He co-founded New Writers’ Press (NWP) in Dublin in 1967 and was a founding editor of NWP’s The Lace Curtain; A Magazine of Poetry and Criticism in 1968. Joyce was the Judith E. Wilson Visiting Poetry Fellow at the University of Cambridge in 2009/10 and he had residencies at Cill Rialaig, Co Kerry, and at the University of Galway. He is also co-founder and director of the annual SoundEye Festival that is held in Cork City.

1970 – Muhammad Ali faces off against “Irish” Jerry Quarry in Atlanta, Georgia.

1981 – Kenneth Howorth, a British explosives officer with London’s Metropolitan Police Service was killed whilst attempting to defuse a bomb planted by the PIRA in Oxford Street, London. In 1985, IRA volunteers Paul Kavanagh and Thomas Quigley, both from Belfast, were convicted of his murder (along with other attacks including the Chelsea Barracks nail bomb in September 1981). Each men were handed five life sentences with a minimum tariff of thirty-five years. They were released in 1999 under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

1981 – The country’s first women soldiers hold their passing out parade. Thirty eight women aged between 18 and 20 marched into history as the first female recruits to the Irish Defence Forces. The 18 week training for the women of the 4th platoon included rifle marksmanship, and a special course in tactics.

1982 – Birth of professional racing driver, Adam Carroll, in Portadown, Co Armagh. He currently races in the Blancpain Endurance Series for Gulf Racing. He has also raced for Team Ireland in A1 Grand Prix, winning the series in 2009. In 2010, Carroll made two appearances in the Izod IndyCar Series racing for Andretti Autosport just missing out on two full seasons due to a sponsor pulling out.

1989 – A member of the Royal Air Forceand his six-month old daughter were killed in an IRA attack in Germany.

1993 – At the funeral service of the IRA member killed in the Shankill Road Bombing on 23 October 1993, President of Sinn Féin, Gerry Adams, helped carry the coffin.

1995 – The Northern Ireland Office (NIO) announced that the oath of allegiance to the Queen made by Queen’s Councils in Northern Ireland would be repealed. Unionists criticised the decision.

1998 – In a book of memoirs Conor Cruise O’Brien said that Unionists may one day have to negotiate entry into a United Ireland.

1998 – A price war rages over the video of Oscar-winning Titanic, which is set to become Ireland’s biggest selling video of all time.

1999 – A major opinion poll reveals that a majority of people in Northern Ireland would vote ‘yes’ in a new referendum on the Good Friday Agreement.

1999 – A line of tractors backs up for miles as a cavalcade of farmers make their way to the annual Great Maam Cross Fair, the last great fair of the millennium.

2000 – The new Manchester United Superstore is officially opened in Dublin.

2000 – The country’s 350,000 secondary school students are asked by the Department of Defence to propose a name for a new £20m naval patrol boat.

2001 – Two people were arrested during the Loyalist protest outside the Holy Cross Girls’ Primary School in Ardoyne, north Belfast. Loyalists had tried to block the road and prevent parents from gaining access to the school.

Image | Uragh Stone Circle, Gleninchaquin Park, Co Kerry | Captive Landscapes by Stephen Emerson

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