#OTD in Irish History – 28 January:

1547 – Henry VIII dies (‘self-proclaimed’ King of Ireland). His nine-year-old son, Edward VI becomes King.

1610 – The crown and the Irish Society of London, a consortium of city companies, agree to carry out the plantation of Derry, Coleraine and part of Tyrone. The Honourable Irish Society is the organisation created by royal charter consisting of members nominated by livery companies of the City of London, set up to colonise Co Derry during the plantation of Ulster. Notably it was involved in the construction of the city of Derry, where it continues to own the City Walls. It was also particularly active in the town of Coleraine. Following the end of the primary conflict between the English monarchy and the Chieftains of Ireland with the flight of the Earls in 1607, James I of England set out to defend against a future attack from within or without. In his survey, he found that the town of Derry could become either a great asset as a control over the River Foyle and Lough Swilly, or it could become an inviting back door if the people of the area were against him. He pressurised the guilds of the City of London to fund the resettlement of the area, including the building of a new walled city, and the result was the creation of the society. The Society financed the building of the Guildhall, Derry. Work started in 1887 and it was opened in July 1890, having cost £19,000.

1635 – The City of London and the Irish Society of London are found guilty of mismanagement and neglect of Derry plantation; they are sentenced to a fine of £70,000 and forfeiture of Derry property.

1742 – Clotworthy Skeffington, 2nd Earl of Massereene, is born in Co Antrim.

1786 – By charter, the Irish Academy becomes the Royal Irish Academy.

1789 – Gambler and member of the Irish House of Commons, Thomas ‘Buck’ Whaley, arrives in Jerusalem. Born in Dublin, while dining with William FitzGerald, the Duke of Leinster at Leinster House, in response to a question regarding his future travel plans, Whaley flippantly mentioned Jerusalem. This reply led to wagers totalling £15,000 being offered that Whaley could not travel to Jerusalem and back within two years and provide proof of his success. The reasoning of those offering the bets was based on the belief that, as the region was part of the Ottoman Empire and had a reputation for widespread banditry, it would be too dangerous for travellers and it would be unlikely that Whaley could complete the journey.

1807 – Birth of polar explorer and discoverer of the North-West Passage, Sir Robert McClure, polar explorer and discoverer of the North-West Passage, in Co Wexford .

1818 – The Iberno-Celtic Society is founded to preserve and publish the best ancient Irish literature.

1852 – Birth of inventor, Louis Brennan, in Castlebar, Co Mayo.

1892 – Birth of WWI Ace, David Mary Tidmarsh, in Limerick.

1873 – Patrick Malley is killed by his son William Malley at Calla, a remote district of Errismore Co Galway. J.M. Synge based his story ‘The Playboy Of The Western World’ on the tragedy.

1874 – Birth of Sinn Féin politician, activist and medical doctor, Kathleen Lynn, in Killala, Co Mayo. She was chief medical officer at the City Hall Garrison in Dublin during the 1916 Rising.

1877 – George Fitzmaurice, Irish Renaissance playwright, is born.

1891 – Birth of teacher, Irish language scholar, army officer, barrister and Sinn Féin and Fine Gael politician, Gearóid O’Sullivan, in Skibbereen, Co Cork. At the age of 25, he was present in the GPO, as aide-de-camp to Sean MacDermott and raised the Tricolour over the GPO.

1906 – Pat O’Callaghan, physician, hammer-thrower and first man to win an Olympic gold medal while representing Ireland, is born near Kanturk, Co Cork.

1918 – South Armagh by-election campaign begins with Dr Patrick McCartan as the Sinn Féin candidate. Sinn Féin President Éamon de Valera travelled to Silverbridge and Countess Markievicz to Lislea, to campaign on behalf of McCartan.

1921 – British troops in Co Cork were tipped off by a local Loyalist named Mrs Lindsay about an IRA ambush at Macroom-Cork road. Two IRA volunteers were killed and five captured by British soldiers. The five IRA prisoners were later executed under martial law. The local IRA executed Lindsay and her chauffeur James Clarke in reprisal.

1923 – Ballinamore Free State barracks, Leitrim, is attacked and taken by Republicans. They take 35 Free State soldiers prisoner, who they take with them back to the Arigna mountains. The barracks itself and the train station are destroyed with explosives.

1935 – Laurence White Jr. is born in Brooklyn New York, USA.

1939 – Death of William Butler Yeats in France.

1941 – The Emergency Powers Act provides for the censorship of press messages to places outside the Free State.

1941 – Birth of Dublin artist, George Potter.

1972 – The Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA), in an effort to avoid a repeat of the violence at Milligan Strand on 22 January 1972, placed ‘special emphasis on the necessity for a peaceful incident-free day’ at the next NICRA march on 30 January 1972 (Irish News, 28 January 1972). According to a Channel 4 documentary ‘Secret History: Bloody Sunday’, broadcast on 22 January 1992, Ivan Cooper, a Member of Parliament at Stormont, who was involved in the organisation of the march, had obtained assurances from the IRA that its members would withdraw from the area during the march.

1973 – In the run up to the first anniversary of ‘Bloody Sunday’ there was serious rioting in Derry.

1978 – Birth of professional wrestler and actor, Stephen Farrelly, in Cabra, Co Dublin. He is signed to the American professional wrestling promotion WWE, where he performs under the ring name Sheamus shortened from his previous ring name Sheamus O’Shaunessy. He currently appears on the Raw brand where he is one-half of the WWE Raw Tag Team Champions with Cesaro. Prior to joining WWE, Farrelly wrestled on the European circuit and was a two-time International Heavyweight Champion during his tenure in Irish Whip Wrestling (IWW).

1979 – Death of Eileen Shanahan – one of the small number of Irish women poets. Her best-known poem, The Three Children (Near Clonmel), was included in the Oxford Book of Irish Verse (1958).

1981 – Daniel O’Donnell makes his first professional appearance, at a club in Thurles as part of his sister Margo’s band.

1982 – Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, James Prior, said that the DeLorean Motor Company would not be offered any further public funding. He also announced that Kenneth Cork would be appointed to examine the whole DeLorean affair.

1983 – The Irish government announced that it would introduce legislation to give full voting rights to approximately 20,000 British citizens.

1988 – The appeal of the ‘Birmingham Six’, the six men imprisoned for the Birmingham pub bombings of 1974, was rejected by the London Court of Appeal. Fresh evidence, particularly the fact that the original forensic tests were flawed, was rejected by the appeal judges. The men were subsequently released on 14 March 1991.

1993 – The IRA bombs Harrods for the third time in 20 years. Four people are injured.

1994 – An IRA incendiary device exploded in a store in Oxford Street, London. A second device was defused.

1996 – The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) refused to meet with the Irish Government as part of the ‘twin-track’ negotiation.

1997 – A RUC Landrover patrol was attacked on the Springfield Road, Belfast. Two ‘rockets’ were fired at the patrol but there were no injuries. It was believed that the IRA was responsible for the attack.

1997 – Michael Mansfield, a Queen’s Council, claimed that the escape by IRA prisoners from Whitemoor Prison in England on March 1995 was assisted by British Intelligence involvement in an attempt to ‘scupper’ the then IRA ceasefire.

1998 – Third day of multi-party talks at Lancaster House in London. Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Marjorie (Mo) Mowlam said that a face-to-face meeting between the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) and Sinn Féin (SF) would be a useful development. President of SF, Gerry Adams, sent a letter to David Trimble, leader of the UUP, requesting a meeting between SF and the UUP.

1999 – Death of artist, Markey Robinson. Born in Belfast, he was a prolific artist with a distinctive naïve expressionist style. His main passion was painting, but he also produced sculptures, and designed some stained glass panels.

1999 – The RUC announced that it would hold an inquiry into the alleged file used by Ian Paisley, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), in the House of Commons on 27 January 1999.

2000 – Death of actor, Tony Doyle, star of popular programmes such as Ballykissangel and The Riordans.

2000 – Nobel Peace laureate, John Hume, issues a plea to the IRA for a last-minute gesture on decommissioning to ensure the Northern Ireland peace process does not founder.

2001 – Mighty Munster moves a step closer to Heineken European Cup rugby glory when they defeat Biarritz 38 – 29 in the quarter-final.

2002 – Winds of up to 90mph leave 3,000 homes in the west and north-west without power supply for several hours.

2002 – The Northern Ireland Policing Board (NIPB) held a meeting with relatives of the victims of the Omagh Bombing (15 August 1998). The meeting followed the report (12 December 2001) of Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland (PONI), Nuala O’Loan, into the police handling of the investigation and the response (24 January 2002) by Chief Constable of the PSNI, Ronnie Flanagan. The NIPB was expected to have private meetings with Flanagan and O’Loan on 5 February 2002.

2002 – A new court building opened in Belfast. The building houses 16 Crown and County courtrooms. The £30m building was built under a public-private partnership scheme and will be operated by the company Consul Services (NI) Ltd., under a 25 year agreement.

2002 – The Ulster Political Research Group (UPRG) called on the British government to launch a formal review of the Good Friday Agreement. The UPRG said the initiative was required due to the declining support among many Protestants for the Agreement. 

2003 – It is announced that actor Peter O’Toole, nominated seven times for an Oscar for his work in films as diverse as the historical epic ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ and the nostalgic comedy ‘My Favourite Year’, will receive an honorary Academy Award at this year’s Oscar ceremonies. https://youtu.be/Wt564HJ_Irg

2007 – Sinn Féin Ard Fheis votes overwhelmingly in favour of a leadership motion expressing support for the Police Service of Northern Ireland. Speaking moments after the vote is taken, party President Gerry Adams describes the decision as ‘truly historic’ and says the potential had been created to change the political landscape of the island “forever.”

2011 – Taoiseach Brian Cowen announces he will seek to dissolve the Dáil next Tuesday at which time he will also announce the date of a General Election.

Photo: Uragh Stone Circle near Gleninchaquin Park, Co Kerry, Captive Landscapes by Stephen Emerson

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