#OTD in Irish History – 26 February:

1797 – The Bank of Ireland suspends gold payments.

1854 – William Smith O’Brien, leader of the 1848 rebellion, is pardoned. He was convicted of sedition for his part in the Young Irelander Rebellion of 1848, but his sentence of death was commuted to deportation to Van Diemen’s Land. In 1854, he was released on the condition of exile from Ireland, and he lived in Brussels for two years. In 1856 O’Brien was pardoned and returned to Ireland, but he was never active again in politics.

1880 – Birth of Kenneth Essex Edgeworth, DSO, MC in Co Westmeath. He was an astronomer, economist and engineer. He is best known for proposing the existence of a disc of icy bodies beyond the orbit of Neptune in the 1940s in much the same manner as Gerard Kuiper would publish ten years later. Observations later confirmed the existence of what has become known, somewhat controversially, as the Kuiper belt.

1914 – HMHS Britannic, sister to the RMS Titanic, is launched at Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast.

1916 – Birth of John Herbert ‘Jackie’ Gleeson. He was an Irish-American comedian, actor, and musician who developed a style and characters in his career from growing up in Brooklyn, New York. He was known for his brash visual and verbal comedy style, exemplified by his character Ralph Kramden in the television series The Honeymooners. His parents were Mae ‘Maisie’ (née Kelly), Farranree, Co Cork, and Herbert Walton ‘Herb’ Gleason, an Irish-American insurance auditor.

1923 – Meeting of Anti-Treaty IRA officers assembles at Ballinageary, Co Tipperary. Officers from the First Southern Division report that, ‘in a short time we would not have a man left owing to the great number of arrests and casualties’. Tom Crofts reports that the Cork Brigades have suffered 29 killed and an unknown number captured in recent actions, ‘if five men are arrested in each area, we are finished’. Nevertheless, Liam Lynch takes the opportunity to issue a statement rejecting the possibility of a truce.

1923 – A National Army soldier is executed in Portlaoise for treachery, having defected to and handed over weapons to the Anti-Treaty IRA.

1940 – Birth of singer, Jimmy Ferguson, in Belfast. He was a founding member of the folk group The Irish Rovers. He was the only member who did not play an instrument. He sang in a rich baritone voice, in contrast to Will Millar’s tenor, and was also the comedian of the group. Ferguson suffered a heart attack in New Zealand in 1992 and continued to have heart problems for the rest of his life. He died while on tour in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1997 at the age of 57.

1960 – An Alitalia plane bound for New York crashes moments after take off from Shannon airport killing 34 of its 52 passengers. Strong headwinds forced the Douglas DC-7 plane to land at Shannon to top up fuel on its flight from Naples. No cause for the accident was ever established.

1962 – Due to ‘lack of support’, the Irish Republican Army ends what it calls ‘The Campaign of Resistance to British Occupation’; which is also known as the ‘Border Campaign’.

1971 – Two RUC officers, Cecil Patterson (45) and Robert Buckley (30), were shot and killed by the IRA while on a mobile patrol in the Ardoyne area of Belfast.

1972 – Birth of drummer, Jonny Quinn, in Bangor, Co Down. He is best known as the drummer for alternative rock band Snow Patrol, and was previously a member of bands like The Mighty Fall, The New Brontes and Disraeli Gears. As drummer for Snow Patrol, he has played on all releases.

1975 – A member of the IRA shot dead a police officer in London. During a subsequent search operation a bomb-making facility was uncovered in Hammersmith.

1978 – Film critic Ciaran Carty hails the Irish language film Poitín for its deromanticisation of the west. Poitín (1977) was the first feature film to be made entirely in Irish. It was also the first recipient of a film script grant from the Arts Council of Ireland. The film was produced by Cinegael, written and directed by Bob Quinn, and starred Cyril Cusack as a moonshiner in rural Connemara, living in an isolated cottage with his adult daughter.

1983 – Pat Jennings becomes the first footballer to play in 1,000 Football League matches.

1983 – Ken Livingstone, then leader of the Greater London Council (GLC), travelled to Belfast to begin a two-day visit at the invitation of Sinn Féin. The visit drew strong criticism from Unionists.

1986 – Leaders of Unionism announced that there would be a general strike, or ‘Day of Action’, on 3 March (1986) against the Anglo-Irish Agreement (AIA).

1993 – The IRA exploded three bombs at a gas works in Warrington, England. The bombs caused a large explosion. Two men were later arrested.

1994 – Sinn Féin held its Ard Fheis in Dublin. President of Sinn Féin, Gerry Adams, addressed the conference and said that the Downing Street Declaration was a significant departure from previous policy by the British in its attitude towards Ireland. He added: ‘Does anyone really expect the IRA to cease its activities so that British civil servants can discuss with Sinn Féin the surrender of IRA weapons after we have been ‘decontaminated’?’

1997 – Two members of the IRA carried out a ‘punishment’ style attack on a 16-year-old girl, Judith Boylan, in Armagh.

1997 – Enya was awarded with a Grammy for Best New Age Album for ‘The Memory of Trees’, at the 39th Annual Grammy Awards held at Madison Square Garden, New York City.

1998 – During talks at Downing Street, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern launches a bid to persuade British Prime Minister Tony Blair to sign up to an Anglo-Irish paper which would lay out the details of a final Northern Ireland peace settlement.

1998 – The Court of Appeal ruled that Paratrooper Lee Clegg should be granted a retrial. The family of Karen Reilly who was shot dead in a ‘joy-riding’ incident on 30 September 1990 were said to be ‘devastated’ by the news of the retrial.

1998 – An army recruitment programme to bolster the defence forces with 500 new members is officially launched with a commitment made to keep staffing levels at 11,500 by the end of 1998.

1999 – During talks in Bonn, the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and British Prime Minister Tony Blair agree to push for implementation of the Good Friday peace deal by the March 10 deadline.

2001 – Brian Keenan made a speech warning that there could be a return to armed conflict if the political process broke down. Keenan was the Chief of Staff of the Provisional IRA.

2001 – The Government imposes a temporary ban on the country’s 120 livestock marts as the devastating foot and mouth disease spreads in Britain. Strict procedures are also implemented in airports around Ireland to keep the disease out of the country.

2001 – Blizzards, gale force winds and driving hail sweep the country, leaving many householders without electricity or heat.

2002 – British Army bomb disposal officers defused a pipe-bomb that had been left in the garden of a house in Ballynure, Co Antrim. The crude device was discovered at approximately 4.30pm.

2002 – The PSNI announced that a £20,000 reward was being offered for information leading to the prosecution of those who had killed Daniel McColgan (20), a Catholic civilian, on 12 January 2002. The Ulster Defence Association (UDA) admitted responsibility for the killing. The reward money had been raised by a number of groups.

2002 – Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, John Reid, wrote to the Commission of Inquiry into the Dublin and Monaghan bombings providing a response to a letter sent by the Inquiry on 10 November 2000. The information was provided in the form of a ten-page letter. An appendix to the letter consisting of six pages gave details concerning the structure and control of intelligence gathering in Northern Ireland during the 1970s.

Photo: O’Brien’s Tower, Co Clare

#irishhistory #ireland #irelandinspires


Posted by

Stair na hÉireann is steeped in Ireland's turbulent history, culture, ancient secrets and thousands of places that link us to our past and the present. With insight to folklore, literature, art, and music, you’ll experience an irresistible tour through the remarkable Emerald Isle.