1646 – Peace between the confederates and James Butler, the Marquis of Ormond and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, leads to a split within the confederation, i.e. between confederates and royalists.
1719 – John Cairnes, son of David Cairnes, former MP for the city of Derry, was killed in a duel in Newcastle, England.
1772 – An Act to repress Steelboy disturbances in five Ulster counties was passed. The Hearts of Steel, or Steelboys, was an exclusively Protestant movement originating in Co Antrim, due to grievances about the sharp rise of rent and evictions. The protests then spread into neighbouring counties of Armagh, Down, and Derry, before being put down by the army. The disturbances where so widespread in the affected counties, that the government passed legislation to severely punish the ‘wicked and disorderly persons’, and by the later half of 1772 sent the army into Ulster to crush them. Men were hanged, whilst many others were said to have drowned trying to flee across the sea to Scotland.
1820 – Birth of war correspondent, Sir William Howard Russell, in Tallaght, Co Dublin.
1874 – Birth of Irish patriot, Joseph McGarrity, in Carrickmore, Co Tyrone.
1879 – Birth of Irish patriot and Lord Mayor of Cork, Terence MacSwiney, in Co Cork.
1881 – Birth of Martin John Sheridan. He was ‘one of the greatest athletes [the United States] has ever known’ according to his obituary in the New York Times. He was born in Bohola, Co Mayo, and died in St. Vincent’s Hospital in Manhattan, New York, the day before his 37th birthday, a very early casualty of the 1918 flu pandemic. He’s buried in Calvary Cemetery, Queens, New York. He was part of a group of Irish-American athletes known as the ‘Irish Whales.’
1892 – Birth of Tom Maguire, an Irish republican who held the rank of commandant-general in the Western Command of the Irish Republican Army and led the South Mayo flying column.
1916 – Roger Casement leaves Munich for the last time and meets Robert Monteith in Berlin and tells him that he had decided not to take the men to Ireland. He has meetings with both the Admiralty and the General Staff to try to get his plan accepted. Casements feels that the Germans tried to blackmail him, by saying unless he took all the men to Ireland with the 20,000 rifles, then the rifles would not go either and further the Irish-Americans would be told that it was Casement’s fault that the guns were not going. Casement felt that whichever decision he made would have dire consequences, but opted for the safety of the Irish Brigade members, and refused to take them to Ireland. He said either they accept his original plan for three men including him, in a submarine to go ahead and organise the landing of arms, or if the Germans will not send a submarine, he would go alone in a surface boat carrying the guns.
1922 – Moving closer to a vicious Civil War. The IRA Executive issued a statement stating that the Minister of Defence and the Chief-of-Staff (both of whom supported the Treaty) no longer exercised control over the IRA.
1922 – IRA volunteers seized the RIC barracks in Belcoo, Co Fermanagh after a three-hour gun battle. Fifteen policemen were taken prisoner and marched across the border to be held until 18 July.
1923 – Five Republicans who were captured in the Anti-Treaty IRA’s 5 March attack on Cahersiveen, Kerry were executed by firing squad.
1944 – Birth of journalist and feminist, Nell McCafferty, in Derry.
1955 – Birth of Alliance Party leader, John Alderdice, in Ballymena, Co Antrim.
1957 – Death of Jack Butler Yeats, Ireland’s leading painter of the 20th century.
1967 – During a two-day recording session, Van Morrison recorded eight songs intended to be used as four singles. The recording session took place at A & R Studios and ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ was captured on the 22nd take on the first day. Because of a contract he signed with Bang Records without legal advice, Morrison states that he has never received any royalties for writing or recording this song.
1970 – Easter Rising commemorations led to rioting and the first fighting between the British army and Provisional IRA.
1972 – Two people were killed in a bomb attack on the RUC station in Limavady, Co Derry.
1972 – The last sitting of the Northern Ireland parliament at Stormont took place.
1973 – A ship (the ‘Claudia’) was intercepted off the Waterford coast. It was found to contain 5 tonnes of weapons which were en route to the IRA.
1979 – The Labour government is defeated in a vote of confidence by 311 to 310 votes. The votes of Northern Ireland Members of Parliament (MPs) were decisive in bringing down the government. Eight Unionists voted against the government, two Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) MPs voted with the government, and Gerry Fitt, leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), and Frank Maguire, an independent Nationalist MP, both abstained. Fitt had decided to withdraw his support from the Labour government over its failure to act on all the recommendations of the Bennett Report. Maguire who had a policy of abstention from Westminster did in fact travel to the House of Commons on this occasion. He later commented, ‘you could say I came over to London to abstain in person’. The loss of the vote of confidence was to trigger a general election on 3 May 1979 which would return a Conservative government with Margaret Thatcher as Prime Minister.
1981 – Ian Paisley, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), addressed a rally, estimated at 30,000 people, at Stormont to protest against the ongoing talks between the British and Irish governments.
1991 – The Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) carried out a gun attack on a mobile shop in Craigavon, Co Armagh, and killed three Catholic civilians. Two of the people killed were teenage girls (Eileen Duffy and Katrina Rennie).
1993 – John Hume, leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), suggested that the two governments might impose a blueprint for a political settlement in Northern Ireland backed by a referendum.
1993 – The Sunday Telegraph published details of a poll of the opinions of a sample of people living in England on the Northern Ireland issue. Of those questioned 56 per cent said that they no longer wanted the region to remain in the United Kingdom (UK).
1995 – Sinn Féin travelled to Dublin for a meeting with Taoiseach John Bruton and Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dick Spring. The discussions were on the issue of the decommissioning of paramilitary weapons.
1999 – In an article in The Observer, British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, and Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, appealed for the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement.
1999 – John Taylor, Deputy Leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), said that David Trimble, leader of UUP, might have to resign as First Minister if the d’Hondt mechanism was triggered to allocate positions on the Executive.
1999 – A young couple who had suffered severe burns in the Omagh bombing on 15 August 1998 were married in the town.
2000 – Wildcat action by certain SIPTU rail workers in support of their National Bus and Rail Union colleagues quickly exacerbates the dispute; as the strike appears to worsen, commuters can expect another day of chaos in getting to work. On a lighter note, sales of bicycles in Dublin have soared.
2001 – The Government expresses serious concern about another potential outbreak of suspected foot and mouth in Co Louth.
2003 – A Dublin woman pays 8,500 euros for two tickets for Ireland’s Grand Slam showdown with England. With interest in the game at fever pitch, Ann Higgins secures her seats for one of the biggest games of the year during a charity auction on the Marian Finucane Show.
2006 – Death of Proinsias Ó Maonaigh or Francie Mooney, a fiddler from Gweedore (Gaoth Dobhair), Co Donegal. He was known for his distinguished fiddle playing and his unique and vast contribution to Irish music and culture.
2017 – Theresa May officially invoked Article 50 as she signed a letter to the European Council President, triggering Britain’s exit from the European Union.
Image | Blackrock Castle, Co Cork
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