Good Friday – It is traditionally a day of fasting and penance.
In the Liturgical calendar, today is the Feast Day of Saint Tola, a seventh-century Irish Roman Catholic saint also referred to as ‘a good soldier of Christ’. Tola, the reputed son of Donchad is also referred to as Thola or Tolanus. He died between 733 and 737.
1493 – Kildare, who has been suspected of supporting Perkin Warbeck, is given a general pardon.
1603 – After a long battle against English rule, Hugh O’Neill, the Earl of Tyrone, submits to Lord Mountjoy at Mellifont. O’Neill is pardoned; the Treaty of Mellifont ends the Nine Years War.
1798 – Privy Council proclaims Ireland in state of rebellion and imposes martial law.
1824 – Birth of journalist and editor, Thomas Devin Reilly, in Co Monaghan.
1851 – A census shows the population of Ireland to be 6,552,385: it declined by one-fifth since 1845. The number of Irish in England and Wales increased by 79% in the past decade. Nearly a quarter of Liverpool was now ‘Irish’. Over 18% of the people of Glasgow and Dundee were Irish-born – 6.7% of Scotland as a whole. The Great Hunger saw mass emigration and millions stayed only to die of starvation and disease at the hands of the British government.
1873 – Death of ‘liberator of Greece’, Richard Church, of Co Cork, in Athens, Greece.
1880 – Birth of playwright, Sean O’Casey, in Dublin.
1880 – Birth of political activist, Sean Hales, in Ballinadee, Co Cork. Sean and his brothers Tom, Donal and Robert, were involved in the IRA during the Irish War of Independence. On 6 December 1922, Hales was killed by anti-Treaty IRA men as he left the Dáil. Another TD, Pádraic Ó Máille, was also shot and badly wounded in the incident. His killing was in reprisal for the Free State’s execution of Anti-Treaty prisoners. In revenge for Hales’ killing, four republican leaders, whom the Free State held in custody, were executed on 8 December.
1896 – An Irishman wins an Olympic gold medal for the first time, when John Pius Boland triumphs in tennis.
1920 – Birth of journalist and author, Jack White, in Cork.
1921 – Two RIC men are killed in an ambush in Ballyfermot, Co Dublin.
1922 – Craig-Collins Pact was signed in London. The Irish Free State formally recognised Northern Ireland government.
1923 – Four Anti-Treaty IRA fighters are killed in an action at Kyle in Co Wexford, between Wexford town and Enniscorthy. A party of National Army troops was travelling from Wexford to Enniscorthy, heavy machine-gun fire was opened on them, when reinforcements arrived from Wexford Military barracks the fighting had ceased but the reinforcements pursued the attackers, it was during this pursuit that the four men were killed.
1923 – The body of an Anti Treaty soldier was found on Upper Rathmines Road near Tranquilla Convent, Dublin. The body of the deceased had 22 bullet wounds. The jury at the inquest found that Thomas O’Leary had been murdered and that the military authorities were uncooperative. Thomas O’Leary, 22 years old from 17 Armstrong Street Harold’s Cross, Dublin.
1926 – Birth of actor, Ray McAnally, in Buncrana, Co Donegal.
1930 – David Staple became joint president of the Council of Churches for Britain and Ireland.
1947 – Birth of politician, Dick Roche, in Co Wexford. He is a former Fianna Fáil politician and cabinet minister. He was a Teachta Dála (TD) for the Wicklow constituency, and also served in Seanad Éireann from 1992 to 1997. On 15 December 2008 he was held hostage during a robbery at the Druids Glen Marriott Hotel and Country Club in County Wicklow.
1948 – Birth of Eddie Jordan, also known as EJ, in Dublin. He is a former motorsport team boss, businessman, entrepreneur, musician and mentor. He was the founder and owner of Jordan Grand Prix, a Formula One constructor which operated from 1991 to 2005. He was the lead analyst for Formula One coverage on the BBC from 2009 to 2015.
1969 – There were a number of explosions at an electricity substation at Castlereagh, east Belfast. The explosions resulted in a blackout in a large area of Belfast and did damage estimated at £500,000. It was later established that the bombs were planted by Loyalists who were members of the UVF and the UPV. This incident was initially blamed on the IRA and was part of a campaign by Loyalist groups to destabilise Northern Ireland Prime Minister, Terence O’Neill, and bring an end to reforms. Other bombs were planted by Loyalists on 4 April 1969, 20 Arpil 1969, 24 April 1969, 26 April 1969, and 19 October 1969.
1972 – The Northern Ireland (Temporary Provisions) Act came into force decreeing direct rule from London. Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, Brian Faulkner, resigned. The legislation was passed at the House of Commons in Westminster. With the exception of a brief period in 1974, Northern Ireland was to be ruled from Westminster until 1999.
1973 – William Craig, and some other former members of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), formed a new political party the Vanguard Unionist Progressive Party (VUPP). The VUPP was formed with the support of the Ulster Defence Association (UDA). In addition to having close links with Loyalist paramilitary groups the VUPP also was prepared to accept an independent Northern Ireland because of the inevitable Unionist domination of any new government. Indeed the VUPP had one Loyalist paramilitary grouping, the Vanguard Service Corps (VSC) directly linked with the party.
1974 – Two Protestant civilians were killed in a bomb attack on the Crescent Bar, Sandy Row, Belfast. No group claimed responsibility for the attack.
1976 – The Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA) called off its ‘rent and rates strike’ which had originally started as a campaign of civil disobedience against the introduction of Internment. Many of those who had taken part in the protest were left with arrears and in many cases money was deducted from welfare benefit payments to recoup the amounts owing.
1976 – Birth of musician, Mark Peter McClelland, in Belfast. Best known as the former bass guitarist with the band Snow Patrol. McClelland is a recipient of the Ivor Novello Award for his work on the album, Final Straw. He is now the bassist for alternative act Little Doses.
1977 – A Catholic civilian, Francis Cassidy (43), was found shot with his throat cut in the Highfield area of Belfast. Members of he Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) gang known as the ‘Shankill Butchers’ were responsible for the killing.
1979 – Airey Neave, shadow Northern Ireland Secretary and opposition Conservative spokesman on Northern Ireland, died when a bomb exploded in his car as he was driving out of the House of Commons car park. Two groups, the Provisional IRA and the Irish National Liberation Army, claimed responsibility. If he had lived he would have been highly likely to have become the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland in the new Conservative government. Neave had been an advocate of a strong security response to counter Republican paramilitaries. Neave had also advocated the setting up of one or more regional councils to take responsibility for local services.
1979 – Ireland announced the ending of one-for-one parity with sterling.
1981 – Noel Maguire decided to withdraw his nomination in the forthcoming by-election in Fermanagh/South Tyrone. This decision meant that voters were faced with a straight choice between Bobby Sands and Unionist candidate, Harry West.
1990 – It was announced that the report of the Stevens Inquiry would not be published.
1993 – RTÉ lost its appeal against a High Court decision that its blanket ban on broadcasting interviews with members of Sinn Féin was wrong and that Section 31 of the Broadcasting Act was being misinterpreted by the station. The five-judge Supreme Court unanimously upheld the High Court decision. In the High Court in July 1992, Mr. Justice O’Hanlon found that RTÉ, in deciding that no Sinn Féin member should be permitted by reason of that membership to broadcast on any matter or topic, had misinterpreted the provisions of the ministerial order. In its appeal, RTÉ argued that the purpose of the order was to prevent its broadcasting system being used for the purpose of subverting or undermining the authority of the state.
1994 – The IRA announced that there would be a three-day ceasefire from 6 April to 8 April 1994.
1994 – During a visit to Northern Ireland, British Prime Minister, John Major, said that what people wanted was a ‘permanent end to violence’.
1994 – The appeal by Lee Clegg, a private in the Parachute Regiment, against his murder conviction was dismissed by Lord Chief Justice, Brian Hutton (Sir). However, Clegg was released from prison on 3 July 1995 having served two years of a life sentence for the murder of Karen Reilly (16) on 30 September 1990.
1995 – The annual report of the Fair Employment Commission (FEC) noted that 62.7 per cent of the workforce was Protestant and 37.3 per cent Catholic. Based on the 1991 Census, the estimated Catholic population was 41.5 per cent.
1995 – Death of mathematician and physicist, John Lighton Synge.
1996 – A prisoner at Maghaberry Prison, Jim McDonnell (36), was found dead of a ‘heart attack’. It was later revealed that he had a series of injuries, including 11 broken ribs, which the Prison Service said was a result of a fall or the attempts at resuscitation.
1997 – A Loyalist paramilitary group planted a car bomb outside the offices of Sinn Féin in the New Lodge area of north Belfast. The bomb was defused.
1997 – Various Republican groups held commemorations of the 1916 Easter Rising, at locations across the North of Ireland. The groups involved were: Sinn Féin, Republican Sinn Féin, the Workers’ Party, and the Official Republican Movement.
1998 – According to a major report published on this date, almost 9,000 jobs will be lost with the abolition of duty-free next year; it also indicates that travel costs from Ireland to Britain will increase by £16·70 while travel into Ireland will increase £14·30.
1998 – The chairman of the Northern peace talks, Senator George Mitchell, praises the commitment of the political parties as representatives continue negotiations into the night.
1999 – Talks led by Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and British Prime Minister Tony Blair to break the decommissioning logjam end in deadlock.
1999 – The RUC together with the Independent Commission on Police Complaints (ICPC) issued a ‘review’ of a report based on an inquiry into the killing of Rosemary Nelson on 15 March 1999 and the allegations of death threats against Nelson made by members of the RUC. The report had been prepared by Commander of the Metropolitan Police in London, Niall Mulvihill, and had been submitted to the Director of Public Prosecutions. Nationalists criticised the ‘review’ and claimed it was an ‘exercise in damage limitation’.
2001 – Former Taoiseach Charles Haughey returns to his Kinsealy home after spending nearly two weeks in hospital.
2001 – Taoiseach Bertie Ahern visits Co Louth to see at first hand the devastation wrought by the first outbreak of the disease in the Republic; he warns that tough restrictions will remain in place for months. The photo shows Mr. Ahern using the foot dip before meeting officials of the Department of Agriculture.
2001 – Aer Lingus workers stage a one-day strike over pay at Dublin Airport. The 3,000 striking staff, members of the SIPTU trade union, are protesting against their rates of pay in comparison with other Aer Lingus workers.
2003 – Thousands of anti-war protesters join a peace march through Dublin city centre, in the latest of a series of demonstrations calling for an end to the military action against Iraq. Irish public support for US foreign policy has dropped sharply since the days after the September 11 attacks, an opinion poll shows. Three out of four adults are unhappy with President George W Bush’s handling of the Iraq situation, according to the Milward Brown poll.
2006 – Death of Irish author John McGahern, although maybe not as well-known as other Irish authors, the Guardian newspaper suggested in his obituary that McGahern was arguably the most important Irish novelist since Samuel Beckett.
2018 – Finbar Furey’s new album ‘Don’t Stop This Now’ is released on BMG UK. The album was originally released in Ireland as ‘Paddy Dear’, and has been repackaged for the UK to include new tracks and a DVD live concert filmed at Vicar St, Dublin in May 2017, where Finbar performed classic hits such as ‘When You Were Sweet Sixteen’, ‘The Lonesome Boatman’ and ‘The Green Fields of France’.
Image | Saul Abbey is one mile from Downpatrick, Co Down | Photo credit: Saul Church
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