#OTD in Irish History – 4 April:

1774 – Death of novelist, playwright and poet, Oliver Goldsmith.

1818 – Birth of soldier, journalist, and writer of boys’ stories, Mayne Reid (pseudonym of Thomas Mayne) in Ballyroney, Co Down.

1838 – The Sirius was a side-wheel wooden-hulled steamship built in 1837 for the London-Cork postal route operated by the Saint George Steam Packet Company. At the time Sirius was completed, two other companies were building steamships for proposed transatlantic passenger services. British and American’s British Queen fell behind when the firm building her engines went bankrupt. Construction on the rival Great Western continued without interruption and she was ready for her first voyage by April 1838. One of British and American’s directors suggested the company charter Sirius to beat Great WesternOverloaded with coal and with 45 passengers, Sirius left Cobh, Co Cork, on 4 April and arrived in New York after a voyage of 18 days, 4 hours and 22 minutes (8.03) knots.

1893 – Birth of prominent member of the IRA, Richard ‘Dick’ McKee at Phibsborough Road, Dublin. He was a friend to some senior IRA members, including Éamon de Valera, Austin Stack and Michael Collins. Along with Peadar Clancy and Conor Clune, he was killed by his captors in Dublin Castle on 21 November 1920, a day known as Bloody Sunday that also saw the killing of a network of British spies by the ‘Squad’ unit of the IRA and the killing of 14 people in Croke Park by the RIC.

1916 – Robert Monteith and Roger Casement visit the German General Staff where they finally give in and accept the inevitable – that the men should not go. Casement agreed to take Monteith and Daniel Bailey (at Monteith’s recommendation).

1918 – The Father Mathew Feis takes place with competitions across numerous categories of performance, including singing, violin, instrumental trio, double jig, literature and Irish history.

1922 – Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) staged its final parade in Dublin before its formal disbandment.

1926 – Birth of actress, Ronnie Masterson in Dublin. She trained at the Abbey Theatre and first appeared on stage there in 1944. At the Abbey, she met and then married actor Ray McAnally in 1951, and they remained married until his death, although they resided in different homes. They formed Old Quay Productions, which presented an assortment of plays such as Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, The Odd Couple and many others.

1932 – George Bernard Shaw’s ‘Too True to be Good’ premiered in New York City.

1933 – Birth of Paddy Hopkirk, international rally driver, in Belfast.

1934 – Birth of novelist and journalist, Mary Kenny, in Dublin.

1944 – Birth of author, broadcaster, playwright and journalist, Mary Kenny, in Dublin. She is a frequent columnist for the Irish Independent. She was a founding member of the Irish Women’s Liberation Movement. She has modified the radical ideas of her past, but not rejected feminist principles.

1951 – The Catholic hierarchy condemned the ‘Mother and Child’ plan for free medical services, fearing the consequences of health education for women. Dr Noël Browne, Minister for Health, resigned; the scheme was abandoned on 6 April.

1951 – Birth of singer and actress Adele King, better known as Twink.

1952 – Birth of rock guitarist, Gary Moore, in Belfast.

1953 – Birth of politician, Samuel Wilson, Belfast. He is a Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) Member of Parliament (MP) for East Antrim. He served as a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) for Belfast East from 1998 until 2003 and for East Antrim from 2003 until 2015. He served as Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1986 – 1987 and again from June 2000 to June 2001, the first person from the DUP to hold the office. He has also served as Minister of Finance and Personnel and Minister of the Environment in the Northern Ireland Executive. He supports the Eurosceptic pressure group Leave Means Leave.

1963 – Birth of actor and talk show host, Graham Norton in Clondalkin, Co Dublin. He grew up in Cork before moving to London. He is a five-time BAFTA TV Award winner for his comedy chat show, The Graham Norton Show.

1966 – Pirate Radio Scotland changes its name to Radio Ireland.

1969 – There was an explosion at a water installation at Dunadry, Co Antrim. This was one of the main water supply pipes to Belfast. It was later established that the bomb was planted by Loyalists who were members of the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) and the Ulster Protestant Volunteers (UPV).

1973 – [Public Records 1972  Released 1 January 2003]: Letter from Head of Defence Secretariat 10 at the Ministry of Defence, A.W.Stephens, to W.K.K. White, an official at the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs, about border security in Belleek, Co Fermanagh.

1974 – Secretary of Sate for Northern Ireland, Merlyn Rees, announced that he will de-proscribe (remove the illegal status from) the Ulster Volunteer Force and Sinn Féin, and also phase out Internment.

1978 – Birth of footballer, Alan Joseph Mahon, in Dublin. He played midfielder and was capped by the Republic of Ireland.

1984 – The British government issued an apology to the Irish government about undercover operations by the RUC in the territory of the Republic of Ireland in December 1982.

1986 – The leaders of the main Protestant churches condemned Loyalist attacks on the homes of RUC officers and Catholic-owned property.

1991 – The IRA exploded a bomb, estimated at 1,000 lbs, in the centre of Banbridge, Co Down. The bomb caused widespread damage.

1995 – Garda Síochána arrested four men from the north of Ireland near Balbriggan, Co Dublin. The Garda recovered 20 handguns, 6 rifles, and 2,500 rounds of ammunition at the scene.

1995 – President of the United States, Bill Clinton, held a meeting in Washington with British Prime Minister, John Major. The meeting helped to repair the damage to relations between the two administrations following the decision on 9 March 1995 to allow Sinn Féin to raise funds in the USA.

1997 – Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), Ian Paisley, addressed a rally of the Protestant group ‘Right to March’ in Portadown.

1998 – Chairman of the multi-party talks at Stormont, George Mitchell, delayed the delivery of his ‘blueprint’ document to those taking part in the talks. The document was delivered on 6 April 1998.

1998 – The Alliance Party of Northern Ireland (APNI) held its annual conference in Belfast. John Alderdice, then leader of the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland (APNI), called on the British and Irish Prime Ministers to take personal control of the final stage of the multi-party talks at Stormont.

1999 – In his Easter Sunday address President of Sinn Féin, Gerry Adams, praised the IRA’s ‘commitment’ to searching for a peaceful settlement. He said the Hillsborough Declaration of the previous week ‘may have merit, but it may also be counterproductive if it amounted to an ultimatum to armed groups.’

1999 – The annual World Irish Dancing Championships came to an end in Ennis.

2000 – British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, and Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, arrived in Northern Ireland for a further round of political talks as part of a review of the Good Friday Agreement.

2001 – Former employees and staff joined three generations of the Barry family in a celebration of 100 years in business for a firm which has become an Irish institution.

2001 – The Supreme Court strongly criticised the State’s failure to provide official Irish translation of laws and important legal materials.

2007 – History is made as Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and DUP leader Ian Paisley shook hands for the first time in public prior to their milestone meeting at Farmleigh House in Dublin.

2017 – Kerry GAA footballer, Colm ‘Gooch’ Cooper, brought the curtain down on a on a 14-year spell that lit up Croke Park, Fitzgerald Stadium and just about every other venue he adorned. Cooper played in ten All-Ireland finals, winning four in 2004, ’06, ’07 and ’09.

Photo: ‘Binevenagh Plateau and Lake’, Binevenagh, Magilligan peninsula, Gareth Wray Photography


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