#OTD in Irish History – 8 April:

1719 – Birth of Viscount Edmond Pery in Limerick. He became involved in law and took a seat in the Irish House of Commons, where he held the position of Speaker of the House from 1771 and 1785.

1770 – Birth of banker and politician, John Thomas Campbell, in Newry, Co Down. He was a public servant and politician in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly during the early Australian colonial period.

1805 – Sir William Rowan Hamilton, mathematician and astronomer, is born in Dublin.

1816 – Birth of painter, Sir Frederick Burton, in Corofin, Co Clare.

1835 – Jonah Barrington, the Irish Parliament’s leading opponent of the Union with Britain and author of The Rise and Decline of the Irish Nation, dies.

1856 – Samuel McCaughey from Tullynewey, near Ballymena, Co Antrim, was a farmer’s son who decided to try his luck in Australia. He arrived in Melbourne on this date in 1856, and to save money, he walked 322 km (200 miles) to his uncle’s property. He immediately began working as a jackaroo, in three months was appointed an overseer, and two years later became manager of Kewell station while his uncle was on a visit to England. After buying numerous neighbouring farms, his holding was the largest farm in history. At over 3 million acres, it was larger than the North of Ireland.

1861 – Ulster-Scot landlord, John George Adair who owned considerable real estate in Ireland, including the large Glenveagh Castle, evicts 244 tenants on his estate at Derryveagh, Co Donegal. More than 150 screaming children and their parents were ordered off the property. Adair cleared twelve thousand acres. Many of the evicted had no idea where they might find shelter; some relocated to Australia. The incident is recorded by the Donegal band, “Goats Don’t Shave,” in the song “The Evictions” on their “Rusty Razor” album. https://youtu.be/g4irNC3uPl4

1886 – Home Rule Bill introduced in English Parliament by William Gladstone.

1910 – Death of Thomas Walsh. Born in Lisronagh, Tipperary, he emigrated to Colorado and became a miner who discovered one of the largest gold mines in America. The wealth that Walsh discovered soon provided his family with a lavish lifestyle. Around 1898, the family moved to Washington, D.C. where in 1900, he was appointed by President William McKinley as a commissioner to the Paris Exposition of 1899. In 1903 the family moved into the ornate mansion at 2020 Massachusetts Avenue. Later, the house became the Indonesian Embassy. Walsh’s daughter, Evalyn Walsh McLean, was the last private owner of the Hope diamond.

1923 – Birth of actor, Edward Mulhare, in Co Cork. His career spanned five decades. He is best known for his starring roles in two television series, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir and Knight Rider.

1930 – Birth in Dublin of Frank Cluskey, politician and Labour Party leader from 1977-1981.

1930 – Birth of writer and critic, John Jordan, in Dublin.

1933 – The Army Comrades’ Association parades in blue shirts on this date.

1936 – All political parties and Church leaders gather at the Mansion House, Dublin to pay tribute to the Chief Rabbi, Dr. Yitzhak Herzog, who was leaving to take up the new post of Chief Rabbi of the British Mandate of Palestine. Rabbi Herzog served as rabbi of Belfast from 1916 to 1919 and was appointed rabbi of Dublin in 1919. A fluent speaker of the Irish language, he supported the First Dáil and the Irish republican cause during the Irish War of Independence, and became known as ‘the Sinn Féin Rabbi’. He went on to serve as Chief Rabbi of Ireland between 1922 and 1936, when he immigrated to Palestine to succeed Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook as Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi upon his death. His son was Chaim Herzog.

1951 – A census on this date shows the population of the Republic to be 2,960,593 and that of Northern Ireland is 1,370,921.

1960 – The Royal Showband is forced to change its name to the Waterford Showband for an appearance at the Victoria Palace Theatre in London because two members of the British royal family are in attendance.

1974 – Secretary of Sate for Northern Ireland, Merlyn Rees, held a meeting with representatives of the Ulster Workers’ Council (UWC). The meeting did not produce any agreement. At this time the UWC was not consider a serious threat to the future of the Executive mainly because of the failure of previous stoppages by the Loyalist Association of Workers (LAW) and because of apparently low support during demonstrations against the Sunningdale Agreement.

1977 – Two RUC officers were shot dead by the IRA near Moneymore, Co Derry.

1981 – Death of Greta Bowen, artist known as ‘The Irish Grandma Moses’.

1983 – Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, James Prior, announced the setting up of an inquiry into the working of the Emergency Provisions Act.

1984 – The IRA carried out a gun attack on Thomas Travers, a Resident Magistrate, outside St Brigid’s Catholic Church in Belfast. Travers was seriously injured in the attack but his daughter Mary Travers (22) was shot and killed.

1986 – There was further rioting in Belfast and more attacks by Loyalists on the homes of RUC officers.

1996 – There was violence following an Apprentice Boys organisation protest at the banning of their march through the Lower Ormeau Road, Belfast.

1997 – Two men serving life sentences for murders committed in 1994 began their appeal in the High Court in Belfast against their sentences.

1998 – British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, held a breakfast meeting with Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, at Hillsborough Castle, Co Down, to co-ordinate their efforts to find agreement. Bertie Ahern also travelled to Dublin for the funeral of his mother before returning to rejoin the talks.

1999 – The peace process is plunged into a new crisis after mainstream loyalist paramilitaries make it clear they have no intention of handing over weapons and the Sinn Fein’s leadership brands the Hillsborough Declaration “unacceptable”.

1999 – The Department of Education unveils a new primary school curriculum which replaces the one of 1971.

1999 – Loyalists in Portadown, Co Armagh, said they intended to mount a ‘Harryville-style’ picket on the St John the Baptist Catholic Church at the top of the town’s Garvaghy Road. Pauline Armitage, then Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) Assembly member, expressed her opposition to the Hillsborough Declaration.

2000 – Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Peter Mandelson, offered to reduce the number of British Army soldiers in Northern Ireland if the IRA kept to its promise on decommissioning. Mandelson refused to discuss the precise number of troops that would be withdrawn from the region.

2002 – The IRA makes a second and substantial gesture of putting arms beyond use which is broadly welcomed by political leaders in Dublin, London and Belfast.

2003 – U.S. president George W. Bush leaves Belfast at the end of a two-day summit attended by British Prime Minister, Tony Blair and Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern.

2003 – Paul Muldoon wins the Pulitzer prize for poetry. The 51-year-old Co Armagh-born poet is awarded the prestigious prize for his work Moy Sand and Gravel.

Image | The Three Musicians Sculptures, Kenmare, Co Kerry | Photo credit: Dessie C

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