#OTD in Irish History – 10 April:

1346 – Following the death of Ralph de Ufford, Roger Darcy is appointed justiciar.

1650 – Cromwell’s New Model Army is victorious at Macroom, Co Cork.

1662 – A charter of Charles II replaces Cromwell’s charter of Derry.

1726 – Birth of William Brownlow, parliamentarian and Volunteer.

1816 – Birth of Sir Charles Gavan Duffy, nationalist, in Monaghan.

1838 – Fr. Theobald Mathew, with the support of William Martin, a quaker, founds the total abstinence movement in Cork.

1865 – Oliver Sheppard, sculptor, is born in Cookstown, Co Tyrone.

1866 – Campobello New Brunswick Irish-American Fenians attack Campobello Island from Eastport, Maine; they are persuaded to leave by British warships and US agents.

1867 – Birth of George William Russell, who wrote with the pseudonym Æ (sometimes written AE or A.E.) Born in Lurgan, Co Armagh, he was a writer, editor, critic, poet, artistic painter and Irish nationalist. He was also a writer on mysticism, and a central figure in the group of devotees of theosophy which met in Dublin for many years. During the 1913 Dublin Lock-out he wrote an open letter to the Irish Times criticizing the attitude of the employers, then spoke on it in England and helped bring the crisis to an end. As a pacifist, Russell could have no sympathy either with the aims of the Easter Rising or the methods chosen to further it, but he was deeply moved by the deaths of the leading rebels, and like Yeats he celebrated their sacrifice in verse.

1876 – Death of Alexander Turney Stewart, a highly successful 19th century Irish-American entrepreneur, and leading retail dry-goods businessman in the USA. Born in Lisburn, Co Antrim, he moved to the USA as a young man.

1891 – Birth of Kaye Ernest Donsky, known as Kaye Don, in Dublin. He was a world record-breaking car and speedboat racer who became a motorcycle dealer on his retirement from road racing and set up Ambassador Motorcycles. Kaye Don began his career as a motorcycle racer but soon switched to cars and won the inaugural 1928 Ards-Belfast circuit, Tourist Trophy with a Lea-Francis.

1912 – The RMS Titanic leaves port in Southampton, England for her first and only voyage.

1916 – Sean Francis Kavanagh recalls meeting Roger Casement at the Hotel Saxonia in Berlin. Casement was nervous and gave him pay for the brigade before leaving for Ireland. He asked Kavanagh what men could be relied on for special missions.

1918 – British Parliament proposes conscription in Ireland.

1919 – Third meeting of Dáil Éireann – Dáil passed a motion calling on Irish people to ostracise the RIC. De Valera stated that ‘The Minister of National Defence is, of course, in close association with the voluntary military forces which are the foundation of the National Army’.

1921 – Pvt George Motley, along with Pvt John Thomas Dixon Steer, both of the East Lancashire Regiment, was captured by the IRA at Barraduff, Co Kerry. They were moved around the countryside for about 6 months before being shot and their bodies dumped in Anablaha bog. Their bodies were recovered in Jan 1927 when Motley was buried in Nab Wood Cemetery near his home town of Shipley, West Yorkshire, and Steer in Immanuel Church, Accrington, Lancashire, both with full military honours.

1923 – Liam Lynch, chief of staff of the Irish Republican Army, is mortally wounded by Free State troops in the Knockmealdown Mountains, Co Tipperary; Frank Aiken takes over as IRA chief of staff.

1925 – The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is first published in New York City.

1940 – Birth of TV personality, Gloria Hunniford, in Portadown, Co Armagh.

1958 – Birth of Chief Technical Officer of the Renault Formula One team, Bob Bell, in Belfast.

1959 – Birth of Davy Carton, a singer, songwriter, and rhythm guitarist from Tuam, Co Galway. He is best known as a core member of the Saw Doctors, the folk-rock band he co-founded with Leo Moran and others in 1987.

1966 – The widespread and prolonged commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Easter Rising begins throughout the island.

1971 – The Republican commemorations held in Belfast of the Easter Rising provided an opportunity to gauge public support for the two wings of the IRA. The march organised by the Official movement appeared only to attract half the level of support as that organised by the Provisionals.

1972 – Two British soldiers were killed in a bomb attack in Derry.

1972 – Lord Widgery submitted the report of his findings to Home Secretary, Reginald Maudling.

1972 – Birth of actor, Ed Byrne, in Swords, Dublin. He is a stand-up comedian, voice over artist and actor. He has presented television shows Uncut! Best Unseen Ads and Just for Laughs, and is a guest on television panel games. As an actor he played the title character in the ITV2 adaptation of the pantomime Aladdin.

1973 – The British government introduced the ‘Northern Ireland Assembly Bill’ in parliament in Westminster. This bill was to pave the way for an assembly at Stormont based on proposals outlined in the White Paper, ‘Northern Ireland Constitutional Proposals‘, which had been published on 20 March 1973. The bill became law on 3 May 1973.

1974 – Public Records, Released 1 January 2005: Minutes of a meeting held by the British Cabinet on 10 April 1974 at 6.00pm. This part of the minutes deals with the security situation in Northern Ireland.

1976 – Death of Wexford hurling legend, Nicky Rackard.

1977 – A Catholic boy, Kevin McMenamin (10), was killed by the UVF when they carried out a bomb attack on a Republican Clubs Easter commemoration parade in the Falls Road area of Belfast.

1977 – A Catholic civilian, John Short (49), was shot dead by the IRA in the Turf Lodge area of Belfast. This killing was part of a feud between the Official and Provisional wings of the IRA.

1985 – Birth of William Robert “Willo” Flood in Dublin. He is a professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for Scottish club Aberdeen. He has also won 15 caps for his country at under–20 and under–21 levels. His previous clubs include Manchester City, Cardiff City, Dundee United, Celtic and Middlesbrough.

1987 –  Leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), James Molyneaux, Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), Ian Paisley, and eight other Unionist Members of Parliament (MPs) took part in an illegal march in Belfast to protest at new Public Order legislation.

1992 – The IRA exploded two bombs at the Baltic Exchange in the centre of London and killed three people including a 15 year old girl, injuring 91 others. The IRA warning proved to be inadequate and added to the confusion as it mentioned the Stock Exchange. In August there were reports in the media that insurance claims amounted to £800 million pounds.

1993 – President of Sinn Féin (SF), Gerry Adams, was seen visiting the home of Leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), John Hume, in Derry. The two men met for ‘extensive discussions’ in their capacities as leaders of their respective parties.

1997 – A female RUC officer was shot and seriously wounded while she was on guard duty outside the Courthouse in the centre of Derry. The IRA carried out the attack.

1998 – After almost 30 years of violence and two years of intensive talks the Northern Ireland Peace Process reached a climax at 5.36pm when George Mitchell, Chairman of the multi-party talks at Stormont, finally made the historic statement: ‘I am pleased to announce that the two governments and the political parties in Northern Ireland have reached agreement’. The Agreement exceeded Mitchell’s deadline by almost 18 hours, and it was clear that there were elements of the Agreement which did not suit each of the signatories. The main points of the Agreement were: a Northern Ireland Assembly with 108 seats, elected by proportional representation; a 12 member Executive committee of ministers to be elected by the Assembly; the setting up of a North-South Ministerial Council within one year by the Assembly; the council being accountable to Assembly and Dáil; amendments to Articles 2 and 3 of the Irish Constitution, to establish the principle of consent, and the repeal of the (British) Government of Ireland Act; a Council of the Isles with members drawn from assemblies in England, Scotland, Wales, Belfast and Dublin. Later it was learned that President of the United States, Bill Clinton, had made, and received, a number of telephone calls to party leaders in an effort to encourage them to reach a settlement. Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), Ian Paisley, was heckled by some Loyalists as he addressed the media at Stormont. The DUP and the United Kingdom Unionist Party (UKUP), in addition to some leading members of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) led the opposition to the Agreement.

1998 – A bronze bust of world-renowned Irish aviator, Colonel James ‘Fitz’ Fitzmaurice who, along with two Germans, made the first east-west transatlantic crossing in 1928, is unveiled in his hometown of Colonel James ‘Fitz’ Fitzmaurice.

1999 – Loyalists resumed their picket outside the Catholic church of Our Lady in Harryville, Ballymena, Co Antrim. The picket was held, for the first time since spring 1998, at the church during Saturday evening’s Mass. Protesters said they would return the following weekend. The picket had been maintained for a 20 month period between 1997 and 1998.

2000 – Gerry Loughran was appointed as the head of the Civil Service in Northern Ireland. He was the first Catholic to serve in the post.

2001 – The Northern Ireland Assembly was recalled from recess for an emergency debate, initiated by the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), about a display of Easter lilies in the reception hall of Stormont. The lilies had been commissioned by Sinn Féin (SF). Easter lilies are a Republican symbol and most Unionists were opposed to the display. However the motion was rejected as it did not receive cross-community support. ‘What sort of lunacy has descended on this Assembly that we have to be urgently reconvened over a bowl of lilies?’ asked Alban Maginness of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP).

2008 – Many of the main players who helped negotiate the Good Friday Agreement met in Belfast for a conference to mark its 10th anniversary. Notable by their absence were former US President Bill Clinton and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Also absent was David Irvine who died after suffering a heart attack and later a stroke and a brain haemorrhage in January 2007.

2011 – Molyneux’s problem is a thought experiment in philosophy concerning immediate recovery from blindness. It was first formulated by William Molyneux (whose wife went blind), and notably referred to in John Locke’s An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1689). The problem can be stated in brief, “if a person born blind can feel the differences between shapes such as spheres and cubes, could they, if given the ability to see, distinguish those objects by sight alone, in reference to the tactile schemata he already possessed?” In 2003, Pawan Sinha, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, set up a program in the framework of the Project Prakash and eventually had the opportunity to find five individuals who satisfied the requirements for an experiment aimed at answering Molyneux’s question experimentally. Prior to treatment, the subjects (aged 8 to 17) were only able to discriminate between light and dark, with two of them also being able to determine the direction of a bright light. The surgical treatments took place between 2007 and 2010, and quickly brought the relevant subject from total congenital blindness to fully seeing. A carefully designed test was submitted to each subject within the next 48 hours. Based on its result, the experimenters concluded that the answer, in short, to Molyneux’s problem is “no”. Professor Pawan Sinha published the results of the study on this date in 2011.

2015 – Death of Football great Ray Treacy. The popular Dubliner won 42 caps for his country between 1966 and 1979 and later went into management in the League of Ireland where the highlight was delivering title success to Shamrock Rovers in 1994. Treacy was also a well-known figure in the travel industry after establishing his own agency in 1978 which later became the official partner of the FAI and organised trips for both the Irish team and travelling supporters.

Image | Ballysaggartmore Towers, Co Waterford

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