#OTD in Irish History – 11 April:

1603 – In the revolt of the towns, or recusancy revolt, Catholic worship is re-established in Kilkenny and the main Munster towns between this date and 10 May, in the hope that James I will grant religious toleration; Mountjoy marches south and forces the towns to submit.

1700 – Richard Levinge, an Irish MP and later a prominent Tory, who had been committed by the English House of Commons to the Tower of London on 16 January for speaking ill of his fellow Commissioners of Forfeited Estates is released on this date.

1784 – (General Sir) Abraham Roberts is born in Waterford, the son of a local magistrate. As an officer in the British East India Company Army he served nearly 50 years in India.

1861 – Two up-and-coming engineers, Edward Harland and Gustave Wilhelm Wolff entered into partnership in Belfast. Harland and Wolff would go on to produce some of the most famous ships the world has ever known, including the Titanic. They built over 2,000 vessels and, with up to 40,000 employees, more or less defined the growth of the city.

1870 – Birth of Hugh McGinnis in Castlewellan, Co Down. He emigrated to America in 1887, lived in New York and St Louis, Missouri with his sister prior to enlisting in the U.S. Army in 1890. He was a twenty-year-old private in Co. K, 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry during the Wounded Knee Massacre, where he was wounded twice. When he died he was the last survivor of the 7th Cavalry at Wounded Knee.

1876 – Birth of Paul Henry in Belfast. He was an artist noted for depicting the West of Ireland landscape in a spare post-impressionist style. He studied art in Belfast before going to Paris in 1898 to study at the Académie Julian and at Whistler’s studio. He married the painter Grace Henry in 1903 and returned to Ireland in 1910. From then until 1919 he lived on Achill Island, where he learned to capture the peculiar interplay of light and landscape specific to the West of Ireland. In 1919 he moved to Dublin and in 1920 was one of the founders of the Society of Dublin Painters.

1878 – Birth of patriot, Kathleen Daly Clarke, in Co Limerick.

1912 – The Titanic stopped off at Queenstown (now Cobh), Co Cork. The doomed ship anchored two miles off shore at Roches Point as the port could not accommodate a ship of its size. The ship was docked for two hours, and 79 people boarded, while a fortunate seven got off.

1912 – Liberal Prime Minister Herbert Asquith introduced the Third Home Rule Bill which would have provided self-government for Ireland, an apparent triumph for Nationalist leader John Redmond.

1915 – Roger Casement writes to Count Georg von Wedel that he is pessimistic over the value to Ireland of raising an Irish Brigade. ‘I see no sufficient gain to the Irish cause from its creation to justify me either politically or morally in seeking to induce a number of my fellow countrymen to commit high treason and to cut themselves off from all possible return to their country.’

1923 – Six Republican prisoners were executed by firing squad in Tuam, Co Galway.

1923 – Waterford Anti-Treaty IRA Flying Column Leader Tom Keating was mortally wounded. He was transported in a horse and dray and was denied medical attention. The Dungarvan parish priest permitted only one mass to be offered for him.

1963 – JFK aide McGeorge Bundy advised Thomas J. Kiernan, Ireland’s Ambassador to the U.S. that the President would not be able to accept honorary Irish citizenship on his then putative visit to Ireland (which would occur June 1963).

1971 – The GAA lifted its ban on members playing or attending ‘foreign’ sports such as soccer or rugby.

1979 – Two British soldiers died as a result of a gun attack carried out by the IRA in Ballymurphy, west Belfast.

1981 – Following the announcement that Bobby Sands had won the Fermanagh/South Tyrone by-election there were celebration parades in many Republican areas across Northern Ireland. In Belfast, Cookstown and in Lurgan these celebrations ended in rioting.

1983 – The Belfast shipyard, Harland and Wolff, announced that there would be further job losses (approximately 700).

1983 – In a ‘supergrass’ trial in Belfast, fourteen Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) members were jailed for a total of 200 years. The whole trial was based on the evidence of Joseph Bennett. Bennett was granted immunity from prosecution for the crimes he committed, including involvement in killings, in return for his evidence. Following other ‘supergrass’ trials it was revealed that those providing evidence were offered substantial sums of money.

1985 – Death of promoter for ice hockey in Great Britain, Bunny Ahearne. Born in Co Wexford, Bunny became the Manager of the Great Britain national ice hockey team in 1934 and helped manage the British to a gold medal at the 1936 Winter Olympics, then the European Ice Hockey Championship in 1937 and 1938.He later became prominent in administering the sport at an international level, becoming the President of the International Ice Hockey Federation in 1957. He held this post until 1960, then again from 1963–66 and 1969–75. From 1951 until 1969, he was Vice President whenever he did not hold the Presidency. He was also the Secretary of the British Ice Hockey Association from 1934 to 1971, then its President until 1982.

1986 – Brian Keenan is taken hostage in Beirut by members of Islamic Jihad, a terrorist organisation with a hatred of the West that carried out several attacks during the Lebanese Civil War. An Evil Cradling is an autobiographical book by Keenan about his four years as a hostage in Beirut. The book revolves heavily around the great friendship he experienced with fellow hostage John McCarthy, and the brutality that was inflicted upon them by their captors.

1987 – The IRA killed two RUC officers (Robert McLean and  Frederick Armstrong) in Portrush, Co Antrim.

1989 – Restrictions on Sinn Féin under the ‘Broadcasting Ban’ were lifted for the duration of the local government elections.

1990 – Taoiseach Charles Haughey made the first official visit to Northern Ireland by a Taoiseach since Seán Lemass in 1965. Haughey addressed a conference organised by the Institute of Directors in Belfast. Four hundred loyalists staged a protest against the visit.

1992 – Patrick Mayhew was chosen to replace Peter Brooke as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. There were further changes at the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) with Michael Mates becoming deputy Secretary of State and the minister responsible for security.

1993 – The secret talks held between Leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party, John Hume, and President of Sinn Féin, Gerry Adams, became public knowledge following a report in the Sunday Tribune. The talks were criticised by a number of parties and individuals.

1995 – The Irish government granted early release to seven IRA prisoners.

1997 – Seven men were arrested by the RUC. The RUC also recovered a number of weapons including a Barrett Light .50 rifle which was the type of weapon that had been used in a number of IRA sniper attacks. Some of the men were charged and some released on 17 April 1997.

1997 – The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) announced that it was withdrawing its candidates from the constituencies of West Tyrone and North Belfast. This move was part of a electoral pact to allow the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) the opportunity to maximise the Unionist vote in the contest against the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) and Sinn Féin (SF).

1998 – In a ‘pro’ vote, the Good Friday Agreement overcame its first test with 55 members of Ulster Unionist Party Executive voting for it and 23 voting against. It had been anticipated that with so many of party’s Members of Parliament (MPs) against the Agreement (including William Ross and William Thompson), the vote would have been much closer. Reaction to the Agreement from people and organisations around the world continued to be expressed. There was an overwhelming positive and welcoming response to the news of the Agreement at the multi-party talks in Belfast.

1999 – The Northern Ireland peace process faced possibility of collapsing as politicians prepared to return to Stormont, with agreement on the key issue of disarmament as distant as ever.

2000 – In a dramatic end to the two-month trial, a jury at the Central Criminal Court found Catherine Nevin guilty of all four charges against her arising out of the shooting death of her husband in 1996.

2000 – The newspaper known as The Examiner was re-launched as The Irish Examiner.

2000 – Nelson Mandela received a hero’s welcome as spectators turned out in droves in Dublin to honour the former president of South Africa prior to his receiving an honorary degree at Trinity. He was the first African leader to be so honoured. He already was a Freeman of the City, an honour granted shortly after being freed from jail.

2001 – Grahame Marks (37), a member of the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), was shot dead at his home, Tullyhue Park, Tandragee, Co Armagh. The Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) were responsible for the killing which was part of a feud between the LVF and the UVF.

2002 – During a remembrance ceremony at St Colman’s Cathedral, candles were lit for each of the 79 people who boarded the Titanic on her maiden and final voyage which departed from Cobh, then known as Queenstown, on this date in 1912.

Image | Cloughoughter Castle, Co Cavan | By pictorem.com

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