#OTD in Irish History – 23 April:

1014 – Battle of Clontarf: The Dublin Norse and the king of Leinster, with Viking allies from overseas, are defeated by Brian Boru’s army at Clontarf. Brian, now an old man, is killed. This thwarts the potential domination of Ireland by the Norse, but they are well established in the coastal towns, and will continue to have a major influence. Máel Sechnaill succeeds Brian as high king.

1357 – Four days after the end of his campaign against the O’Tooles, O’Byrnes and O’Nolans in Leinster, justiciar Thomas Rokeby died on this date at Kilkea, Co Kildare.

1661 – King Charles II of England, Scotland and Ireland is crowned in Westminster Abbey.

1723 – Birth of antiquary, Mervyn Archdall, in Dublin.

1727 – Actress George Anne Bellamy was born in Fingal, Co Dublin. The illegitimate daughter of Lord Tyrawley, British ambassador at Lisbon, her mother marries a Captain Bellamy and the child receives the name George Anne, by mistake for Georgiana. She grows up to become an accomplished actress and plays on the stage in London and Dublin. She is a contemporary of Sheridan and Garrick, and is patronized by aristocratic society.

1770 – Edmund Burke expressed the powerful, beautiful thought: ‘The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.’

1792 – Birth of astronomer and physicist, Thomas Romney Robinson, in Dublin.

1805 – Birth of scholar, James Henthorn Todd, in Dublin.

1831 – Creation of the Diocese of Galway.

1916 – Approximately 1,000 copies of The Proclamation of the Irish Republic are printed in Liberty Hall in a print office set up by James Connolly.

1918 – The Military Service Act 18 April threatens conscription for Ireland: there is a one-day general strike in protest (except in Ulster) on this date.

1921 – The Third Tipperary Brigade, IRA ambushed a small party of British soldiers accompanying two horse-drawn carts approached from Clogheen, near Curraghcloney, close to the village of Ballylooby. The IRA volunteers withdrew southwards towards the Knockmealdown Mountains leaving one British soldier dead and two others wounded, one fatally. By chance, RIC District Inspector Gilbert Potter was returning by car from police duties at Ballyporeen, drove into a section of the withdrawing Column. Potter was held as a hostage for the safe release of Thomas Traynor, an IRA Volunteer under sentence of death. Following the British execution of Traynor by hanging, Potter was shot dead by the IRA.

1926 – Son of irish immigrants, J.P. Donleavy, author of The Ginger Man, was born in New York; he emigrates to Ireland during World War II and becomes an Irish citizen. He now lives in Westmeath.

1927 – Shamrock Rovers player Bob Fulham scored Ireland’s first international goal, against Italy.

1947 – Birth of Bernadette Devlin McAliskey in Cookstown, Co Tyrone; she was the youngest MP ever to be elected to Parliament.

1960 – Birth of classical pianist and conductor, Barry Douglas, in Belfast.

1961 – A census shows the population of Northern Ireland is 1,425,642; an earlier census on 9 April shows the population of the Republic to be 2,818,341.

1967 – A local parish priest voiced his extreme opposition to the appearance of Jayne Mansfield at the Mount Brandon Hotel in Tralee, and the concert was duly cancelled. Two months later, she was killed in a car accident.

1969 – The Unionist Parliamentary Party voted by 28 to 22 to introduce universal adult suffrage in local government elections in Northern Ireland. The demand for ‘one man, one vote’ had been one of the most powerful slogans of the civil rights movement. Minister of Agriculture, James Chichester-Clark, resigned in protest at the reform. This move further undermined the position of O’Neill who resigned on 28 April 1969, to be replaced by Chichester-Clark.

1972 – The Sunday Times Insight Team published their account of the events of ‘Bloody Sunday’ (30 January 1972).

1974 – The United Ulster Unionist Council (UUUC) held a three-day conference in Portrush, Co Antrim. The conference was attended by representatives of the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) and also by Enoch Powell. The main focus of the conference is to agree a strategy for bringing about the end of the Executive. At the end of the conference (26 April 1974) the UUUC called for a Northern Ireland regional parliament in a federal United Kingdom. Paisley, in his role as head of the United Unionist Action Council (UUAC), threatened to organise a region-wide strike unless Secretary of State, Roy Mason, acted against the IRA and also implemented the Convention Report.

1974 – The County Grand Master of the Orange Order in Belfast, Thomas Passmore, launched a verbal attack on the UUAC and its plans for a general strike. In addition he alleged that a member of the UUAC had been involved in discussions with the IRA.

1981 – In what was seen as a response to continuing rioting in Catholic areas, Loyalist paramilitaries decided to meet under the auspices of the Ulster Army Council (UAC) which was effectively a co-ordinating committee for Loyalist groups.

1981 – Marcella Sands, the sister of Bobby Sands, made an application to the European Commission on Human Rights claiming that the British government had broken three articles of the European Convention on Human Rights in their treatment of Republican prisoners. Two Commissioners tried to visit Bobby Sands on 25 April 1981 but were unable to do so because Sands requested the presence of representatives of Sinn Féin. On 4 May 1981 the European Commission on Human Rights announced that it had no power to proceed with the Sands’ case.

1986 – Leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), James Molyneaux, and Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), Ian Paisley, announced a 12-point plan of civil disobedience in protest at the Anglo-Irish Agreement (AIA). Among the measures was a ‘rates’ (local government taxes) strike.

1987 – British Labour Party spokesman, Peter Archer, on Northern Ireland affairs, expressed support in a letter for the MacBride principles.

1992 – Two former Moderators of the Presbyterian Church revealed that they had held private talks with President of Sinn Féin, Gerry Adams, and Tom Hartley also of Sinn Féin.

1993 – The IRA carried out a bomb attack on an oil terminal in North Shields, England. The bomb damaged a large storage tank.

1993 – Leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), John Hume, and President of Sinn Féin (SF), Gerry Adams, held another meeting.

1993 – Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Patrick Mayhew, made a major speech on Northern Ireland to an audience at the Institute of Irish Studies in Liverpool. Mayhew stated that the British government was against the notion of ‘joint sovereignty’ but did want to see a devolved government with wide powers.

1995 – The Sunday Tribune published what it claimed to be an internal IRA document. The document had been circulated within the Republican movement before being leaked and was believed to have been dated prior to the 1994 ceasefire. The text contained the acronym ‘TUAS‘ which people were led to believed meant ‘Totally UnArmed Struggle’. Following the ending of the first IRA ceasefire some people suggested that TUAS actually stood for ‘Tactical Use of Armed Struggle’. Others suggested that the two interpretations were meant for two different audiences – inside and outside the Republican movement.

1998 – The Government’s package of measures designed to dampen down rocketing house prices — particularly in the Dublin area — draws mixed reaction.

1998 – The largest dry bulk carrier ever to dock at an Irish port, the 183,000-tonne Buccleuch, arrives at the deep-water jetty of the ESB’s generating station at Moneypoint, Co Clare.

1998 – Five IRA prisoners, who were serving sentences in England, were transferred to Portlaoise Prison.

1998 – Three members of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) shared a platform at the Ulster Hall in Belfast with Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), Ian Paisley, as part of a rally against the Good Friday Agreement. The three UUP members were: William Ross, William Thompson, and Roy Beggs. Also at the rally was Robert (Bob) McCartney, leader of the United Kingdom Unionist Party (UKUP), and also representatives of the Orange Order.

1998 – Two Unionist members of the Parades Commission, Glen Barr and Tommy Cheevers, resigned from the organisation. The reason given for their decision was the level of media attention they had received since their original appointments to the Commission.

1998 – The Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Irish Constitution began considering a proposal that Members of Parliament (MPs) elected in Northern Ireland should be entitled to sit in the Daíl. The committee also began considering the possibility of permitting Irish citizens living in the North to vote in presidential elections and referendums.

1999 – A ‘Support Drumcree’ rally was held in Newtownards, Co Down, and was attended by several hundred people.

1999 – Security Minister at the Northern Ireland Office (NIO), Adam Ingram, announced that the RUC team investigating the killing of Rosemary Nelson was to get more assistance in the form of detectives from outside Northern Ireland.

2000 – It was rumoured that Peter Mandelson, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, might quit his position to return to Britain to help the Labour Party fight the next general election.

2002 – Just months after voting No to Nice, Irish support for EU membership hits a record high, according to the latest survey carried out among the 15 member States.

2003 – Key questions to the IRA posed by British Prime Minister Tony Blair spark an angry reaction from Sinn Féin but are supported by the Government. According to Mr Blair, the deadlock in the Northern Ireland peace process is down to uncertainty over the IRA’s future intentions.

2010 – Death of Irish-born American actor, Shay Duffin. He had a role in the 1997 film Titanic. However, was best known for writing and acting the title role in the one-man play Brendan Behan: Confessions of An Irish Rebel.

2010 – A car bomb exploded outside a PSNI station in Newtownhamilton, Co Armagh.

Image | Maghera Strand, Ardara, Co Donegal | Gareth Wray Photography

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