1714 – Sir Wentworth Harman, MP for Lanesborough, dies from the wounds he receives in a carriage accident on 28 April.
1785 – The Irish Academy, later to become the Royal Irish Academy, was established in Dublin.
1903 – Bing Crosby, descendant of Irish immigrants, is born in Tacoma, Washington, as Harry Lillis Crosby.
1915 – Birth of novelist and playwright, Walter Macken.
1916 – Easter Rising leaders: Pádraig Pearse, Thomas Clarke and Thomas MacDonagh were executed by a firing squad in Kilmainham Gaol.
1916 – Joseph Mary Plunkett and Grace Gifford are married in the chapel of Kilmainham Gaol the night before he was to be executed for his part in the Easter Rising.
1921 – The Partition of Ireland; The Government of Ireland Act 1920 is passed, dividing Ireland into Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland.
1921 – The South Mayo IRA flying column under Tom Maguire together with members of the east Mayo flying column ambush British troops at Tourmakeady. Six British soldiers are killed. The IRA volunteers are then pursued across the Partry Mountains by over 600 members of the crown forces guided by airplanes. They were then surrounded but managed to escape despite Maguire being badly wounded-one volunteer was killed in this engagement. British casualties were not revealed but are believed to have been high. Four RIC constables are killed.
1922 – Pro and Anti-Treaty leaders announce a ‘truce’ in the Dáil to try to prevent civil war.
1924 – The world premiere of Sean O’Casey’s Juno And The Paycock took place at the Abbey Theatre.
1927 – US-born, Ernest Ball, composer of the music for When Irish Eyes are Smiling and Mother Machree dies.
1928 – Fianna Fáil petition with 96,000 signatures, calling for referendum to abolish the Oath of Allegiance rejected by Government which instead abolishes the plebiscite clause in the Constitution.
1933 – Dáil Éireann passed the Constitution (Removal of Oath) Act. The Oath of Allegiance was a controversial provision in the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921, which Irish TDs and Senators were required to swear before taking their seats in Dáil Éireann and Seanad Éireann. The controversy surrounding the Oath was one of the principal issues that led to the Civil War of 1922–23 between supporters and opponents of the Treaty.
1944 – Going My Way was released on this date. It is a musical comedy-drama film directed by Leo McCarey and starring Bing Crosby and Barry Fitzgerald. Based on a story by Leo McCarey, the film is about a new young priest taking over a parish from an established old veteran. Going My Way was the highest-grossing picture of 1944, and was nominated for 10 Academy Awards, winning seven, including Best Picture. Barry Fitzgerald was nominated for both the Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor as Father Fitzgibbon – he won Best Supporting Actor.
1973 – The Northern Ireland Assembly Act received its Royal Assent and became law. The Act provided for a 78 member Assembly elected using Proportional Representation (PR).
1977 – The United Unionist Action Council (UUAC) began a Northern Ireland wide strike. Many factories managed to stay open although the port at Larne, Co Antrim, was closed. Intimidation, or ‘persuasion’ as the Loyalist paramilitaries preferred to call it, was used as in 1974 to try to stop people from going to work. Despite this the majority of the Harland and Wolff shipyard workers voted against the strike. The strike was also criticised by the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), Ulster Vanguard, and the Orange Order. During the first three days of the strike the RUC reported that it had removed 300 road blocks, arrested 23 people, and received 1,000 complaints of intimidation. In calling the strike the UUAC were copying the tactics of the Ulster Workers Council strike in May 1974 and were obviously hoping for similar success. However many of the conditions were different from 1974. There was not the same anxiety among the Protest population that Britain was about to withdraw from Northern Ireland and this had the effect of reducing support for the strike. In particular those organising the strike were unable to secure the support of key groups of workers. Chief amongst these were the workers at Ballylumford power station who, although brought under great pressure, refused on a number of occasions to support the strike. The other major factor was that the British government had learnt some lessons from the 1974 strike and were more prepared for the tactics of the strikers.
1979 – The Conservative Party won the general election and Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister. Humphrey Atkins was appointed as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. In Northern Ireland the turnout was 68.4 per cent and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) led by Ian Paisley gained two seats from the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP).
1982 – Irish Defence Minister, Paddy Power, criticised Britain over the sinking of the Argentinean ship the Belgrano during the Falklands War.
1988 – Birth of retired mixed martial artist, Paddy Holohan, in Dublin. He competed in the flyweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. A professional MMA competitor from 2007 until his retirement in 2016, Holohan has also competed for the promotion Cage Contender and was a competitor on The Ultimate Fighter 18.
1995 – British Prime Minister John Major, paid a visit to Derry. Sinn Féin supporters held a protest at the visit. There were a number of disturbances as 100 people rioted.
1997 – British Prime Minister Tony Blair, appointed Marjorie (Mo) Mowlam as the new Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. Mowlam travelled to Belfast and visited shoppers in the centre of the city. Mowlam said that she was keen to implement a number of ‘confidence building measures’ such as employment equality, reform of the RUC, and the recommendations of the The North Report on parades and marches. She also said that Sinn Féin could enter the talks process when there was a renewed IRA ceasefire. Sinn Féin later responded to the comments of Mowlam by saying that they were ‘ready to do business with the British government’. In terms of the peace process the election of a Labour government with a large working majority was to provide new momentum in the search for a political settlement to the conflict.
1997 – The Eurovision Song Contest 1997, was the 42nd Eurovision Song Contest and it was held at the Point Theatre Dublin, Ireland
1999 – RTÉ launches their 24-hour classical music station Lyric FM.
1999 – Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, rejected Northern Ireland Office (NIO) proposals to establish a ‘transitional’ Executive without a transfer of powers until decommissioning had begun.
2001 – Martin McGuinness, Vice-President of Sinn Féin, formally confirmed that he had been the ‘second-in-command’ of the IRA in Derry when the events of ‘Bloody Sunday’ took place on 30 January 1972. The statement was made in advance of his expected appearance at the Bloody Sunday Inquiry.
2007 – The UVF and RHC issued a statement declaring an end to its armed campaign. The statement noted that they would retain their weapons but put them “beyond reach”.
2008 – Death of motorcycle racer, Martin Finnegan. Born in Lusk, Co Dublin, he was a winner of 43 Irish road races since 1997, in addition to winning the 2000 Junior Newcomers Manx Grand Prix, Finnegan scored a podium at the 2005 Isle of Man TT where he became the fastest Irishman to lap the course at over 127 mph. Finnegan died in Tandragee, Co Antrim, in 2008 whilst competing in the Supersport race at the Tandragee 100 race meeting. As he approached a corner, his front brake failed. Whilst trying to stop the bike, his rear wheel hit a bump in the road which flipped Finnegan and his bike into a bank.
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