1748 – Birth of landscape painter, Thomas Roberts in Co Waterford.
1805 – Michael Doheny, poet and Young Irelander, is born near Fethard, Co Tipperary.
1849 – Novelist, Maria Edgeworth, dies in Mostrim, Co Longford. She is laid to rest in a vault at Edgeworthstown Church. Even though in her late seventies, she worked strenuously for the relief of the stricken peasants at the height of An Gorta Mór. She shows the same involvement and generosity throughout her entire life and devotes her best talents to the betterment of the people of her adoption. Her books on the Irish people bring her world fame and the acclaim of such writers as Sir Walter Scott, Jane Austen, Byron and the Russian writer Turgenev.
1859 – Birth in Edinburgh of Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes. Doyle was the eldest son of 10 siblings born to Irish parents Charles Doyle and Mary Foley.
1870 – Birth of Eva Gore-Booth, poet, trade unionist and feminist, on the Lissadell Estate in Co Sligo.
1879 – Birth of trade unionist, Jack White, in Broughshane, Co Antrim; one of the co-founders of the Irish Citizen Army.
1920 – Birth of Oliver J. Flanagan, Fine Gael politician.
1922 – Unionist MP William Twaddell was assassinated by the IRA in Belfast city centre. The Unionist government of Northern Ireland introduced internment in response and arrested up to 350 republican suspects. A total of 724 people were interned in Northern Ireland up to the end of 1924.
1932 – Death of Augusta Persse, better known as Lady Augusta Gregory, Irish dramatist, folklorist and theatre director; also a co-founder of the Abbey Theatre.
1936 – Aer Lingus (Aer Loingeas) is founded by the Irish government as the national airline of the Republic of Ireland.
1941 – Caitlin Maude, Irish language activist, is born.
1943 – Birth of Betty Williams, former peace activist and 1976 Nobel Peace Prize winner.
1946 – George Best, the greatest player of his generation and the world’s first superstar footballer, is born in Belfast.
1950 – Bill Whelan, musician and composer, is born in Limerick; he is best known for composing the music to Riverdance.
1968 – Birth of Graham Linehan, an Irish television writer, actor and director who, often in partnership with Arthur Mathews, has written or co-written a number of popular television comedies. He is most noted for his involvement in Father Ted, Black Books and The IT Crowd.
1971 – Members of the Irish Women’s Liberation Movement defy the law by bringing contraceptives bought in Belfast into Connolly railway station in Dublin.
1971 – A British soldier was killed by members of the Official Irish Republican Army (OIRA) in Belfast.
1972 – Over 400 women in Derry attacked the offices of Official Sinn Féin (OSF) in Derry following the shooting of William Best by the Official IRA (OIRA) on 21 May 1972.
1972 – Death of Laois man Cecil Day-Lewis, one of the English language’s leading poets of the early part of the 20th century, and father of actor Daniel Day-Lewis.
1974 – Day 8 of the UWC Strike: In an attempt to resolve the strike the Northern Ireland Executive agreed to postpone certain sections of the Sunningdale Agreement until 1977 and to reduce the size of the ‘Council of Ireland’. These proposals were rejected by leaders of the Ulster Workers’ Council (UWC) and other Loyalist leaders. The British government repeated their stance on not negotiating with the UWC. John Hume, Minister of Commerce, worked on a ‘fuel oil plan’.
1977 – Birth of jockey, Pat Smullen, in Co Offaly. He has won the Irish flat racing Champion Jockey title nine times.
1981 – Henry Duffy (45), a Catholic civilian, was shot dead by a plastic bullet fired by the British Army as he walked through the Bogside area of Derry. Carol Anne Kelly (12), a Catholic girl, died three days after being shot by a plastic bullet by the British Army as she walked along Cherry Park in the Twinbrook area of Belfast.
1981 – Kieran Doherty began his hunger strike in the H Blocks of Long Kesh prison. He was a Teachta Dála (TD) and a volunteer in the Belfast Brigade of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) who died on 2 August 1981 after 73 days on hunger strike.
1986 – Two RUC officers and one British soldier [Andrew French (BA), David McBride and William Smyth (RUC)] were killed by the IRA near Crossmaglen, Co Armagh. The three men had been part of a joint RUC/British Army foot patrol when the IRA detonated a remote-controlled bomb hidden in a ditch.
1990 – Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Peter Brooke, held a long meeting with Unionist leaders in London. James Molyneaux, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), and Ian Paisley, then leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), announced that they were ‘well satisfied with the results’. The Bank of Ireland published a report which estimated that the cost of ‘the Troubles’ to the British and Irish Governments was £410 million.
1993 – The IRA exploded a bomb, estimated at 1,000 lbs, in Portadown, Co Armagh. Six people were injured in the explosion. Later estimates put the cost of the damage at £8 million.
1995 – U.S. President Bill Clinton approves a visa for Irish nationalist leader Gerry Adams to enter the United States.
1998 – The Good Friday Agreement is overwhelmingly endorsed in referendums North (71%) and South (94%). This was the first all-Ireland poll since the general election of 1918.
2000 – A survey shows that half of Ireland’s small and medium-size businesses have their own website.
2003 – Hurling reaches its highest peak when Gerard McDonnell from Limerick brought the spirit of the GAA to Mount Everest; he sent a ball flying above 29,000 feet. Get McDonnell was the first Irish person to reach the summit of K2, the second-highest mountain on Earth, in August 2008. He lost his life along with 10 other mountaineers following an avalanche on the descent.
2003 – The Official Languages Bill 2002, introduced by the Minister for the Gaeltacht, Mr Ó Cuív, will give citizens the right to conduct their business with any State agency or Government department, in Irish.
2006 – Belfast City Airport was renamed ‘George Best Belfast City Airport’ to commemorate the life of International footballing legend, George Best who was born and grew up close to the airport.
2015 – Polls open in Ireland, where voters make history as the republic becomes the first country to ask its electorate to legalise gay marriage.
Image | Errigal Mountain, Co Donegal | Fiachra Mangan Photography
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