#OTD in Irish History – 12 August:

In the Liturgical calendar, today is the Feast day of St Muiredach mac Echdach of Killala.

1646 – Archbishop Giovanni Rinuccini, papal nuncio to the Irish Confederate Catholics, condemns their adherence to Ormond’s peace terms for failing to fully recognise Catholicism.

1652 – ‘Act for the Settling of Ireland’ allows for the transplantation to Clare or Connacht of proprietors whose land is confiscated by Cromwell to meet promises to adventurers and soldiers; also known as the “To Hell or Connacht” Act.

1796 – Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin receives its first prisoners.

1804 – Birth of James Whiteside, orator and Lord Chief Justice, in Delgany, Co Wicklow.

1821 – George IV begins his visit to Ireland; he is received enthusiastically by O’Connell and others.

1822 – Robert Stewart, Viscount Castlereagh, commits suicide by cutting his throat with a penknife.

1852 – Birth of Knights of Columbus founder Father Michael McGivney to Irish immigrants Patrick and Mary (Lynch) McGivney in Waterbury, Connecticut.

1870 – Sir Hubert Gough, soldier and participant in ‘Curragh mutiny’ of 1914, is born in Gurteen, Co Waterford.

1884 – Birth of Arthur Nicholas Whistler Colahan, perhaps more often recognised by the inmates of Leicester’s Welford Road prison than by the millions who purchased his songs, either in sheet music form or as recordings. He was a quiet man who was often homesick for his beloved Galway Bay. These feelings led him to write one of the most popular songs of all time, and the best-selling song of 1953. Sadly, by the time Colahan’s music was selling in the High Street he had died and had been buried in an unmarked grave, back in his Irish birthplace.

1898 – Irish Local Government Act sets up elective county and district councils.

1899 – First issue of James Connolly’s Workers Republic.

1914 – Death of designer of the first submarine, John Philip Holland, from Liscannor, Co Clare.

1920 – Terence MacSwiney, Lord Mayor of Cork, arrested by British; he immediately goes on hunger strike.

1922 – Arthur Griffith, founder of Sinn Féin, dies of a cerebral haemorrhage.

1949 – Birth of piano and organ player, Lou Martin, in Belfast. Most famous for his work with the London-based band Killing Floor, and with fellow Irish musician Rory Gallagher. Martin played alongside Gallagher, and is featured on several of Gallagher’s albums, including Blueprint, Tattoo, Irish Tour ’74, Against the Grain, Calling Card, Defender and Fresh Evidence. He also played rhythm guitar on one track, “Race the Breeze” from Blueprint. He died on 17 August 2012, aged 63.

1959 – Death of American baseball player, Mike O’Neill. He was a starting pitcher and left fielder in Major League Baseball. From 1901 through 1907, he played for the St. Louis Cardinals (1901–04) and Cincinnati Reds (1907). O’Neill batted and threw right-handed. A native of Maam, Co Galway, he played as Michael Joyce in his 1901 rookie year with the Cardinals. O’Neill was one of four brothers who played in the major leagues.

1969 – Battle of the Bogside: As the annual Apprentice Boys parade passed close to the Bogside area, of Derry serious rioting erupted. The RUC, using armoured cars and water cannons, entered the Bogside, in an attempt to end the rioting. The RUC were closely followed and supported by a loyalist crowd. The residents of the Bogside forced the police and the loyalists back out of the area. The RUC used CS gas to again enter the Bogside area. This period of conflict between the RUC and Bogside (and Creggan) residents lasted for two days. There was also sporadic riots and running battles on the Shankill, Falls and other areas of the province. https://youtu.be/MS9jI12JwFY

1969 – British troops are deployed in Northern Ireland after riots in Derry and Belfast.

1971 – A Protestant man died two days after being shot by a British soldier.

1973 – The RUC tried out a new plastic baton round during a riot. The plastic baton round was eventually to replace the rubber baton round that had been in use since 2 August 1970.

1976 – A group of 1,000 women held a demonstration on the Finaghy Road in Andersontown at the place where the three Maguire children were killed on 10 August 1976. 6,000 people signed a petition in Andersonstown calling for peace.

1984 – Martin Galvin, leader of NORAID (Irish Northern Aid Committee), appeared at another rally, this time in Belfast. Galvin was banned from Northern Ireland and RUC officers moved to arrest him.

1984 – During an altercation with protesters an RUC officer fired a plastic baton round at close range and killed Sean Downes (22), a Catholic civilian. An RUC officer was killed by the IRA in Co Tyrone.

1987 – Ian Paisley, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), turned down a plan for talks between the four main constitutional parties in Northern Ireland (UUP, SDLP, DUP and APNI) that had been suggested by Robin Eames, Church of Ireland Archbishop.

1991 – Pádraig Ó Seanacháin (33), who was a Sinn Féin election worker, was shot dead by the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF), a cover name (pseudonym) used by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), in Killen, Co Tyrone.

1991 – It was announced that there would be a review of the case of Judith Ward who had been convicted of the Bradford coach bombing in 1974.

1992 – The Metropolitan Police in London uncovered approximately 12 tons of explosives when they seized three vans. The explosives had been manufactured by the IRA. Five people were initially arrested in connection with the find but were later released.

1993 – The RUC prevented a bomb attack when officers intercepted a van bomb, estimated at 3,000 pounds, in Portadown, Co Armagh.

1995 – The Apprentice Boys of Derry (ABD) held their annual parade in Derry. Due to the opening of security gates on the city walls the ABD was able to parade around the walls for the first time in 25 years. However, Republicans staged a sitdown demonstration before the parade began and were forcibly removed by the RUC. There was rioting in Derry following the parade and police fired 40 plastic bullets. There were serious confrontations between the RUC and Nationalists in the lower Ormeau Road area of Belfast. An ABD ‘feeder’ parade passed along the street once police had cleared the route. There were also disturbances at Dunloy and Rasharkin, Co Antrim.

1997 – Twenty-seven Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) prisoners in Long Kesh Prison began a riot which caused severe damage to C and D wings of H-Block 6. Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) prisoners in wings A and B of H-Block 6 had to be moved as the LVF occupied the roof.

1997 – Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) Member of Parliament (MP), Ken Maginnis, appeared in a BBC Newsnight programme in a debate which involved Vice-President of Sinn Féin (SF) and MP, Martin McGuinness. This was the first time that a member of the UUP had agreed to appear alongside a member of SF on British Television.

1997 – Martin McGuinness began moves to have a judicial review of the decision of the Speaker of the House of Commons to refuse the two SF MPs office facilities. The reason given for the refusal was the fact that the two MPs had not taken their seats in the House, which would have involved an oath of allegiance to the Queen.

1997 – Two Republican prisoners being held in Portlaoise Prison were given early conditional release.

1998 – Freak twister ravages Martinstown in Co Antrim; no injuries or fatalities are reported.

1999 – Memorial service is held for the victims of the Omagh bomb attack.

2001 – Playing to a capacity crowd at the Manchester Evening News Arena, U2 kicks off their European tour with a plea for peace in Northern Ireland.

2001 – Loyalist protesters block a main road in north Belfast to prevent the republican Wolf Tone flute band from joining a major march commemorating the 20th anniversary of the 1981 IRA hunger strikes.

2001 – Two men were shot and injured in a Loyalist paramilitary ‘punishment’ attack in Greencastle, Co Antrim. Another man was shot and injured in a separate Loyalist paramilitary ‘punishment’ attack in the Rathcollle estate, Newtownabbey, Co Antrim.

2001 – Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, John Reid, said in an interview on the BBC Television’s Breakfast With Frost programme that he believed that the parties were “tantalisingly close” to reaching agreement. He defended his decision to suspend the political institutions as the best of the options open to him. Speaking on the same programme Vice-President of Sinn Féin (SF), Martin McGuinness, said the suspension, together with the Unionist response to the developments on decommissioning, had caused “a serious situation”.

Image | Hill of Tara, Co Meath

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