#OTD in Irish History – 20 September:

1689 – The Enniskillen Protestants defeat Jacobite forces at Boyle, Co Roscommon.

1784 – Sir Richard Griffith, geologist and civil engineer, is born in Dublin. He was an Irish geologist, mining engineer and chairman of the Board of Works of Ireland, who completed the first complete geological map of Ireland and was author of the valuation of Ireland – known ever since as Griffith’s Valuation.

1803 – Robert Emmet, Irish patriot, is executed in Dublin. Emmet becomes a hero of Irish nationalists, largely on the basis of his stirring speech from the dock: “Let no man write my epitaph… When my country takes her place among the nations of the earth, then, and not till then let my epitaph be written”.

1847 – Birth of teacher and founder of the Gaelic Athletic Association, Michael Cusack, in Co Clare.

1863 – The 5th Confederate Infantry consisting of a large number of Irish from Memphis fight in one of the bloodiest battles of the war, at Chickamauga. One of the commanders was Cork born Patrick Cleburne whom historians universally recognize as one of the most capable officers on either side during the awful conflict, although Chicamauga, might not have been his finest hour as this Master’s thesis by Major Joseph M Lance on Cleburne at Chicamauga suggests. Cleburne was known as the “Stonewall of the West.” He was one of six Confederate Generals to die at the slaughter at Franklin.

1879 – Cliftonville Football Club, the oldest club in Ireland, are founded by John McCredy McAlery.

1911 – Anna Catherine Parnell, Irish patriot, dies.

1918 – Republican newspapers are banned by English.

1918 – The nighttime sailing of the mail service from Kingstown to Holyhead is to end and will be replaced by a daylight service commencing on 1 October.

1920 – IRA members ambushed of a lorry full of British soldiers on Church St Dublin. Three soldiers were killed, the first in the city since the Easter Rising of 1916. IRA man Kevin Barry was arrested at the scene and charged with murder.

1920 – Sinn Féin County Councillor John Lynch of Kilmallock, Limerick was assassinated by British agents at the Exchange Hotel Dublin.

1920 – A newly promoted Head Constable was shot and killed by IRA volunteers in Balbriggan, in north Co Dublin, near the training camp for British police recruits at Gormanston. Later that night, police rioted and attacked Balbriggan, killing two men, Seamus Lawless and Sean Gibbons looting and burning four public houses, destroying a hosiery factory, and damaging or destroying forty-nine homes. This incident known as the Sack of Balbriggan caused a sensation in Britain, receiving headlines from the British press, and making reprisals an important topic for debate in Parliament.

1922 – A national Army soldier is accidentally killed cleaning his rifle in Co Cork and a civilian girl is killed in Kildare by bomb she found in an outhouse.

1923 – Birth of poet, Geraldine Clinton Little, in the north of Ireland. Emigrating to the United States with her family at age 2, she spent her life in the United States. She published ten books, and her stories and poems appeared in over 400 journals.

1931 – Birth of actor, writer and politician, Malachy McCourt in Brooklyn, NY. He was the 2006 Green Party candidate for governor in New York State, losing to the Democratic candidate Eliot Spitzer. He is the younger brother of the late Frank McCourt.

1941 – Birth of ex-footballer, Sammy McMillan, in Belfast. He played as a left winger or centre forward for various Football League clubs in the 1960s and early 1970s, including Manchester United, Wrexham, Southend United and Stockport County.

1960 – Frederick H. Boland becomes president of the United Nations Assembly.

1968 – Traffic wardens appear in Dublin for the first time.

1969 – Birth of Patrick Peatland in Newtownards, Co Down. He is a member of the Canadian rock band Sloan. All four members of Sloan write, produce, and sing their own songs. Patrick plays guitar, bass, keyboards in the studio, and occasionally plays drums live.

1972 – The Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) issued a document entitled ‘Towards a New Ireland’. The document proposed that the British and Irish governments should have joint sovereignty over Northern Ireland.

1984 – The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) put forward proposals for devolution of power to Northern Ireland. The scheme would have involved a majority cabinet government with a Bill of Rights and minority representation on department committees.

1992 – There were further leaks of discussion papers from the political talks (later known as the Brooke/Mayhew talks). Sunday Life gave details of an Irish government paper that indicated there would be no change on Articles 2 and 3 of the Irish Constitution unless there was some movement on the Unionist side. Unionists wanted to see changes to the Irish Constitution take place first. There were additional revelations in other newspapers which provided details of the structure of any new assembly.

1994 – The European Commission announced that it would increase its contribution to the International Fund for Ireland (IFI) by one-third to £47 million, over the following three years.

1995 – A delegation from the Progressive Unionist Party (PUP) travelled to Dublin for a meeting with Taoiseach, John Bruton.

1997 – Approximately 170 Loyalists recommenced their picket of the Catholic church in Harryville, Ballymena, Co Antrim. The picket had ended during the summer when the Catholic priest at Harryville decided, following police advice, not to celebrate mass during the height of the Orange Order marching season. Picketing had first begun 41 weeks earlier in October 1996.

1999 – Michelle Williamson was granted leave to challenge in the High Court in Belfast the ruling by Secretary of State of Northern Ireland, Marjorie (Mo) Mowlam, that the IRA ceasefire was intact. Williamson lost both parents in the IRA Shankill Road bombing of 23 October 1993. Williamson was supported in her legal action by Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) members including David Trimble, leader of the UUP, and Jeffrey Donaldson MP.

2001 – The Loyalist protest at the Holy Cross Girls’ Primary School continued but protesters reverted to the earlier tactic of making a lot of noise as school children passed. Six men appeared before Belfast Magistrates Court on public order offences related to the school protest on 3 September 2001. A 17-year-old was due to appear before a juvenile court later. The six men were remanded on bail but instructed not to take part in the protest. As a result of the arrests the group representing the Loyalist residents, Concerned Residents of Upper Ardoyne (CRUA), announced that it had “suspended all business until further notice”.

2001 – An survey commissioned by the BBC Northern Ireland ‘Hearts and Minds’ programme found that, of those questioned, 41 per cent favoured fresh elections to the Northern Ireland Assembly if agreement could not be reached before the deadline of 22 September 2001; 31 per cent were in favour of a one-day suspension of the Assembly and 28 per cent preferred an indefinite suspension.

2007 – Death of footballer, Johnny Gavin. Born in Limerick, he spent most of his career in England. He played for Janesboro United, Limerick, Ireland, Norwich City, Watford, Tottenham Hotspur, Crystal Palace, Cambridge City, Newmarket Town and Fulbourn.

2017 – Death of sports broadcaster, Jimmy Magee, in Dublin. Known as the “Memory Man”, he spent over half a century in sports broadcasting, and presented radio and television coverage of the Olympic Games since 1968 and the FIFA World Cup since 1966. He was the longest-serving sports commentator.

Image | Cliffs of Tory island, Co Donegal | Owen clarke photography

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