#OTD in Irish History – 9 February:

1731 – Birth of Sir Lucius O’Brien, opposition politician; he will eventually be described as ‘a man who disagrees with the rest of mankind by thinking well of himself’.

1846 – Geophysicist and civil engineer, Robert Mallet presented to the Royal Irish Academy his paper, ‘The Dynamics of Earthquakes’, which is considered to be a foundation work in the science of modern seismology. Born in Dublin, he is also credited with coining the word ‘seismology’ and other related words, e.g., the isoseismal map, which he used in his research. Mallet also first used the term epicenter. His studies involved carrying out blasting experiments to determine the speed of seismic propagation in sand and solid rock and he recorded the shock waves through various mediums on instruments which were the predecessors of modern seismographs.

1854 – Birth of leader of the Ulster Unionist Party, Edward Henry Carson, in Dublin. Lord Carson held numerous positions in the Cabinet of the United Kingdom and pursued a career as a senior barrister and a judge; he become one of seven Law Lords. Upon his death, in 1935, he was one of the few non-monarchs to receive a United Kingdom state funeral.

1861 – Death of painter of the Romantic era, Francis Danby. Born in Co Wexford, his imaginative, dramatic landscapes were comparable to those of John Martin. Danby initially developed his imaginative style while he was the central figure in a group of artists who have come to be known as the Bristol School. His period of greatest success was in London in the 1820s.

1880 – Birth of economist, journalist, barrister, writer, poet, soldier and Home Rule politician, Tom Kettle, in Artane, Co Dublin. As a member of the Irish Parliamentary Party, he was Member of Parliament (MP) for East Tyrone from 1906 to 1910 at Westminster. He joined the Irish Volunteers in 1913, then on the outbreak of World War I in 1914 enlisted for service in the British Army, and was killed in action on the Western Front in the Autumn of 1916. He was a much admired friend of James Joyce, who considered him to be his best friend in Ireland, as well as the likes of Francis Sheehy Skeffington, Oliver St. John Gogarty and Robert Wilson Lynd.

1903 – Death of the first editor and proprietor of The Nation newspaper, Charles Gavan Duffy, in Nice, France.

1921 – Drumcondra Murders: Republican activists James Murphy and Patrick Kennedy were arrested by Auxiliaries in Dublin. Two hours later, Dublin Metropolitan Police found the two men lying shot in Drumcondra: Kennedy was dead, and Murphy was dying when they were discovered.

1923 – Birth of poet and playwright, Brendan Behan, in Dublin. Noted for his earthy satire and powerful political commentary. Behan died at the age of 41, on 20 March 1964 and was given an IRA guard of honour, which escorted his coffin. It was described by several newspapers as the biggest funeral since those of Michael Collins and Charles Stewart Parnell.

1923 – Two Anti-Treaty fighters are killed in a skirmish at Poleberry, Co Waterford, while attempting to hold up a post office

1926 – Birth of politician, Garret FitzGerald, in Ballsbridge, Co Dublin. He was twice Taoiseach of Ireland, serving in office from July 1981 to February 1982 and again from December 1982 to March 1987. FitzGerald was elected to the Seanad Éireann in 1965 and was subsequently elected to the Dáil as a Fine Gael TD in 1969. He served as Foreign Affairs Minister from 1973 to 1977. FitzGerald was the leader of Fine Gael between 1977 and 1987.

1932 – The Army Comrades Association is formed; later to be called the National Guard and nicknamed the ‘Blueshirts’.

1953 – Birth of film, television and stage actor, Ciarán Hinds, in Belfast. He has built a reputation as a versatile character actor appearing in such high-profile films as Road to Perdition, The Sum of All Fears, The Phantom of the Opera, Munich, There Will Be Blood, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, The Woman in Black, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance and Frozen. He has been cast as Steppenwolf in the film Justice League.

1971 – Five men, two of them BBC engineers, the others construction workers, were killed near a BBC transmitter on Brougher Mountain, Co Tyrone in a landmine attack carried out by the IRA. It was believed that a British Army mobile patrol, which had been visiting the site, was the intended target.

1972 – Northern Ireland Minister for Home Affairs, William Craig, launched ‘Ulster Vanguard’ as an umbrella movement for the right-wing of Unionism. The new group held a series of demonstrations and marches over the next few months. These demonstrations intensified when Stormont was replaced and ‘direct rule’ introduced.

1972 – A Report (Cmnd. 4901) was published by a committee headed by Lord Parker on the methods used by security forces to interrogate those interned. The methods included: ‘in-depth interrogation’, hooding, food deprivation, use of ‘white noise’ to cause disorientation and sleep deprivation, and being forced to stand for long periods – leaning against a wall with their finger-tips. Two members of the committee, including Lord Parker, held that the techniques were justified. Lord Gardiner disagreed.

1974 – Two Catholic civilians (Anthony O’Connor and Hugh Duffy) were shot dead at O’Kane’s Bar, Grosvenor Road, Belfast, by Loyalist paramilitaries.

1975 – Two Catholic civilians, both aged 19, were shot dead by Loyalist paramilitaries as they left St Brigit’s Catholic Church, Malone, Belfast.

1975 – The IRA announced that it was reinstating its ceasefire for an indefinite period as of 6pm on 10 February 1975.

1976 – Two Protestant civilians were shot dead by the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) in the Shankill area of Belfast. It was believed that the two men were mistaken for Catholics.

1978 – Birth of Canadian actor, A.J. Buckley, in Dublin. He immigrated at the age of six with his family to White Rock, British Columbia. Buckley began his acting career in the television series The Odyssey followed by guest starring roles in The X-Files and Millennium. Buckley is the celebrity spokesperson for the Mantra Venture Group, an environmental technology company.

1981 – Ian Paisley, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), and other senior members of the DUP held a rally at Belfast City Hall were they signed a covenant, the ‘Ulster Declaration’, based on the Ulster Covenant of 1912. Paisley also announced a ‘Carson Trail’ which was to be a series of protest rallies against the continuing dialogue between British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, and Taoiseach Charles Haughey.

1983 – A nationwide hunt begins following the kidnapping of prize stallion and 1981 Derby winner Shergar from the Aga Khan’s stables in Co Kildare.

1990 – Amnesty International published a report which claimed that there was ‘mounting evidence’ of collusion between the security forces and Loyalist paramilitaries. The RUC said that the claims were ‘utter nonsense’.

1995 – Sinn Féin called off a planned meeting with Northern Ireland Office (NIO) officials after the party claimed that the room where the meeting was to have taken place was bugged.

1996 – The IRA exploded a large bomb at South Quay in the Docklands area of London. The lorry bomb killed two people, injuring hundreds, caused millions of pounds worth of damage, and marked the end of the IRA ceasefire after 17 months and 9 days. A statement had been issued by the IRA one hour before the explosion occurred at 7:01pm.

1998 – Claremorris show jumper, Carl Hanley receives the Irish Field National Award at the Annual Awards Ball in Dublin.

1998 – A Catholic civilian, Brendan Campbell (30), was shot dead outside a restaurant on the Lisburn Road, Belfast. Campbell was alleged to be a drug dealer and the group called Direct Action Against Drugs (DAAD) claimed responsibility. Many people believed that DAAD was a pseudonym used by the IRA. The killing of Campbell (and Robert Dougan on 10 February 1998) led to the expulsion of Sinn Féin from the multi-party talks on 20 February 1998.

1998 – A political row broke out between Ken Maginnis, Security spokesperson for the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), and Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Marjorie (Mo) Mowlam. In a letter to David Trimble, leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), Mowlam demanded an apology from Maginnis for allegedly calling her ‘a damned liar’ during a session of the talks at Stormont. Maginnis said he had ‘no intention whatsoever’ of apologising.

1998 – Ulster Unionist rebels planning to overthrow leader David Trimble confirm there is ‘widespread concern’ at the political direction of the party following revelations of a possible leadership challenge next month.

1998 – Nationalist politicians in the North respond angrily to a consultative paper described as the most far-reaching British government review of police accountability for 30 years.

2000 – Northern Ireland Secretary, Peter Mandelson, issues a direct appeal to the IRA to start disarming in order to save the peace process from collapse.

2001 – Limerick man, Michael Noonan, is elected leader of Fine Gael.

2002 – An estimated 80 people were involved in rioting in the Whitewell Road area of north Belfast. The disturbances broke out in the Arthur Bridge, Longlands estate, and Gunnell Hill areas along the Whitewell Road and eight petrol bombs were thrown. One man was arrested on suspicion of riotous behaviour.

2007 – Death of author Ben Kiely, one of Ireland’s best acclaimed writers and journalists at the age of 87. Born between Drumskinny in Co Fermanagh and Dromore, Co Tyrone and a former pupil of Mount St Columba Christian Brothers School in Omagh, his career spans six decades and produces many short stories and novels, as well as his autobiography Drink to the Bird: An Omagh Boyhood.

2010 – The Independent International Commission on Decommissioning stood down.

2011 – The last sketch by artist Jack B Yeats, drawn while he lay dying in a Dublin nursing home, sells at auction in London yesterday for £5,760. Roundabout Ponies far exceeded its estimate of £1,500- £2,000 at the inaugural Irish Sale at Bonhams, the New Bond Street fine art auctioneers.

2013 – The 10th Irish Film and Television Awards took place at the Convention Centre Dublin (CCD). It was hosted by actor Simon Delaney and attracted an audience of 1.24 million viewers. The Show was broadcast on RTÉ One Television on the night.

2013 – Death of hurler, Jimmy Smyth. He played as a full-forward for the Clare senior team. Smyth is regarded as one of the greatest players never to have won an All-Ireland medal. In 1984 he was named on a special Hurling Team of the Century made up of players never to have won an All-Ireland medal. In 2000 he was named on the Munster Hurling Team of the Millennium.

Image | A view from above at Skryne Tower (as its known locally) in Co Meath | This is what remains of the 15th century Abbey of St Nicholas which commands the Hill of Skryne | Copter View

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