#OTD in Irish History – 22 March:

Feast Day of Saint Darerca of Ireland, sister of Saint Patrick.

1686 – With the return of a Catholic monarchy – James II – payments to the Catholic hierarchy are authorised; Catholics are appointed to government positions; replacement of Protestant by Catholic soldiers intensifies.

1768 – Birth of writer, Melasina Trench, in Dublin.

1829 – Birth of soldier and engineer, Sir Richard Sankey, in Cashel, Co Tipperary.

1841 – The Irish Emigrant Society was founded in New York.

1848 – Birth of artist, Sarah Purser, in Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin. She famously said: ‘I went through the British aristocracy like the measles.’ She used her money wisely, most notably with a substantial investment in the Guinness brewery.

1895 – Bridget Cleary’s burnt corpse was found in a shallow grave, nine people had been charged in her disappearance, including her husband, Michael Cleary. A coroner’s inquest the next day returned a verdict of death by burning. Her death is notable for several peculiarities: the stated motive for the crime was her husband’s belief that she had been abducted by fairies with a changeling left in her place; he claimed to have slain only the changeling.

1912 – Birth of actor and performer, Wilfrid Brambell, in Dublin.

1919 – Michael Collins MP, is charged with inciting raids for arms in Co Longford and a bench warrant for his arrest is granted at the Derry Assizes after his failure to appear to answer the charge.

1921 – Three members of the West Mayo IRA flying column attacked a four man RIC patrol at Clady. Three policemen were wounded and one was killed.

1921 – IRA volunteers in Fermanagh burned the homes and farms of ten local men who were members of the Ulster Special Constabulary. Two Special Constables were shot dead in their beds.

1922 – Irish Civil War Looms: The seeds continue to be sown for an Irish civil war. Rory O’Connor speaking in Dublin states that the Irish army is ‘in a dilemma, having the choice of supporting its oath to the Republic or still giving allegiance to the Dáil, which, it considers, has abandoned the Republic. The contention of the army is that the Dáil did a thing that it had no right to do.’ O’Connor would fight on the anti-Treaty side and be executed in December at the direction of his friend Kevin O’Higgins.

1923 – A fire fight takes place at Windgap on the Kilkenny-Tipperary border between an IRA column and National Army troops from Kilkenny sweeping the area. One National Army soldier Vol. Brown is killed and press reports three ‘Irregulars’ also killed.

1929 – Sixty-six horses run in Irish Grand National Sweepstakes; Alike wins the race.

1954 – Death of Iseult Lucille Germaine Gonne. She was the daughter of Maud Gonne and Lucien Millevoye, and the wife of the novelist Francis Stuart. Iseult was not acknowledged as her mother’s daughter in Maud Gonne’s will when Gonne died in 1953. Iseult died a year later.

1955 – On the UK singles chart, Ruby Murray (1935-96) achieved five simultaneous Top 20 hits, with ‘Softly, Softly’ (her only UK chart-topper) at No.2, ‘Let Me Go Lover’ at No.5, ‘Happy Days and Lonely Nights’ at No.14, ‘Heartbeat’ at No.15 and ‘If Anyone Finds This, I Love You’ (a duet with Anne Warren) at No.17. The Belfast-born songstress’ feat remains unmatched by a female singer in the 66-year history of the UK singles chart.

1969 – At a time when nationalist emotion was high in Ireland, Sean Dunphy topped the Irish charts with The Lonely Woods of Upton: https://youtu.be/YcTw639-DrY

1972 – Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, Brian Faulkner, went to London to be informed of the introduction of ‘Direct Rule’.

1979 – Two members of the IRA assassinate Sir Richard Sykes, British ambassador to the Netherlands, and also his Dutch valet Krel Straub, outside his residence at The Hague, in Den Haag, Netherlands. The IRA carried out a series of attacks across Northern Ireland with 24 bombs exploding on same day.

1981 – Raymond McCreesh and Patsy O’Hara began their Hunger strike in the H Blocks of Long Kesh Prison.

1981 – Irish Foreign Minister, Brian Lenihan, said that the on-going talks between the British and Irish governments could lead to a United Ireland in 10 years.

1983 – In a district council by-election in Omagh, Co Tyrone, a Sinn Féin candidate won the seat. This was the first local government election contested by Sinn Féin during the current conflict.

1983 – Belfast-born and Dublin-educated Chaim Herzog is elected president of Israel.

1984 – A new Prevention of Terrorism Act became law. The act allowed the Secretary of State to proscribe (declare illegal) organisations that were believed to be associated with terrorism. In addition to issue exclusion orders that prevent people from Northern Ireland travelling to other parts of the United Kingdom or from travelling from the Republic of Ireland to Northern Ireland. The act allowed the RUC to arrest people without a warrant and to detain them for 48 hours, and a further five days on the authority of the Secretary of State.

1985 – It was announced that Roberty Pascoe would replace Robert Richardson as Commanding Officer of the British Army in Northern Ireland as of June 1985.

1987 – A former MI5 (British Intelligence) agent, James Miller, claimed that the intelligence service had helped to promote the Ulster Workers’ Council (UWC) strike of 1974 in an effort to destabilise the Labour Government led by Harold Wilson.

1988 – The RUC asked television companies (BBC, ITN and RTE) to give them untransmitted film of the incident involving the two British Army corporals on 19 March 1988. The television companies initially refused but later allowed the RUC access to the material. The event caused further friction between the British government and the media.

1989 – The new Prevention of Terrorism Act became law and allowed the authorities to check bank accounts for paramilitary funds.

1997 – The Ulster Unionist Council of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) held its annual meeting in Belfast. Leader of the UUP, David Trimble, criticised ‘aggressive, loudmouth Unionists’ without naming anyone in particular. Many people took this to be a reference to Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), Ian Paisley, and the DUP issued a statement which called Trimble’s comments ‘vile, vicious, and venomous’.

1997 – The Alliance Party of Northern Ireland (APNI) held its annual conference. Addressing the conference Leader of APNI, John Alderdice, warned that Northern Ireland could become ‘Balkanised’ by conflict over parades.

1998 – Unionist leaders launch a fresh bid to have Republicans excluded permanently from peace negotiations.

1998 – Garda Síochána discovered a large bomb, estimated at 1,300 pounds, in Dundalk, Co Louth, which was about to be transported to a target in Northern Ireland. Two men were arrested at the scene of the discovery. It was initially believed that the Continuity Irish Republican Army (CIRA) was responsible for the bomb.

1988 – The Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition (GRRC) organised a march from Park Road in Portadown, Co Armagh, to a rally on the Garvaghy Road in Portadown. The march was held to highlight the continuing lack of dialogue between the Orange Order and the residents of the Garvaghy Road. Several hundred Loyalists gathered to demonstrate against the parade and the RUC kept the two groups apart.

1988 – A Loyalist gang of approximately 50 men tried to enter a Nationalist estate in north Belfast but were prevented by an RUC patrol. The Loyalists then attacked the RUC car and the officers inside with petrol bombs. Reinforcements had to be called and six people were arrested.

2000 – Over 2,000 student nurses walk out of hospital wards and lecture halls in a protest over tuition fees.

2001 – The Government declares a national emergency in a bid to contain the country’s first foot and mouth outbreak in 60 years.

2002 – The conviction of Paul Ward for the murder of Veronica Guerin, is quashed, at the Four Courts. Guerin was murdered in 1996, after gathering evidence on several major drug lords in Dublin.

Image | A friend in need is a friend indeed | Co Kerry

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