#OTD in Irish History – 19 May:

1660 – An Act by the British Parliament forbids the export of Irish wool.

1710 – John Forster is unanimously elected Speaker of the House of Commons, replacing Alan Brodrick.

1769 – Just ten years after Guinness is first brewed in St. James Gate, Dublin, the beautiful magic brew is first exported from Ireland. Six and a half barrels left for England.

1798 – Lord Edward Fitzgerald, a leader of the United Irishmen, is betrayed by Francis Magan; he’s arrested and is shot while being apprehended; he dies of his wounds on 4 June.

1816 – Spanning the Liffey, surviving rebellion and civil war and retaining its unique position as the only pedestrian walkway over the river until 1999, The Ha’penny Bridge was named after the toll charged for more than 100 years for the pleasure of abandoning leaky ferries for a drier crossing, it is used by 30,000 people every day.

1821 – Anna Maria Odell, the second wife of William Odell (former MP for Co Limerick), gives birth to a stillborn child in the Marshalsea debtors’ prison, where she had accompanied her husband.

1862 – Birth of Irish historian, Máire Ni Aodáin (Mary Hayden), in Dublin.

1869 – Birth of botanist, Henry Horatio Dixon, in Dublin.

1870 – Sir Isaac Butt invents the term “Home Rule”. The first meeting of the “Home Government Association” (later to become the “Home Rule League”) is held in a Dublin hotel. A resolution is passed “that the true remedy for the evils of Ireland is the establishment of an Irish Parliament with full control over our domestic affairs”.

1897 – Oscar Wilde is released from Reading Gaol.

1920 – Birth of Joe Cahill, a prominent Irish republican and former Chief of Staff of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA).

1921 – Kilmeena ambush: British troops surprised an IRA ambush party at Kilmeena, Co Mayo; 6 IRA volunteers were killed and seven wounded. The remainder of the column fled over the mountains to Skerdagh. One RIC man and one Black and Tan were killed in the action. British forces threw the dead and wounded IRA volunteers into the street outside the Police barracks in Westport, causing widespread revulsion. The Marquess of Sligo visited the Police station to complain.

1921 – Two RIC men were killed by IRA members in Kinnitty, Co Offaly.

1922 – In revenge for the tram killings of the previous day, IRA volunteers entered Garret’s cooperage on little Patrick street in Belfast and shot four Protestant workers, killing three.

1922 – Birth of Joe Gilmore in Belfast, one of the longest running Head Barmen at The Savoy Hotel’s American Bar. Joe Gilmore started as a trainee barman at The American Bar in 1940 and was appointed Head Barman in 1955, a position he held until he retired in 1976. Over his years as Head Barman, Gilmore invented numerous cocktails to mark special events and important guests, a longstanding tradition at the American Bar.

1939 – Birth of musician and composer, John Sheahan, who was a member of the The Dubliners.

1947 – Singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer, Paul Brady, is born in Belfast.

1961 – Birth of composer, Ronan Hardiman.

1966 – Seamus Heaney’s first volume of poetry, “Death of a Naturalist” is published.

1974 – Day 5 of the UWC Strike: Secretary of Sate for Northern Ireland, Merlyn Rees, announced a State of Emergency (Section 40, Northern Ireland Constitution Act 1973). Rees flew to Chequers, the country home of the Prime Minister, for talks. The United Ulster Unionist Council (UUUC) met and agreed to support the Ulster Workers’ Council (UWC). The UWC withdrew its call for a total stoppage as of midnight. Some shops reported panic buying. A memorandum was submitted by the Northern Ireland Labour Party (NILP) to the Northern Ireland Office (NIO).

1981 – Five British soldiers were killed in an IRA landmine attack near Bessbrook, Co Armagh. The soldiers had been travelling in an armoured vehicle when the bomb exploded.

1987 – The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) expelled Robert McCartney because of his criticism of UUP leaders and also for his involvement in the Campaign for Equal Citizenship.

1993 – There were district council elections to choose 582 councillors for the 26 District Councils in Northern Ireland. When the results were declared they showed an increase in the percentage share of the vote for the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), Sinn Féin (SF), and the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland (APNI).

1993 – Three former detectives in the British police who had been involved in the investigations that led to the convictions of the Guildford Four were cleared of conspiring to pervert the course of justice. The men were accused of having manufactured the interview notes of one of the Guildford Four.

1994 – The Northern Ireland Office (NIO) published a 21 page British government response to Sinn Féin (SF) questions that arose from the Downing Street Declaration (DSD). SF had submitted a series of 20 questions via the Irish government. Taoiseach, Albert Reynolds, described the clarification as ‘comprehensive and positive’.

1995 – At the Forum for Peace and Reconciliation in Dublin, Seamus Mallon, deputy leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), criticised the support by Sinn Féin (SF) for imposed all-Ireland institutions without a democratic assembly in Northern Ireland. Mallon argued in favour of the model in the Framework Documents (published on 22 February 1995).

1997 – President of Sinn Féin, Gerry Adams, and Vice-President of Sinn Féin, Martin McGuinness, travelled to Westminster to press their case for facilities within the House of Commons. The two Sinn Féin Members of Parliament (MPs) were denied access to the House when they refused to take their seats which would have involved taking an oath of allegiance to the Queen.

1998 – European finance ministers reject Ireland’s call for a study into the consequences of abolishing duty-free shops.

1998 – SDLP leader John Hume and his Unionist counterpart, David Trimble, join U2 on stage at a concert in Belfast’s Waterfront Hall to drum up support for a massive Yes vote in Friday’s referendum on the Stormont agreement.

1998 – Abortion is opposed in all circumstances by 58% of people as against 24% in favour, according to a Pro Life Campaign opinion poll, carried out by Irish Marketing Surveys.

1999 – A five-stone lump of butter, estimated to have been buried in a bog over 300 years ago, is discovered in the Poll na gCapaill bog near Barnaderg in Co Galway by turf cutters Tom Burke and Vincent Roche.

1999 – John Pickering (Rev), rector of Drumcree, together with his vestry, decided to defy the General Synod’s vote on 18 May 1999 and announced that they would go ahead with the service for the Orange Order at Drumcree on 4 July 1999.

1999 – Garda Síochána opened an inquiry into the killing of Seamus Ludlow on 2 May 1976 who was found shot in laneway near his home, Thistlecross, near Dundalk, Co Louth. Gardaí initially blamed the IRA for the killing. However later it was claimed that Ludlow had been killed by the Red Hand Commando (RHC)/Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF). There was also speculation of involvement by the Special Air Service (SAS) and also by the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR).

2000 – British Airways launches its first daily flight service to Glasgow from Cork.

2000 – Westlife tops the Guinness British Hit Singles book writers’ league table, with a value of £18.8 million. Their net worth is based on points scored for Number Ones, singles sold and the number of weeks spent in Britain’s Top 75 in the past year.

2001 – Fleadh Cheoil celebrates its 50th anniversary as musicians throughout the country battle for their place in the provincial finals of Galway, Meath, Tipperary, Antrim, Kildare, Kilkenny, Monaghan and Wexford.

2011 – Death of Garret FitzGerald, an Irish politician who was Taoiseach of Ireland, serving two terms in office – July 1981 to February 1982; December 1982 to March 1987. FitzGerald was elected to Seanad Éireann in 1965 and was subsequently elected to Dáil Éireann 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.

Image | Craigmore Viaduct (known locally as The 18 Arches) | Bessbrook, Co Armagh | Gary McParland Landscape Photography

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