St. John’s Eve / Bonfire Night / Oíche Fhéile Eoin. The evening of 23 June, St John’s Eve, is the eve of celebration before the Feast Day of St John the Baptist. This ancient custom has its roots in pre-Christian Irish society when the Celts honoured the Goddess Áine.
1704 – The Registration Act comes into force requiring all Catholic priests in Ireland to register in court, to furnish two £50 bonds for good behaviour, and not to leave the county in which they are registered.
1798 – United Irishmen Rebellion: Rebel southern column captures Goresbridge, Co Kilkenny and camps at Bunreagh; Rebel northern column moves into Wicklow Mountains and camps at Ballymanus.
1802 – Daniel O’Connell secretly marries his cousin, Mary O’Connell.
1825 – Annie French Hector, novelist who wrote under the pseudonym Mrs. Alexander, is born in Dublin. Highly successful novelist with 40 books including the Wooing of O’t (1873), and Blind Fate (1891); A Choice of Evils (1895), and Kitty Costello, semi-autobiographical (1902).
1838 – Sir James Gildea, philanthropist and co-founder of St. John Ambulance Association, is born in Kilmaine, Co Mayo.
1919 – RIC Detective D.I. Hunt was shot and killed by IRA volunteers Jim Stapleton and James Murphy in Thurles, Co Tipperary.
1921 – Over 1000 British troops mounted a sweep of the Millstreet area of Co Cork.
1921 – An IRA column was encircled by British forces in Ballycastle, Co Mayo; one IRA man was killed and seven captured.
1922 – Cushendall Killings: Three Catholic civilians were shot dead by British troops and Special Constables in Cushendall, Co Antrim, apparently in revenge for the killing of Wilson in London the previous day. The details were not released by the British government until 1997.
1939 – Dáil Éireann introduces internment.
1945 – Sean O’Ceallaigh was elected President of Ireland in a popular vote of the people, defeating two other candidates..
1959 – Seán Lemass becomes Taoiseach and leader of Fianna Fáil.
1970 – A five-year economic plan was published for Northern Ireland.
1973 – Harold Wilson, leader of the Labour Party, said that if the principals in the White Paper were rejected it might be necessary to reconsider the relationship between Britain and Northern Ireland.
1985 – An Air India Boeing 747 from Toronto crashes off the Irish coast, killing all 329 people aboard in the world’s worst commercial air disaster at sea.
1985 – The security service in England said that it had uncovered a plan by the IRA to launch a bombing campaign mainly against English seaside resort towns.
1986 – The Northern Ireland Assembly was officially dissolved. A group of 200 Loyalist protesters gathered outside Stormont and when trouble erupted the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) baton-charged the crowd. Inside the debating chamber 22 Unionist politicians refused to leave the building. Early the next day the RUC removed the Unionist politicians, including Ian Paisley, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).
1995 – Prince Charles paid a visit to Northern Ireland. In Belfast he met members of the Progressive Unionist Party (PUP) while visiting the Shankill Road.
1995 – The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) launched a Unionist Labour group. The new group was supported by Michael Connarty, Labour MP for Falkirk.
1997 – The RUC warned 13 Catholics that their names were on a Loyalist paramilitary ‘hit list’.
1997 – Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Marjorie (Mo) Mowlam, held a meeting with residents from the Bogside area of Derry to discuss the ‘marching season’.
1997 – United Technology Automotive in Derry announced that it was closing its factory in the Creggan area of the city with the loss of all 525 jobs. This was a severe blow to an area of high unemployment.
1998 – President Mary McAleese meets President Bill Clinton for the first time in the Oval Office; he promises that the US will remain engaged in the North peace process.
1998 – Death of Maureen O’Sullivan, actress, born in Boyle, Co Roscommon, the daughter of Roman Catholic parents Mary Lovatt (née Fraser) and Charles Joseph O’Sullivan, an officer in The Connaught Rangers who served in The Great War. Maureen O’Sullivan died in Scottsdale, Arizona, of complications from heart surgery on 23 June 1998. She was 87 years old. O’Sullivan is buried in the Most Holy Redeemer Cemetery in Niskayuna, New York, her widower’s hometown.
1999 – British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, demanded ‘an absolute commitment to decommissioning’ on the part of paramilitary groups. Blair’s comments followed confirmation that the head of the International Commission, Gen John de Chastelain, had been asked to produce a report on the arms issue by Tuesday.
2005 – “Unplayed Piano” enters the Irish Singles Charts and spent twelve weeks there, breaking into the Top 10 and achieving a peak of fourth position. “Unplayed Piano” was released by Lisa Hannigan and Damien Rice to support the Free Aung San Suu Kyi 60th Birthday campaign which was running at the time. Aung San Suu Kyi is a Nobel Peace Prize winner who had been under house arrest in Burma for various periods from 2002 to 2010. https://youtu.be/QGXtn41cI2w
Image | Benbulben, Co Sligo
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