#OTD in Irish History – 18 January:

1667 – Cattle exports to England are prohibited.

1671 – Catholic gentry present petition to Charles II.

1688 – Birth of Lionel Cranfield Sackville, 1st Duke of Dorset, PC. He was an English political leader and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. Dorset served twice as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, from 1731 to 1737 and again from 1751 to 1755. In 1739, at the foundation of the Foundling Hospital, he was one of that charity’s original governors. Sackville Street, the main thoroughfare in Dublin city, was named in his honour; while the name was changed to O’Connell Street in 1924, his name survives in nearby Sackville Place.

1741 – The glass harp was created by Richard Pockrich. Born in Aghnamallagh, Co Monaghan, he is known as the first virtuoso of the musical glasses. Pockrich called his instrument the ‘angelic organ’ and it was played with sticks, rather than by rubbing the glasses with a moistened finger. It was reported in 1760 that, ‘Pockrich played Handel’s Water Music on the glasses.’ His successful concert career was brought to a premature end by a fire in which both the inventor and instrument perished in 1759.

1779 – Cement Patent No. 1207 is issued to Sligo-man Bryan Higgins.

1811 – Birth of actor, Charles Kean, in Co Waterford.

1821 – Built by Henry Harris at a cost of £50,000, the Albany New Theatre opens in Hawkins Street, Dublin. It can accommodate up to 2,000 patrons. In August, George IV attends a performance and, as a consequence, a patent is granted. The name of the theatre is changed to the “Theatre Royal” to reflect its status as a patent theatre.

1831 – Daniel O’Connell is convicted of conspiracy.

1882 – On a successful speaking tour of America, the young Irish playwright, Oscar Wilde, newly famous at home and abroad, visited 62-year-old Walt Whitman.

1914 – The Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union strike ends.

1919 – Paris Peace Conference begins. The five Allied Powers (France, Britain, Italy, Japan and USA) meet to agree the peace terms for the defeated Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary and Turkey).

1923 – Republican leader Liam Deasy is captured by Free State troops in the Galtee Mountains. He is not executed after he signs an order calling for men under his command to surrender.

1923 – Three National Army soldiers are killed in action (six killed in two days).

1928 – Birth of physicist, Daniel Bradley, in Derry.

1930 – Birth of writer and broadcaster, Breandán Ó hEithir, in Cill Rónáin, Aran Islands.

1934 – Death of Irish nationalist, Joseph Devlin.

1937 – Birth of educator, nationalist politician, and Nobel Prize laureate, John Hume, in Derry.

1951 – Death of missionary, Amy Carmichael, in India. Born in Millisle, Co Down, she was a Protestant Christian missionary in India, who opened an orphanage and founded a mission in Dohnavur. She served in India for 55 years without furlough and wrote many books about the missionary work there.

1964 – Birth of jockey, Richard Dunwoody, in Belfast.

1971 – Northern Ireland Prime Minister, James Chichester-Clark, attended a meeting in London with British Home Secretary, Reginald Maudling.

1972 – Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, Brian Faulkner, banned all parades and marches in Northern Ireland until the end of the year.

1976 – Birth of singer–songwriter, Damien Leo Leith, in Dublin. He has been awarded seven platinum and one gold certification for albums and singles by ARIA, which equates to sales of just over half a million. As a teenager Leith formed a family band, “Leaf”, with his sister Áine and brothers Paul and Darren. After moving to Sydney, he played in a number of high-profile venues, as front-man for a band known as Revelate. His first Australian performance was at The Basement in Sydney’s Circular Quay.

1978 – The European Court of Human Rights made its ruling on the case of alleged ill-treatment of internees during 1971. The case had been initially referred to the European Commission by the Irish government on 10 March 1976. On 2 September 1976 the European Commission on Human Rights decided that Britain had to answer a case of ill-treatment of internees and referred the matter to the European Court of Human Rights. The Commission found that the interrogation techniques did involve a breach of the Convention on Human Rights because they not only involved inhuman and degrading treatment but also torture. The European Court of Human Rights however decided that the Commission was wrong to use the word ‘torture’ but did agree that the internees had been subjected to ‘inhuman and degrading treatment’.

1983 – Birth of singer and actress, Samantha Mumba, in Dublin. She shot to fame in 2000 with the release of her debut single ‘Gotta Tell You’, which reached the Top 10 in Ireland, United Kingdom and the United States. After a relatively short music career, she starred in numerous films, most notably in the 2002 film The Time Machine. She has also appeared in a number of Irish independent films. In early 2017, she participated in a Celebrity Version of MasterChef Ireland and went on to fill in as co-host on The 6 O’Clock Show, while Lucy Kennedy took maternity leave.

1983 – Irish Foreign Minister, Peter Barry, began a fact-finding visit to Belfast.

1984 – Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, James Prior, announced a public inquiry into the scandal at the Kincora Boy’s Home in Belfast.

1985 – Death of Dublin-born actor Wilfrid Brambell, aka Old man Steptoe.

1994 – Sinn Féin launched a ‘peace commission’ which was set up to hear opinions on the future of the region. The first session was held in Derry on 27 January 1994.

1997 – Death of Gerard Slevin, the Corkman who designed the EU flag. a circle of 12 golden stars on a deep blue background, and in recognition of this was made a member of the Académie Internationale d’Héraldique.

1997 – The IRA fired two ‘horizontal type mortars’ at a RUC Landrover patrol in Downpatrick, Co Down. There were no injuries.

1998 – The fourth revenge killing of a Catholic by LVF murder squads since ruthless warlord Billy Wright was gunned down, is committed. Fergal (Rick) McCusker (28), was abducted and shot dead by the Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) in Maghera, Co Derry. McCusker was walking home after having been out drinking with friends. His body was discovered behind the premises of a youth club. McCusker had recently returned to Derry having worked for a while in the United States. He was the fourth Catholic to be killed since 27 December 1997.

1998 – United States Ambassador to Ireland, Jean Kennedy Smith, came under attack from Ray Seitz, former US Ambassador to Britain (1991 to 1994), who branded her ‘an ardent IRA apologist’. Seitz made the claims in a recently published book of memoirs. Reacting to the claims, the White House said President Clinton had every confidence in Kennedy Smith.

2000 – The improvement in the hospitality scene in Ireland is proven by the addition of fifty-four hotels and twenty-seven restaurants to the prestigious Michelin Guide.

2001 – The right of Travellers to pursue their traditional lifestyle on their own land was yesterday rejected by the European Court of Human Rights.

2002 – Taoiseach Bertie Ahern pays tribute to the former Fianna Fáil TD, Jim Tunney, who died yesterday. Mr Tunney, was a former minister of state and deputy in Dublin North-West for two decades. He also served a term as Lord Mayor of Dublin and was co-chairman of the British-Irish inter-parliamentary body. A stylish dresser, he always wore a flower in his lapel and was called the Yellow Rose of Finglas by friends and colleagues. He was 78.

2002 – Political history is made today as the Fianna Fáil-Progressive Democrats coalition becomes the longest-serving government in the State. After taking office on 26 June 1997, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern’s minority government is serving its 1,666th day in office.

2002 – Rallies were held across Northern Ireland at 1.00pm to protest against Loyalist paramilitary death threats to postal workers and school staff and to call for an end to all paramilitary activity. The rallies took place in Belfast, Cookstown, Derry, Enniskillen, Newry, Omagh, and Strabane, and were attended by an estimated 25,000 people. Part of a resolution read out at the rallies stated: “we call on all those engaged in acts of sectarianism or paramilitary activity to stop”. The rallies were organised following the killing by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) of Catholic postman Daniel McColgan (20) on 12 January 2002.

2008 – After well over half a century, the Rev Dr Ian Paisley steps down as Moderator of the Free Presbyterian Church. He is succeeded by the Rev Ron Johnston.

2013 – Death of professional footballer, Sean Fallon. Born in Sligo, at his death he was the oldest surviving person to have played for the Republic of Ireland national football team.

Image | Ashford Castle, Co Mayo

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