#OTD in Irish History – 16 March:

In the liturgical calendar, today is the Feast Day of Abbán moccu Corbmaic. He was associated, first and foremost, with Mag Arnaide (Moyarney or Adamstown, near New Ross, Co Wexford) and with Cell Abbáin (Killabban, Co Laois). However, he was also connected to other churches elsewhere in Ireland, notably that of his alleged sister Gobnait.

1559 – Death of Anthony St Leger; he was a politician and Lord Deputy of Ireland during the Tudor period.

1618 – Richard Archdekin, Jesuit, educator and missioner to Ireland, is born in Louvain.

1640 – Charles I’s second Irish parliament meets.

1690 – French king Louis XIV sends troops to Ireland.

1789 – Birth of soldier and explorer, Francis Rawdon Chesney, in Annalong, Co Down.

1815 – William Reeves, Church of Ireland bishop and antiquary, was born in Charleville, Co Cork.

1828 – Birth of American Civil War Confederate General, Patrick Cleburne, in Cobh, Co Cork.

1839 – John B. Yeats, painter and father of William Butler and Jack B. Yeats, was born in Tullylish, Co Down.

1862 – Birth of Patrick Guiney in Kanturk, Co Cork. He was an Irish Nationalist politician and a Member of Parliament (MP) in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

1865 – Death of one of the greatest pioneers of early California, Martin Murphy.

1865 – Baseball player Patsy Donovan is born in Cobh (then Queenstown) Co Cork. Donovan played major league baseball for a number of teams including the Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals between 1892-1903 consistently hitting .300. He managed the Boston Red Sox seasons 1910 and 1911. Donovan persuaded the Red Sox to sign an up and coming player named George Ruth in 1914.

1907 – Death of separatist and a leading Fenian, John O’Leary. He studied both law and medicine but did not take a degree and for his involvement in the Irish Republican Brotherhood he was sentenced to twenty years’ penal servitude, of which five years were spent in English prisons, prior to his release and exile in January 1871. During his exile, he lived mainly in Paris, also visiting the USA, remained active in the IRB and its associated organisations, and wrote many letters to newspapers and journals.

1919 – Sinn Fein member, Robert Barton, escapes from Mountjoy Jail, courtesy of some excellent planning by Michael Collins which involved smuggling a file into the prison.

1921 – The IRA in Galway attacked the RIC barracks in Clifden. Two RIC constables were killed. The IRA column retreated to the Maam valley, where they ambushed British reinforcements at Munterowan and Screebe. The RIC burned several buildings in Clifden in reprisal for the attacks.

1922 – Speaking in Dungarvan, Co Waterford, Éamon de Valera states that if the Treaty is accepted, there will be civil war. Unfortunately he was right.

1922 – In the NI Parliament, Dawson Bates declared that ‘we are at war’ with the IRA.

1922 – In Belfast, four people were killed and numerous people were injured by grenades.

1923 – National Army troops swept the vicinity of Newport in Co Mayo, resulting in some arrests.

1923 – A Free State sweep in Co Wexford encountered an anti-Treaty column. One National Army soldier and two republicans were killed in the fire fight.

1923 – Anti-Treaty fighters explode a bomb at the Customs and Excise Offices in Dublin. One CID man is killed and another wounded.

1955 – Singer Ruby Murray scores five simultaneous hits in the British charts.

1959 – RTÉ interviews Ireland’s first bangarda, Mary Brown from Roscommon.

1960 – The SS Canberra (45,000 tons) was launched in Belfast at a cost of £17,000,000.

1967 – Death of poet, Thomas MacGreevy. He was a pivotal figure in the history of Irish literary modernism. Born in Tarbert, Co Kerry, he was also director of the National Gallery of Ireland from 1950 to 1963 and served on the first Irish Arts Council (An Chomhairle Ealaíon).

1974 – Two British soldiers were shot dead by members of the IRA near Crossmaglen, Co Armagh.

1976 – British Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, announced that he was resigning as leader of the Labour Party and thus as Prime Minister. On 5 April 1976 James Callaghan succeeded Wilson.

1977 – Birth of hurling coach, selector and former player, Donal Óg Cusack, in Cloyne, Co Cork. He was a coach and selector with the Clare senior team from 2015 until 2017. Cusack is regarded as one of the greatest goalkeepers of his generation.

1979 – The committee headed by English judge, Harry Bennett, which was set up to investigate allegations of ill-treatment of people held in interrogation centres in Northern Ireland, published its report (Bennett Report, Cmnd 7497). The report found that there were instances where there was medical evidence of injuries sustained in police custody which were not self-inflicted. The report made a number of suggestions and the Labour government undertook to implement two major recommendations. The first that closed-circuit television cameras should be installed in interview rooms and the second that those being detained should have access to their solicitor after 48 hours in custody. When the Conservative Party came to power in May 1979 the new government implemented most of the remaining recommendations in the report.

1981 – Birth of swimmer, Andrew Bree. He is a breaststroke swimmer from Helen’s Bay, Co Down. He is a 2-time Olympian, having swum at the 2000 and 2008 Olympics. He represented Northern Ireland four times at the Commonwealths and placed fifth twice in the 200m breaststroke.

1981 – Bobby Sands recorded his diary for the first seventeen days of his hunger strike in which he detailed his thoughts and feelings on the momentous task that lay ahead of him. In order to secure his status as Irish political prisoner he was willing to fast til death, an event that would earn him a place in the annals of Irish history and in the hearts and minds of Irish republicans world-wide. See Bobby Sands Trust for today’s entry: http://www.bobbysandstrust.com/writings/prison-diary

1984 – Birth of actress, comedian and writer, Aisling Bea, in Co Kildare. She won The Gilded Balloon’s So You Think You’re Funny award at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2012.

1988 – At Milltown Cemetery in west Belfast, a gunman kills three mourners and injures at least 50 people attending a funeral for IRA members Maireád Farrell, Daniel McCann, and Sean Savage executed in Gibraltar. A Loyalist gunman, Michael Stone, launched a grenade and gun attack on mourners. Three people were killed and 50 injured. The whole episode was recorded by television news cameras. The police and the army had withdrawn to avoid any confrontation with the mourners. Stone was chased to a nearby motorway were he was attacked by a number of mourners. The police arrived in time to save his life. The main loyalist paramilitary groups denied any involvement with Stone. One of those killed, Kevin Brady, was a member of the IRA. https://youtu.be/f9tyEa6QWHY?list=UUsZwnXU736fX6TiARnntw7Q

1991 – Members of the LGBT march in the NYC St Patrick’s Day parade.

1993 – British Prime Minister, John Major, said that his government would not bring forward legislation to allow for devolved government in Scotland or Wales.

1994 – NIO Security Minister, John Wheeler, turned down a request from the Bloody Sunday Justice Group for a new inquiry into the killings in Derry on 30 January 1972. A new Inquiry was eventually announced on 29 January 1998.

1995 – Sinn Féin leader, Gerry Adams, meets President Bill Clinton for the first time.

1997 – An article in the Sunday Post carried claims by a former member of the Parachute Regiment of the British Army that on ‘Bloody Sunday’ (30 January 1972) some of his fellow soldiers had deliberately killed unarmed civilians. Taoiseach John Bruton, called on the British government to investigate this new evidence.

1998 – In Washington, DC, at the American/Ireland Fund dinner, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern bluntly tells Northern political leaders to display the courage necessary to make far-reaching compromises over the next fortnight to rescue the peace process from the dangers of failure

1998 – Beef exports from Northern Ireland are to resume after a three-year ban stemming from the BSE crisis.

1999 – Ronnie Flanagan, Chief Constable of the RUC, announced that David Phillips, Chief Constable of Kent, had been asked to oversee the investigation into the murder of Rosemary Nelson. He also invited the United States FBI to assist. Both these moves were viewed as an attempt to try to counter calls by Nationalists for an independent international inquiry into the events surrounding the death of Nelson. Although the FBI initially became involved in the case, it later withdrew.

1999 – Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, who was in Washington, DC, said the relationship between IRA decommissioning and the setting up of the Northern Executive was the one remaining difficulty. He indicated to the leader of the political parties in Northern Ireland that he expected them to meet on 2 April 1998, the deadline for the implementation of institutions set out in the Good Friday Agreement.

2000 – Hundreds of sprigs of shamrock are airlifted from Ireland by the RAF to Irish regiments of the British Army around the world in accordance with a decree issued by Queen Victoria 100 years prior. It was exactly 100 years since the queen decreed that all Irish regiments of the British Army wear a shamrock in their head-dress on St Patrick’s Day to commemorate the bravery of Irish troops during the Boer War.

2000 – Northern Secretary, Peter Mandelson, announces that more troop withdrawals are likely over the coming months

2001 – Kilmainham residents protest against a planned office development in the heart of an historic part of Dublin.

2001 – Irish Defence Minister, Michael Smith, waved the Irish flag as he celebrated St Patrick’s Day with other Irish peacekeepers at Camp Shamrock near the southern village of Tibnine.

2003 – More than 1,500 performers create a Mardi-Gras atmosphere on the streets of Limerick for the 33rd International Marching Band Parade and Competition.

2013 – Pope Francis gave his first audience on the stage of the Vatican’s vast Paul VI Hall. Due to a quirk in papal law dating back to 1883, newly-elected Pope Francis is the official bishop of Kilfenora in Co Clare. Until 1750, the bishop of Kilfenora was a separate title – but when the Catholic Church united Kilfenora with Kilmacduagh in Co Galway, both dioceses came under the jurisdiction of the diocese of Galway. The unification meant that the bishop of Galway had responsibility for three dioceses in Connacht and Munster, which was not permitted by the church. So the Pope was officially named the bishop of Kilfenora. However, despite being the official bishop, it’s unlikely that the Pope will visit his parish since official duties fall to the bishop of Galway.

Image | Sunrise at the coastline of Mullaghmore, Co Sligo | Hibernia Landscapes by Stephen Wallace

#irishhistory #ireland, #irelandinspires

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