April Fools’ Day is celebrated all around the world on the 1 April of every year. Sometimes referred to as All Fools’ Day, 1 April is not a national holiday, but is widely recognised and celebrated as a day where everyone plays all kinds of jokes and foolishness.
In the Liturgical calendar it is the Feast Day of Cellach of Armagh or Celsus or Celestinus. He was Archbishop of Armagh and an important contributor to the reform of the Irish church in the 12th century. He is venerated in the Roman Catholic Church as St Cellach. Though a member of the laicised ecclesiastical dynasty of Clann Sínaig, he took holy vows and gained priestly ordination. This put an end to the anomalous state of affairs, in effect since 966, whereby the supreme head of the Irish Church had been a layman. Following the Synod of Ráith Bressail, in which a diocesan structure for Ireland was established, he became the first metropolitan primate of all Ireland.
1307 – A guillotine like machine was used at the execution of Murcod Ballagh near Merton, Ireland, by Sir David Caunton knight.
1329 – From April onwards there were risings by the native Irish in various parts of Munster and Leinster, and reprisals against them. This would continue into 1330.
1716 – The first Doggett Coat and Badge sculling race took place on the Thames. Founded by Thomas Doggett, an Irish comedian and actor, who worked as a theatre manager in London.
1749 – Samuel Boyse, MP for Bannow, died as a result of a duel at the age of 33.
1776 – Irish-born Edward Hand was appointed a Brigadier General in the Continental Army.
1786 – Birth of genre painter, William Mulready, in Ennis, Co Clare. He is best known for his romanticising depictions of rural scenes, and for creating Mulready stationery letter sheets, issued at the same time as the Penny Black postage stamp.
1839 – Birth of Union Civil War General and Medal of Honor winner, St Clair Mulholland, in Lisburn, Co Antrim.
1844 – April Fool’s Day – The Train to Drogheda.
1848 – Birth of sculptor, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, in Dublin. He was a sculptor of the Beaux-Arts generation who most embodied the ideals of the “American Renaissance”. Raised in New York City, he travelled to Europe for further training and artistic study, and then returned to New York, where he achieved major critical success for his monuments commemorating heroes of the American Civil War, many of which still stand.
1883 – Birth of stage and silent film star, Laurette Taylor, in New York City. Born to Irish emigrants, to James and Elizabeth (née Dorsey) Cooney, she began attracting critical acclaim virtually from her first known performance on Broadway in The Great John Gantonin 1908 and building her reputation in such stage productions as The Ringmaster, Alias Jimmy Valentine, Seven Sisters, Lola Lola, The Bird of Paradise, and Peg o’ My Heart, which ran on Broadway from 20 December 912 to May 1914 (a total of 603 performances) cemented her fame and reputation with audiences as a skilled actress.
1900 – The Irish Guards was formed by order of Queen Victoria to commemorate Irish troops who fought in the Second Boer War under the British flag.
1911 – The Thompson Graving Dock opened, located on the west-side of Queen’s Island in Belfast, within sight of the Harland and Wolff shipyard. The dock was constructed by the Belfast Harbour Commissioners. It was designed to accommodate the new mammoth White Star liners Olympic and Titanic.
1912 – Just 9 days before her scheduled departure, the Titanic sea trials were postponed due to severe weather on the River Lagan.
1919 – Third meeting of Dáil Éireann – Éamon de Valera was elected President of Dáil Éireann (or Príomh Are) and appointed a cabinet. De Valera issued a statement saying that ‘There is in Ireland at this moment only one lawful authority, and that authority is the elected Government of the Irish Republic’.
1921 – The IRA’s East Mayo Brigade O/C Sean Corcoran was killed by British troops at Crossard near Ballyhaunis Co Mayo. Later that day a Black and Tan is killed by a sniper in the town and an innocent man named Michael Coen is murdered in retaliation.
1922 – The ‘Arnon Street Massacre’ took place in Belfast. Five Catholic civilians were assassinated on Arnon street by uniformed Police after the IRA killed a Constable.
1935 – Death of nationalist, songwriter and poet, Francis Arthur Fahy, from Kinvara, Co Galway, who wrote the ballad ‘Galway Bay’.
1935 – Birth of William Augustine Whelan in Dublin, also known as Billy Whelan or Liam Whelan. He was a footballer and one of the eight Manchester United players who were killed in the Munich air disaster. He was 22 years old when he died.
1943 – Creation of the Office of Chief Herald of Ireland to replace Ulster King of Arms approved by Government of Ireland.
1966 – Death of writer Brian O’Nolan, also known as Flann O’Brien and Myles na gCopaleen.
1970 – Serious riots continued in the Ballymurphy estate in Belfast between Catholic residents and the British Army. The Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) became operational. The UDR was introduced to replace the ‘B-Specials’ (the Ulster Special Constabulary). The UDR was a locally recruited regiment of the British Army. Minister of Defence, Roy Hattersley, visited Northern Ireland to mark the occasion. Initially Catholics formed 18 per cent of the membership of the UDR, however it was to become almost exclusively Protestant and in its time attract almost as much controversy as the ‘B-Specials’. Many ex-members of the ‘B-Specials’ joined the new force.
1977 – The British government came out in support of the idea of treating Northern Ireland as a single constituency, returning three members, for elections to the European Parliament. The government also supported the use of Proportional Representation (PR) in these elections. The proposals were supported by the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) and the Alliance Party (APNI) but were opposed by the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).
1981 – The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) organised three late-night rallies on top of hills near Armagh, Gortin and Newry. At the rally near Gortin, Co Tyrone, two RUC vehicles were overturned by the crowd. The rallies were similar to one held on 6 February 1981 when firearm certificates were displayed by those taking part.
1982 – Two undercover members of the British Army were shot dead by the IRA as they drove a civilian type van from the joint Army/RUC base in Rosemount, Derry.
1986 – There were further periods of rioting in Portadown, Co Armagh. During the riots, a Protestant civilian, Keith White (20), was fatally wounded by a plastic baton round fired by the RUC. White died on 14 April 1986 and was the first Protestant to be killed by a plastic bullet. Police figures released later showed that there were: 38 civilians injured; 39 RUC officers injured; 147 plastic baton rounds fired; 38 cases of damage to property; and 33 arrests. These figures were to increase over the following weeks.
1986 – US sub Nathaniel Green runs aground in the Irish Sea.
1990 – On the 20th anniversary of the setting up of the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR), Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Peter Brooke, describes the regiment as committed to ‘justice, decency and democracy’.
1993 – Taoiseach Albert Reynolds gave a speech in the Dáíl about the prospects for peace in Northern Ireland. Reynolds defended the Irish Constitution and called for a new framework to help take the gun out of politics on the island.
1993 – The News Letter published a poll of its readers which showed that, of those who took part, 42 per cent agreed with Loyalist paramilitary violence.
1995 – British Army technical officers defused an incendiary device that had been found in a grocery shop in Belfast. This was the third such device in a week.
1996 – A ‘consultation paper’ was issued by the British Government which listed 15 parties entitled to take part in the 30 May 1996 elections. There was a series of concerns about a number of groups and individuals who were not included on the list. The list was increased to 30 on 16 April 1996.
1998 – The European Commission serves notice on the Government that Ireland faces prosecution in the European Court on charges of damaging the environment and failing to provide secure habitats for some of our most endangered bird species.
1998 – The British government said that it would not order any inquiry into the killing (on 12 February 1989) of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane.
1998 – Taoiseach Bertie Ahern travelled to London to meet with British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, to try to reach a common position on the key elements of any potential agreement. Despite hours of talks lasting late into the evening the two sides were unable to reach agreement. Ahern said that there were ‘large disagreements which could not be cloaked’.
1998 – The British government said that it would not order any inquiry into the killing (on 12 February 1989) of Belfast solicitor, Pat Finucane.
1998 – The RUC agreed to the building of a new ‘peaceline’ in the White City area of north Belfast. There had been a high level of sectarian violence in the area.
1999 – The multi-party talks at Hillsborough came to an end with a call for the proposed Executive to be established within three weeks. Talks were adjourned until 13 April 1999. The Hillsborough Declaration was agreed by British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and Taoiseach Bertie Ahern. The Declaration set out a framework for progress towards establishing the Executive. The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) had been insisting that there should be decommissioning of arms by the IRA before Sinn Féin (SF) could sit on an Executive. SF said that it could not deliver decommissioning before the Executive was formed. Those Unionists who were against the Good Friday Agreement also came out strongly against the Declaration.
1999 – One thousand people, the entire population of Belmullet in Co Mayo, were evacuated from the town following a fire in a rubber factory.
2000 – John Dennehy, Secretary General of the Department of Education and Science, made academic history by being elected Chairman of the Education Committee of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) for a three-year period. He was the first Irish person to be appointed to this position.
2001 – One of Irish television’s most familiar faces, Brendan O’Reilly, passed away. The 71-year-old former television and radio broadcaster and commentator had been ill for a number of months.
2001 – The Department of Agriculture ordered the slaughter of all the remaining 15,000 or so sheep in the Cooley Peninsula, Co Louth.
2002 – Loyalist thugs posing as Glasgow Celtic supporters are hunted by police after a series of attacks in flashpoint north Belfast.
2003 – Veteran actress Pat Leahy, 66, collapses on the set of Fair City.
2004 – Google announced Gmail to the public.
2018 – Fr Joseph Mallin, the only surviving child of an executed leader of the 1916 Rising has died at the age of 104. He was a Jesuit priest based in Hong Kong. His father was Commandant Michael Mallin who was in command of the Irish Citizen Army at St Stephen’s Green during Easter week. Fr Mallin’s neice, Una Ni Challanáin, told RTÉ news that her uncle had died in Hong Kong. Joseph Mallin was just two-and-a-half -years-old when his father was executed in Kilmainham Jail. His father summoned him and his mother to his cell just before he was executed on 8 May 1916.
Image | Glencolumbkille, Co Donegal | Fiachra Mangan Photography
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