#OTD in Irish History – 18 April:

1608 – Sir Cahir O’Doherty of Inishowen revolted and sacked Derry.

1689 – Siege of Derry began. In 1688, James II, a Catholic, was deposed by his Protestant daughter, Mary, and her husband, William of Orange, in a bloodless coup known as the Glorious Revolution. James fled to France and in 1689 landed in Ireland, hoping to incite his Catholic supporters there and regain the British throne. Aided by French forces, James captured Dublin in late March and in April marched on Derry. James, encircled Derry, began a bombardment of the fortified city, causing devastating fires and significant loss of life. However, despite this and other assaults, the city refused to surrender, and its poorly supplied defenders managed to repulse repeated attacks from James’ soldiers.

1690 – Five regiments of Irishmen sailed for France and formed the nucleus of France’s Irish Brigade.

1768 – Birth of Archbishop of Dublin, Daniel Murray, in Arklow, Co Wicklow.

1778 – Death of MP for Co Carlow, William Bunbury, after being thrown from his horse.

1792 – Langrishe’s Catholic Relief Act allowed Catholics to practise law, and Protestants and Catholics to intermarry.

1802 – Birth of naturalist, Robert Patterson, in Belfast.

1817 – Birth of Michael Roberts, mathematician and author of the theory of invariants, covariants and hypereliptic functions, in Co Cork.

1868 – Birth of Patrick Eugene Joseph Prendergast, in Inishbofin, Co Galway. He was the assassin of Chicago Mayor Carter Harrison, Sr. His grandfather was reported to have died insane while his mother had “repeated attacks of hysterics” and his father died of consumption. At the age of four, Prendergast was reported to have suffered a severe head injury from a fall, from which he was unconscious for a long period of time.

1870 – Birth of author of The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell (born Noonan), in Dublin.

1875 – Birth of novelist, Katherine Cecil Thurston, née Madden, in Co Cork.

1898 – Birth of industrialist, Patrick Hennessy, in Co Cork. During the First World War he served in the British army, between 1914 and 1918, with the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. He started his career in 1920 with Henry Ford and Son in Cork. He relocated to England in 1931 when he was appointed Purchasing Manager with Ford of Britain. He was progressively promoted, appointed General Manager in 1939, Managing Director in 1948 and Chairman in 1956.

1912 – The Cunard liner RMS Carpathia brought 705 survivors from the RMS Titanic to New York City.

1923 – Six Anti-Treaty fighters were executed in Tuam, Co Galway.

1930 – Victor Conlon, Irish activist, was born.

1941 – Birth of Michael Daniel Higgins, the ninth and current President of Ireland, having taken office on 11 November 2011, following victory in the 2011 Irish presidential election.

1945 – Birth of Margaret (Fitzsimmons) Hassan (also known as Madam Margaret) was an Irish aid worker who had worked in Iraq for many years until she was abducted and murdered by unidentified kidnappers in Iraq in 2004, at the age of 59.

1949 – The Republic of Ireland withdraws from the British Commonwealth. The British Parliament recognises the declaration but asserts sovereignty over the six northern counties.

1949 – Birth of actor, Peter Caffrey, in Dublin. He was best known for playing Padraig O’Kelly on Series 1-4 of Ballykissangel and Bracken and also well-regarded for his role as a transvestite in the film Night Train, and for his role as an unlikely protagonist in I Went Down. He was also known for playing the role of the judge in the Irish comedy Father Ted on the episode A Song For Europe and for voicing a popular Christmas radio advertisement for Barry’s Tea in 1994. He suffered a stroke in 2000 and passed away, aged 58, on 1 January 2008.

1972 – The Widgery Report on ‘Bloody Sunday’, Report of the Tribunal appointed to inquire into the events on Sunday, 30th January 1972, (HC 220) was published. The findings of this report caused outrage among the people of Derry and was referred to as the ‘Widgery Whitewash’. It was to lead to a 26 year campaign for a new independent inquiry.

1974 – British Prime Minister Harold Wilson paid a visit to Northern Ireland and said that there was no alternative to the Sunningdale Agreement.

1982 – Birth of boxer, Darren Sutherland, in Dublin. His amateur career was crowned by a 2008 Olympic bronze medal. On 14 September 2009, Sutherland was found dead in his London home by his promoter, he suffered from depression and had taken his own life.

1997 – The IRA planted two bombs and issued a number of other hoax bomb warnings across a number of motorways and railways in England. The bombs and alerts resulted in large-scale disruption.

1998 – The Ulster Unionist Council (UUC), the policy making body of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), gave the Good Friday Agreement a significant boost when delegates backed if by 540 to 210 (72 per cent). While this was a major boost to David Trimble, then leader of the UUP, six out of the 10 UUP Members of Parliament (MPs) opposed the Agreement.

1998 – President of Sinn Féin, (SF), Gerry Adams, addressed the SF Ard Fheis in Dublin. During his address he informed delegates of the news of the UUP vote on the Agreement and said ‘Well done, David’; there was a round of applause from the delegates at the news. Trimble later said this support by SF was a ‘poisoned chalice’.

2000 – Tony Blair arrived in Northern Ireland in an effort to kickstart the ailing peace process.

2000 – A plaque was unveiled in Belfast commemorating those killed or injured in paramilitary violence.

2000 – RTÉ confirmed that Glenroe’s, Mary McEvoy, would be killed off in a dramatic fashion. For 17 years, she had played the role of Biddy Byrne; however, she had been requesting that she be written out in order to take on other challenges.

2000 – The low-fares war on the Shannon-London route intensified with Ryanair accusing Richard Branson’s Virgin Express of copycat tactics.

2000 – According to an annual survey released on this date, Ireland was named the seventh most competitive nation in the world.

2013 – Death of harpist and singer, Gráinne Yeats. Born as Gráinne Ni hEigeartaigh in Dublin, she was also a historian of the Irish harp and raised bilingually in Irish and English. As well as obtaining a degree in history from Trinity College Dublin, she studied piano, voice and harp at the Royal Irish Academy of Music in Dublin and also studied traditional songs and music from the Irish-speaking (Gaeltacht) areas of Ireland. She was married to Michael Yeats, a Fianna Fáil politician and the son of the poet W. B. Yeats.

2019 – Journalist Lyra McKee is shot dead whilst covering rioting in the Creggan area of Derry started by a PSNI house search. New IRA gunmen were blamed.

Image | Gypsy Vanner Horse

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