#OTD in Irish History – 25 April:

1185 – Henry II sends his son John to Ireland; John lands at Waterford on this date to assert control over Hugh de Lacy, but he fails to achieve this. Henry still suspects that de Lacy wants to be king of Ireland.

1681 – Count Redmond O’Hanlon (outlawed chief) was fatally shot by his foster-brother, Art MacCall O’Hanlon near Hilltown, Co Down. Historian John J. Marshall has called Redmond O’Hanlon Ireland’s answer to Robin Hood and Rob Roy MacGregor. Redmond O’Hanlon’s popularity was immortalised in the pulp fiction of the era in addition to folktales which survive to the present day. The legends focus upon his ability to humiliate the Anglo-Irish gentry and the redcoats.

1707 – Thomas Erle, MP for Cork city, commands the centre at the Battle of Alamanza and lost his right hand on this date; David Dunbar, later MP for Blessington, was wounded and captured in the same battle, and John Upton, later MP for Co Antrim, distinguished himself.

1819 – Vere Foster, philanthropist and educationist, was born in Copenhagen; he is the inventor of copy books used in schools throughout Ireland until the 1950s.

1820 – Birth of Thomas Eyre Lambert in Co Galway. Captain Lambert inherited his father’s estate in 1867, at Castle Lambert, a few miles northwest of Athenry. In 1869 he evicted the Barrett family from their farm at Moorepark, close to Castle Lambert. The Barrett’s were evicted, moving to Swangate in Athenry. News reached Peter Barrett, one of the family’s older children, who was at the time working as a postman in London. Between 1869 and 1871 he was one of the principals in an attempted murder case which gained national and international attention.

1850 – Birth of William Melville in Sneem, Co Kerry. He first joined the Metropolitan police in 1872 and quickly rose through the ranks. A friend of the magician Harry Houdini, during the 1880s he headed up the Special Irish Bureau designed to deal with the Fenians and anarchists. He was part of the team that foiled the 1887 Jubilee Plot, which was supposedly an assassination attempt against Queen Victoria. In reality it was a state sponsored covert operation, approved by the Prime Minister Lord Salisbury, run through the spy Francis Millen with the aim of discrediting Irish nationalism. It is possible that Melville was not in the loop and as far as he was concerned had foiled a real plot.

1861 – William Ford, who crossed the Atlantic from Ireland by steerage, married fellow country woman Mary O’Hern. Their son Henry Ford, pioneered the mass manufacturing of the automobile.

1870 – Death of Daniel Maclise. Born in Cork, he was a history, literary and portrait painter, and illustrator, who worked for most of his life in London. Maclise’s vast painting of The Marriage of Strongbow and Aoife (1854) hangs in the National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin. It portrays the marriage of the main Norman conqueror of Ireland “Strongbow” to the daughter of his Gaelic ally. His most prestigious commissions were two enormous murals in the House of Lords: the Meeting of Wellington and Blücher at Waterloo (completed 1861) and the Death of Nelson at Trafalgar (completed 1865).

1877 – Ralph Henry Byrne, architect, is born in Dublin.

1882 – Kilmainham Treaty signed by Charles Stewart Parnell and the British Government.

1916 – Easter Rebellion: The United Kingdom declares martial law in Ireland.

1916 – News of the Easter Rebellion started to filter through to the British newspapers. A smattering of local papers managed to squeeze in the late news that at least 12 lives had already been lost, and that Irish rebels were in control of parts of the city.

1918 – The Irish Labour Party declared a one-day strike in protest over the conscription act.

1920 – The IRA ambushed and killed two RIC men near Upton, Co Cork.

1921 – Thomas Trayner was hanged in Mountjoy Prison, captured during an ambush on Auxiliaries in Brunswick Street, Dublin, on 14 March 1921. He was a member of the IRA. Traynor was one of a group of men hanged in Mountjoy Prison in the period 1920-1921, commonly referred to as The Forgotten Ten. In 2001 he and the other nine, including Kevin Barry, were exhumed from their graves in the prison and given a full State Funeral. He is now buried in Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin.

1923 – Three Anti-Treaty prisoners are executed in Tralee.

1923 – A National Army officer, Peter McNicholas, was killed in an ambush near Kiltimagh, Co Mayo.

1923 – A Free State Lieutenant, Beehan, was shot dead in an ambush near Castleisland, Co Kerry, while escorting two Civic Guards.

1938 – Anglo-Irish agreements on defence, finance and trade end the ‘Economic War’: the ‘Treaty’ ports were ceded by Britain; the Irish Government paid £10 million to settle financial claims; both sides repealed penal duties on imports.

1944 – Death of athlete, Tony Mullane. Born in Co Cork, Mullane emigrated to the United States in 1864 and made his Major League debut in 1881. He was nicknamed ‘Count’ and ‘The Apollo of the Box’, who pitched for seven teams during his 13-season career. He is best known as a pitcher that could throw left-handed and right-handed, and for having one of the highest career win totals of pitchers not in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

1946 – Birth of Peter Sutherland, in Foxrock, Dublin. He is an international businessman and former Attorney General of Ireland, associated with the Fine Gael party. He is a barrister by profession and is a Senior Counsel of the Irish Bar. He is known for serving in a variety of international organisations, political and business roles.

1971 – A census was held in the North of Ireland. Various reports based on the census were published over the next few years. The total population was enumerated at 1,519,640. A large number of people (142,500) refused to state their religious denomination. This meant that the percentage of Catholics recorded as 31.4% (477,921) was a minimum figure. Statistical estimates of the probable size of the Catholic population put the figure at 36.8% (559,800).

1976 – Tens of thousands defied a ban on commemorating the heroes of Easter 1916 at the GPO in Dublin.

1977 – The United Unionist Action Council (UUAC), which was led by Ian Paisley, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), and Ernie Baird, leader of the United Ulster Unionist Movement (UUUM), announced that it would hold a region-wide strike in May 1977. The strike was organised to demand a tougher security response from the government and a return to ‘majority-rule’ government at Stormont. The strike was supported by the Ulster Workers’ Council (UWC), the group that had organised the successful strike of May 1974, and also by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), the largest of the Loyalist paramilitary groups. The UUAC gave Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Roy Mason, seven days to respond to their demands. The threat of strike action by the UUAC was condemned by other groupings within unionism including the Vanguard Unionist Party (VUP), the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), and the Orange Order.

1981 – A Catholic teenager, Paul Whitters (15), died as a result of injuries received ten days earlier when he was shot in the head by a plastic bullet by the RUC.


1981 – Two Commissioners from the European Commission on Human Rights tried to visit Bobby Sands but were unable to do so because Sands requested the presence of representatives of Sinn Féin. Sands had insisted that he would only meet the Commissioners if Brendan ‘Bik’ McFarlane, who had taken over as leader of the IRA in Long Kesh Prison, and Gerry Adams, Vice-President of SF, and Danny Morrison, editor of An Phoblacht, were also allowed to attend the meeting. On 4 May 1981 the European Commission on Human Rights announced that it had no power to proceed with the Sands’ case.

1982 – Sinn Féin (SF) the Workers’ Party changed its name to the Workers’ Party.

1986 – The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) Executive voted to end the special relationship with the British Conservative Party. The relationship dated from the first Home Rule crises. The Conservative and Unionist Party was the official title of the conservatives.

1987 – A senior Northern Ireland judge and his wife (Gibson and Cecily Maurice) were killed by an IRA bomb at Killeen, Co Armagh. The judge was the fifth member of the Northern Ireland judiciary to be killed by the IRA.

1998 – The first ever mass demonstrations against immigration laws and racism took place in Dublin, Cork and Limerick. At the same time, protests were staged by Irish people outside embassies all over Europe and the United States. Dublin edged close to a standstill as more than 1,000 protesters marched from St Stephen’s Green to the GPO.

1994 – The IRA shot dead a Catholic civilian, Francis Rice (23), beside Half Moon Lake, off Suffolk Road, Suffolk, Belfast. The IRA alleged that Rice was a criminal and drug dealer. This was the first of a series of killings of alleged drug dealers over the next couple of years. Many of these killings were claimed by ‘Direct Action Against Drugs’ (DAAD) which was believed to be a cover name (pseudonym) used by the IRA. The IRA carried out ‘punishment shootings’ on 16 men whom it alleged were drug dealers. A number of other men were ordered to leave the country.

1997 – Billy Wright, leader of the Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF), was moved to Long Kesh Prison. The move followed threats made by the LVF against the lives of prison officers, if the prison authorities did not allow LVF inmates to have their own ‘wing’ in one of the H-blocks at Long Kesh Prison. Wright and three other LVF prisoners were moved into one wing of H6. The remainder of H6 was occupied by INLA prisoners. Wright was subsequently shot and killed by the INLA in the prison on 27 December 1997.

1999 – Sinn Féin lost a court action to try to force the BBC to broadcast the whole of its election video.

1999 – The RUC strongly denied fresh claims of police collusion and cover-ups in the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings that claimed 33 lives in the Republic 25 years prior.

2003 – Sinéad O’Connor announced her retirement from the music business.

2012 – Death of painter, Louis le Brocquy. Born in Dublin, his work received many accolades in a career that spanned some seventy years of creative practice. Le Brocquy is widely acclaimed for his evocative “Portrait Heads” of literary figures and fellow artists, which include William Butler Yeats, James Joyce, and his friends Samuel Beckett, Francis Bacon and Seamus Heaney.

2015 – Death of Hurling coach Tommy Maher. Fr Maher, regarded as perhaps the most influential coach in the game, took Kilkenny to seven All-Irelands in 18 seasons, the last of which was in 1975, the year of current Kilkenny manager Brian Cody’s first senior All-Ireland as a player, a feat made all the more remarkable by the presence in those same years of the great Tipperary team of the 1960s, the Cork three-in-a-row side of the 1970s and within Leinster a frequently menacing Wexford.

#irishhistory #ireland #irelandinspires #EasterRising



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