#OTD in Irish History | 22 October:

In the Liturgical calendar, today is the Feast Day of Pope Saint John Paul II. He is widely known to Catholics as Saint John Paul the Great, especially in the names of institutions. It is traditional to celebrate saints’ feast days on the anniversary of their deaths, but that of John Paul II (22 October) is celebrated on the anniversary of his papal inauguration.

1389 – Thomas Mortimer who was appointed justiciar on 5 March is replaced by John de Stanley who lands at Howth on this date.

1641 – Rory O’More, Lord Maguire and Sir Pheilim O’Neill initiate a major revolt in Armagh. Known as the Irish Rebellion, in the ensuing six months, at least 4,000 Protestants are killed and Catholics are massacred in reprisals.

1740 – Birth in Dublin of Sir Philip Francis, civil servant, duellist, and gambler; he may have been the author of the Junius Letters.

1761 – John Ponsonby is unanimously re-elected Speaker of the Irish parliament.

1883 – Death of novelist, Thomas Mayne Reid. Born in Ballyroney, Co Down, “Captain” Reid wrote many adventure novels akin to those written by Frederick Marryat and Robert Louis Stevenson. These novels contain action that takes place primarily in untamed settings: the American West, Mexico, South Africa, the Himalayas, and Jamaica. In early 1843, Reid moved to Philadelphia, where he remained for three years. It was in Philadelphia that he met Edgar Allan Poe and the two became drinking companions for a time. Poe would later call Reid “a colossal but most picturesque liar. He fibs on a surprising scale but with the finish of an artist, and that is why I listen to him attentively.

1906 – Charles Lynch, pianist, is born in Parkgariff, Co. Cork. He gave his first public recital at nine and won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music, London, at fifteen. In addition to concert recitals he broadcast regularly with the BBC and in 1937 acted as assistant to Sir Thomas Beecham at Covent Garden.

1920 – IRA 3rd Cork Brigade personnel attacked a lorry carrying British troops from the Essex Regiment at the Toureen Ambush, on the road between Bandon and Cork. Two soldiers were killed, including a Lieutenant W.A. Dixon and another four wounded, one of them mortally. Ten more were captured, disarmed and then released.

1922 – Two National Army soldiers are killed at Woodhouse, Co Waterford when their lorry is ambushed; the driver is also wounded. Private Larry Phelan of Kilmacthomas, Waterford was shot dead. Private Patrick Foley of Waterford died from his wounds.

1935 – Death of Ulster Unionist Party leader, Edward Carson. Born in Dublin, Carson held numerous positions in the Cabinet of the United Kingdom and pursued a career as a senior barrister and a judge; he become one of seven “Law Lords”. Upon his death, in 1935, he was one of the few non-monarchs to receive a United Kingdom state funeral.

1955 – Belfast-born Ruby Murray has two singles in the UK top 20, I’ll Come When You Call and Evermore. Her much quoted achievement was that she had five top 20 songs at one time, a feat only surpassed by pop singer Madonna four decades later.

1974 – Members of Parliament (MPs) who were part of the United Ulster Unionist Council (UUUC) elected James Molyneaux as their leader.

1974 – The IRA carried out a bomb attack on the Brooks club, in St James’s Square in London. Although the bomb was thrown into an empty dining room, two members of the kitchen staff were severely injured in the blast.

1975 – Patrick Armstrong, Gerard Conlon, Paul Hill, and Carole Richardson (who became known as the ‘Guildford Four’) were found guilty at the Old Bailey in London of causing explosions in London in October 1974. The four were sentenced to life imprisonment. Following an appeal the four were released on 19 October 1989. The court of appeal decided that the ‘confessions’ had been fabricated by the police.

1976 – Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh resigns as President of Ireland.

1980 – Birth of Niall Breslin in Dublin. Known as ‘Bressie’, he is a musician and former Westmeath Gaelic footballer and Leinster Rugby player. Breslin found success as the lead singer, guitarist and songwriter with pop band The Blizzards, as a co-writer and producer with XIX Entertainment and as a solo artist. He was the winning coach on the first and third seasons of The Voice of Ireland.

1981 – The European Court ruled against the British government on the grounds that it was discriminating against homosexuals by treating homosexuality as a crime in Northern Ireland.

1984 – The European Commission on Human Rights decided that the use of plastic bullets by security forces in Northern Ireland was justified in riot situations.

1989 – Death of Ewan MacColl. He was a folk singer, songwriter, communist, labour activist, actor, poet, playwright and record producer. His song “Dirty Old Town”, inspired by his home town of Salford in Lancashire, England, became a folk-revival staple and was recorded by the Dubliners (1968), the Clancy Brothers (1970) and the Pogues (1985).

1993 – While addressing the House of Commons at Westminster, John Hume, Leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), said that he thought the Hume-Adams Initiative was the best chance of achieving peace that he had seen in 20 years.

1993 – The IRA issued threats against the staff of five firms that were undertaking building work on behalf of the security forces.

1993 – Former South African President Nelson Mandela visits Dublin.

1996 – The Irish News published details of an opinion poll. One result showed that 94 per cent of all respondents, and 70 per cent of Sinn Féin supporters, wanted an immediate IRA ceasefire.

1998 – Demonstrations by construction workers sweep the country in protest at the jailing of two builders in Mountjoy for a second night. A number of protesters are arrested after they clash with Gardaí in Dublin.

1998 – The remains of four males are uncovered by workmen during excavation work for a new drainage system to serve the South Tipperary town of Carrick-on-Suir. A coin dated 1805 found nearby, leads locals to believe the remains date from the early 19th century when a fever hospital stood on a nearby site, now occupied by St Brigid’s Hospital.

1999 – Some journalists were shown identity cards that were alleged to have been taken from two British soldiers who had been “arrested” by the IRA in the Short Strand area of east Belfast. Republicans claimed that the soldiers had been involved with a group of Loyalists in throwing stones at Nationalist residents of Short Strand. It was said that the two soldiers had been questioned by the IRA before being released.

1999 – The coffin of former Taoiseach, Jack Lynch, is removed from St. Paul of the Cross Church, in Harold’s Cross in Dublin, after an interdenominational service, on the first leg of its journey to Cork city, where a state funeral will take place.

2001 – Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, John Reid, gave a speech in Belfast in which he said that the British government would not be “grudging or ungenerous” in the event of decommissioning of weapons by paramilitary groups. Later in the day Reid met a number of political leaders to discuss the issue of decommissioning.

2001 – President of Sinn Féin (SF), Gerry Adams, held separate meetings with John Reid and David Trimble, leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP). Adams later made what he described as a significant speech at 5.00pm. In his speech he said: “Martin McGuinness and I have also held discussions with the IRA and we have put to the IRA the view that if it could make a ground-breaking move on the arms issue that this could save the peace process from collapse and transform the situation.” The IRA responded on Tuesday 23 October 2001. The announcement was welcomed by Nationalists, the Irish government, the British Government, and the American administration. Those Unionists who had supported the Good Friday Agreement also welcomed the announcement. Adams also confirmed that one of the three men arrested in Columbia, South America, on 13 August 2001, was SF’s representative in Cuba. Adams said that Niall Connolly, who had lived in Cuba for a number of years, had been asked to represent SF in Cuba by a senior member of the party. However, Adams said that the “decision was taken without the knowledge or authorisation of the international department or any other party structure including the party chairperson or myself”.

2002 – Some of the worst storms on record lash the North wreaking havoc on roads and flooding hundreds of homes.

2005 – Death of film producer and theatrical producer, Tony Adams. Born in Kildare, he produced numerous films for writer/director Blake Edwards, including six Pink Panther films and 10. He produced Victor/Victoria as a film and a Broadway musical. Off-Broadway, he produced The Immigrant and Minor Demons.

2005 – Death of politician, Liam Aloysius Lawlor. Born in Dublin, he resigned from the Fianna Fáil political party following a finding by a Party standards committee that he had failed to co-operate with its investigation into planning irregularities, and subsequently came into conflict with an official Tribunal of Inquiry Into Certain Planning Matters and Payments.

Image | Lough Auva, Co Donegal | Fiachra Mangan Photography

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