#OTD in Irish History | 12 March:

1295 – Richard de Burgh is released by the council in parliament at Kilkenny.

1672 – Sir Richard Steele (baptised on this dated, birthdate unknown) in Dublin. He was an Irish writer and politician, remembered as co-founder, with his friend Joseph Addison, of the magazine The Spectator.

1685 – George Berkeley, philosopher, physicist, mathematician, Dean of Derry and Bishop of Cloyne, is born in Dysart Castle, Co Kilkenny. The university town of Berkeley in California is named in his honor.

1689 – The Williamite War in Ireland begins. Known as the ‘war of the two kings’ between the Jacobites who supported King James II (Catholic) and the Williamites who supported Prince William of Orange (Protestant). The victor would be King of England, Scotland and Ireland. It ended with a Williamite victory, and ultimately leading to the Treaty of Limerick being signed on 3 October 1691.

1832 – Birth of Captain Charles Boycott, despised English estate manager in Ireland, from whose name the word ‘boycott’ is taken.

1860 – Birth of Michael O’Hickey in Carrickbeg, Co Waterford. He was a son of a Fenian, an Irish Catholic priest and professor of Irish at Maynooth College and an Irish language campaigner.

1873 – Prime Minister Gladstone’s Irish University Bill was defeated. He wanted to expand Trinity College in Dublin to incorporate several universities around Ireland.

1875 – After being barred as an undischarged felon from taking his seat as elected MP for Tipperary, John Mitchel is re-elected on this date. He died eight days later.

1798 – Having been betrayed by Thomas Reynolds, the Leinster Directory of United Irishmen leaders is arrested.

1860 – Michael O’Hickey, professor of Irish and Irish-language campaigner, is born in Carrickbeg, Co Waterford.

1921 – A firefight took place between the Kilkenny IRA unit and British forces at Garrykerin House on the Clonmel-Kilkenny road. One Black and Tan constable was killed.

1923 – Five Republican prisoners (this time from IRA Kerry no. 3 Brigade) are killed at Cahersiveen, Kerry. They are taken from a National Army post in the town at gunpoint by Dublin Guard officers, under protest from the garrison. The prisoners are then shot in the legs to prevent escape and then blown up by a landmine by National Army troops.

1923 – One anti-Treaty fighter and one Free State soldier are killed in a gun battle after an attack on a Free State post at Rooskey, Co Roscommon.

1930 – Pat Taaffe, jockey and trainer, is born in Rathcoole, Co Dublin.

1944 – Britain bans all travel to and from Ireland in an effort to prevent news of Allied preparations for the invasion of France reaching the Germans.

1950 – Birth of former rugby player, William Patrick Duggan. He won 41 Irish Caps, the first in 1975 and finished his international career in 1984 as captain. He toured New Zealand in 1977 with the British and Irish Lions, and at the time played club rugby for Blackrock College RFC. Willie was widely regarded as one of the hard men of world rugby at the time, despite not enjoying training and being a heavy smoker. He lived and worked in Kilkenny, where he ran the lighting shop that he took over from his father (Willie Duggan Lighting Ltd.). He remained a huge supporter of the game and was one of the most revered and loved rugby players in the history of the game. On 28 August 2017, Duggan died from an aneurysm at his home in Dunmore, just outside Kilkenny city.

1961 – The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem appear on The Ed Sullivan Show. Evidently, another act failed to show up, and they performed live for a record-breaking 16 minutes, on arguably, the most popular American Television show of the time. This appearance led to the group being signed by Columbia records.

1971 – Thousands of Belfast shipyard workers took part in a march demanding the introduction of Internment for members of the IRA.

1974 – Senator Billy Fox was shot dead. Senator Fox interrupted raiders on a visit to his girlfriend’s family home in Co Monaghan when he was shot dead. His girlfriend, Marjorie Coulson and her family were then ordered by the raiders to leave the farmhouse and the house was set on fire. Five members of the Provisional IRA were later convicted of involvement in his murder.

1977 – Secretary of State, Roy Mason, denied that his officials were engaged in ‘black propaganda’.

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

1986 – Evelyn Glenhomes, wanted by British police on suspicion of involvement in the Brighton bombing on 12 October 1984, was arrested in Ireland. The British authorities began a process to extradite Glenhomes. However, on 24 March 1986 Glenhomes was released from custody due to administrative errors in the extradition warrant.

1992 – Birth of Cian Thomas Bolger in Celbridge, Co Kildare. He is a professional footballer who plays as a defender for Southend United and was Leicester City’s academy Player of the Year in 2009.

1997 – There was a meeting in Dublin of the Anglo-Irish Conference attended by Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Patrick Mayhew, and Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dick Spring. In their joint communiqué there was a call for compromise over the issue of contentious parades.

1997 – President Mary Robinson announced that she would not be seeking a second term of office.

1998 – President of Sinn Féin, Gerry Adams, travelled to London for talks with British Prime Minister, Tony Blair.

1998 – The punt hit its lowest level against sterling for nine years, closing at 81.95p.

1998 – Taoiseach Albert Reynolds, formally announced his retirement when he said that he would not stand for the Daíl at the next general election. Reynolds had played a vital role in the Peace Process.

2000 – National Tree Week ended with a mass planting of 5,000 trees at Corkagh Park in Clondalkin.

2001 – Department of Agriculture vets are investigating another suspected case of foot and mouth in the North. Tests are carried out on a sheep taken from a farm in Augher to an abattoir in Dungannon, Co Tyrone, for slaughter.

2002 – First Minister, David Trimble (UUP), and Deputy First Minister, Mark Durkan (SDLP), arrived in Washington, DC, to carry out a series of engagements during a three-day visit. These included meetings with a number of senior representatives of the US administration, among them Secretary of State, Colin Powell.

2002 – Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, was also in Washington, DC, where he attended the annual dinner of the US Ireland Fund, and was presented with an award for his contribution to the peace process.

2002 – The Garda Síochána and the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) launched their first formal exchange training programme aimed at forging closer ties between the two services.

Image | Winter Roads of Errigal, Mount Errigal, Co Donegal | Hibernia Landscapes by Stephen Wallace

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