#OTD in Irish History | 12 July:

1660 – Sir Mark Rainsford was the 36th Lord Mayor of Dublin from 1700 to 1701. During this period the statue of King William of Orange on College Green was unveiled by him, a monument which would become a centre of protest and celebration for generations in the capital. Rainsford was also the original founder of the brewery at St. James’ Gate, which would later become the Guinness Brewery. Rainsford Street, next to the brewery today, is named in his honour.

1690 – Battle of the Boyne (Gregorian calendar): Protestant King William III defeats English Catholic King James II.

1691 – Battle of Aughrim (Julian calendar): Ginkel is victorious over James II’s Jacobites at Aughrim; it is one of the bloodiest battles ever fought in Ireland.

1691 – Death of Charles Chalmont Marquis of St Ruth. He was a French general. Early in his military career, he fought against Protestants in France. Later, he fought in Ireland on the Jacobite side in the Williamite wars, where he was killed at the Battle of Aughrim.

1722 – A patent is granted to William Wood to coin copper halfpence for circulation in Ireland.

1796 – The Orange Order hold its first ‘Twelfth of July’ demonstration, commemorating the Battle of Aughrim.

1812 – Birth of Father Charles Patrick Meehan, an Irish-Catholic priest, was friend and confessor to Irish poet James Clarence Mangan and encouraged him to write his autobiography. He wrote poetry for The Nation (Irish newspaper), a radical nationalist newspaper, under the pen-name ‘Clericus’. He also published a biography of Mangan in 1884, 35 years after the poet’s death from cholera in 1849.

1813 – The first recorded “Twelfth of July” sectarian riots erupt in Belfast.

1836 – Death of Dr. Barry Edward O’Meara, physician to Napoleon. O’Meara, was born in Ireland in 1770, educated at Trinity College, and at an early age appointed Assistant-Surgeon to the 62nd Regiment serving in Sicily and Egypt. He was serving in the Bellerophon, when Napoleon surrendered, on the 14th July 1815, following his defeat at Waterloo.

1841 – Death of United Irishmen leader, William James McNeven.

1849 – As many as 20 Catholics are killed by soldiers during an Orange Parade at Dolly’s Brae, near Castlewellan, Co Down.

1903 – The Cork Yacht Club is the world’s oldest yacht club and held the inaugural race on this date in 1903, and won by an icon of female independence, Dorothy Levitt, defeating the French entry Trefle-A-Quatre. In doing so, she set the world’s first water speed record of 19.3mph (31.1km/h).

1922 – Thirteen Republicans are taken prisoner in fighting in Limerick city.

1922 – Anti-Treaty forces capture 47 Free State troops in east Co Limerick.

1922 – Free State troops secure Maryborough after a four-hour gun battle. Three Anti-Treatyites are killed and two Free State soldiers wounded.

1926 – Death of composer and teacher, Charles Wood. Born in Co Armagh, his pupils included Ralph Vaughan Williams at Cambridge and Herbert Howells at the Royal College of Music.

1935 – Violence in Belfast lasting two months commences on this date; eleven people are killed. After an Orange Order parade decided to return to the city centre through a Catholic area instead of its usual route; the resulting violence left nine people dead. Over 2,000 Catholics were forced to leave their homes across Northern Ireland. Though disputed for decades, many leaders of unionism now admit that Northern Ireland government in the period 1922-1972 was discriminatory, although prominent Democratic Unionist Party figures continue to deny it. One unionist leader, Nobel Peace Prize joint-winner, former UUP leader and First Minister of Northern Ireland David Trimble, described Northern Ireland as having been a “cold house for Catholics.”

1942 – Death of Irish historian, Máire Ni Aodán, in Dublin.

1945 – Birth of radio voiceover and broadcaster, Jimmy Greeley, in Dublin.

1946 – Birth of fiddler and a member of The Chieftains, Seán Keane, in Dublin. He was a member of Ceoltóirí Chualann in the 1960s, before joining The Chieftains in 1968. He has a unique style of playing, especially in his use of ornamentation, perhaps influenced by the music of the uilleann pipes. He is also a fiddle teacher.

1949 – Death of Douglas Hyde, known as An Craoibhín Aoibhinn (“The Pleasant Branchlet”). He was a scholar of the Irish language who served as the first President of Ireland from 1938 to 1945. He founded the Gaelic League, one of the most influential cultural organisations in Ireland.

1954 – Birth of hurling manager and former player, Brian Cody, in Sheestown, Co Kilkenny. He has been the manager of the Kilkenny senior team since 1998, where he has since become the county’s longest-serving manager and most successful in terms of major titles won. Cody is regarded as the greatest manager in the history of the game.

1969 – As the ‘marching season’ reached its height there was serious rioting in Derry, Belfast and Dungiven. Many familles in Belfast were forced to move from their homes. The upsurge in violence followed a period of relative calm.

1971 – A British soldier (David Walker) was shot dead in Belfast.

1971 – The main Orange Order parades across Northern Ireland passed off relatively peacefully.

1979 – British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, criticised the BBC after it had broadcast an interview with a member of the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA). This incident was to set a pattern of confrontation between the media, particularly the broadcast media, and Conservative governments during the 1980s and 1990s.

1984 – Birth of professional footballer, Michael McGovern, in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh. He plays as a goalkeeper for English club Norwich City and the Northern Ireland national team.

1984 – The annual Orange Order ‘Twelfth’ parades took place across Northern Ireland. There was violence following the parades with attacks on security forces and shops in Derry. Catholic families were also attacked in Limavady, Co Derry, in Ballymena, Co Antrim, and in Ballynahinch, Co Down.

1984 – During speeches at the various centres across the region leading Orange figures condemned the Report of the New Ireland Forum.

1985 – There was further rioting in Portadown, Co Armagh, following the decision by the RUC to re-route Orange Order and Royal Black Institution parades away from Obins Street, a mainly Catholic area of Portadown. During serious rioting between Loyalists and the RUC extensive damage was inflicted on property in the town and 52 RUC officers were injured.

1986 – There were further periods of violence following the Orange Order ‘Twelfth’ parades. Later the RUC released figures that showed there had been 128 RUC officers and 66 civilians injured and 127 arrests made. 281 plastic baton rounds had been fired and there were 79 reported cases of intimidation.

1989 – Charles Haughey was re-elected as Taoiseach. Fianna Fáil (FF) formed the new government with the support of the Progressive Democrats (PDs). This was the first occasion that FF had been part of a coalition government.

1990 – The case of the Maguire family was referred to the Court of Appeal.

1991 – The results of a survey of public opinion on the political talks (later known as the Brooke/Mayhew talks) was published. It showed a high level of support for the resumption of the talks (73 per cent of people questioned in Northern Ireland; 87 per cent in the Republic of Ireland; and 79 per cent in Britain). The survey was carried out by Ulster Marketing Surveys, Irish Marketing Surveys, and Gallup.

1994 – The security forces in England seized a lorry containing over 1,800kgs of explosives at the port of Heysham, Lancashire. The explosives had been hidden in false compartments and the IRA was considered to be responsible. There was speculation that the explosives would have been used in London.

1995 – Orange Order parades took place at a number of centres across Northern Ireland. In the lower Ormeau Road area of Belfast the RUC moved hundreds of police officers into the area to prevent Nationalist residents from protesting on the street. Many residents were blocked inside their homes for the duration of the operation. Approximately 150 Orangemen, accompanied by four bands, left Ballynafeigh Hall at 9.30am to parade along the Ormeau Road. There were clashes between the Nationalist residents and the RUC. A number of vehicles were hijacked and burned. During the evening there were attacks on the homes of several Catholic and Protestant families and there were arson attacks on five Orange Halls. The Irish government later accused the RUC of bias in favour of the Orange Order and made a complaint to the Anglo-Irish Secretariat at Maryfield.

1996 – Ballynafeigh Orangemen were allowed to march through the Catholic lower Ormeau Road area of Belfast. There was continuing rioting in nationalist areas.

1996 – A Catholic man, Dermot McShane (35), was killed when he was run over by a British Army armoured car in Little James Street, Derry.

1996 – It was estimated that 1,000 petrol bombs were thrown and 1,000 plastic bullets were fired in Derry.

1996 – Taoiseach John Bruton criticised the decision to allow the Orange march to proceed on the Garvaghy Road. He accused the British government of yielding to force and the threat of force.

1997 – The ‘Twelfth’ Orange Order parades across Northern Ireland passed off relatively peacefully with only minor incidents. There were some stones thrown in the White City area of Belfast. Two RUC officers and three soldiers were slightly injured in an IRA attack in north Belfast.

1998 – The three Quinn brothers, Richard, 11, Mark, 10, and Jason 9, are burned to death by a Loyalist firebomb in Ballymoney, 40 miles northwest of Belfast. Christine Quinn the boys’ mother, her partner, Raymond Craig, and a family friend, Christina Archibald (18) escaped from the house but they and neighbours were unable to reach the three boys. Lee Ouinn (13), the oldest son, was staying with his grandmother when the incident occurred. There was a general sense of shock when the news of the deaths broke and in the following days the incident was to have a major impact on the Orange Order protest at Drumcree. Although senior representatives of the Order tried to distance the organisation from the violence that had been almost continuous since the 5 July 1998, many commentators argued that the Orange Order had to accept some responsibility for the violence of its followers. Deputy Grand Chaplain of the Orange Order, William Bingham (Rev.), called for the Drumcree protest to be ended and said that the 15 minute march down the Garvaghy Road would be “a hallow victory” as it would be taking place in the shadows of three little white coffins. David Trimble, leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), and Robin Eames (Dr), Church of Ireland Primate, also called for an end to the protest. The Orange Order rejected these and other similar calls. The protest at Drumcree declined following the Quinn deaths but a token protest was maintained during most of the year to July 1999.

1999 – An armed gang steals a 40ft container of cigarettes valued at more than £1m from a freight train at Dunleer, Co Louth.

1999 – Across Northern Ireland the Twelfth parades passed off without incident. The largest Orange parade with around 20,000 marchers proceeded through south Belfast to the Ormeau Park, keeping to a compromise route. Other parades passed off without major incident. Legislation was put before the Westminster Parliament, designed to act as a safeguard for the decommissioning of arms and the devolution of power in Northern Ireland.

1999 – President Mary McAleese, attended a reception to mark the 50th anniversary of the death of the first President, Douglas Hyde (Dr). She said his message was that barriers between differing traditions should not be broken down by threat or stealth.

2000 – Violence erupts as Portadown Orangemen pledge to continue Drumcree protest.

2000 – Plans to introduce pedestrianisation in Killarney on an experimental basis are confirmed.

2001 – Orange Order parades took place across Northern Ireland. Speakers at Orange rallies across the region attacked the peace process and the Good Friday Agreement. About a hundred members of the Ballynafeigh Lodge were prevented by a Parades Commission ruling from marching along the Nationalist Lower Ormeau Road area of Belfast. The Parades Commission had also re-routed the main parade in Derry. The worst riots for a number of years took place as the RUC sealed off part of the Nationalist Ardoyne area of Belfast to allow an Orange Order parade to pass close to the Catholic area. The RUC reported that 10 officers had been injured in the disturbances. Nationalists claimed that a number of people had been injured by the RUC with at least 12 people being struck by plastic bullets. Senior police later accused the IRA of orchestrating the violence. The claim was rejected by Sinn Féin. There was also violence in the east of Belfast when an Orange Order parade passed the Nationalist Short Strand area.

2005 – Police were attacked with blast and petrol bombs during rioting in the Ardoyne area of Belfast, following an Orange Order parade. Eighty police officers were injured and several people were arrested.

2012 – North Belfast riots: there was rioting in the Ardoyne area of Belfast following the Orange Order’s Twelfth marches. Up to 20 PSNI officers were injured and a number of shots were fired by republicans.

2013 – 12-17: Rioting by loyalists occurred across Belfast and across Northern Ireland after an Orange Order parade was prevented by the PSNI from passing the nationalist Ardoyne shop-fronts in North Belfast during The Twelfth celebrations, in accordance with a Parades Commission ruling. During which loyalists attacked with petrol bombs, blast bombs and even reportedly ceremonial swords. There were also at times clashes between loyalist and nationalist crowds. 71 PSNI officers including 3 mutual aid officers from Britain were injured in the days of rioting, and during disorder on 12 July DUP MP Nigel Dodds was injured after he was knocked unconscious by a brick thrown by loyalists. 62 people involved in the rioting were arrested across Northern Ireland.

2013 – BBC Documentary ‘Twelfth in Northern Ireland’ | https://youtu.be/9AMDl__eCsA

2015 – Several days of rioting in north Belfast (12-15 July).

Image | Mourne Mountains, Co Down

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