#OTD in Irish History | 21 July:

1688 – Death of James Butler, 1st Duke of Ormonde PC, an Anglo-Irish statesman and soldier. He was the second of the Kilcash branch of the family to inherit the earldom. He was the friend of Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford, who appointed him commander of the Cavalier forces in Ireland. From 1641 to 1647, he lead the fighting against the Irish Catholic Confederation. From 1649 to 1650 he was top commander of the Royalist forces fighting against the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland. In the 1650s he lived in exile in Europe with Charles II of England. Upon the restoration of Charles II to the British throne in 1660, Ormonde became a major figure in English and Irish politics, holding many high government offices.

1750 – Under-Secretary Waite reports to Chief Secretary Weston that ‘This morning I am informed that Lord Allen and Captain Eustace of Irvine’s have slit if not cut off a great part of a gentleman’s nose in a fray which happened a day or two ago in the road between Dublin and Naas. The occasion of it was very trifling, such as the gentleman returning the salutation of a fellow which they gave him and which they thought proper to deem an affront upon persons of their rank and in red coats.’ The victim, a Mr. Butler from Co Tipperary, indicts Allen and Eustace in the courts; Waite writes on 11 August that Allen ‘will have three or four Butlers to fight after they have harassed him by due course of law’.

1798 – United Irishmen Rebellion: Death of Anthony Perry, who was born in Co Down, to a Protestant family and lived a prosperous life at Inch, near the Wexford/Wicklow border as a gentleman farmer. Perry and Fr Mogue Kearns were hung on this date and buried together in the cemetery of Monasteries where a large Celtic cross now marks their grave.

1858 – Stage actor, songwriter and singer Chancellor “Chauncey” Olcott is born in Buffalo, New York to parents of Irish extraction. In collaboration with Ernest Ball, he would write lyrics for numerous “Irish” songs including, My Wild Irish Rose and When Irish Eyes are Smiling. He is a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

1861 – The Irish Brigade fights at the First Battle of Bull Run under General Michael Corcoran from Co Sligo. Corcoran was wounded and captured by the Confederate forces, but released some time later.

1887 – Thomas Bodkin, lawyer and professor, is born in Dublin. Director of the National Gallery from 1927-35, he wrote several books on Irish art and artists.

1903 – Edward VII and Queen Alexandra visit Ireland.

1919 – Fascinating debate in House of Commons on Ireland. Lloyd George outlines the issues as he sees them.

1920 – Twelve people die in Belfast riots which take place from 21-24 July. The conflict began in Belfast in July 1920. On 21 July 1920, rioting broke out in the city, starting in the shipyards and alter spreading to residential areas. The violence was partly in response to the IRA killing of a northern RIC police officer Gerald Smyth, in Cork, and partly because of competition over jobs due to the high unemployment rate. loyalists marched on the Harland and Wolff shipyards in Belfast and forced over 7,000 Catholic and left-wing Protestant workers from their jobs. Sectarian rioting broke out in response in Belfast resulting in about 20 deaths in just three days. Both Catholics and Protestants were also expelled from their homes in the trouble. The IRA assassination of an RIC Detective, Swanzy, in nearby Lisburn on August 22 prompted another round of clashes, in which 33 people died in the city over the following 10 days. The violence led to the reviving of the Ulster Volunteer Force, a unionist militia first formed in 1912. Thereafter there were recurring cycles of violence until the summer of 1922. In response to this violence, southern nationalists imposed a boycott on goods produced in Belfast. In Northern Ireland, an auxiliary police force, the Ulster Special Constabulary was recruited for counter-insurgency purposes.

1920 – Sectarian violence continues in Derry.

1920 – Catholics are forced out of Dromore, Co Down following the funeral of an RIC man.

1928 – Birth of playwright, novelist and poet, John B. Keane, in Listowel, Co Kerry.

1943 – Henry McCullough, guitarist, singer and songwriter, is born in Ballymoney, Co Cork. He was best known for his work as a member of Spooky Tooth, Paul McCartney and Wings, The Grease Band and Sweeney’s Men. He also performed and recorded as a solo artist and session musician. He passed away on 14 June 2016.

1964 – Birth of World Middleweight Boxing Champion, Steve Collins, in Cabra, Co Dublin.

1972 – Bloody Friday: Devastating IRA Bombing of Belfast. Fourteen year old Glynn Stephen Parker is the youngest of nine people to die as nineteen IRA bombs rip through Belfast in an indiscriminate act of carnage that has become known as Bloody Friday. Speaking to the House of Commons, William Whitelaw, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland reported, “Seven civilians and two soldiers were killed and at least 130 civilians injured-many gravely. I hardly need point out that all sections of the community are indiscriminately affected by these outrages. Of the dead two were Roman Catholics. Of the 130 injured at least 40 were Roman Catholics. 53 were men and boys, 77 women and children.” A Mirror Group newspaper stated “Complete carnage. A fireman with a shovel, shoveling up what was left of a woman shopper.” BBC Documentary on Bloody Friday: http://youtu.be/3s1iH3z8EhY 

1973 – Two members of the IRA died when a bomb they were transporting exploded prematurely.

1975 – Birth of folk singer, Cara Dillon in Dungiven, Co Derry. In 1995 she joined folk group Equation and signed a record deal with Warners Music Group. She collaborated with Sam Lakeman under the name Polar Star. In 2001, she released her first solo album titled Cara Dillon. The album contained traditional songs and original Dillon/Lakeman songs “Blue Mountain River” and “I Wish I Was”. The opening track of the album is “Black is the Colour”.

1976 – British Ambassador to Ireland, Christopher Ewart Biggs and his secretary Judith Cook were assassinated by a bomb planted in Mr Biggs’ car in Dublin. Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Merlyn Rees, was originally to have travelled in the car as well.

1979 – It was announced that Pope John Paul II would pay a visit to Ireland on 29 September 1979. Ian Paisley, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), and the Orange Order warned that he should not visit Northern Ireland.

1983 – Gerry Fitt, formerly the Member of Parliament (MP) for west Belfast, was made a life peer. James Molyneaux, leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), was appointed as a Privy Councillor.

1985 – The United Ulster Loyalist Front (UULF) was formed in Portadown, Co Armagh, to oppose the re-routing of Loyalist parades away from Catholic areas.

1985 – Tomás Ó Fiaich, Catholic Primate of Ireland, was reported in an interview in the Universe, a Catholic religious newspaper, as having said that he believed that 90 per cent of religious bigotry in Northern Ireland was found among Protestants.

1988 – The British government announced that Shorts aircraft company in Belfast was to be privatised.

1997 – Following a meeting with British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, David Trimble, leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), said that he could not support the proposals on decommissioning being put forward by the British and Irish governments.

1997 – Sinn Féin representatives were admitted to Castle Buildings in Stormont, Belfast, in order to establish their offices for the forthcoming talks. The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and the United Kingdom Unionist Party (UKUP) immediately left the building and urged the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) to do likewise.

1999 – The IRA issued a statement rejecting demands for it to decommission its arsenal “in the current political context”, but confirmed its “definitive commitment” to the success of the peace process. While it did not rule out the prospect of decommissioning, the IRA declined to confirm whether it supported the Sinn Féin initiative in signing up to the principle that decommissioning should take place before May 2000.

1999 – The first of the ‘Disappeared’ to be recovered, Eamonn Molloy, was buried in Belfast seven weeks after his remains were found in a graveyard in Co Louth by the IRA. Molloy had been abducted from his home in Ardoyne, Belfast, in 1975. There were accusations that he had been an informer for the security forces.

2002 – Approval is granted to open a €30m marine research centre in Galway.

2015 – Death of Charles “Charlie” Cullinane. He was a hurler who played as a centre-forward for the Cork senior team. Cullinane joined the team during the 1968-69 National League and was a regular member of the starting fifteen until his retirement after the 1970 championship. During that time he won one All-Ireland medal, two Munster medals and one National League medal. Cullinane was an All-Ireland runner-up on one occasion. At club level Cullinane was a one-time All-Ireland medalist with St. Finbarr’s. In addition to this he has also won two Munster medals and three county club championship medals.

2016 – A large ‘1916 Commemorative Stained Glass Mural’ by artist Peadar Lamb was unveiled in Carlow County Museum.

Image | Beara Peninsula, Co Cork

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