#OTD in Irish History | 25 July:

Today is the Feast day of St. James. Since mediaeval times, Dubliners held an annual drinking festival in the Saint’s honour. Fittingly, Guinness chose St. James’ Gate as the site for their brewery. St. James is the patron saint of hatmakers, rheumatoid sufferers, and labourers.

1633 – Thomas (Viscount) Wentworth becomes Lord Deputy of Ireland.

1750 – Birth of John Curran, Irish statesman, in Newmarket, Co Cork.

1758 – Elizabeth Hamilton, author and educator, was born.

1816 – Robert Peel establishes the Peace Preservation Force to counter rural unrest. Rural policing in Ireland began when Robert Peel, then Chief Secretary for Ireland, created the Peace Preservation Force in 1816. This rudimentary paramilitary police force was designed to provide policing in rural Ireland, replacing the 18th century system of watchmen, baronial constables, revenue officers and British military forces.

1820 – Michaelangelo Hayes, painter, is born in Waterford.

1872 – John Mitchel returns to Ireland from America. The Irish nationalist, writer for The Nation and founder of The United Irishman newspaper openly preached rebellion against England. Convicted of treason in 1848, Mitchel was sentenced to fourteen years’ transportation in Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania.) In 1853, he escaped to America, where he published his Jail Journal. While in America, he was editor of the Richmond Examiner and a strong advocate of Confederate rights and championed slavery. He was imprisoned for several months after the Civil War ended. His return to Ireland, evoked huge enthusiasm amongst an Irish population devastated by The Great Hunger and emigration. Mitchel was elected as MP for Tipperary in 1875, but was disqualified as a convicted felon.

1883 – Death of Frederick Maning. Born in Dublin, he was a notable early settler in New Zealand, a writer and judge of the Native Land Court. He published two books under the pseudonym of “a Pakeha Maori.”

1892 – Birth of insurgent and trade union leader, Rosie Hackett. She was a founder-member of the Women Workers’ Union.

1917 – The Irish Convention – an attempt by Lloyd George to arrive at a political settlement – meets in Dublin; the opposition of Sinn Féin and the Ulster unionists will render it irrelevant.

1919 – Death of Sir Sam McCaughey, known as ‘the Sheep King’. Born near Ballymena, he owned many millions of sheep in Victoria and New South Wales.

1919 – Éamon de Valera visits Butte, Montana, USA.

1920 – An RIC intelligence officer was assassinated by the IRA outside the local Catholic Church in Bandon as he was leaving Mass.

1922 – Republican fighters attack a lorry full of Free State troops at York Street, central Dublin with small arms and grenades. Six civilians are wounded and two men are arrested. In a separate incident, a Free State soldier is killed in an accidental shooting at Beggar’s Bush barracks.

1962 – Interesting (farcical) discussion in Seanad Eireann (Irish Senate) on what countries constituted the “Iron Curtain” during a debate to “regulate exports and imports from the Iron Curtain countries.

1983 – The Goodyear tyre company announced that it was closing a plant in Craigavon, Co Armagh with the loss of 800 jobs.

1984 – Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, James Prior, said “I don’t think parliament or Westminster or Great Britain is particularly concerned about the [New Ireland] Forum Report”.

1987 – U2 plays in Cardiff, Wales, in response to a fan who gathered 10,000 signatures on a petition requesting the show.

1988 – Birth of footballer, Anthony Stokes, in Dublin. Stokes plays as a striker for Football League Championship side Blackburn Rovers. Stokes played for boyhood heroes Celtic, under the management of Neil Lennon and enjoyed success, but fell out of favour under Ronny Deila. He was loaned to Hibernian for the latter part of the 2015–16 season, who he helped win the 2015–16 Scottish Cup.

1991 – The case of the ‘Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) Four’ was referred to the Court of Appeal by Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Peter Brooke. The four soldiers had been convicted of the murder of Adrian Carroll on 8 November 1983.

1997 – Brendan Smyth, previously a Catholic priest, was sentenced in a Dublin court to 12 years imprisonment for sexually abusing children. Smyth had previously served a sentence in Northern Ireland for similar offences.

1997 – The RUC uncovered eight ‘coffee-jar bombs’ near Pomeroy, Co Tyrone.

1997 – Garda Síochána discovered 20 handguns that were being smuggled into the port of Dublin. Security sources claimed that the guns were intended for Official Republicans based in the area of Newry, Co Down.

1997 – Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, held a meeting in Dublin with John Hume, eader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), and President of Sinn Féin (SF), Gerry Adams. The three men issued a joint statement in which they said that a settlement is possible “only with the participation and agreement of the Unionist people”. Joint statement issued by Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, John Hume, leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), and President of Sinn Féin (SF), Gerry Adams, on 25 July 1997, following a meeting in Dublin. “We are all committed to the achievement of lasting peace and reconciliation on this island based on justice and equality. All-party engagement in inclusive political dialogue at this time is needed for the purpose of achieving agreement between all sections of the Irish people. We reiterate that we are totally and absolutely committed to exclusively democratic and peaceful methods of resolving our political problems. We recognise that ultimately we can resolve this problem only with the participation and agreement of the Unionist people. All three of us endorse the principles set out in the Report of the New Ireland Forum and those that were agreed in the Forum for Peace and Reconciliation. The challenge is to find the structures that will protect and accommodate the equal rights and identities of both unionists and nationalists, and that can obtain the consent and allegiance of all. We look forward to the opening of substantive all-party negotiations on 15 September. We have agreed to strengthen opportunities for consultation between the Irish government and parties to the talks.” The three also reaffirmed their commitment to a peaceful solution to the conflict.

1997 – Vice-President of Sinn Féin (SF), Martin McGuinness, went to Long Kesh Prison to hold a meeting with IRA prisoners. After the meeting McGuinness said that the prisoners supported the renewal of the IRA ceasefire.

1997 – Following direct discussions between representatives of the Orange Order and Nationalist residents in Castlewellan, Co Down, agreement was reached on a contentious parade in the village. Nationalists decided to cancel a planned protest against the parade once agreement was reached on details of the march.

1999 – A countrywide lobby is organised to persuade the Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, to ban foxhunting in Ireland.

2000 – An Aer Lingus 737 carrying Irish passengers to Paris is the last aircraft allowed to land in Charles de Gaulle airport after the Air France Concorde explodes, killing 113 people.

Image | Puffin Island and the Skelligs, Co Kerry | Denis McCarthy Photography

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