#OTD in Irish History | 18 September:

1830 – Sir Frederick Matthew Darley is born in Co Wicklow to an eminent Irish legal family. He was called to the Bar at the King’s Inn in 1853. Although he had a relatively successful career, he opted to emigrate to Australia in 1862 where he would go on to become the sixth Chief Justice of New South Wales, an eminent barrister, a member of the New South Wales Parliament, a Lieutenant Governor of New South Wales, and a member of the British Privy Council.

1846 – James Standish O’Grady, novelist, is born in Castletownbere, Co Cork.

1851 – Death of Anne Devlin, in The Liberties, Dublin. She was an Irish republican who acted as housekeeper to Robert Emmet and who was also a cousin of two leading United Irish rebels, Michael Dwyer and Arthur Devlin.

1867 – The Escape that Sparked the Manchester Martyrs: Thomas Kelly and Timothy Deasy are rescued in a Fenian attack on a police van in Manchester during which a police sergeant is shot dead.

1889 – Kathleen Behan, née Kearney, ‘Mother of All the Behans’ and folk singer is born in Dublin.

1890 – Death of actor and playwright, Dion Boucicault. Born in Dublin, famed for his melodramas, by the later part of the 19th century, he had become known on both sides of the Atlantic as one of the most successful actor-playwright-managers then in the English-speaking theatre.

1898 – Fashoda Incident: Lord Kitchener’s ships reach Fashoda, Sudan.

1911 – Birth of Irish ufologist and politician, Brinsley Le Poer Trench, 8th Earl of Clancarty.

1914 – The Home Rule Act becomes law, but is delayed until after World War I.

1922 – Three National Army troops are killed in an ambush near Nenagh, Co Tipperary as they were about to enter a Church for Mass.

1936 – Birth of Tom McBride, also known as ‘Big Tom’, in Castleblayney, Co Monaghan. He was a country music singer, guitarist, and saxophone player. Established since 1966, he was the front man of the Irish showband Big Tom and The Mainliners. He was affectionately known as ‘Ireland’s king of country music’. From 2011 until his death in 2018, Big Tom and his band continued to perform with sporadic appearances.

1941 – Seán McCaughey is convicted of kidnapping Stephen Hayes, a former IRA chief of staff, on 30 June. Stephen Hayes claims to have been ‘court martialled’ and tortured by the IRA.

1964 – Death of dramatist and memoirist, Sean O’Casey, in England. A committed socialist, he was the first Irish playwright of note to write about the Dublin working classes.

1973 – British Prime Minister, Edward Heath, gave a media interview where he said that if the Northern Ireland Assembly failed to establish a power-sharing Executive by March 1974 then the best option would be to integrate Northern Ireland fully into the United Kingdom (UK).

1976 – Two RUC officers were shot by the IRA during a gun attack in Portadown, Co Armagh. Albert Craig (33), a Sergeant, was pronounced dead on arrival at Craigavon Hospital.

1986 – The International Fund for Ireland was established by the British and Irish governments. The fund was designed to support economic developments in Northern Ireland and the border counties in the Republic of Ireland. The initial £36 million for the fund was donated by the United States (which gave the bulk of the money), Canada, New Zealand and, since 1988, the European Community Commission.

1993 – An interview with Vice-President of Sinn Féin, Martin McGuinness, was published in the Guardian. McGuinness stated that any political settlement should be decided by the people of Ireland and spoke of the “right to self-determination of the Irish people”.

1993 – The RUC issued a statement in reply to Sinn Féin (SF) claims that members of the party had been refused licences to carry firearms for personal protection. The RUC denied that was any such policy and stated that five SF councillors had been issued with firearm certificates.

1994 – The Observer carried a report of an interview with Taoiseach, Albert Reynolds. Reynolds was reported as saying that the unification of Ireland would not come about “in this generation”.

1995 – Mitchel McLaughlin, Sinn Féin (SF) chairman, and Gary McMichael, leader of the Ulster Democratic Party (UDP), took part in a debate during the Liberal Democrats’ conference in Glasgow, Scotland. This was the first time representatives of the two parties shared a platform.

1997 – The Irish News carried a story that on 12 September 1997, four unarmed members of the IRA stopped a member of the Continuity Irish Republican Army (CIRA) and took a gun off him. The incident happened in the Ardoyne area of Belfast. The story was later confirmed as true by Ruairí O Brádaigh, President of Republican Sinn Féin (RSF).

1999 – A rally in Belfast against the reform of the RUC proposed by the Patten report was addressed by a former chief constable of the force, Sir John Hermon. He warned against pushing the report’s recommendations through the British parliament before the Northern Ireland Assembly was properly in place.

2001 – There was a gun attack on a man sitting in a car in the Loyalist Killycomaine estate, Portadown, Co Armagh, shortly before 8.00am. The man was uninjured. A group of men in a second car fired several shots before driving off. The attack is believed to have been carried out by the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF). RUC officers considered the possibility that the incident was related to an on-going feud between the Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) and the UVF in the Portadown area.

2001 – The Loyalist protest at the Holy Cross Girls’ Primary School continued. The protest was silent as Catholic children and parents entered the school but protesters jeered, shouted abuse, waved flags, held up banners, and whistled as the parents returned from the school. Catholic parents were scheduled to have a meeting with Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, John Reid, at Hillsborough, Co Down, about the situation at Holy Cross school.

2001 – Seamus Mallon, deputy leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), announced that he would not be standing for leader of the party in the forthcoming leadership contest in November. He also announced that he wished to stand down as deputy leader of the party. Following the announcement Alban Maginness declared that he would stand as a candidate for the deputy leadership post.

2001 – British and Irish officials met in London at the beginning of a new round of political talks to try and resolve remaining issues in the peace process. The deadline for agreement between the political parties was 22 September 2001.

2004 – Northern Ireland’s rival Protestant and Catholic parties are being left to find common ground on their own, after three days of intensive high-level talks failed to come up with a deal to revive power-sharing government in the province.

2013 – Hundreds of hard-line protesters opposed to ongoing austerity measures clashed with gardaí in Dublin.

Image | Ducketts Grove, Co Carlow | © Aoife Mac Photography

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