#OTD in Irish History | 25 September:

In the Liturgical calendar, it is the Feast day of Saint Finbarr (c. 550-c. 620). He was Bishop of Cork in the 6th century and patron saint for the city and Diocese of Cork. Possibly born near Bandon, and originally named “Lochan,” he is said to have studied in Co Kilkenny where he was renamed “Fionnbharr” (Fairhead in Irish) for the colour of his hair.

1697 – During William III’s reign, Catholic clergy are banished by Act of Parliament.

1782 – Birth of Charles Robert Maturin, also known as C. R. Maturin in Dublin. He was a Protestant clergyman (ordained in the Church of Ireland) and a writer of Gothic plays and novels. His best known work is the novel Melmoth the Wanderer. He was descended from Huguenots who found shelter in Ireland, one of whom was Gabriel Jacques Maturin who became Dean of St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin after Jonathan Swift in 1745.

1819 – George Salmon, mathematician and professor of divinity, is born in Cork.

1880 – Viscount Mountmorres is killed near Clonbur, Co Galway.

1917 – Thomas Ashe dies in the Mater Hospital in Dublin from the combined effects of a hunger strike and forced feeding at Mountjoy Jail.

1920 – In revenge for previous actions by the Black and Tans, a small group of men from the East Mayo Brigade hijacked a train and drove it past the barracks at Ballaghaderreen whilst firing at the building. The attack took the crown forces by surprise but there are no casualties.

1921 – In Belfast, an IRA volunteer was killed by a loyalist mob, one civilian was killed by a stray RUC bullet, and one civilian was killed by a grenade thrown into his home.

1957 – Shamrock Rovers are the first Irish team to play in European soccer competition. It was an interesting debut as they are hammered by a pre-Munich Manchester United. The Busby Babes slammed six goals past Rovers without reply in Dublin. Rovers acquitted themselves much better in the return leg in Manchester losing just 3-2. Less than five months later, most of the Manchester United team was wiped out at Munich including Dubliner Liam Whelan. Whelan who did not play against Rovers. United greats to feature in the Dublin game included Duncan Edwards, Tommy Taylor, Bobby Charlton and Roger Byrne. Only Charlton would survive Munich.

1961 – Ronnie Whelan, Home Farm, Liverpool, Reading and Republic of Ireland footballer, is born in Dublin.

1962 – An international rescue operation took place in a gale whipped Atlantic in an attempt to find survivors from a chartered Super Constellation aircraft which went down 500 miles off the coast of Ireland when three of it’s four engines failed, 55 of the crew and passengers were rescued out of the total of 78 on board.

1964 – Birth of Maria Doyle Kennedy, in Dublin. She is an award-winning and critically acclaimed composer, singer, songwriter, musician, theatre artist, orchestrator and educator. As an actress she is probably best known for her role as Queen Katherine of Aragon in the award-winning The Tudors.

1972 – A conference was held at Darlington, England on the issue of devolution with power-sharing. The Darlington meeting consisted of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), the Northern Ireland Labour Party (NILP), the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland (APNI), and Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, William Whitelaw. The Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) refused to attend because of the continuing operation of Internment. Some hard-line Unionists also refused to attend. There was no agreement on the shape of any future Northern Ireland government. Taoiseach Jack Lynch met British Prime Minister, Edward Heath.

1976 – Two members of a Protestant family, James Kyle (61) and Rosaleen Kyle (19), died as a result of a gun attack on their home in Ormonde Park, Finaghy, Belfast. The attack was carried out by the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA). A Catholic civilian was shot dead by Loyalists in Belfast.

1983 – Long Kesh Prison Escape: Thirty-eight members of the IRA escaped from the maximum security Long Kesh prison near Lisburn. During the escape a Prison Officer was stabbed; he later died from a heart problem. The escape represented the largest breakout since World War II and in British-ruled history and was a major political embarrassment for the British government. Within a few days nineteen of the original escapees were recaptured however others remained at large for years or were never returned to prison in Northern Ireland. An inquiry into the escape was established on 26 September 1983. The report of the inquiry was published on 26 January 1984.

1986 – Leader of the Ulster Unionist Party, James Molyneaux, revealed a leaked Department of the Environment document on proposed changes to government policy on the Irish language and the use of Irish street names.

1992 – British Prime Minister, John Major, held a meeting with Taoiseach Albert Reynolds in London. The two leaders set the 16 November 1992 as the date for the next meeting of the Anglo-Irish Intergovernmental Conference (AIIC). As Unionists refused to take part in political talks while the AIIC was operating this date put a limit on the process.

1993 – Leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party, John Hume, and President of Sinn Féin, Gerry Adams, issued a second joint statement. The statement outlined the Hume-Adams Initiative which “aimed at the creation of a peace process”. The document was believed to have been forwarded to the Irish government. The full text of the Hume-Adams Initiative has never been published.

1996 – The last of the Magdalene Asylums closes in Ireland.

1998 – David Trimble, leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), and Seamus Mallon, deputy leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), became involved in a disagreement over the timing of the establishment of a shadow Executive. Mallon stated that the issue of decommissioning had “almost become a soap opera”.

1999 – Sam Tamsanguan from Wilton’s Restaurant in London wins the world oyster opening championship title at the 45th annual Galway Oyster Festival.

1999 – Protestant civil rights marchers blatantly defy a Belfast City Council ban to lay a wreath at the cenotaph to the victims of the Troubles during the so-called Long March.

2000 – Sonia O’Sullivan wins a silver medal in the 5,000 meters at the Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia.

2001 – A man (19) was shot in a paramilitary ‘punishment’ attack in Laburnum Street in Twinbrook, Belfast. The man was taken from his home at 8.15am by a number of masked men and was shot in both ankles. During the evening the British Army were called to defuse two pipe-bombs that had been thrown at Catholic homes in Rosapenna Street close to the Ardoyne area of north Belfast. The devices had been thrown over the ‘peace-line’. Component parts for pipe-bombs were discovered during a security force search in Ballysillan Avenue, north Belfast.

2001 – There was speculation in the media about the names of the nine ‘independent’ members of the new Policing Board. The official list was expected to be published by Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, John Reid, in a few days. Iain Duncan Smith, Conservative Party leader, said that any new war against terrorism must include Northern Ireland. This was his first major speech in London since being elected party leader on 13 September 2001.

2002 – Saying “He is no longer acceptable in our organisation,” Loyalist chief Johnny “Mad Dog” Adair is dumped by the leadership of the paramilitary Ulster Defence Association.

2005 – Two months after announcing its intention to disarm, the IRA gives up its weapons in front of independent weapons inspectors. The decommissioning of the group’s substantial arsenal took place in secret locations in the Republic of Ireland. One Protestant and one Catholic priest as well as officials from Finland and the United States served as witnesses to the historic event. Automatic weapons, ammunition, missiles and explosives were among the arms found in the cache, which the head weapons inspector described as “enormous.”

2015 – Death of goalkeeper and manager Pat Dunne. Born in Dublin, he was part of the Shamrock Rovers team which won the League of Ireland, FAI Cup, Shield, Leinster Senior Cup and Dublin City Cup in the 1963-64 season before playing for Manchester United. Dunne also won five caps for Ireland and played in the World Cup play-off against Spain in Paris in 1965. He also played in Ireland’s first ever game at U23 level, in 1966, against France.

Image | Slea Head, Dingle Peninsula, Co Kerry | Glen McClure Photography

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