#OTD in Irish History | 8 November:

1847 – Birth of author of Dracula, Bram Stoker, in Dublin.

1887 – Birth of Sir Arnold Bax, composer, writer and Hibernophile.

1901 – Death of James Agnew. Born in Ballycastle, Co Antrim, he was an Australian politician, who was Premier of Tasmania from 1886 to 1887.

1920 – An IRA column mounted an ambush at Grange, Co Limerick; four British soldiers were killed when their lorry was fired on. The IRA column under Tómas Malone retreated when seven more British troop lorries arrived.

1921 – Anglo Irish Treaty Negotiations: British Prime Minister Lloyd George suggests the idea of a boundary commission to the Irish delegation to determine the boundary of Northern Ireland.

1922 – Five people are killed in an attack in Dublin. Anti-Treaty IRA fighters attack Wellington Barracks in Dublin. They open fire with machine guns and rifles from across the Grand Canal on National Army troops drilling on the parade square. In the ensuing firefight, one Free Soldier is killed and fourteen wounded, seven of whom require surgery. Two republicans are killed and six captured, along with a machine gun, by Free State reinforcements rushed from Portobello. Two civilians are killed in the crossfire and many wounded. One of the IRA dead, James Spain, is allegedly executed while unarmed after capture.

1922 – One Civil Guard is mortally wounded.

1922 – Anti-Treaty fighters mount an ambush of a Free State cycling patrol near Milltown, Kerry. Two civilians (30-year-old Jeremiah McKenna and his mother) are killed in the firing.

1922 – A Free State soldier, Daniel Dennehy of Cork is shot dead by machine gun fire while guarding a railway near Mallow, Co Cork.

1960 – An Irish peacekeeping force is ambushed in the Congo, causing the first overseas combat deaths of the Irish Republic. Nine are killed by Baluba tribesmen – one of these, Anthony Browne, will be awarded the Military Medal for Gallantry.

1974 – The Protestant Action Group (PAG), which was a covername for the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), claimed responsibility for the killing of a Catholic in Belfast.

1974 – A member of the IRA was shot dead by the British Army in Belfast.

1979 – Birth of Aaron William Hughes in Cookstown, Co Tyrone. He is an Irish professional footballer who plays for Australian club Melbourne City and the Northern Ireland national team as a defender. Hughes plays mainly at centre back, but can also be used at right back or left back, as well as anywhere in midfield. He is renowned for his disciplined defending, having made over 450 Premier League appearances without getting sent off, which is the second-most in the history of the league, behind only Ryan Giggs.

1984 – Charles Mitchel, RTÉ’s first newsreader, reads his last bulletin.

1987 – Eleven people are killed after a bomb explodes during a Remembrance Day service at Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh. A bomb planted by the IRA exploded at the War Memorial killing eleven people and injuring another sixty-three, many seriously. Among the dead were three married couples: Wesley and Bertha Armstrong; Kit and Jessie Johnston; and William and Agnes Mullan. The others killed were: Edward Armstrong, Samuel Gault, John Megaw, Georgina Quinton, and Marie Wilson. One of the injured, Ronnie Hill, went into a coma a few days after the explosion and died thirteen years later on 28 December 2000. Gordon Wilson was injured in the explosion and was with his daughter, Marie, when she died. Gordon Wilson gave a moving account of his daughter’s death in media interviews but stated that he forgave her killers. Gordon Wilson’s quiet dignity had a profound effect on many people in the north of Ireland. He was later involved with initiatives to improve community relations in Enniskillen and eventually was appointed to Seanad Éireann. Gordon Wilson died on 27 June 1995, aged 68.

1989 – Twenty-eight members of the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) were arrested by the RUC as part of the Stevens inquiry into the leaking of security force documents to Loyalist paramilitary groups.

1990 – The Republic elects their first woman president, Mary Robinson, who defeats Brian Lenihan and Austin Curry.

1991 – The Equal Opportunities Unit of the Northern Ireland Civil Service produced a report containing information on the religious composition of the Civil Service. The report showed that 57 per cent of civil servants were Protestant, 36 per cent Catholic, and the rest were born outside Northern Ireland. The report also indicated that 21 per cent of senior posts were held by Catholics.

1995 – The act of parliament which returned remission of sentence for paramilitary prisoners from 33 per cent to 50 per cent became law. Following the change in the law 83 prisoners were released on 17 November 1995. The new rules did not apply to life sentences.

1996 – In a statement issued from Dublin, the IRA admitted responsibility for the bombs in Lisburn, Co Antrim, on 7 October 1996.

1998 – A well-placed loyalist source claims that a renegade loyalist terror group, is plotting to target Government Ministers here and launch cross-border bombing raids in the run up to Christmas.

1998 – The Provisional IRA announces that it will decommission large amounts of Semtex to allow Sinn Féin to take its seats in the new Northern Executive.

1998 – Flights at Shannon Airport are brought to a standstill for several hours after a Boeing 767 jet, with 250 passengers and 11 crew aboard, leaves the runway and becomes stuck in soft ground shortly after landing.

1998 – President Mary McAleese says it is time to acknowledge that the 50,000 Irishmen killed in the Great War came from all parts of the country and from both sides of the political divide.

1998 – Finance Minister Charlie McCreevy declares war on farmers, telling them that he is not responsible for their problems.

1999 – Northern Ireland Secretary, Peter Mandelson comes under fire as talks on the peace process enter another crucial phase.

1999 – Relatives of Tom Williams announced that his remains would be buried in the family grave in Milltown Cemetary, Belfast, rather than in the Republican plot in the same cemetery. His remains had been exhumed from Crumlin Road Prison on 21 August 1999. He had been hanged in the prison in 1942.

2001 – An EU survey shows dancing is the favourite pastime of young Irish people.

2001 – Senior IRA leaders meet in Co Louth to discuss further arms decommissioning.

2001 – In a meeting at the White House, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern assures President Bush he will do everything possible to ensure Ireland’s international banking services are not used to fund Osama Bin Laden and his followers.

2001 – The Poulnabrone portal dolmen in the Burren, Co Clare is bought for £300,000 by the State to protect it from vandalism.

2002 – Mail in rural areas is delivered despite industrial action by the Irish Postmasters’ Union which closes sorting facilities at over 500 sub post offices.

2019 – Crowds turn out to bid final farewell to veteran RTÉ broadcaster Gay Byrne. Crowds gathered along the route of his funeral cortege and hundreds attended his funeral mass at Dublin’s Pro-Cathedral.

Image | An Searrach from near Bulls Head, Co Kerry | Florian Walsh photography

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