#OTD in Irish History | 15 November:

1777 – The Articles of Confederation, the first written constitution of the United States was adopted by the Continental Congress. A number of the Congress hailed from Ireland including Secretary of the Congress Charles Thomson who was born in Maghera, Co Derry in 1729. Thomson was the permanent Secretary of the Continental Congress for more than fifteen years. At least three signatories to the Declaration of Independence were Irish – James Smith, George Taylor and Matthew Thornton.

1881 – Birth of William Pearse, brother of Pádraig, in Dublin.

1894 – Dublin Biologist, Henry Horatio Dixon, confirmed that tree sap is pulled upwards by a form of intermolecular attraction. Until then, everyone incorrectly believed it was pumped up from the roots.

1920 – Three English officers were kidnapped and killed.

1922 – A seven-man Free State Army patrol, escorting a prisoner was ambushed at Ulverton road, Dalkey, Co Dublin. A Free State soldier and a civilian were killed in the action, in which shots were exchanged and two grenades were thrown by the Anti-Treaty fighters.

1923 – Birth of rugby player, Tom Clifford, in Ballyporeen, Co Tipperary.

1945 – Petrol for private cars goes on sale in the State again for the first time since before the War.

1951 – Nobel Prize for Physics awarded to Professor Ernest Walton of Trinity College, Dublin. Walton is the only Irishman to have won a Nobel Prize for Physics.

1958 – Screen idol Tyrone Power, descendant of Irish-born actor and comedian Tyrone Power (1795-1841) dies at age of 44 from a heart attack.

1968 – Córas Iompair Éireann (CIE) retires its last dray horse.

1981 – Death of Bridget ‘Brede’ Connolly. Born in Co Carlow, she played a pivotal role in the 1916 Rising by dispatching messages for James Connolly in the GPO.

1985 – British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald sign the Anglo-Irish Agreement (AIA) at Hillsborough Castle, Co Down. It is considered to represent the most significant development in the relationships between Britain and Ireland since the partition settlement in 1920. The Agreement is an international treaty lodged at the United Nations and supported by the House of Commons and Dáil Éireann. The first part of the document stated: “The two Governments (a) affirm that any change in the status of Northern Ireland would only come about with the consent of a majority of the people of Northern Ireland.” The Agreement established the Inter-Governmental Conference that for the first time gave the Irish government a consultative role in matters related to security, legal affairs, politics, and cross-border co-operation. The Agreement also stated that the two governments would support any future wish by the people of Northern Ireland to enter into a united Ireland. Many Nationalists saw this as an important development. Unionists were outraged at the Agreement and began a long campaign to have the AIA removed. The AIA was only superseded when the Good Friday Agreement was implemented on 2 December 1999. Loyalist paramilitaries also reacted and the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF) declared all members of the Anglo-Irish Conference and Secretariat to be ‘legitimate targets’. British Treasury Minister, Ian Gow, resigned in protest at the signing of the Agreement.

1986 – Unionists and Loyalists held a large demonstration in front of Belfast City Hall to protest against the Anglo-Irish Agreement (AIA) on the first anniversary of the signing of the Agreement. Following the demonstration some shops in the centre of the city were damaged when Loyalists clashed with the RUC.

1993 – The Belfast Telegraph carried a report that Sinn Féin had held face-to-face meetings with senior British Government officials and exchanged documents about how to end IRA violence. One source described the talks as ‘protracted’ but that they were ended by June. Sinn Féin refused to deny the claims, but the British Government flatly rejected them. Confirmation of the secret talks broke in the United Kingdom media on 28 November 1993.

1998 – Bridget Dirrane, who was imprisoned with Kevin Barry and who canvassed for John F. Kennedy in the United States, celebrated her 104th birthday with news that she was to be featured in the new edition of the Guinness Book of Records. Earlier that year, Bridget received an honorary Master of Arts degree from NUI Galway which made her the oldest person in the world to be awarded a degree.

1999 – Gardaí ordered the cancellation of a lecture by British revisionist historian David Irving after 600 anti-fascists stage a protest at the University of Cork.

2000 – Taoiseach Bertie Ahern was placed in a political minefield on the abortion issue as a Dáil committee failed to agree on the way forward. He faced demands from the four Independents that a referendum on the issue be held.

2000 – The Northern peace process was plunged into crisis when Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams announced the party would mount a legal challenge to David Trimble’s ban on its ministers attending North South meetings.

2001 – Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh paid a one-day visit to Northern Ireland. The Queen visited the Waterside area of Derry (her last visit to the city was in 1953), Hillsborough Castle, Lisburn, and Banbridge.

2001 – Jacob’s Bakery celebrated its 150th anniversary with the launch of a book detailing its history, “Jacob’s Bakery – Limited Twiglets.” The author, Séamas Ó Maitiú, joked that the working title was Quaker Bakers go Crackers. The famous bakery was founded in 1851 by two Quaker brothers from Waterford, William and Rober Jacob.

2002 – The number of people on waiting lists for local authority houses was set to soar following government spending cutbacks. Fresh figures showed the number of applicants waiting for social housing reached 50,000 – a 25% increase in just three years.

2005 – The only remaining medal from the first All-Ireland, one of the rarest pieces of GAA memorabilia went up for auction at Sotheby’s in London.

Image | Donadea Lake, Co Kildare | Brian Cribbin Photography

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