#OTD in Irish History | 23 January:

1774 – Dudley Cosby (Baron Sydney), former MP for Carrick, commits suicide.

1803 – Death of brewer and the founder of the Guinness brewery, Arthur Guinness, in Dublin. He was also an entrepreneur and philanthropist.

1837 – Death of pianist, composer, and teacher, John Field. He was born in Dublin into a musical family, and received his early education there, in particular with the immigrant Tommaso Giordani. The Fields soon moved to London, where Field studied under Muzio Clementi. Under his tutelage, Field quickly became a famous and sought-after concert pianist. Together, master and pupil visited Paris, Vienna, and St. Petersburg.

1865 – Dr. Francis Cruise, first used his revolutionary endoscope. It was widely used for many years after he first demonstrated it and it certainly helped to advance the exploration of human anatomy. Born in Dublin, Cruise was granted his Licentiate from the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, he was elected as a Fellow of the College in 1864. His MD was granted by Trinity College in 1861, his thesis was on the abnormal development of the female genital organs.

1881 – Birth of trade unionist and Labour politician, William O’Brien, near Clonakilty, Co Cork.

1898 – The United Irish League, a nationalist electoral organisation, is founded by William O’Brien.

1900 – Death of Kildare-born, Abraham Boulger, who won the Victoria Cross for gallantry in the Indian mutiny 1857.

1915 – Roger Casement leaves Limburg for Berlin, to meet Fr Nicholson. After this, Casement leaves recruitment to Fr Nicholson and he rarely visited Limburg again.

1923 – Three Anti-Treaty IRA men are executed in Dundalk, having been captured on 7 January.

1923 – Two Republican prisoners are executed in Waterford.

1923 – International reaction to Government executions.

1923 – Two civilian railway drivers are shot in Tralee railway station. One is killed, another is wounded. Republicans are blamed but do not claim the attack. The Railway drivers issue a statement that ‘neither murder nor intimidation would prevent them from carrying out their duties’. Free State soldier Niall Harrington later alleges the culprits were National Army officers.

1923 – An Anti-Treaty IRA column under Tom McEllistrim and John Joe Sheehy attacks the National Army barracks, containing 60 troops, in Castlemaine, Co Kerry. They use an improvised mortar, one of whose rounds makes a direct hit on the barracks. In a subsequent two hour gun battle, one Free State soldier is killed, the town’s railway station is burned and the bridge over the river Maine blown up by the Republicans. The National Army reports four Anti-Treaty fighters killed.

1923 – Two Free-State officers Lts. Kennedy and Cruise are seized while driving near Clonmel, Co Tipperary are shot and secretly buried. Their bodies are found On 3 April.

1949 – Birth of twins, Pádraig and Noel Duggan, in Gweedore, Co Donegal. They came to prominence in the 1970s with the folk group Clannad, and took a ten-year break after winning a Grammy Award for their 1998 album Landmarks. They later toured extensively with their band Norland Wind. They were identified and introduced to television by Tony MacMahon, and in 2005 released their first studio album Rubicon, which featured Moya Brennan, Finbar Furey and Orla Fallon among others. It was met with critical acclaim and sold well throughout Ireland. Pádraig died in Dublin on 9 August 2016.

1953 – Birth of theologian, priest, intellectual historian, scientist, and Christian apologist, Alister McGrath, in Belfast. He currently holds the Andreas Idreos Professorship in Science and Religion in the Faculty of Theology and Religion at the University of Oxford, and is Professor of Divinity at Gresham College. He was previously Professor of Theology, Ministry, and Education at King’s College London and Head of the Centre for Theology, Religion and Culture, Professor of Historical Theology at the University of Oxford, and was principal of Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, until 2005. He is an Anglican priest.

1969 –  People’ Democracy March – Civil Rights Campaign.

1975 – The IRA placed a large time bomb at the Woodford waterworks pumping station in North London. Three people were injured in the explosion and there was substantial damage.

1976 – The IRA truce was officially brought to an end. Indirect contact between the British government and the IRA were maintained for a period after the ending of the truce.

1980 – Guiseppe Conlon dies an innocent man in an English prison. He was arrested while travelling to London from Belfast to help his son, Gerry Conlon, who passed away in 2014: https://youtu.be/-tmEnQ5hXTY

1986 – Fifteen Westminster by-elections were held across Northern Ireland. The by-elections were caused when Unionist Members of Parliament (MPs) resigned their seats in protest of the Anglo-Irish Agreement (AIA). Unionists fought the election under the slogan ‘Ulster Says No’ and wanted the elections to act as a referendum on the AIA. The SDLP decided not to nominate candidates in safe Unionists seats but instead fought in four marginal constituencies.

1989 – The IRA issued a statement that it had ‘stood down and disarmed’ its West Fermanagh Brigade. This action followed the killing of a man, on 15 January 1989, whom, it was claimed, was an RUC informer.

1993 – Van Morrison Inducted to Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The Belfast Cowboy, Van Morrison is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along with such luminaries as Cream, The Doors and Etta James. Inducting him, the Band’s Robbie Robertson said “in the tradition of the great Irish poets and the great soul singers, he is the Caruso of rock and roll.” This “Caruso of rock and roll” and magnificent songwriter is also one of the most curmudgeonly live performers in rock and roll history. The satirical Onion newspaper wrote of him ‘Morrison deserves a spot in the Rock Hall based on his record-breaking streak of 4,256 consecutive shows performed without cracking a smile’.

1993 – Michael Ferguson (21), a RUC officer, was shot dead by the IRA on Shipquay Street, Derry.

1994 – Taoiseach, Albert Reynolds, said he would give clarification of the Downing Street Declaration (DSD) to anyone who asked for it.

1998 – Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, laid a wreath at the ‘Bloody Sunday’ memorial in the Bogside during a visit to Derry. He called for a full independent inquiry into the events of ‘Bloody Sunday’. He also visited Belfast where he stated that there would be no ‘internal solution’ to the problems of Northern Ireland and that any North-South bodies would have to have executive powers.

1998 – The Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF), a pseudonym for the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), issued a statement saying that they were reinstating their ceasefire following a “measured military response”. The statement was seen as an admission that they had been responsible for a number of recent deaths of Catholics. Nationalists were angered by the wording of the statement; Vice-President of Sinn Féin, Martin McGuinness,  described it as an affront. A number of parties and individuals called for the Ulster Democratic Party (UDP), which is politically associated with the UDA / UFF, to be expelled from the multi-party talks at Stormont. The UDP issued a short statement in response to these calls.

1998 – The RUC also discovered a cache of Powergel, a powerful commercial explosive, together with other explosives in a house in the Shankill area of Belfast. An estimated 300lbs of explosive were recovered.

1999 – Two blast bomb attacks target Catholic homes in the seaport town of Larne, Co Antrim.

2000 – A historic show of Christian unity takes place as the Bishop of Cork and Ross, Dr John Buckley, appeals to parishioners at Cork Masses to make contributions to a multi million pound restoration programme of a Protestant cathedral in Cork city centre.

2000 – Five grey Seals are released into the sea at Cullenstown Strand, Co Wexford. The seals had been kept in the seal sanctuary in Co. Dublin while recovering from injuries. This the largest amount of seals to be released at one time.

2001 – There was a mortar attack on a British Army base in Derry. Republican Paramilitaries were believed to have been responsible for the attack.

2001 – British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, held meetings with the pro-Agreement political parties to try to break the impasse over the remaining issues of police reform, demilitarisation, and paramilitary disarmament.

2001 – Irish airport charges are among the cheapest in the world, the latest independent study of the sector has found.

2001 – It is announced that the State is in negotiation with a private landowner to purchase the internationally renowned Poulnabrone dolmen in the Burren, Co Clare.

2002 – The Bloody Sunday Inquiry announced that it would temporarily move to a location in Britain in order to hear the testimony of British Army paratroopers who fired the fatal shots in Derry on Bloody Sunday (30 January 1972). The thirty-six soldiers had won court cases that supported their wish not to have to travel to Derry to give evidence. The soldiers retained their anonymity during the proceedings. Initially Lord Saville suggested that the soldiers’ evidence could be taken by a video link from Britain. However, both the soldiers and the families of those killed and injured objected to this solution.

2003 – The Irish and British governments agree to plans for an all-out push to restore the North’s power-sharing Executive.

2013 – Death of Dolours Price, the woman convicted of the 1973 IRA bombing of the Old Bailey, along with her younger sister, Marian. She was also a political activist who became a staunch critic of Gerry Adams’ leadership of Sinn Féin and was among the first to publicly accuse Gerry Adams of being responsible for the abduction of those the IRA considered informers.

2018 – The leadership of Óglaigh na hÉireann issued a statement declaring a ceasefire. This was confirmed at a press conference in Belfast called by two prominent trade unionists and Eamon O Cuiv TD. The ceasefire was welcomed by Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams and Tánaiste Simon Coveney.

Image | Glencolmcille, Co Donegal | Fiachra Mangan Photography

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