#OTD in Irish History | 19 March:

In the Liturgical calendar, today is the feast of St Joseph. According to legend, this is a lucky day to be born in the Highlands, where they say children born today cannot be killed in battle.

1642 – Charles I’s ‘Adventurers’ Act’ offers confiscated Irish land in return for investment in the reconquest.

1821 – Birth in Dublin of Sir Richard Francis Burton, adventurer, writer, swordsman, scholar and explorer.

1824 – Birth of poet, William Allingham, in Ballyshannon, Co Donegal.

1861 – Birth of Catholic Primate of all Ireland and Cardinal, Joseph MacRory, in Ballygawley, Co Tyrone.

1916 – Roger Casement saw John McGoey off from the stairs of his hotel in Berlin. A German police agent escorts McGoey to Warnemunde with no papers or passport and smuggled him into Denmark to travel to Ireland. This was an attempt by Casement to get a message to the leaders of the Easter Rising in Ireland, to beg them to call off the Rising.

1921 – Tom Barry and the West Cork Flying Column routs a superior force from the Essex Regiment at Crossbarry.

1921 – On the same bloody day, the IRA ambush a convoy of RIC and Black and Tans near Dungarvan, Co. Waterford. Two men die on each side and the IRA subsequently execute the captured RIC sergeant Michael Hickey as a ‘police spy’.

1922 – IRA volunteers raided two RIC barracks in Northern territory; one in Pomeroy and one in Maghera. They tied up the policemen and seized rifles and ammunition.

1922 – In separate incidents along the border, the IRA shot two Special Constables and one Protestant civilian. One of the constables survived, the other two were killed.

1923 – Free State troops of Costume Barracks, Athlone, shoot dead a civilian, John Murphy, they said they were pursing escaped prisoners.

1924 – Death of composer and author, Charles Villiers Stanford.

1928 – Birth of actor, writer and director, Patrick McGoohan. He was brought up in Ireland and England.

1961 – Birth of chef, Michael Deane in Lisburn, Co Antrim. Deane started his career at Claridge’s in London. In 1993 he moved back to Ireland and opened Deane’s on the Square with his cousin, the entrepreneur, Haydn Deane in Helen’s Bay, Co Down. It was there they first won their Michelin Star.

1974 – Death of Austin Clarke. He was one of the leading Irish poets of the generation after W. B. Yeats. He also wrote plays, novels and memoirs. Clarke’s main contribution to Irish poetry was the rigour with which he used technical means borrowed from classical Irish language poetry when writing in English.

1986 – Richard Needham, a Northern Ireland Office (NIO) Minsiter, announced that the Department of the Environment would take over the function of setting the ‘rates’ (local government tax) in the 18 district councils that were refusing to do so. The councils were protesting against the Anglo-Irish Agreement (AIA).

1988 – During the funeral of Kevin Brady, killed at Milltown Cemetery (16 March 1988), a car approached the funeral procession at high-speed. It was claimed by some present that they feared another attack by Loyalist gunmen. The car’s passage was blocked and a group of the mourners attacked the two passengers. The two men in the car were later identified as corporals Derek Wood and David Howes of the British Army. One of the soldiers fired a warning shot but both were beaten and overpowered. The two soldiers were driven to waste ground and shot dead. Part of this incident was also recorded on television news cameras. The presence of the two soldiers in plain clothes in a republican district of Belfast was never adequately explained.

1998 – The country’s beef industry takes a further blow following strong indications from the Department of Agriculture that Co Clare is to be included in the beef export ban to Russia.

1998 – Long Kesh prison crisis deepens after the Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) issues a death threat against warders. The terror gang warned it would specifically target prison officers working in H6 unit over allegations of mistreatment.

1999 – Chief Constable of the RUC, Ronnie Flanagan, asked Metropolitan Police Deputy Commissioner, John Stevens, to examine a report written by British-Irish Rights Watch, a human rights group based in London, on the 1989 killing of Pat Finucane. The report claimed to contain new evidence about the killing.

2000 – The Irish and British governments begin an all out effort to build on the positive signal from Ulster Unionist Party leader, David Trimble, and rescue the endangered Northern Ireland peace process.

2000 – As many as 250,000 people line the streets of Dublin to watch a spectacular fireworks display which caps off four days of celebration as the grand finale of St Patrick’s Festival.

2000 – Thirty five bands from the United States, Japan, Northern Ireland and across the country take part in the Limerick International Marching Band Competition, Ireland’s biggest band parade.

2001 – Former Taoiseach Charles Haughey is in critical condition in a Dublin hospital after collapsing at his home.

2001 – Mary Robinson, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, announces that she is stepping down from her post, saying she thinks she can do more outside the ‘restraints’ of the UN system.

2003 – Co Clare takes top honours at the CIE National Awards of Excellence.

Image | ‘Maghera Strand’, – The Desert Beach – Maghera, Ardara, Co Donegal | Gareth Wray Photography

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