#OTD in Irish History | 28 April:

1714 – Sir Wentworth Harman, MP for Lanesborough, ‘coming in a dark night from Chapel-Izod, his coach overturning, tumbled down a precipice, and he dies in consequence of the wounds and bruises he received’.

1794 – The Reverend William Jackson was arrested in Dublin on this day in 1794. Jackson was born in Newtownards, Co Down, but spent much of his early life in England. He was a French spy trying to gain support from Irish nationalists to lead a rebellion against the British.

1846 – Birth of Wellesley C Bailey in Co Laois. He was the founder of international charity The Leprosy Mission. In India in the 1860s he witnessed the severe consequences of the disease and vowed to make caring for those with leprosy his life work. The Mission he established all those years ago is still active today.

1863 – American Civil War: Thomas Francis Meagher on Battle of Chancellorsville.

1864 – Birth of William Ellison, clergyman and the sixth director of the Armagh Observatory. On his appointment in 1918, he donated the original late nineteenth-century telescope to the Observatory – an 18-inch Newtonian reflector, made by the famous English telescope maker George Calver; for many years it was one of the largest telescopes in Ireland. During the 1920s and 1930s, Ellison and others used the telescope for observations of the planets and for taking spectral images of the stars, using a spectroscope to split the starlight into its constituent colours.

1869 – Chinese and Irish labourers for the Central Pacific Railroad working on the First Transcontinental Railroad lay ten miles of track in one day, a feat which has never been matched. The Central Pacific Railroad (CPRR) was a rail route between California and Utah built eastwards from the West Coast in the 1860s, to complete the western part of the ‘First Transcontinental Railroad’ in North America. It later became part of the Union Pacific Railroad.

1875 – Teresa Kearney, better known as Mother Kevin, missionary and founder of Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Africa, is born in Knockenrahan, Co Wicklow.

1909 – Dublin Accountant, Percy Ludgate, published a design for an analytical engine – one of the world’s first computers. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007%2F978-3-642-61812-3_5

1916 – Easter Rising, Day 5, British Reaction Escalates.

1921 – IRA Volunteer Patrick Ronayne of Greenhill, Mourneabbey, Mallow, Co Cork was executed at Cork Military Detention Barracks for his involvement in the failed Mourneabbey Ambush, where eight of his Volunteer comrades were killed.

1922 – Nicky Rackard, Wexford hurler, is born in Killane, Co Wexford.

1936 – The Daíl introduces a bill awarding pensions to the Connaught Rangers who mutinied in India in 1920.

1943 – Andrews resigns as Northern Ireland Prime Minister and is succeeded by Sir Basil Brooke, later Lord Brookeborough.

1958 – Aer Lingus service to North America inaugurated.

1969 – As he was unable to regain the confidence of the Unionist party, Northern Ireland Prime Minister, Terence O’Neill, resigned to be replaced later by James Chichester-Clark.

1975 – Liam McMillan (48), then a member of the Official Irish Republican Army (OIRA), was shot dead by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in the continuing feud between the OIRA and the INLA.

1977 – A series of personal attacks on one another by leading figures such as Enoch Powell, James Molyneaux, and Ian Paisley, illustrated the growing disagreement within unionism on the issue of the planned United Unionist Action Council (UUAC) strike.

1977 – Secretary of State, Roy Mason, announced that the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast was to receive an order worth some £70 million to construct two liquid gas carriers.

1981 – The private secretary of Pope John Paul II paid a visit to Bobby Sands in Long Kesh Prison, however, was unable to persuade him to end his hunger strike. Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Humphrey Atkins, stated that: ‘If Mr Sands persisted in his wish to commit suicide, that was his choice. The government would not force medical treatment upon him.’ In the United States, President Ronald Reagan, said that America would not intervene in the situation in Northern Ireland but he was ‘deeply concerned’ at events there.

1988 – A Thames Television documentary, Death on the Rock, about the deaths of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) members (Daniel McCann, Mairead Farrell, and Sean Savage) in Gilbraltar on 6 March 1988 was screened. Sir Geoffrey Howe, British Foreign Secretary, unsuccessfully tried to have the programme banned.

1992 – A Catholic civilian, Philomena Hanna (26), was shot dead by the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF), a cover name (pseudonym) used by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), at her place of work – a chemist shop on the Springfield Road, west Belfast. There was widespread condemnation at the killing of a woman whose work meant that she delivered medical supplies to both communities in the area.

1992 – Death of artist, Francis Bacon. Born in Dublin, he was known for his bold, grotesque, emotionally charged and raw imagery.

1993 – Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), Ian Paisley, said that he would not enter new political talks.

1994 – The Iranian Chargé d’Affaires was summoned to the Foreign Office, London, to explain claims that the government in Iran was planning to supply the IRA with arms and money.

1995 – A Catholic civilian, Michael Mooney (34), was shot dead while in the ’18 Steps Bar’, Ann Street, Belfast. Although no organisation claimed responsibility it was generally believed that the IRA had carried out the killing. It was alleged that Mooney was involved in drug dealing and this was the reason why he had been shot. A number of other men were killed by the IRA during the year. The RUC issued a statement on 20 December 1995 about the killings.

1995 – There was a ceremony in Dublin to commemorate all Irishmen who died in the two world wars. The ceremony was attended by: Taoiseach John Bruton, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Patrick Mayhew, Security Spokesman of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) Ken Maginnis, and leader of the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland (APNI) John Alderdice. Tom Hartley, Chairman of Sinn Féin (SF), also attended the ceremony.

1996 – Michael Ancram, Political Development Minister at the Northern Ireland Office (NIO), said that the IRA must restore its ceasefire and Sinn Féin (SF) must agree to be bound by the six ‘Mitchell Principles’ before it could join all-party talks.

1997 – A car bomb was planted by Loyalist paramilitaries outside the Falls Road office of Sinn Féin. The bomb was defused.

1997 – INLA prisoners at Maghaberry Prison held a prison officer hostage at gunpoint before giving themselves up. The prisoners were protesting at the transfer of Billy Wright, leader of the Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF), from Maghaberry to Long Kesh Prison. The INLA killed Wright in Long Kesh Prison on 27 December 1997.

1997 – Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Patrick Mayhew, approved tighter security measures in Long Kesh Prison following the discovery of an escape tunnel on 24 March 1997.

1997 – British Prime Minister, John Major, paid an election campaign visit to Belfast. Leader of the Labour Party, Tony Blair, called on the IRA to renew their ceasefire and to agree to the Mitchell principles, and then to ‘take their place at the talks table’.

1998 – It was confirmed that Chris Patten, a former Governor of Hong Kong, would chair the new Commission on the future role of the RUC. The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) had objected to the appointment of a ‘non British’ person to head the Commission.

1998 – Some 30 years after waiting on Éamon de Valera and literary luminaries of the day in the Great Southern Hotel in Galway, 57-year old Rita Gilligan from Bohermore was presented with an honorary MBE by UK Culture Secretary, Chris Smith, at London’s Hard Rock Cafe where she worked as a waitress for 27 years.

1999 – Deputy Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, John Stevens, stated that during one of his earlier investigations of collusion between Loyalists paramilitaries and the security forces had found a connection to the killing of Pat Finucane that had caused him ‘concern’.

1999 – The Northern Ireland (Location of Victims’ Remains) Bill was presented to the House of Commons at Westminster. The Bill became law in late May 1999. The first body was recovered on 28 May 1999.

1999 – Ireland’s largest convoy packed with 200 tonnes of relief supplies for Kosovar refugees left Dublin for Albania.

2000 – It was announced that 100 free bicycles would be placed on the streets of Dublin for the Heineken Green Energy Weekend. The free bicycles would be placed outside Trinity College, outside Dublin Castle and at the top of Grafton Street and would be available to anyone wishing to cycle around the city to take in the atmosphere of the Festival.

2013 – Keith Hanley, singer from Charleville, Co Cork, won The Voice of Ireland.

Image | Dublin Castle, Dublin

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