#OTD in Irish History | 16 August:

1793 – The Convention Act (1793) was aimed at preventing the recurrence of events like the Convention of the Volunteers in 1782 where armed groups (of Protestants) from various parts of Ireland assembled in Dublin and were able to overawe the Government at a time when there were few troops in the country. Contrary to what has been sometimes stated, this Act was not aimed at delegates to the Catholic Committee in 1793 but at delegates to meetings of the newly formed United Irishmen, in particular a proposed National Assembly of United Irishmen at Athlone.

1824 – Death of Charles Thomson. Born in Co Derry, he was a Patriot leader in Philadelphia during the American Revolution and the secretary of the Continental Congress (1774-1789) throughout its existence.

1832 – An Act is passed which allows for tithe payments to be commuted.

1878 – The Intermediate Education Act grants female students the right to participate in public examinations and to enter into careers and professions.

1879 – National Land League of Mayo is founded.

1882 – Charles Stewart Parnell becomes a Freeman of the city of Dublin.

1892 – National Literary Society is founded.

1911 – Death of Patrick Francis Moran. Born at Leighlinbridge, Co Carlow, he was the third Roman Catholic Archbishop of Sydney and the first Australian cardinal.

1917 – Death of Military Chaplin Father Willie Doyle who was killed in action during the First World War. Born in Dalkey, Co Dublin, he was respected by not just the Catholic troops he served with but also the Protestant Northern Irish soldiers many of whom despised anything to do with the Catholic faith.

1920 – Court-martial of Terence MacSwiney, Lord Mayor of Cork for possession of seditious articles and documents. Sentenced to two years imprisonment in Brixton Prison, England, he started a hunger strike. He would die on 25 October after efforts to forcibly feed him went wrong.

1920 – British forces burned buildings in Templemore as a reprisal for IRA actions.

1921 – The first Dáil Éireann is dissolved and the second Dáil convenes.

1922 – Three-hundred men of the Anti-Treaty IRA 4th Northern Division under Frank Aiken attack Dundalk. They use two mines to breach the walls of the barracks and temporarily take over the town. Five Free State private soldiers and one Commandant, Byrne in the attack on the barracks and another soldier is killed in the town centre. There are fifteen wounded Free State troops. Two Republicans are killed, accidentally by one of their own mines and thirty wounded. About 240 Republican prisoners are freed from the prison and 400 rifles are taken. However, Aiken does not try to hold the town and, while in possession of it, calls for a truce in a meeting in the town square.

1939 – Birth of cardinal, Seán Brady, in Co Cavan. He was Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland from 1996 until 2014, being elevated to the cardinalate in 2007. He faced repeated calls to resign over his role in the cover-up of child abuse (paedophiles) by priests in his jurisdiction. Brady confirmed that he had tendered his resignation in July 2014, a month before his seventy-fifth birthday. On 8 September 2014, it was announced that Pope Francis had accepted Cardinal Brady’s resignation.

1955 – Birth of politician and medical doctor, James Reilly, in Dublin. Between the February 2016 general election and the 6 May 2016 formation of a new government, he was the Acting Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, having held that ministry since July 2014 in the previous government, and has also been deputy leader of Fine Gael since 2010. He was the Minister for Health from March 2011 to July 2014. Reilly was a TD for the Dublin North constituency since the 2007 general election until he lost his seat in the 2016 general election. Reilly was nominated by Taoiseach Enda Kenny to Seanad Éireann in May 2016. James Reilly was re-appointed as deputy leader of Fine Gael on 4 July 2016.

1971 – Over 8,000 workers went on strike in Derry in protest of Internment. Joe Cahill, Chief of Staff of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA), held a press conference during which he claimed that only 30 IRA men had been interned.

1973 – Two members of the IRA died when a mortar bomb exploded prematurely during an attack on the join British Army/RUC base in Pomeroy, Co Tyrone.

1976 – Two Catholic civilians were killed in a bomb planted by Loyalist paramilitaries outside the Step Inn, Keady, Co Armagh.

1981 – U2 plays its first show ever at Slane Castle outside Dublin, and its only Irish show of the year.

1982 – Attorney General Patrick Connolly resigns after Malcolm McArthur, wanted for (and later convicted of) murder is found to be his house guest. Connolly was completely unaware of McArthur’s activities. The fallout from the incident led to one of the most famous acronyms in Irish politics. The much reviled (and correspondingly much-loved) Taoiseach Charles Haughey described the incident as “a bizarre happening, an unprecedented situation, a grotesque situation, an almost unbelievable mischance.” Conor Cruise O’Brien, one of Haughey’s political opponents who despised the most corrupt Taoiseach in Irish history (this is not to suggest any others who held the office were corrupt) coined the phrase GUBU – Grotesque, Unprecedented, Bizarre, Unbelievable to describe not just what happened but Haughey’s overall carry on.

1984 – Loyalist paramilitaries opened fire on RUC officers on the Shankill Road as riots continued in Protestant areas of Belfast.

1985 – There were more disturbances in Portadown, Co Armagh, following a Loyalist band parade. Some shops were looted and set on fire.

1991 – Thomas Donagh (38), a Sinn Féin (SF) member, was shot dead by the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF), a cover name (pseudonym) used by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), in Kilrea, Co Derry. Martin O’Prey (28), a member of the Irish People’s Liberation Organisation (IPLO), was shot dead by the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) in the lower Falls area of west Belfast. These killings were part of an upsurge in Loyalist violence following the ending of the CLMC ceasefire on the 4 July 1991.

1991 – Birth of vegan activist, podcast host and narrator, Evanna Lynch, in Termonfeckin, Co Louth. She rose to prominence for her portrayal of Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter film series, appearing in the last four films and their tie-in video games, as well as in the musical, A Very Potter Senior Year.

1993 – The IRA carried out a bomb attack in the centre of Strabane, Co Tyrone.

1995 – More than 100 people are evacuated from The Kitchen, the basement nightclub below the Clarence Hotel in Dublin after a fire is spotted on the roof. No injuries or fatalities are reported.

1997 – Death of playwright and actor, Gerard McLarnon. His plays have been performed throughout the world, and he collaborated with, amongst others, John Tavener, Laurence Olivier and Tyrone Guthrie. Some plays he wrote: ” Victory Morning” – ” Brothers Karamazov” – ” The Idiot” – ” The Wrestler’s Honeymoon” – ” Unhallowed” – ” The Bonefire” – ” The Rise and Fall of Sammy Posnett” – ” The Saviour” – ” The Trial of Joan of Arc”.

1997 – On the 20th anniversary of the death of Elvis Presley, U2’s PopMart show in Vienna, Austria is filled with tributes and references to the King.

1997 – An IRA ‘bomb factory’ was discovered by Garda Síochána at a farmhouse in Crosskeys, near Cavan. The factory was not believed to have been operational for some weeks.

1998 – The 32-County Sovereignty Committee issued a statement denying that the organisation was associated with those responsible for the Omagh bombing.

2001 – Dozens of wild birds, including swans, mallard and moorhens are rounded up by animal welfare workers after a major oil spill in the River Liffey at Palmerstown in Co Dublin.

2001 – Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, took a break from his holiday in Co Kerry, to travel back to Dublin for a meeting with John Hume, leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP). The two men were expected to discuss the recent setbacks in the peace process. Before the meeting Hume had called on the IRA to “restore immediately its contact with General de Chastelain and its commitment to a scheme for resolving the decommissioning issue”.

2002 – Death of author, broadcaster, historian, Irish Republican, advocate of the Irish Language and lecturer, Éamonn MacThomáis. He presented his own series on RTÉ during the 1970s and was well known for guided tours and lectures of his beloved Dublin. He is buried in Dublin’s Glasnevin Cemetery.

2008 – The Continuity IRA (CIRA) fired a rocket-propelled grenade at a police patrol in Lisnaskea, Co Fermanagh. Three officers required hospital treatment.

2008 – Death of singer and folk musician, Ronnie Drew. Born in Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin, he achieved international fame during a fifty year career recording with The Dubliners. He was best known for his long beard and his voice, which was once described by Nathan Joseph as “like the sound of coke being crushed under a door”.

2012 – Death of James Philip Vincent Kelly. Born in Dublin, he was a footballer who played at both professional and international levels as a full back.

Image | Port, Co Donegal | Fiachra Mangan Photography

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