#OTD in Irish History | 21 August:

1693 – Death of Jacobite and soldier, Patrick Sarsfield. Born in Lucan, Co Dublin, he was created the first Earl of Lucan and belonged to an Anglo-Norman family long settled in Ireland. His father Patrick Sarsfield married Anne, daughter of Rory (Roger) O’Moore, who organised the Irish Rebellion of 1641. The family was of Norman origin (by this time, known as “Old English”) and possessed an estate with an income of £2000 a year. Patrick, who was a younger son, entered Dongan’s Regiment of Foot on 6 February 1678.

1791 – Birth of the word ‘quiz’ (allegedly and disputed). Richard Daly, a theatre proprietor in Dublin, makes a bet that within 48 hours he can introduce a new word into the English language. After the evening performance, Mr. Daly distributes cards to all the staff with the word written on it, and instructs them to write it on walls all over the city. Thus ‘quiz’ enters the language.

1861 – Birth of Frederick Crawford. Crawford is one of the lesser known figures in Ulster Unionist history but one who was hugely influential because of his involvement in what is known as the Larne gun running incident when he was responsible for smuggling over 25,000 guns into the North on the night of 24 April 1914.

1855 – Last ever Donnybrook Fair, held in Dublin since 1204. The general uproar of the annual event results in its suspension.

1879 – A Vision of the Virgin Mary is witnessed by 15 villagers in Knock, Co Mayo.

1882 – Birth in Gloucester of Arthur Luce, a professor of philosophy and fellow of Trinity College in Dublin for 65 years.

1911 – Irish Women’s Suffrage Federation is formed.

1920 – Birth of world flyweight boxing champion, Rinty Monaghan, in Belfast.

1922 – One Free State soldier is killed in an ambush at Blessington, Co Wicklow. Four more are wounded in an ambush near Enniscorthy, County Wexford. Free State troops occupy Bandon and Dunmanway, County Cork without resistance.

1959 – Death of Denis Devlin. He was, along with Samuel Beckett and Brian Coffey, one of the generation of Irish modernist poets to emerge at the end of the 1920s. He was also a career diplomat.

1970 – The Social and Democratic Labour Party (SDLP) was established. The first leader of the party was Gerry Fitt and the deputy leader John Hume. Other prominent members included, Paddy Devlin, Austin Currie, Ivan Cooper, Paddy O’Hanlon and Paddy Wilson. The party effectively took over from most of the various Nationalist and Labour party groupings and became the main political voice of Nationalists in Northern Ireland until Sinn Féin began to contest elections in the early 1980s.

1976 – Approximately 20,000 people, mainly women from Protestant and Catholic areas of Belfast, attended a Peace People’s rally at Ormeau Park, Belfast.

1978 – RTÉ broadcasts Eddie Macken on Boomerang winning the Aga Khan trophy.

1978 – Birth of footballer, Alan Lee, in Galway. He played as a striker; he is now working as an academy coach at Ipswich Town. He scored 119 goals in 547 appearances in a 19-year professional career in the Football League, and won 10 caps for the Republic of Ireland.

1982 – Paul Hewson (Bono) marries his high-school sweetheart Alison Stewart at a ceremony in Raheny, Dublin.

1983 – A train from Tralee failed near Cherryville Junction and was run into from the rear by a train from Galway. Seven passengers die in the crash and another passenger later dies from their injuries.

1991 – The IRA exploded a large bomb, estimated at 500 lbs, near an RUC station in Kilrea, Co Derry. The explosion caused damage to nearby homes and churches.

1991 – Gerry Adams, wrote a letter, seeking ‘open-ended discussions’, to the British and Irish governments and to political and Church leaders in Northern Ireland.

1992 – Hugh McKibben (21), a member of the Irish People’s Liberation Organisation (IPLO), was shot dead at the Lámh Dhearg Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) social club on the outskirts of Belfast. He was killed by the Belfast Brigade of the IPLO during an internal IPLO feud. Two other men were wounded in the attack.

1998 – A salmonella alert is issued following the deaths of five elderly people in two separate outbreaks at a hospital and home for the aged in Co Galway.

1999 – The remains of Tom Williams were exhumed from Crumlin Road Prison and handed over to his surviving family members. Williams had been a member of the IRA and was hanged in 1942 for the killing of Patrick Murphy a Constable in the RUC.

2000 – Two men, Jackie Coulter and Bobby Mahood, were killed as the Loyalist paramilitary feud erupted into further violence. Coulter, who had Ulster Defence Association (UDA) connections and was an associate of Johnny Adair, died immediately at the scene. Mahood, who had been seriously wounded, died later in hospital. Loyalist sources said that Mahood had Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) connections but he opposed the Belfast Agreement and the policies of the Progressive Unionist Party (PUP). The killings were carried out by the UVF and were part of a feud between the UDA and the UVF. In addition to the shootings there were also attacks on offices used by the two Loyalist parties closely associated with the UDA and the UVF. Troops were deployed on the streets of Belfast to try to control the situation. Seven people were killed during the feud which officially ended on 15 December 2000.

2000 – The Catholic hierarchy confirms it is actively considering allowing lay people to be ordained deacons in a bid to cope with the shortage of priests.

2001 – Sinn Féin warns British prime minister Tony Blair he should take note of a poll which found the vast majority of British people believe the North should no longer be part of Britain.

2001 – Unionists withhold their endorsement of the Government’s new implementation plan for future policing arrangements in Northern Ireland.

2001 – The Guardian carried a report  on the results of an opinion poll on the future of Northern Ireland carried out by ICM in Britain. Of those questioned, 41 per cent stated that they thought there should be a united Ireland. Only 26 per cent felt that Northern Ireland should remain part of the United Kingdom (UK). The report stated: “For unionists, many of whom consider themselves British and refer to Britain as ‘the mainland’, today’s findings amount to a cold shoulder from their fellow citizens. Only one in four wants the province to stay part of the country.” This survey marked a significant shift in public opinion in Britain from the 1980s and 1990s when there was a majority in favour of Northern Ireland remaining within the UK.

2001 – William Esson, a reserve judge with the Bloody Sunday Inquiry, announced that he was resigning from the inquiry for reasons of ill health.

2002 – Celestica Electronics sheds half of its workforce of 500 at Swords, Co Dublin.

2014 – Death of radio and television broadcaster for BBC Northern Ireland, Gerry Anderson. Born in Co Derry, he was renowned for his unique style and somewhat unusual sense of humour. Anderson often referred to himself on his show, as “Turkey Neck”, “Puppet Chin” or “Golf Mike Alpha”.

2014 – Death of Fianna Fáil politician and former Taoiseach, Albert Reynolds. Born in Roscommon, he was the last head of government not to have previously had a family member in the Dáil.

Image | Dunlewy Church in the Poisoned Glen, Co Donegal | Fiachra Mangan Photography

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