#OTD in Irish History | 8 October:

1822 – Birth in Dublin of Richard D’Alton Williams. He is educated at Carlow Academy and studies medicine at Saint Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin. He becomes a member of the Young Ireland movement and contributes poetry to The Nation under the pseudonym ‘Shamrock’. In 1848, he is tried for treason for articles he publishes in the Irish Tribune, but he is successfully defended by lawyer and fellow poet Samuel Ferguson.

1862 – At the Battle of Perryville, Kentucky, “Little Phil” Sheridan is one of the key officers leading Union soldiers against the Confederate forces of Braxton Bragg. Sheridan’s parents, John and Mary Meenagh Sheridan, had emmigrated from Co Cavan. Sheridan’s diminutive stature of five feet five inches earned him the nickname “Little Phil”.

1918 – Widespread flooding took place after a battering of storms across Ireland.

1921 – Michael Collins proposed to Catherine ‘Kitty’ Brigid Kiernan in the Grand Hotel in Greystones, Co Wicklow. They first met in 1918 when he stayed at the her family’s hotel in Granard, Co Longford with his friend, republican and politician, Harry Boland.

1949 – Edith Oenone Somerville, Irish novelist, dies in Castletownshend, Co Cork. In her late twenties, she meets her second cousin Violet Florence Martin who writes under the pseudonym Martin Ross. They become lifelong companions and literary partners, collaborating on a series of humorous novels about the rural Irish gentry. Their most important literary achievement is their novel The Real Charlotte which is published in 1894.

1959 – Birth of musician, Gavin Friday, in Dublin. He has co-written a number of songs with the U2 frontman, Bono, including the soundtrack to the Jim Sheridan movie ‘In the Name of the Father’. In 2005 Gavin Friday played Billy Hatchett in the Neil Jordan film Breakfast on Pluto based on Irish author Patrick McCabe’s book, which had been influenced by Friday’s album Shag Tobacco. On the soundtrack he sings “Wig Wam Bam” and “Sand”, a duet with Cillian Murphy.

1962 – Kerrygold butter is launched on the world market.

1965 – Birth of comedian and actor, Ardal O’Hanlon, in Co Monaghan. Best known for his roles in television sitcoms as Father Dougal McGuire in Father Ted and George Sunday in My Hero.

1970 – The Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) proposed that a system of Proportional Representation (PR) should be used in elections in Northern Ireland. PR was introduced on 30 May 1973 for local government elections.

1973 – A group of Ulster Unionists who were opposed to sharing power with the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) called for the resignation of Brian Faulkner, leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP).

1974 – Seán MacBride, President of the International Peace Bureau, Geneva, Switzerland, and President of the Commission of Namibia, United Nations, New York, USA, is awarded a half-share of the Nobel Peace Prize.

1977 – A member of the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR), Margaret Hearst (24), was shot dead, while she was off duty, by the IRA at her parent’s home near Tynan, Co Armagh.

1978 – A number of groups in Derry, including Sinn Féin (SF), held a march to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the 5 October 1968 civil rights march. The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) staged a counter demonstration attended by Loyalists and led by Ian Paisley. Trouble developed and 67 RUC officers were injured in clashes with Loyalists. Two RUC officers were also injured in confrontations with Republicans.

1978 – Birth of rugby player and coach, Michael O’Driscoll, in Cork. He played for Munster in the Pro12 and Heineken Cup, and played internationally for Ireland. He was an integral, senior player for Munster, and captained the province numerous times, particularly during the 2008–09 season.

1981 – Lawrence Kennedy, an Independent councillor on Belfast Council, was shot dead by Loyalist paramilitaries as he stood in the entrance to Shamrock Social Club, Ardoyne, Belfast.

1985 – The Northern Ireland Court of Appeal overturned a conviction for murder against Dominic McGlinchey, former leader of the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA). McGlinchey was later extradited back to the Republic of Ireland.

1989 – Twenty-eight members of the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) were arrested by the RUC as part of the Stevens inquiry into the leaking of security force documents to Loyalist paramilitary groups.

1991 – The Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF), a cover name (pseudonym) used by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), set fire to a Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) hall in Kircubbin, Co Down. Later in the day, the UFF in a statement said that in the future, members of the GAA would be considered ‘legitimate targets’. The threat was condemned by Protestant church leaders and Unionist politicians. The next day the UFF issued another statement which said that it would only attack those GAA members with strong Republican links.

1993 – British Prime Minister, John Major, delivered a speech to the Conservative Party conference in Blackpool, England. Major stated that the only message he wanted from the IRA was one indicating that the organisation was finished with its campaign of violence for good.

1993 – Church of Ireland Primate, Robin Eames (Dr), condemned the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF) threat to the Catholic community. Ten Catholic civilians had been killed since 8 August 1993 by the UFF and the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF).

1996 – In a statement issued from Dublin, the IRA admitted responsibility for the bombs in Lisburn, Co Antrim, on 7 October 1996.

1997 – David Trimble, leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), met British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, at Chequers in England.

1997 – The Apprentice Boys of Derry (ABD) suspended a Loyalist band, the Cloughfern Young Conquerors’ Band, from taking part in further ABD marches. The disciplinary action followed disturbances caused by the band at a parade in Derry on 9 August 1997.

1997 – David Andrews, a Fianna Fáil (FF) Teachta Dála (TD), was appointed as the new Irish Foreign Minister.

1997 – The United States of America State Department decided to drop the IRA from its list of ‘terrorist’ organisations. One affect of this decision was to allow funds to be raised on behalf of the IRA. Unionists were critical of the decision.

1998 – Minister for Defence, Michael Smith TD strongly defends his decision to close down six army barracks after several delegates stage a walk-out at the PDFORRA conference in Ennis, Co Clare.

1999 – Rosmoney Shellfish of Co Mayo is crowned as Ireland’s Best Oyster Grower in the 1999 BIM Guinness Quality Oyster Awards.

1999 – On the grounds of Belfast City Hall, a six-foot statue is dedicated to the memory of the late James Magennis. He is finally honoured in his native Belfast 54 years after he was awarded the Victoria Cross for gallantry during the Second World War.

1999 – The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) published a document entitled ‘Implementing the Agreement’ which discussed the extent to which the Belfast Agreement had been implemented and the extent to which the different parties recognised their obligations and complied with the requirements of the Agreement. David Trimble, leader of the UUP, issued a statement on ‘the best way forward’.

1999 – President of the USA, Bill Clinton, gave a speech in Ottawa, Canada, during which he said: “I spent an enormous amount of time trying to help the people in the land of my forebears in Northern Ireland get over 600 years of religious fights, and every time they make an agreement to do it, they’re like a couple of drunks walking out of the bar for the last time. When they get to the swinging door, they turn around and go back in and say, ‘I just can’t quite get there.'” Ian Paisley, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), criticised the remarks. Later Clinton apologised for the use of an inappropriate metaphor.

2000 – Catholic bishops begin a three-day meeting in Maynooth during which they will attempt to reach agreement on the ordination of lay people as deacons.

2000 – More than 40,000 jubilant supporters turn out to welcome the victorious Co Kerry football team and the Sam Maguire Cup back to the Kingdom.

2001 – Northern Ireland’s political institutions are plunged into a new crisis as Ulster Unionists begin a phased withdrawal of ministers from the power-sharing executive.

2001 – The Northern Ireland Assembly debated an Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) motion, and later a similar Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) motion, to exclude Sinn Féin (SF) ministers from the Executive. The motions were supported by Unionist members of the Assembly but were not supported by SF or the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP). Due to a lack of cross-community support the two motions failed.

2001 – Johnny Adair announced that he would not be continuing with a judicial review (at the High Court in Belfast) of the decision to keep him in prison. Adair, a leader of the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF) a cover name (pseudonym) used by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), was originally released on licence in 1999 but was re-arrested and returned to prison by the order of Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Peter Mandelson, on 22 August 2000.

2002 – Sinn Féin President, Gerry Adams, claims that the raid on his party’s Stormont offices last week is a plot to throw the peace process into crisis.

2002 – Catholic Bishops back the Nice Treaty, stating there is a stronger case for voting in favour than against.

2013 – Death of singer-songwriter and guitarist, Philip Chevron, in Dublin. He was a member of The Pogues, and was regarded as one of the most influential figures in Irish punk music.

Image | Malahide Castle, Co Dublin

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