#OTD in Irish History | 21 October:

1449 – Birth of George Plantagenet, 1st Duke of Clarence, in Dublin Castle at a time when his father, the Duke of York, had begun to challenge Henry VI for the crown. His godfather was James FitzGerald, 6th Earl of Desmond. He was the third of the four sons of Richard and Cecily who survived to adulthood. His father died in 1460. In 1461 his elder brother, Edward, became King of England as Edward IV. In that year George was made Duke of Clarence and invested as a Knight of the Garter, and in 1462 Clarence received the Honour of Richmond, a lifetime grant, but without the peerage title of Earl of Richmond. Despite his youth, he was appointed as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in the same year.

1879 – The Irish National Land League is founded at the Imperial Hotel in Castlebar, Co Mayo by Michael Davitt. Charles Stewart Parnell was elected president of the league. Its primary aim was to provide basic rights for tenant farmers and allow them to purchase the land they worked on.

1803 – Execution of Thomas Paliser Russell in Downpatrick for ‘high treason’. Born in Dromahane, Co Cork, he was a co-founder and leader of the United Irishmen who was executed for his part in Robert Emmet’s rebellion in 1803.

1809 – Opening of Nelson’s Pillar: The Nelson Pillar (also known as The Pillar) was a large granite pillar topped by a statue of Horatio Nelson in the middle of O’Connell Street (formerly Sackville Street) in Dublin.

1805 – The Irish dead at the Battle of Trafalgar include Lieutenant William Ram, son of Abel Ram, MP for Co Wexford, who is killed on board the Victory.

1901 – Douglas Hyde’s Casadh an tSúgán – The Twisting of the Rope – is presented at The Gaiety Theatre in Dublin and becomes the first staged Irish-language play.

1904 – Birth of poet and novelist, Patrick Kavanagh in Iniskeen, Co Monaghan. He was regarded as one of the foremost poets of the 20th Century. His best known works include the novel Tarry Flynn and the poem On Raglan Road.

1935 – Birth of Derek Bell in Belfast. He was a harpist, pianist, oboist, musicologist, and composer, best known for his accompaniment work on various instruments with The Chieftains.

1969 – Thomas McDowell (45), a member of the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), died from injuries he received when a bomb he was planting exploded prematurely at a power station near Ballyshannon, Co Donegal, on 19 October 1969.

1970 – Bernadette Devlin was released from prison having served four months of her six month sentence for riotous behaviour.

1970 – Birth of rugby coach and former player, Conor O’Shea, in Limerick. He is currently the head coach of the Italian national team. He played as a full back and occasionally at out-half and centre for Ireland, Lansdowne and London Irish. He has also coached London Irish and Harlequins, and held management positions with the English Rugby Football Union and the English Institute of Sport.

1974 – Two Catholic civilians, Michael Loughran (18) and Edward Morgan (27), were shot dead by the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) at the junction of Falls Road and Northumberland Street in Belfast. Billy Hutchinson was later convicted for his part in these killings. Hutchinson was to become a leading spokesman for the Progressive Unionist Party and helped negotiate the ‘Good Friday’ Peace Agreement on 10 April 1998.

1975 – Gardaí surrounded a house in Monasterevin, Co Kildare, where Tiede Herrema, then a Dutch industrialist, was being held hostage. A siege began which was to last until 6 November 1975.

1982 – For the first time, Sinn Féin contests elections in Northern Ireland since The Troubles began, Gerry Adams was elected MP for west Belfast. Martin McGuinness won election in Derry. Sinn Féin continued its abstentionist policy in terms of parliamentary attendance and neither Adams nor McGuinness took their seats.

1991 – A programme in the BBC series Panorama laid the blame for the failure of the recent political talks (later known as the Brooke / Mayhew talks) at the feet of Unionists.

1992 – The IRA exploded a bomb, estimated at 200 lbs, in the main street of Bangor, Co Down. The bomb caused extensive damage to property in the area.

1993 – A Protestant civilian, John Gibson (51), was shot dead by the IRA in Glengormley near Belfast. Gibson was believed to have been targeted because he was doing building work for the RUC.

1993 – Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Patrick Mayhew, informed the House of Commons that bilateral talks were taking place with the political parties.

1994 – British Prime Minister, John Major, speaking in Belfast said that he was making a “working assumption” that the IRA intended its ceasefire to be permanent. He also announced that exclusion orders on President of Sinn Féin (SF), Gerry Adams, and Vice-President of SF, Martin McGuinness, would be lifted, all border roads would be reopened, and that exploratory talks between the British Government and SF would begin before Christmas. Major also promised to review the role of the British Army in Northern Ireland. Major was on a two-day visit to Northern Ireland.

1995 – The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) met for its annual conference. David Trimble, leader of the UUP, outlined a plan to end the right of the Orange Order to directly appoint delegates to the Ulster Unionist Council (UUC).

1995 – Statistics produced by the RUC showed that since the ceasefires Catholics comprised 16.5 per cent of new appointments to the police.

1998 – Security Minister at the Northern Ireland Office (NIO), Adam Ingram, stated in the House of Commons that there had been fifty-four people killed as a result of the conflict in the period 1 January 1998 to 16 October 1998. Thirty-eight of the deaths were the responsibility of Republican paramilitaries and sixteen by Loyalist paramilitaries.

1999 – President of Sinn Féin (SF), Gerry Adams, made a statement on recent political talks at a lunch time meeting in New York City. Adams told the audience that he thought the review would probably end in failure.

1999 – President Mary McAleese led mourners at the removal of former Taoiseach and Fianna Fáil leader, Jack Lynch, from Dublin’s Royal Hospital to the Church of St Paul of the Cross, Mount Argus.

1999 – Hundreds of striking nurses from the midlands joined a rally through the streets of Dublin.

2001 – There were sectarian clashes in a number of interface areas of north Belfast. During disturbances in the Limestone Road and Halliday’s Road area a Protestant man (20s) was shot and injured by Republicans. The RUC said it was not clear which organisation was responsible for the shooting.

2001 – Gas pipeline work on a hillside at Kilmacanogue in the Wicklow Mountains uncovered the remains of a house dating back to 2,000 BC. Only eight similar discoveries have been made thus far in Ireland.

2001 – President of Sinn Féin (SF), Gerry Adams, confirmed on RTÉ that he had been in contact with the IRA on the issue of arms decommissioning. He said: “If the IRA is persuaded to make some move on this issue, it will because it wants to rescue the process. The decision has to be theirs”. On  22 October 2001, Adams publicly called on the IRA to make: “a ground-breaking move on the arms issue”, which it did on 23 October 2001.

2001 – Vice-President of Sinn Féin, Martin McGuinness, travelled to Washington, DC, for meetings with senior members of the American government and also members of the Irish-American community.

2002 – The Real IRA pledged to continue their campaign of violence, ignoring a call by the prisoners in Portlaoise to disband and confirm the organisation has split.

2002 – Even on paper Keane is faster than McCarthy; on the day of its launch, just one copy of Mick McCarthy’s World Cup diary is sold at Waterstones outlet on Dawson Street in Dublin.

2003 – The last flight of the Concorde supersonic jet arrives at Belfast International Airport, Aldergrove.

2016 – Death of rugby player and head coach of Munster, Anthony Foley. Born in Limerick, he was attached to the same squad during his professional playing career. He was a member of the Munster team that won the 2002–03 Celtic League and was the winning captain during their 2005–06 Heineken Cup success. Foley played for Ireland from 1995 to 2005, and captained the squad on three separate occasions. Foley died in his sleep on 16 October 2016, while staying at a hotel in the Paris suburb of Suresnes with the Munster squad; heart disease had caused an acute pulmonary oedema. The team was preparing to face Racing 92 in its opening game of the 2016–17 European Rugby Champions Cup. The match was postponed as a result of Foley’s death. President Michael D. Higgins and Taoiseach Enda Kenny made tributes to Foley, and the Irish flag flew at half mast at government buildings in Munster.

Image | Spiral on a standing stone at Newgrange, Co Meath | Mythical Ireland Photography

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