#OTD in 1969 – The British Army was deployed on the streets in the north of Ireland, which marked the beginning of ‘Operation Banner’.

Following on from the Peoples Democracy march of 1st January 1969 from Belfast to Derry and the subsequent rioting in the Bogside and other towns in the north of Ireland, the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association and its supporters were openly condemned by the Government of Northern Ireland as being manipulated by communists, republicans and […]

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#OTD in 1608 – Preparations commence for the plantation of six Ulster counties (Armagh, Cavan, Coleraine, Donegal, Fermanagh and Tyrone).

The Plantation of Ulster was presented to James I as a joint “British”, or English and Scottish, venture to ‘pacify’ and ‘civilise’ Ulster, with at least half the settlers to be Scots. James had been King of Scots before he also became King of England and needed to reward his subjects in Scotland with land […]

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#OTD in 2010 – David Cameron issues a formal, state apology for the “unjustified and unjustifiable” killing of 14 civil rights marchers by British soldiers on Bloody Sunday in Derry in 1972.

Prior to the publication of the Saville Report, thousands of people converge at the Bloody Sunday Memorial to walk to the Guildhall; symbolically completing the march which was prevented from reaching its destination in 1972. Results of Bloody Sunday Inquiry under the aegis of Lord Saville are published twelve years after it was established by […]

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#OTD in 1972 – Lord Widgery’s report exonerating “Bloody Sunday” troops was issued.

Publication of the Widgery Report into the events of Bloody Sunday brings an avalanche of criticism and incredulity amongst nationalist and independent commentators. The man who served as the Lord Chief Justice of England from 1971-80 found that British paratroopers were not responsible for the deaths of 13 civilians on the day and that “there […]

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#OTD in 1689 – Siege of Derry began.

In 1685, the Roman Catholic James II came to the throne of England. His agent Richard Talbot, earl of Tyrconnell, started to dismiss Protestant officers from the army in Ireland, replacing them with Roman Catholics. For English Protestants, the last straw came when the birth of a son to his second wife meant that his […]

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#OTD in 1939 – Birth of poet, Seamus Heaney, near Castledawson, Co Derry.

“Even if the hopes you started out with are dashed, hope has to be maintained.” –Seamus Heaney Seamus Heaney published his first poetry book in 1966, Death of a Naturalist, creating vivid portraits of rural life. Later work looked at his homeland’s civil war, and he won the 1995 Nobel Prize in Literature for his […]

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#OTD in 1613 – A charter incorporates Derry as the city of ‘Londonderry’ and creates the new county of ‘Londonderry’.

Despite the official name, the city is more usually known as simply Derry, which is an anglicisation of the old Irish Daire, which in modern Irish is spelt Doire, and translates as ‘oak-grove/oak-wood’. The name derives from the settlement’s earliest references, Daire Calgaich (‘oak-grove of Calgach’). The name was changed from Derry in 1613 during […]

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#OTD in 1981 – Bobby Sands begins his hunger strike at Long Kesh prison. 

The choice of the start date was significant because it marked the fifth anniversary of the ending of special category status (1 March 1976). The main aim of the new strike was to achieve the reintroduction of political status for Republican prisoners. Edward Daly, Catholic Bishop of Derry, criticised the decision to begin another hunger […]

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#OTD in 1922 – The IRA kidnaps more than forty Loyalists Activists and ‘B’ Specials.

In mid-January 1922 the Monaghan football team was arrested in the North on their way to play Derry in the final of the Ulster Championship. On 7 February the IRA responded by kidnapping forty-two prominent loyalists in Fermanagh and Tyrone and held them as hostages. A party of eighteen armed B-Specials, when travelling by train […]

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#OTD in 1972 – As eleven victims of Bloody Sunday are buried, the British Embassy in Dublin is burned to the ground by furious demonstrators.

In Dublin, over 30,000 – 100,000 marched to the British Embassy, carrying thirteen replica coffins and black flags. They attacked the Embassy with stones and bottles, then petrol bombs. The building was eventually burnt to the ground. The three days after the Derry massacre were marked by work stoppages and demonstrations in villages, towns and […]

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