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Today
in
Irish
History -
May
1st to 7th | 8th to 14th | 15th to 21st | 22nd to 31st




May 8
1567 - Shane O'Neill's army crosses the Swilly estuary at Farsetmore, and is defeated in a pitched battle by Hugh O'Donnell. Many drown while trying to escape; O'Neill loses1,300 men
1597 - Execution of Fiach MacHugh O’Byrne
1796 - John Pitt Kennedy, civil engineer; road and railway pioneer in India, is born in Carndonagh, Co. Donegal
1879 - Sir William Wheeler, surgeon, is born in Dublin
1899 - The first production of the Irish Literary Theatre, The Countess Cathleen is performed. Like many of Yeats' plays, it is inspired by Irish folklore. In a time of famine, demons sent by Satan come to Ireland to buy the souls of the starving people. The saintly Cathleen disposes of her vast estates and wealth in order to feed the peasants, yet the demons thwart her at every turn; at last, she sacrifices her own soul to save those of the poor
1916 - Irish patriots, Michael Mallin, Eamonn Ceannt, Cornelius "Con" Colbert and Sean Heuston are executed in Kilmainham gaol
1935 - Birth of Jack Charlton, footballer and manager
1945 - VE Day is marked in Dublin by small disturbances throughout the city which quickly turn into major disorder
1951 - The Arts Council is founded in the Republic
1990 - Primate of All Ireland, Cardinal Tomás Ó Fiach, dies in Lourdes
1999 - A freak mini-tornado hits Carraroe, near Williamstown in Co. Galway, leaving a trail of destruction in its path and almost killing a couple who just manage to escape from their mobile home before it is picked up and torn apart
2001 - A strike by more than 100 ATGWU drivers along the east coast causes havoc for 120,000 travellers who find themselves without suburban and inter-city train service; Dart service is cut in half
2003 - Visiting French angler Marc Peyronnie lands an enormous 44 lb-3oz pike following a 25 minute titanic struggle at Ardan Lake.The fish measured 1.18 metres and following this photo shoot he was returned to the lake with a kiss from his proud conqueror!
2007 - The Rev Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness mark the end of almost four decades of bitter and bloody conflict in Northern Ireland as they are formally appointed first minister and deputy first minister. Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, British prime minister Tony Blair and other dignitaries, including former US president Bill Clinton and US democrat Ted Kennedy, witness the creation of a powersharing government led by political polar opposites the Democratic Unionist Party and Sinn Féin. This is the first time that Northern Ireland will be run by a government in which all the main nationalist and unionist parties have agreed to operate power together.

May 9
1423 - Edmund Mortimer, 8th earl of Ulster, earl of March, the greatest Irish landowner and heir presumptive to the throne of England, is appointed lieutenant for nine years
1650 - The Battle of Clonmel begins with the first of two assaults. Cromwell's forces are beaten back on this date by Black Hugh O'Neill. Eventually, Cromwell loses up to 2,000 men, but O'Neill, realizing he has a shortage of ammunition, secretly withdraws
1671 - Irish adventurer Colonel Thomas Blood dresses as a clergyman and attempts to steal the British crown jewels from the Tower of London. He is arrested in possession of the crown
1691 - Charles Chalmont (Marquis de Saint-Ruth; French general) is sent by Louis XIV to command the Irish army and arrives on this date
1709 - The Irish House of Lords expresses hope that union of Ireland and England will follow union of England and Scotland
1807 - Thomas Wyatt, architect, is born in Loughlin House, Co. Roscommon
1814 - Birth in Dublin of John Brougham, actor and dramatist
1828 - Charles Kickham, Fenian, novelist, and author of Knocknagow, is born in Mullinahone, Co. Tipperary
1865 - The Dublin International Exhibition opens in Earlsfort Terrace
1896 - Austin Clarke, considered at his death to be the greatest poet of his generation after Yeats, is born
1916 - Irish Patriot, Thomas Kent, is executed at Cork Detention Barracks
1927 - Birth of John McDermott, Lord Justice of Appeal for Northern Ireland
1932 - Éamon de Valera is elected Taoiseach
1933 - Seán Swayne, priest and liturgist is born
1939 - Fianna Fáil politician and EU Commissioner, Padraig Flynn, is born in Castlebar, Co. Mayo
1943 - Mystery still surrounds what happened when a mine washes up on a beach in Co. Donegal and explodes; 19 men and boys, aged between 14 and 33, who lived in Ballymanus near Kincasslagh, are killed by the blast
1947 - Birth in Cork City of actor Anthony Corlan
1982 - General Election results in Fianna Fáil victory winning 81 seats. Charles J. Haughey is elected as Taoiseach on the 50th Anniversary of the first Fianna Fáil Government in 1932.
May 10
1318- Richard de Clare, while defending his protégé Mahon O'Brien, is defeated and killed by Murrough O'Brien at Dysert O'Dea. De Clare's heir is a minor; Norman-Irish power in Thomond is thus undermined
1603 - In the revolt of the towns, or recusancy revolt, Catholic worship is re-established in Kilkenny and the main Munster towns between 11 April and this date, in the hope that James I will grant religious toleration; Mountjoy marches south and forces the towns to submit
1642 - A Catholic confederacy ('the Confederation of Kilkenny') is instituted to administer Catholic-controlled parts of the country pending a final settlement
1739 - John Thomas Troy, Catholic Archbishop of Dublin and opponent of revolution, is born in Castleknock, Co. Dublin
1804 - After resigning as Prime Minister following a disagreement with George III over Catholic Emancipation, William Pitt returns to office
1838 - James Bryce, 1st Viscount Bryce of Dechmount; jurist, historian and Liberal politician, is born in Belfast
1870 - Jem Mace defends his heavyweight crown against Irish champ Joe Coburn; it lasts 1 hr & 17 minutes; neither is struck by a punch
1873 - Leslie Montgomery, comic writer; pseudonym Lynn C. Doyle, is born in Downpatrick, Co. Down
1886 - Richard Mulcahy, pro-Treaty nationalist and Fine Gael politician, is born in Waterford
1908 - Birth of Henry Diamond, Irish Nationalist MP
1918 - Birth of singer, Margo (Golden Irish Favorites)
1920 - Birth of Basil Kelly Lord Justice of Appeals for Northern Ireland
1925 - Birth of Danny Blanchflower; winner of 56 caps
1939 - Birth of Padraig Flynn, former EU Commissioner
1950 - Charlie Nash, former European and British lightweight champion, is born in Derry
1956 - Birth of Brendan Howlin, Labour TD and former Minister for the Environment
1960 - Paul Hewson, better known as Bono, is born at the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin
1972 - In a referendum in the Republic, 83 per cent favour accession to the European Economic Community
1998 - Members of Sinn Féin vote to accept the Good Friday peace agreement, effectively acknowledging the north-south border
2000 - Arts and Culture Minister, Sile de Valera, officially opens the fully restored 1817 fountain at the Iveagh Gardens in Dublin.
May 11
1745 - At the battle of Fontenoy (30 April/11 May according to the two calendars), near Tournai in modern Belgium, the Irish Brigade of the French army under Lieutenant Charles O'Brien repulses the British and wins the day. Those killed include (on the British side) Henry Ponsonby, MP for Innistiogue and a brother of Brabazon Ponsonby, 1st Earl of Bessborough
1788 - Presbyterian minister, Henry Cooke, is born at Grillagh, near Maghera, Co Derry. Cooke is famous for leading Ulster Presbyterianism away from the free-thinking radicalism which had spawned the United Irishmen's rising during his childhood
1916 - During the House of Commons debate on the Irish crises, John Dillon urges the cessation of executions
1937 - Debate on new Constitution commences
1967- The Republic of Ireland applies again to join the Common Market
1971 - Death of former Taoiseach Seán Francis Lemass
1979 - The Riordans, a drama about life in a rural Irish village and the most successful serial in the history of RTE (running for 15 years) comes to an end
1996 - Bill Graham, Irish rock journalist, dies at his home in Howth
1999 - Gay Byrne, legendary host of the Late Late Show, becomes the 64th Freeman of the City of Dublin
2000 - Figures released on this date show that tourist visitors to Ireland in 1999 exceed six million for the first time
2001 - Visually-impaired adventurer Caroline Casey arrives back in Dublin after a four-month elephant ride across India during which she raises $250,000 for charity.
May 12
563 - St Columcille establishes a community on Iona
1641 - Thomas Wentworth, English viceroy of Ireland and Earl of Stafford is beheaded
1751 - Archibald Hamilton Rowan, nationalist and United Irishman, is born in London
1784 - J.S. Knowles, dramatist and Baptist preacher, is born in Cork
1806 - James Shields, US army general and the only person to be elected a senator by three states, is born in Altmore, Co. Tyrone
1823 - Daniel O'Connell founds the Catholic Association, an organization dedicated to obtaining the franchise for Catholics
1916 - Irish Patriots, Seán MacDiarmada and James Connolly are executed at Kilmainham Gaol
1944 - Cork-born Venerable Edel Quinn, one of the outstanding missionary figures of the 20th century, dies of TB in Nairobi
1950 - Birth in Dublin of internationally acclaimed actor Gabriel Byrne
1981 - Francis Hughes, Irish political prisoner, dies on hunger strike, in Maze Prison, near Lisburn, Co. Antrim. His death comes a week after the the death of Bobby Sands on 5 May, the first to die in a republican campaign for political status to be granted to IRA prisoners
1998 - British Chancellor Gordon Brown hands the Yes campaign in the North a monster financial boost when he unveils a bumper £315 million plan — over twice what was expected
1999 - US First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton become the first woman to be granted the Freedom of Galway city, following in the footsteps of her country's former presidents, John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan
2003 - Dublin City Council votes by an overwhelming majority to call for the preservation of a house in Moore Street where the leaders of the 1916 Rising have their last meeting and decide to surrender to British forces.
May 13
1787 - On this date, which is a Sunday, Alderman Exshaw, accompanied by Archdeacon Hastings, is walking in Merrion Square, Dublin, when he encounters 'a great number of people, leaping, wrestling, shouting, etc.'. The archdeacon observes that this activity profanes the Sabbath and is a disgrace to Exshaw's district. The latter orders the police to advance and disperse the crowd with fixed bayonets. The MPs Richard Griffith, Henry Hatton and Sir John Freke intervene, and Griffith asks Exshaw 'to consider what he was about to do; that he had no right to order his men to fire without reading the Riot Act, and that if they fired, they must kill many innocent persons'. These words, according to Exshaw later, encourage the mob, and they immediately attack the police with stones. Exshaw will admit that there was no riot before he ordered the police to disperse the crowd, 'that some of his men were drunk, but not so much so, he said as to render them incapable of doing their duty; that it was with great difficulty he prevented them from firing on the mob'. Griffith will be found guilty of instigating a riot, and considered lucky not to be hanged
1842 - Arthur Sullivan, the son of an Irish musician, is born. Along with William Gilbert he invented the English operetta. Sullivan’s last work is entitled "The Emerald Isle"
1848 - The Irish Confederation splits; John Mitchel starts the militant United Irishman; he is arrested on this date and is sentenced to 14 years transportation under the new Treason-Felony Act
1852 - Anna Catherine Parnell, sister of Charles and Fanny, and co-founder of the Irish Ladies Land League, is born in Avondale, Co. Wicklow
1878 - Birth of Charles Vane-Tempest-Stewart, 7th Marquis Londonderry and unionist politician
1906 - According to his birth certificate, this is the day playwright and novelist, Samuel Beckett is born in Foxrock, Co. Dublin. Throughout his life, he insists his birth is on Good Friday - April 13, 1906
1919 - Dan Breen and Seán Treacy rescue their comrade Seán Hogan from a Dublin-Cork train at Knocklong, Co. Limerick; two policemen guarding him are killed
1945 - In a radio broadcast, Churchill accuses de Valera's government of frolicking with the Germans and Japanese
1954 - Sean Patrick Michael Sherrard, better known as Johnny Logan, is born. He is considered to be the most successful Eurovision Song contestant of all time
Photo Credit: Johnny Logan
1981 - Pope John Paul II survives an assassination attempt in St Peter's Square, Rome
1998 - Delegates at the Church of Ireland Synod in Dublin vote down a proposal that the church stop investing in companies involved in the production and selling of arms
1998 - Taoiseach Bertie Ahern calls on Sinn Féin and the IRA to state unequivocally that the war in Northern Ireland is over
1998 - The British Government appoints Adam Ingram as "Minister for Victims" to co-ordinate a drive towards new proposals to help the forgotten victims of terrorist violence in Northern Ireland
2000 - More than 3,500 people march through the centre of Dublin to show their opposition to the rising levels of racism directed at refugees
Photo Credit: Paul Sharp/Photocall Ireland!
2003 - Ferocious winds force an Irish team hoping to scale Mount Everest to return to their base camp. Two members of the team, Clare O’Leary, 31, from Cork and Hannah Shields, 37, from Derry, hope to become the first Irish women to scale the world’s highest peak.
May 14
1260 - Brian O'Neill, during the assault on the Earldom of Ulster, is defeated and killed by the forces of Roger des Auters at the battle of Down (renamed by de Courcy as Downpatrick)
1660 - Charles II is proclaimed king in Dublin, six days after London, thus ending Cromwell's reign as Lord Protector and beginning a brief and limited Catholic Restoration
1730 - Sir Edward Newenham, popular MP for County Dublin and strong advocate of the American colonists, is born. Newenham is introduced at the court of Louis XVI by the Marquis de Lafayette, even though Britain and France are at war
1755 - George Barrington (real name Waldron), writer, adventurer and pickpocket is born in Maynooth, Co. Kildare. A well-dressed pickpocket who "worked" in Churches and the Houses of Parliament, he is arrested and transported to Australia. Later, he becomes Australian high constable. He is known for the lines: "True patriots all; for be it understood- We left our country for our country’s good"
1784 - Foster's Corn Law regulates the corn trade
1784 - The Irish Post Office, distinct from English and Scottish services, is established by statute
1865 - The last surviving member of the Irish House of Commons, Sir Thomas Staples, who had risen in his profession to be Queen's Advocate for Ireland, dies in Lissan, Co. Tyrone 11 weeks short of his 90th birthday
1893 - George "McIrish" McElroy is born in Donnybrook, Co. Dublin. He is Ireland's highest World War One ace, with 47 victories within 40 weeks
1974 - The Ulster Workers' Council declares a general strike; Faulkner and the unionist members of the executive resign on 28 May; direct rule is reimposed the following day and the strike is called off. Power-sharing is dead
1998 - The leaders of the five main Dáil parties join forces in urging Sinn Féin and the IRA to publicly declare that the "war is over" and that weapons are redundant
1999 - Ballykissangel actor Edmund Birdy Sweeney is laid to rest in a tiny cemetery in Dungannon, Co Tyrone, just a hundred yards from St Patrick's Chapel where he had worshipped
2003 - A headless body is discovered by a Co. Offaly farmer while digging a drain close to his home. The skin is still intact on the upper torso, the clothes are preserved and there is a bracelet on the upper arm. The National Museum's head of collections, Raghnall O'Floinn, says: "it could be anywhere between 500-2000 years old.

Sources:
The Celtic League
This organization publishes the annual Celtic Calendar. To order your own copy, visit: The Celtic League.
Irish Abroad
Somewhat sporadic, but they often highlight an important date in Irish history. To visit, please click: Irish Abroad.
The Wild geese
They update Irish history weekly. To visit their keydates page, please click: The Wild Geese.

We also refer to an assortment of references. Among them are the Books of Days - see right margin on this page.


 

Fri, Nov 3, 2017

The Round Towers

The Round Towers of Ireland are remarkable among the world's ancient monuments; one author has called them 'Elegant, free-standing pencils of stone.' Today, 65 survive in part or whole. Hand-crafted in native stone and cemented with a sand, lime, horsehair and oxblood mortar - a technique imported from Roman Britain - it's said by many historians that they were built by monastic communities to thwart Viking invaders. And yet, there's reason to believe that the towers were built long before Christianity came to Ireland. Whatever their origins, monasteries did indeed flourish where the round towers existed. And why not. These imposing edifices provided a watch tower, a keep and a refuge.
Image: By kind permission of Stephen Cassidy, The Cassidy Clan.


Click for More Culture Corner.




How The Irish Saved Civilization
by Thomas cahill


“Cahill's lovely prose breathes life into a 1,600-year old history.” The L.A. Times
This is our most popular book. We understand why; the truth is fascinating.

Click here for Saved Civilization.


Irish Book of Days


Not tied to a particular year, this colorful and entertaining journal can be used year after year and features a significant Irish fact for every day of the year. 32 full-color photos.
Click here for Irish Book of Days.


Illuminated Celtic Book of Days
by Louis De Paor

It helped me a great deal in finding out about Celtic traditions, folklore, and many other things! Amazon Reviewer.
Click here for Celtic Book of Days


An Irish Woman's Book of Days

While it's out of print, new and used copies of the 112-page hardcover edition are readily available.
Click here for Irish Woman's Book of days


The Course of Irish History
by Moody & Martin

Concise but comprehensive, highly selective but balanced and fair-minded, critical but constructive and sympathetic. A distinctive feature is its wealth of illustrations.
Click here for Irish History.


Ireland Since The Famine
by Lyons

A full-scale study of the political and social history of Ireland since 1850. The political evolution of the Irish Nation forms the basis of the book. "Will remain for many years an essential standby for every student of the subject" Robert Blake, The Sunday Times.
Click here for Since the Famine.


De Valera
by Tim Pat Coogan

Eamon De Valera is still a major influence on Ireland - a towering presence whose shadow yet falls over Irish life. He played a major part in the 1916 Rising, the troubled Treaty negotiations and the Civil War; some of today's problems are his legacy. But De Valera, or "Dev", was a political mastermind who also achieved some incredible feats which ensured his place in history, including the Irish Constitution, formation of Ireland's largest political party - Fianna Fáil, and the formation of the Irish Press Group.
Click here for DeValera


 

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