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




May 15
1395 - Richard II returns to England on this date, confident that Gaelic Irish power has been checked
1600 - Sent by Queen Elizabeth to quell the rumblings of discontent in Ulster, Sir Henry Docwra lands at Culmore with a force of 4000 foot and 200 horse soldiers; modern Derry is thereby founded
1621 - Sir Henry Docwra is created Baron Docwra of Culmore
1732 - Sir John Blaquiere, Chief Secretary and politician, is born
1753 - Isaac Corry, opposition politician, Volunteer, and Chancellor of the Exchequer is born in Newry, Co. Down
1808 - Michael Balfe, operatic composer, is born in Dublin
1829- Elected to the office of minister of Parliament for Co. Clare by recently enfranchised Catholics, O'Connell presents himself at the bar of the House of Commons, but is asked to withdraw for refusing to take the Oath of Supremacy
1847 - Daniel O'Connell, "The Liberator," dies in Genoa. His body is returned to Ireland and buried in Glasnevin Cemetery
1867 - Eoin MacNeill, Gaelic scholar and co-founder of the Gaelic League, is born in Glenarm, Co. Antrim
1940 - Proinsias de Rossa, politician and leader of Democratic Left, is born in Dublin
1990 - The Church of Ireland votes for women priests
2000 - Two international inspectors who have been tasked with examining IRA arms dumps as part of the plans for the restoration of devolved government to the North arrive in Ireland
2001 - Drivers enjoy a free ride across Dublin's two toll bridges - a bonus from the booth operators' strike over pay and working hours
2003 - Four world records are made at Christie's annual Irish art sale; the main record breaker is for a mountainous wooded landscape with figures by 18th-century artist George Barret which sells for £320,000
2003 - The National Museum of Ireland says that a remarkably well-preserved headless body found by a farmer in a Co. Offaly bog could be up to 2000 years old.
2007 - Taoiseach Bertie Ahern becomes the first Irish leader to address a joint session of the two chambers of the British parliament. All members of parliament - both the Lords and the Commons are invited. Senior figures from the Irish government and Irish opposition leaders are present at the event, as are prominent Irish community members in Britain. It is very rare for a foreign leader to be invited to address the Joint Houses of Parliament; Mr Ahern follows in the footsteps of Nelson Mandela, Francois Mitterand, the Dalai Lama and Bill Clinton.
May 16
587 - St. Brendan the Navigator, early transatlantic voyager, dies. In the liturgical calendar, today is St. Brendan's Feast Day
1907 - Birth of Robert Tisdall, gold medalist in the 400 meter hurdles at the 1932 Olympics
1920 - 'Soviets' are proclaimed in 13 Co. Limerick creameries, including Knocklong
1926 - Eamon de Valera founds Fianna Fáil and holds its first public meeting
1927 - 'A' Reserve established by Oglaigh na hÉireann - the Irish Defence Forces
1938 - The Department of Justice bans Photography magazine because of 'attention given to the female nude'
1945 - Eamon de Valera responds to Churchill's victory speech during which Churchill took one last jab at Irish neutrality. For Churchill's speech and De Valera's response, please click World at War
1952 - Birth of Pierce Brosnan in Navan, Co. Meath
1997 - Tony Blair visits Northern Ireland and gives the go ahead for exploratory contacts between government officials and Sinn Féin
2000 - An Post officially launches a set of four 30p postage stamps in honour of flamboyant writer and wit, Oscar Wilde
2001 - Proposals to locate the first wind farm off the country's west coast are unveiled. The £100 million project is to be located off the north Kerry coast on the southern lip of the Shannon estuary and is to involve the construction of between 20 and 30 wind turbines
2001 - The United States designates the Real IRA, a splinter group of the Irish Republican Army, as a "foreign terrorist organisation," a legal term that brings financial and other sanctions. Under US law, any assets the Real IRA has in the United States are frozen, it is illegal to support the organization and Real IRA members are not eligible for US visas
2002 - Iarnród Eireann’s first female train driver, Teresa Carey from Kerry, begins her career driving the Cork-Heuston train.
2007 - Taoiseach Bertie Ahern becomes the third longest-serving EU leader in office as France’s Jacques Chirac officially steps down.
May 17
1650 - Cromwell's army is defeated in the second assault on Clonmel, suffering its heaviest losses. The following day, the Mayor of Clonmel negotiates honourable terms for surrender with Cromwell, who did not realise that O'Neill and his soldiers had left the town. Annoyed at being outwitted, Cromwell nevertheless keeps to the terms
1730 - Elizabeth, widow of William Molyneux, marries Nathaniel St Andre, a Swiss surgeon who wins an action for defamation on a charge of having killed Molyneux by administering opium to him in his last illness by her connivance
1855 - Birth in Bantry, Co. Cork of Timothy Michael Healy, one of the most brilliant and most controversial of Irish politicians. His career spans from Parnell's leadership of the Irish Parliamentary Party in the 1880s to the foundation of the Irish Free State in 1922; he becomes the Free State's first Governor-General
1865 - Shan Bullock, novelist, is born in Crom, Co. Fermanagh
1880 - Charles Stewart Parnell is elected Chairman of the Irish Parliamentary Party
1908 - Birth of Vincent Barry, organic chemist, in Cork
1911 - Birth in Roscommon of actress Maureen O'Sullivan Boyle who is remembered for her role as Jane in a series of five movies opposite Johnny Weissmuller's Tarzan
1917 - A new military viceroy, General French, acts on mistaken information that Sinn Féin is implicated in a pro-German plot and has most of the leaders arrested
1949 - The British Government recognizes the Republic of Ireland
1961 - Enya [Eithne Ní Bhraonáin] is born in Gweedore, Co. Donegal
1969 - Dubliner Tom McClean crosses from Newfoundland to Blacksod Bay, Co. Mayo, completing the first transatlantic solo crossing in a rowboat
1974 - Car bombs explode in Dublin and Monaghan, killing 34 people
2001 - A horse picture by Jack B Yeats makes a hammer price of £1 million sterling at Christie's in London. It is bought by London dealer Simon Dickenson for a private client, believed to be racehorse owner John Magnier.
May 18
1401 - John de Stanley is told that he is to be replaced as lieutenant by Thomas of Lancaster (duke of Clarence and second son of Henry IV), who is 12 or 13 years old. Lancaster's deputy, Sir Stephen le Scrope, will effectively govern Ireland for the next few years
1613 - James I's Irish parliament opens in Dublin
1825 - The House of Lords rejects the Catholic Emancipation Bill which would disenfranchise Irish forty-shilling free-holders and put clergy on state salaries
1873 - James Fagan, actor, producer and playwright, is born in Belfast
1798 - The 2nd Earl of Kingston is tried amid great pomp by the Irish House of Lords for the murder of Colonel Henry FitzGerald. An executioner stands beside Kingston with an immense axe, painted black except for two inches of polished steel, and held at the level of the defendant's neck. However, no witnesses appear for the prosecution, and Kingston is acquitted. The Directory of the United Irishmen had planned to use the occasion to kill the entire government and all the lords, but one vote cast against this scheme (by the informer Francis Magan) causes it to be abandoned
1896 - The City and Suburban Ground now known as Croke Park, hosts a soccer match for the first time. The teams are a combination of Irish and Scots women versus England. The combined team beats England 3-2
1897 - Oscar Wilde is released from prison; he goes to live in France, where he writes his famous poem, "The Ballad of Reading Gaol"
1897 - The first Irish Music Festival is held in Dublin
1928 - Death of writer Standish O'Grady on the Isle of Wight. Under the influence of John O'Donovan, he studies the Old Irish myths and legends, and his works, which influence the Irish literary revival of the 1890's, popularise the Irish sagas
1939 - The first aircraft lands at the newly opened Rineanna Airfield which is later to become Shannon International Airport
1947 - Former Taoiseach and Fine Gael leader, John Bruton, is born
1949 - Birth in Co. Mayo of Pat Rabbitte, leader of the Labour Party
1999 - The Church of Ireland's annual synod calls on the authorities at Drumcree to conditionally withdraw a long-standing invitation to the Orangemen to use their church ahead of the order's controversial annual march through nationalist parts of Portadown
2000 - Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble decides to accept the IRA’s offer to put arms beyond use and backs a return to the Stormont Executive with Sinn Féin
2001 - Gardenia St. George, an early 20th-century portrait by William Orpen, becomes the most expensive Irish painting of all time when it sells at Sothebys for the hammer price of £2.29 million
2004 - Clare O'Leary becomes the first Irishwoman to successfully climb Mount Everest. She is accompanied by veteran mountaineer Pat Falvey who also sets a record by becoming the first Irishman to climb Everest from both sides.
2006 - Michael O'Riordan dies in Dublin. A key figure in the Irish Communist Party, Mr O'Riordan was one of just two surviving Irish veterans of the Spanish Civil War. He was shot in Spain while with the 'Connolly Column', named after socialist leader James Connolly, which fought against General Franco's fascists from 1936-39.
Photo Credit: Communist Party of Ireland.
May 19
1660 - An Act by the British Parliament forbids the export of Irish wool
1710 - John Forster is unanimously elected Speaker of the House of Commons, replacing Alan Brodrick
1798 - Lord Edward Fitzgerald, a leader of the United Irishmen, is betrayed by Francis Magan; he's arrested and is shot while being apprehended; he dies of his wounds on June 4
1821 - Anna Maria Odell, the second wife of William Odell (former MP for Co. Limerick), gives birth to a stillborn child in the Marshalsea debtors' prison, where she had accompanied her husband
1832 - Standish Hayes O'Grady, scholar, is born in Castleconnell, Co. Limerick
1862 - Máire Ni Aodáin (Mary Hayden), Irish historian, is born
1869 - Birth of Henry Dixon, botanist
1870 - Sir Isaac Butt invents the term "Home Rule". The first meeting of the "Home Government Association" (later to become the "Home Rule League") is held in a Dublin hotel. A resolution is passed "that the true remedy for the evils of Ireland is the establishment of an Irish Parliament with full control over our domestic affairs"
1939 - John Sheahan, fiddle player with the Dubliners, is born
1961- Birth of composer, Ronan Hardiman
1966 - Seamus Heaney's first volume of poetry, "Death of a Naturalist" is published
1998 - European finance ministers reject Ireland's call for a study into the consequences of abolishing duty-free shops
1998 - SDLP leader John Hume and his Unionist counterpart, David Trimble, join U2 on stage at a concert in Belfast's Waterfront Hall to drum up support for a massive Yes vote in Friday's referendum on the Stormont agreement
1998 - Abortion is opposed in all circumstances by 58% of people as against 24% in favour, according to a Pro Life Campaign opinion poll, carried out by Irish Marketing Surveys
1999 - A five-stone lump of butter, estimated to have been buried in a bog over 300 years ago, is discovered in the Poll na gCapaill bog near Barnaderg in Co. Galway by turf cutters Tom Burke and Vincent Roche
2000 - British Airways launches its first daily flight service to Glasgow from Cork
2000 - Westlife tops the Guinness British Hit Singles book writers’ league table, with a value of £18.8 million. Their net worth is based on points scored for Number Ones, singles sold and the number of weeks spent in Britain’s Top 75 in the past year
2001 - Fleadh Ceoil celebrates its 50th anniversary as musicians throughout the country battle for their place in the provincial finals of Galway, Meath, Tipperary, Antrim, Kildare, Kilkenny, Monaghan and Wexford
2003 - Clare O’Leary, 31, a doctor at Cork University Hospital, and a member of Ireland's Everest team, decides to turn back when it becomes clear an infection has made her too weak to continue.
May 20
1311 - The war of the O'Briens of Thomond escalates as the Norman-Irish become involved on both sides: the de Burghs support Dermot O'Brien and Richard de Clare supports Donough O'Brien. There is a pitched battle at Bunratty on this date, with heavy losses on both sides; de Burgh and others are imprisoned
1648 - Truce between the confederates and Inchiquin; its adherents are excommunicated by Giovanni Rinuccini, papal nuncio to the confederates
1759 - Birth of Sir Eyre Coote, the younger; soldier, MP, and governor of Jamaica
1836 - An Act amalgamates the county constabulary and Peace Preservation Force into a centralized police force - the Irish Constabulary - which will later become the Royal Irish Constabulary
1922 - De Valera and Collins agree to a pact whereby a national coalition panel of candidates will represent the pro- and anti-Treaty wings of Sinn Féin throughout Ireland in the forthcoming general election
1927 - The opening hours of Irish public houses are restricted by the Intoxicating Liquor Act
1932 - Amelia Earhart takes off from Newfoundland for Ireland on the anniversary of Charles Lindbergh's famous flight; she lands near Londonderry/Derry and becomes the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic
Photo Credit: Associated Press File Photo/Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe College
1969 - Students stage a sit-in at University College in Dublin to protest conditions in Northern Ireland
1998 - Taoiseach Bertie Ahern assures unionists there is no hidden agenda in the Belfast Agreement and promises to stamp out dissident paramilitary groups who want to wreck the accord
1999 - 24th Biennial Conference of Irish Historians is held at University College in Cork
2001 - More than half a million people line the streets to watch the postponed St Patrick's Day Parade in Dublin
2001 - Former US president Bill Clinton begins a four-day trip to Ireland with a round of golf at Ballybunion
2003 - The Irish Government restricts alcohol adverts. The ads are banned from buses, trains, cinemas and sporting events and not permitted before 10 p.m. on television
2003 - Thousands of Irish-based Celtic fans fly to Spain to cheer on the Glasgow club in their first European final in 33 years tomorrow
2003 - Dundalk garden designer Paul Martin wins a silver medal at London's Chelsea Flower Show.
May 21
1639 - Lord Deputy Thomas Wentworth imposes the Black Oath of loyalty to Charles I on all Ulster Scots over the age of 16
1745 - Count Daniel O'Connell, a soldier in French and British services, is born in Derrynane, Co. Kerry
1917 - Birth of tenor and comedian, Dennis Day, to Irish parents in New York, NY
1916 - Clocks and watches go forward one hour as the Daylight Saving Act (Summer Time) is introduced
1920 - James Plunkett, pseudonym of James Plunkett Kelly; novelist, is born in Dublin
1944 - Mary Robinson, lawyer, youngest ever Professor of Law at Trinity College Dublin; President of Ireland from 1990 to 1997; and United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, is born in Ballina, Co. Mayo
1980 - Taoiseach Charles Haughey and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher meet in London (and later in Dublin on December 8), and agree to consider 'the totality of relationships within these islands'
1981 - At 2:11 am, Raymond McCreesh dies on hunger strike in the Maze Prison. Later, the same day at 11:29 pm, he is joined in death by his friend and fellow hunger-striker, Patsy O'Hara
1999 - Bono and Larry appear on RTE's "The Late Late Show" to present long-time host Gay Byrne with a black Harley Davidson as a going away present on his retirement
1999 - The Jack Lynch Tunnel, described as the most challenging civil engineering project in the history of the state, is unveiled by Taoiseach Bertie Ahern at the entrance of the tunnel in Mahon, Co. Cork
2000 - Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams sparks a new political storm when he makes it clear he could not call on republicans and nationalists to join the North’s proposed new police service
2000 - Demonstrators picket Drogheda Heritage Centre as the death mask of Oliver Cromwell is put on display where he is reputed to have massacred thousands of defenceless civilians
2000 - Thousands of Christians celebrate the jubilee year by coming together in parishes throughout the country for National Pilgrimage Day
2001 - The EU blue flag quality mark is awarded to 111 beaches around the coast for the cleanliness of the water. Ireland, at 91.7%, ranks fourth overall in the EU when it comes to blue flag beaches. The Netherlands comes first with 96%, followed by Greece with 95% and Italy, 92%
2001 - Former US president, Bill Clinton, is rumored to have been paid £100,000 by the chairman of Independent News and Media Sir Anthony O'Reilly to talk to a select gathering at Trinity College on this date
2002 - Bono kicks off a 10-day four- nation tour of Africa in the company of US Treasury Secretary, Paul O’Neill
2003 - According to a new survey published in the Wall Street Journal, the Irish remain among the most contented races on Earth. The statistics on our generally sunny disposition appear to confirm the findings of another recent study - the World Happiness Survey - which places Ireland sixth in a league of 68 countries.

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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