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
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
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
May 16
587 – St. Brendan the Navigator, early transatlantic voyager, dies. In the liturgical calendar, today is St. Brendan's Feast Day
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
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
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
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
1880 – Charles Stewart Parnell is elected Chairman of the Irish Parliamentary Party
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
1974 – Car bombs explode in Dublin and Monaghan, killing 34 people
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
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"
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
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
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
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
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"
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

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
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 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
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

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
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
1980 – Taoiseach Charles Haughey and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher meet in London (and later in Dublin on December 8th), 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. 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