This week in History

December 22
1691 – Patrick Sarsfield and The Wild Geese sail out of Cork harbour for France
1919 – “The Better Government of Ireland Bill” proposes two home rule parliaments, for the six north-eastern counties and the remaining 26, to come into effect in May 1920
1943 – The government announces that from now on bus-queuing is compulsory throughout Ireland if more than five people are waiting at a bus-stop
1974 – The London home of the Conservative leader and former Prime Minister Edward Heath is damaged from the impact of a bomb planted by the IRA. The attack comes just hours before a Christmas truce is due to come into effect
1997 – Northern Ireland Secretary Mo Mowlam battles to save the Stormont talks from total collapse as four Ulster Unionist MPs withdraw their support for their party’s continuing participation in the negotiations
2002 – The Minister for the Marine, Dermot Ahern, warns about the possibility of a “war on the seas” as a result of the failure by the European Union to agree on a policy on the Irish Box fishing area.

December 23
1688 – James II is deposed and flees to France
1770 – The Steelboys or Hearts of Steel, a Protestant agrarian protest movement, is involved in conflict in Ulster – 500 Steelboys release a prisoner in Belfast on 23 December
1864 – Death of James Bronterre O’Brien, Longford-born leader of the British Chartist movement
1920 – The Government of Ireland Act enforces the secession of the six Northern Irish counties from the rest of Ireland

December 24
1601 – The Battle of Kinsale. Hugh O’Neill and Red Hugh O’Donnell are heavily defeated by Mountjoy
1810 – John O’Connell, politician, is born in Dublin
1889 – Captain William O’Shea files for divorce, citing Parnell as his wife Kitty’s lover, thus causing moral outrage and the next loss of Parnell’s political power

December 25
1185 – Around Christmas, a crown that Henry had sought from the papacy for John’s use as king of Ireland is delivered, but will never be used
1351 – William Ó Ceallaigh, chief of Uí Mhaine, holds a great Christmas feast for the bards of Ireland
1824 – William Lawless, United Irishmen and officer in Napoleon’s Irish Legion, dies in Paris
1829 – Patrick Sarsfield Gilmore, bandmaster and composer, is born in Co. Dublin
1844 – Rev. William Steel Dickson, Presbyterian minister and United Irishmen supporter, is born in Co. Antrim
1860 – Patrick Dinneen (Pádraig Ó Duinnín) priest, lexicographer and editor, is born in Rathmore, Co. Kerry

December 26
1998 – Former IRA Chief of Staff, Cathal Goulding, dies in a Dublin hospital
1999 – Hundreds of people walk through the Glen of the Downs in a show of solidarity with eco warriors, despite a Government order closing off the nature reserve to the public
December 27
1601 – Red Hugh O’Donnell leaves Ireland for Spain; Hugh O’Neill withdraws to Ulster
1791 – 68 conservative members secede from the Catholic Committee, which thereby becomes more militant
1849 – James Fintan Lalor, Young Irelander, dies
1904 – The Abbey Theatre opens with productions of Yeat’s “On Baile’s Strand” and “Cathleen ni Houlihan”, as well as Lady Gregory’s “Spreading the News”
1904 – George Bernard Shaw’s John Bull’s Other Island is performed in London
1960 – Death of Elizabeth Crotty, Irish traditional musician and activist for Comhaltas Ceoltóiri Éireann
1969 – Dan Breen, IRA leader during War of Independence dies
1997 – A leading protestant paramilitary, Billy Wright, is shot dead at the maximum security Maze prison in Northern Ireland
2002 – A young man is “executed” in north Belfast as the simmering feud among loyalist paramilitaries erupts

December 28
1795 – Lord Gosford, Governor of Armagh declares the Orange Order a “lawless banditti”
1880 – The trial of Parnell and others for conspiracy begins on this date
1997 – The British government orders the deployment of the SAS in Mid-Ulster in a bid to thwart another Loyalist Volunteer Force outrage as IRA commanders in Tyrone meet in emergency session in an effort to keep the lid on the Provo ceasefire

December 29
1864 – The National Association of Ireland is founded in Dublin, backed by the Catholic hierarchy and intended to foster cooperation with English radicals to promote disestablishment of the Church of Ireland
1876 – The Society for the Preservation of the Irish Language is formed in Dublin
1997 – Secretary of State Mo Mowlam holds day-long crisis talks with security chiefs and prison officials amid renewed calls for her resignation and fears that breakaway loyalist and republican terror bosses will ruthlessly exploit any political vacuum

December 30
1997 – Key files from the Department of Defence, the Department of Justice and the Office of the Attorney General relating to the Arms Crisis of 1970 are discovered to be missing from the State archives
1997 – Thousands of loyalists pack the streets of Portadown for the funeral of LVF commander Billy Wright
December 31
1930 – The appointment of Letitia Dunbar-Harrison as Mayo County Librarian leads to controversy, for reasons related to her lack of Irish-language skill, her disregard of local patronage, and the fact that she’s a Protestant; Mayo County Council is dissolved by ministerial order on this date
1975 – The Anti-Discrimination (Pay) Act establishes the right to equal pay for equal or like work and provides a system whereby this right may be attained and enforced.

December 15
1760 – John MacNaghten, a gambler, duellist and criminal, is hanged at Strabane jail for his involvement in the killing of Mary Anne Knox, daughter of Andrew Knox MP. At the first attempt to hang him, the rope breaks but, ignoring offers from the crowd to help him make his escape, he declares that he does not wish to be known for ever as ‘half-hung McNaghten’ and asks the hangman to proceed
1899 – Irish units of the Boer army face the Dublin Fusiliers, Connaught Rangers and the Inniskillings in the battle of Colenso
1971 – Death of General Richard Mulcahy, Irish Volunteer and TD
1993 – Albert Reynolds and John Major sign the Downing Street Declaration: if the IRA stops its campaign for three months, Sinn Féin will be allowed to join all-party talks.


December 16
1653 – Oliver Cromwell becomes Lord Protector of Ireland
1922 – Arthur Griffith and his ministers assume seat of government at Dublin Castle
1939 – Barney McKenna of the Dubliners is born
1987 – Fairytale of New York by the Pogues and Kirsty McColl reaches no. 2 in the British charts
1999 – Padraic Wilson, a senior republican tipped to represent the IRA in disarmament talks, is given an early release from Northern Ireland’s top security Maze Prison

December 17
1803 – Rebel leader Michael Dwyer, whose guerrilla attacks had maddened British colonial authorities since 1798, surrenders
1885 – The results of newspaper reports of Gladstone’s conversion to Home Rule, following the general election, gives Parnellites the balance of power
1971 – Soldier and politician General Richard Mulcahy dies in Dublin
1983 – An IRA car bomb kills 3 police officers and 3 shoppers outside Harrods in London’s Knightsbridge; scores are injured
1997 – New regulations are unveiled which confer sweeping discretionary powers on Departmental officials responsible for processing asylum applications, including the authority to summarily deport foreigners
1997 – British Prime Minister Tony Blair makes a fleeting visit to Belfast in a bid to boost the faltering peace process
1998 – Danny McNamee’s12-year campaign to clear his name of a terrorist conviction ends in triumph
1999 – The State announces the purchase of the 550 acre Battle of the Boyne site for about £9 million. The seller is an unidentified businessman.


December 18
1781 – Barry Yelverton introduces the bill that will become Yelverton’s Act; the bill is an amendment of Poyning’s Act and states that only bills passed by both Irish houses of Parliament would be forwarded to England for assent (see entry for July 27, 1782)
1980 – Prisoners in Armagh and Long Kesh end their hunger strike on promises of political status. The promises are not kept
1998 – The Loyalist Volunteer Force becomes the first terrorist group in Northern Ireland to decommission some of its weapons
2000 – A boating accident in Mexico claims the life of singer Kirsty MacColl. She was best known for her vocals alongside The Pogues’ Shane McGowan on the 1987 Christmas No 1, Fairytale of New York
2001 – The Conservative Party ends more than three decades of co-operation over Northern Ireland in protest at the British government’s plans to allow Sinn Féin MPs to use offices at Westminster
2002 – According to the latest census figures, the prospect of a Catholic majority in Northern Ireland is fast becoming a reality
2002 – The Irish and British governments issue firm assurances about the temporary nature of arrangements in operation during the current suspension of the elected Northern Ireland Assembly

December 19
1877 – Land League organizer, Michael Davitt, is released from Dartmoor Prison
1972 – Thin Lizzy reach no. 1 in the Irish charts with Whiskey In The Jar
1973 – The Supreme Court in Dublin decides by a majority of four to one that a ban on contraceptives is unconstitutional
1974 – Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh is inaugurated as the fifth president of the Irish Republic following the death of Erskine Childers
1999 – Sinn Féin says it has no knowledge that Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness are to be given Westminster offices without having to swear an oath of allegiance
2002 – Unionist leader David Trimble walks out of talks aimed at restoring the North’s government and parliament after documents leaked in Dublin say the IRA is still active
2002 – In Limerick, hundreds take part part in a candlelit peace march to express their sympathy and support for families who have lost loved ones through violence

December 20
1865 – Birth in Dublin of Maud Gonne McBride, revolutionary and patriot, who dedicates her life to the attainment of an independent Irish nation
1961 – Robert McGladdery is hanged in Belfast for murder: his is the last judicial execution in Ireland
1998 – There is renewed speculation that the IRA will make a token gesture on the issue of decommissioning before 1998 passes into history
2000 – The bomb making capacity of dissident terrorists is severely dented with the seizure of almost 400 sticks of Frangex commercial plastic explosive in Co. Kilkenny

December 21
1796 – A French fleet under General Hoche with Wolfe Tone, 43 vessels and 14,500 men sails from Brest in December and is scattered by storms; 36 ships arrive at Bantry Bay but do not attempt a landing and return to France, thus preventing what might have been an Irish/French victory over the English
1919 – Dáil Éireann meets for the first time and elects Eamon de Valera as President of Ireland
1948 – Republic of Ireland Act passed by Dáil
1985 – Progressive Democrats founded by Dan O’Malley, Mary Harney, and other former members of Fianna Fáil, following split within party

In the Celtic Calendar, today is the Winter Solstice – the shortest day of the year. In Dublin, on this date, the sun will rise at 8:39 am and set at 4:09pm, giving just seven hours and 30 minutes of daylight. In Belfast, the day is even shorter. The sun will rise at 8:43 and set at 3:59.

December 8
1896 – Death of Isabella Maria Susan Tod, Irish women’s rights activist
1922 – Liam Mellows, Rory O’Connor, Joseph McKelvey and Richard Barrett, Irish patriots – one from each of the four provinces – are executed by the Free State forces

1980 – Haughey and Thatcher meet in Dublin and agree to consider ‘the totality of relationships within these islands’

2002 – Hundreds of anti-war demonstrators march on Shannon airport in protest at the continued use of the airport by the US Air Force in preparation for possible war in the Gulf

December 9

1973 – At Sunningdale, Berkshire, British Prime Minister Edward Heath, Irish premier Liam Cosgrave, and representatives of the Ulster Unionist Party, the Social Democratic and Labour Party and the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland, sign an historic agreement to set up a Council of Ireland

2000 – Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern arrives for the third day of the European Summit in Nice. Leaders of the 15 EU states have convened in this heavily guarded city to tackle a tough agenda which centers on the future structure of the European Union and the integration of new member states

2005 – Nearly 150,000 people take to the streets as the Irish Ferries protest mushroomed into the largest public demonstration the country has seen for two decades.
2005 – President Mary McAleese and Queen Elizabeth II meet in Northern Ireland. According to President McAleese, this historic event could clear the way for an unprecedented State visit. No British monarch has made such a trip since George V visited Dublin in 1911, a decade before partition.

December 10
1479 – Garret More Fitzgerald of Kildare, the ‘Great Earl’, holds a parliament in Dublin from 10 December; it will run, with adjournments, into 1481
1920 – Martial law is imposed in Cork, Kerry, Limerick and Tipperary
1977 – Mairead Corrigan and Betty Williams receive the Nobel Peace Prize
1998 – The Irish and British governments launch a fresh search for a breakthrough in the Northern Ireland peace process in the wake of the joint award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Ulster’s political leaders David Trimble and John Hume
1999 – Taoiseach Bertie Ahern says that a lasting end to the Northern Ireland conflict is now well in sight
2000 – Following four days of marathon talks in Nice, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern defeats European Union efforts to directly influence Ireland’s taxation policy


December 11
1905 – Birth of Erskine Childers, Ireland’s fourth president (1973-1974)
1920 – Martial law is declared in Ireland. Black and Tans and Auxiliaries go on a rampage of burning, rape and looting in Cork
1931 – Statute of Westminster is passed by British Parliament giving Dominion parliaments, including the Free State, equal status of the Imperial Parliament at Westminster
1936 – In the wake of the abdication of Edward VIII, the Dáil passes legislation removing the King from the Irish Constitution and abolishing the position of Governor General
1956 – The Irish Republican Army (IRA) begins what it calls “The Campaign of Resistance to British Occupation”; it is also known as the ‘Border Campaign’. As a result of the campaign, Internment is introduced in both Northern Ireland and the Republic. The campaign ends on 26 February 1962 because of lack of support
1998 – Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and British Prime Minister Tony Blair meet in Vienna; they fail to find new ways of breaking the deadlock in the row over implementing the Good Friday Agreement
2002 – The replica famine ship, the Jeanie Johnston, arrives in Dublin after final fittings in Cork.

December 12
1883 – Birth in Dublin of Peadar Kearney, songwriter, revolutionary and house-painter; he is famous for writing the words of the Irish national anthem
1920 – Birth of Christy Ring in Cloyne, Co. Cork. His 24-year career record earned him a reputation as the greatest hurler of all time
1920 – Black & Tans continue their attacks in Cork
1957 – The IRA begins a violent four-year campaign in Northern Ireland
1975 – A six-day siege on Balcombe Street in London ends peacefully after four IRA gunmen free their two hostages and give themselves up to police
1997 – The Taoiseach and the British Prime Minister Tony Blair invite the key players in the talks into a 12-week negotiating blitz beginning in the New Year
2000 – At a farewell reception in Dundalk, US President Bill Clinton makes an emotional plea to the people of Ireland: “redouble your efforts for peace”
2001 – Intelligence agent William Stobie is gunned down in Belfast by former associates


December 13
1779 – British goods are boycotted in Ireland; armed Volunteers parade in College Green, Dublin in November and demand ‘a free trade or else’ (i.e. the removal of restrictions on Irish trade with the colonies). This demand is granted on this date
1867 – An explosion at Clerkenwell gaol in London, intended to aid in the escape of two Fenians, causes several deaths and injuries
1955 – Grace Gifford Plunkett, Irish patriot, dies
1997 – Over a thousand people take to the streets of Dublin in a theatrical spectacle called “Féile Fáilte” to protest racism, particularly against refugees
2000 – Crowds roaring their approval greet Bill and Hillary Clinton on stage at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast, confirming the first couple’s enduring popularity in Northern Ireland
2001 – Queen’s University honours Manchester United legend, George Best, with an honorary doctorate in recognition of his services to football

December 14

1822 – A ‘bottle riot’ takes place on this date. Missiles are thrown at the vice-regal box during a performance in a Dublin theatre as a result of Wellesley banning celebrations in memory of William III
1831 – A process server and 12 policemen are killed by tithe protesters at Carrickshock, Co. Kilkenny
1900 – Maud Gonne and Paul Kruger (former president of the Transvaal) are offered the freedom of Limerick by the city council
1918 – Sinn Féin, pledged to an Irish Republic, wins 73 of 105 Irish MP seats. Winners include Constance Markievicz who becomes the first woman elected to the Parliament of England
1921 – Dáil Éireann begins Anglo-Irish treaty debate
1955 – The Republic of Ireland becomes a member of the United Nations
1965 – An Anglo-Irish free trade agreement is signed; the UK and Ireland undertake to establish a free trade area by the mid-1970s
1985 – Jack Charlton quits as Ireland manager
2001 – Garda technical experts examine 180 rounds of ammunition found on the outskirts of Cork city which they believe may be connected to the Real IRA.

December 1
1494 – Poynings Law enacted. This forbids the Irish parliament to convene without the King’s prior permission, and all intended legislation has to be approved by him
1848 – The paddle steamer The Londonderry, with immigrants fleeing the famine, takes shelter in Derry harbour. When the covers are removed from the hold it is discovered that 72 men, women and children have suffocated
1890 – Six days of Irish Parliamentary Party debates begin, only to end in a split, with the majority opposing Parnell
1901 – Fenian Thomas Clarke Luby dies in New York. Luby was born in Dublin in 1821. He was the son of a Church of Ireland minister and graduate of Trinity College. His first political experience was in the Young Ireland movement
1998 – President Bill Clinton contacts First Minister, David Trimble, and his deputy, Seamus Mallon, in a bid to save the stalled Northern Ireland peace process
1999 – The British Prime Minister, Tony Blair hails the transfer of powers to Stormont as “one giant step forward”

December 2
1791 – Death in Kilkenny of Henry Flood, founder of the movement which forces Britain to grant legislative independence to Ireland
1811 – The Kildare Place Society is formed to maintain non-denominational schools and to promote the education of the poor
1865 – The Fenian senate deposes founder John O’Mahoney as president, replacing him with William Roberts
1998 – In an effort to break the deadlock in the stalled Northern Ireland political process, British Premier Tony Blair holds intensive discussions with David Trimble and Seamus Mallon at Stormont
1999 – The Good Friday Agreement comes into operation as the British and Irish governments formally notify each other that all the necessary arrangements are in place.The notification ceremony takes place at Iveagh House, St Stephen’s Green, headquarters of the Department of Foreign Affairs, at a joint signing by Foreign Affairs Minister, David Andrews, and the Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Peter Mandelson
1999 – The IRA appoints an unnamed representative to enter into talks with General John de Chastelain on decommissioning

December 3
1792 – Beginning on this date and continuing through December 8, a Catholic Convention is held in Tailors’ Hall, Dublin to demand abolition of the remaining penal laws; a petition is presented to the king in London
1993 – Two bombs explode in the center of Manchester, injuring 65 people; the IRA claims responsibility the following day
1996 – Six officers are hurt as loyalists attack police with fireworks, bottles and stones in Portadown, Co Armagh
2002 – Ulster Unionist leader, David Trimble, says there is little point in proceeding with multi-party talks in the North if the IRA refuses to address the need to give up all paramilitary activity.

December 4
1882 – John Curran, Dublin magistrate, opens a special inquiry into the Phoenix Park murders, in which Parnell is falsely implicated
1887 – Winifred Carney, trade unionist and revolutionary, is born in Bangor, Co. Down
1971 – The UVF claims responsibility for a bomb blast which kills 17 people in a Belfast pub
1983 – SAS soldiers involved in an undercover operation in Northern Ireland shoot and kill two IRA gunmen and injure a third man who escapes

December 5
1921 – After lengthy negotiations, the British give the Irish a deadline to accept or reject the Anglo-Irish treaty. In the words of Lloyd George, rejection would mean “immediate and terrible war”
1976 – A rally of twelve to fifteen thousand Peace People from both north and south takes place at the new bridge over the Boyne at Drogheda
1998 – The IRA Army Council and up to 60 Provisionals meet at a secret location near the border to debate arms decommissioning
2000 – The IRA reaffirms its commitment to putting arms beyond use in a statement issued in advance of President Bill Clinton’s visits to Dublin and Belfast
2001 – Police and custom officers on both sides of the Border smash a multi-million pound smuggling operation with links to dissident paramilitary groups

December 6
1679 – St. Oliver Plunkett, Archbishop of Armagh, is accused of instigating the “Irish Popish” Plot and arrested
1921 – Representatives of the Irish government appointed by President Eamon de Valera, and those negotiating for the Crown sign the Anglo-Irish Treaty, ending the Irish War of Independence against England. Michael Collins declares: “I have signed my own death warrant”
1922 – The Irish Free State, Saorstát Éireann, comes into being

December 7
1688 – Thirteen ‘Apprentice Boys’ refuse to let a Catholic army into Derry/Londonderry (7 December); Tyrconnell backs down and allows the city to keep its Protestant garrison. Enniskillen also defies James II
1879 – Birth in Tralee, Co. Kerry of Austin Stack, anti-Treaty nationalist
1922 – The six counties of Northern Ireland opt out of the Free State
1972 – “Special position” of the Catholic Church is removed by referendum from Irish constitution

1998 – The IRA makes an historic decision to start decommissioning following an IRA Army Convention meeting in Donegal

November 22
1869 – Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa, Fenian, contests and wins a Tipperary by-election in abstentia, but is declared ineligible as a convicted felon
1919 – Birth of Máire Drumm, Irish Republican, in Newry, Co. Armagh
1963 – The first Roman Catholic president of the United States, John F. Kennedy, is assassinated in Dallas, Texas
1974 – Hugh Callaghan, Patrick Hill, Robert Hunter, Noel McIlkenny, William Power and John Walker, who become known as “The Birmingham Six” are charged in connection with pub bombings which took place earlier in the week. Nineteen people were killed.
They are found guilty in August 1975 of carrying out the bombings and sentenced to life imprisonment. But they are released after 16 years in jail when their convictions are quashed by the Court of Appeal in May 1991. The real bombers are never prosecuted and no group has ever admitted planting devices. Three detectives are charged with perjury and conspiracy in connection with the investigation, but their trial is halted in 1993 on the grounds of prejudicial media coverage. The six men finally agree undisclosed compensation settlements in June 2002 – more than 10 years after they are freed.
1998 – Security forces in Northern Ireland brace themselves as fears grow over a new bomb-blitz alert, the first since the Omagh massacre
1999 – The North’s politicians are given an ultimatum when the British Government warns it will pull the plug on the planned Stormont institutions if the IRA fails to decommission its arms
1999 – A timetable for the transfer of power to an inclusive Northern Ireland executive is outlined to the House of Commons
2000 – Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams meets with Bertie Ahern on the forth coming Irish Budget
November 23
11845 – Charlotte Grace O’Brien, social reformer who campaigned against conditions on emigrant ships, is born
1867 – Fenians Michael Larkin, William Philip Allen, and Michael O’Brien – the “Manchester Martyrs” – are executed
1913 – Irish Citizen Army is founded in Dublin by James Larkin
November 24
1865 – Two weeks after being arrested, James Stephens escapes from Richmond prison, Dublin
1922 – Irish republican Erskine Childers is executed by the Free State government
1940 – Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, Sir James Craig, dies peacefully at his home on this date and is succeeded by the Minister of Finance John Andrews
1942 – Death of Peadar Kearney, writer of the Irish National Anthem, “A Soldier’s Song”
1972 – The RTÉ authority is replaced by the government after RTÉ broadcasts a radio interview with IRA leader Seán Mac Stiofáin
November 25
1713 – The second Irish parliament of Queen Anne sits from this date to 24 December. The Whig Alan Brodrick is elected Speaker for the second time, in place of John Forster, after a stormy contest with the government’s Tory nominee, Sir Richard Levinge
1784 – Napper Tandy asks for parliamentary reform for Ireland
1906 – Birth in Belfast of Saidie Paterson, trade unionist and peace activist
1913 – The Irish Volunteers, a militant nationalist splinter of the Irish Parliamentary Party and nationalist version of the 18th-century Ulster Volunteers, is founded by Eoin MacNeill at a mass meeting at the Rotunda, Dublin
November 26
1791 – First convicts from Ireland arrive in New South Wales, Australia
1955 – Saor Uladh (Free Ulster) a splinter group of the IRA, attacks the police barracks in Rosslea, Co. Fermanagh
1972 – RTÉ Journalist Kevin O’Kelly is imprisoned for contempt of court arising out of an interview with then Provisional IRA chief Séan MacStiofáin. Mr O’Kelly had refused to identify his interviewee in court
1972: Eight armed men protesting against the imprisonment of IRA leader Sean MacStiofain try to rescue him from a Dublin hospital. Police foil the attempt
1998 – Prime Minister Tony Blair makes a historic address to the Houses of the Oireacthas.
November 27
1906 – Death of Michael Cusack, one of the founders of the GAA.
1975 – Guinness Book of Records co-founder and editor Ross McWhirter dies of wounds inflicted by Irish gunmen; an outspoken critic of the IRA, the BBC Records Breaker presenter had recently offered a £50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of IRA bombers.
November 28
1863 – Foundation of the Fenian newspaper, “Irish People”; John O’Leary is the editor
1899 -Irish units in the Boer army fight in the battle of Modder River
1905 The Irish political party Sinn Féin is founded in Dublin by Arthur Griffith
1920 – An entire patrol of 18 auxiliaries at Kilmichael, west Cork, is wiped out by a flying column under the command of General Tom Barry in what would be one of the most effective and bloody IRA ambushes of the war.
November 29
1330 – Edward III, on attaining his majority, executes Mortimer on this date and banishes his own mother, Isabella. This revolutionizes the political situation in Ireland and England
1641 – The Ulster rebels defeat the government forces at Julianstown Bridge
1740 – Edward Sewell, a “couple-beggar” – i.e. a clergyman who conducts illegal marriages involving Catholics and Protestants – is hanged at Stephen’s Green
1783 – Ulster Volunteers’ parliamentary reform bill is rejected by the Irish Parliament at College Green
1895 – Death of Denny Lane, Young Irelander, author and poet
1993 – The Conservative government has come under attack in the Commons over the revelations it has had secret contacts with the IRA
1998 – IRA leaders are on the brink of making a goodwill gesture which could kick-start the stalled North peace process
1999 – Pressure grows on the Provisional IRA to hand over weapons in the wake of Northern Ireland’s first power sharing Government in 25 years

October 8
1822 – Birth in Dublin of Richard D’Alton Williams. He is educated at Carlow Academy and studies medicine at Saint Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin. He becomes a member of the Young Ireland movement and contributes poetry to The Nation under the pseudonym ‘Shamrock’. In 1848, he is tried for treason for articles he publishes in the Irish Tribune, but he is successfully defended by lawyer and fellow poet Samuel Ferguson
1974 – Seán MacBride, President of the International Peace Bureau, Geneva, Switzerland, and President of the Commission of Namibia, United Nations, New York, USA, is awarded a half share of the Nobel Peace Prize
Photo Credit:
1998 – Minister for Defence, Michael Smith TD strongly defends his decision to close down six army barracks after several delegates stage a walk-out at the PDFORRA conference in Ennis, Co Clare
1999 – On the grounds of Belfast City Hall, a six-foot statue is dedicated to the memory of the late James Magennis. He is finally honoured in his native Belfast 54 years after he was awarded the Victoria Cross for gallantry during the Second World War
2000 – Catholic bishops begin a three-day meeting in Maynooth during which they will attempt to reach agreement on the ordination of lay people as deacons
2000 – More than 40,000 jubilant supporters turn out to welcome the victorious Co. Kerry football team and the Sam Maguire Cup back to the Kingdom
2001 – Six Counties political institutions are plunged into a new crisis as Ulster Unionists begin a phased withdrawal of ministers from the power-sharing executive
2002 – Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams claims that the raid on his party’s Stormont offices last week is a plot to throw the peace process into crisis. (Which of course it was. As time later showed the event was not much short of a coup. It could be likened to the NSDAP ordering storm-troopers raid opposition party offices. No one on the left in Britland or elsewhere seems to bat an eye lid. An Fíníneach called it for what it was at the the time)*
2002 – Catholic Bishops back the Nice Treaty, stating there is a stronger case for voting in favour than against.

October 9
1651 – The Navigation Act provides that goods imported to any Commonwealth lands shall be carried in English ships only
1849 – First tenant protection society established at Callan, Co. Kilkenny.
1968 – Champion racehorse, Arkle, is retired to see out the rest of his days in Bryanstown, Kildare
2000 – The Dinn Ri, Carlow Town, Co. Carlow, scoops the Black & White Pub of the Year Award for a third time
2001 – Nearly 450 jobs are lost as the economic fallout from the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the US continues to hit home. More than 1,600 workers at Waterford Crystal are also preparing for a complete shutdown next week for five days
2002 – SDLP Leader Mark Durkan urges the British and Irish Governments to do everything possible to minimise the damage to the Good Friday Agreement. Following talks in Downing Street with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Mr Durkan acknowledges that the power-sharing government in Stormont may have to be suspended after allegations of an IRA spy ring operating within the Northern Ireland Government [Again, everyone apart from Sinn Féin and An Fíníneach along with very few individuals fail to see what the allegations were — An attempt to criminalise Sinn Féin and negate it’s mandate.]*
2003 – The famous cranes at Belfast’s Harland and Wolff shipyard, which dominate the city’s skyline, are listed as historic monuments to ensure their preservation.

October 10
1084 – Patrick, Bishop of Dublin, dies in a shipwreck
1771 – During his visit to Ireland, Benjamin Franklin attends a meeting of the House of Commons on this date
1790 – Birth in Co. Tipperary of Fr. Theobald Matthew, “The Apostle of Temperance” and campaigner against alcohol
1865 – Magee College is opened as a combined arts and Presbyterian theological college in Derry/Londonderry
1899 – Irish Transvaal Committee is formed to aid Boers against the English
1969 – The Hunt Committee Report on Ulster police recommends abolition of the B-special troops and the creation of the Ulster Defence Regiment [In other words, and as history showed, this meant the renaming of the b-specials with the the new moniker in an attempt to suggest the organisation was more than just a Government sponsored Loyalist paramilitary group. The attempt succeeded and the UDR was/is generally accepted as a legitimate army. Catholics were especially encorouged to join to aid in the charade. Sadly around 900 did.]*
1971 – Birth in Cork of Roy Keane, football player for the Cobh Ramblers, Nottingham Forest, Manchester United, Celtic and the Republic of Ireland
1981 The Fureys reach no. 14 in the British charts with When You Were Sweet Sixteen
1998 – THE IRA and Sinn Féin embark on a series of secret talks with Protestant churchmen and community leaders in a bid to prevent the peace process and the new Northern Ireland Assembly foundering
2000 – Taooiseach Bertie Ahern and British Prime Minister, Tony Blair signal the start of a concerted attempt to rescue the faltering Northern Ireland peace process
2001 – Taoiseach Bertie Ahern joins the ranks of the publicly contrite world leaders when he finally apologises to three journalists for the tapping of their telephones in the early ’80s
2002 – After 22 years at the National Museum in Dublin, an eighth-century silver chalice, silver paten and stand and a decorated bronze strainer ladle are returned to their original resting place at the monastic site of Derrynaflan, near Littleton Bog, Co Tipperary.

October 11
1649 – Massacre at Wexford when the town falls to Cromwell
1703 – John Asgill, newly elected MP for Enniscorthy, is expelled from the Irish parliament on this date on account of a pamphlet he published in Dublin in 1698, arguing that man may pass into eternal life without dying. The pamphlet is burned by the common hangman. He will spend much of the rest of his life in prison in England, for blasphemy or for matters arising from land speculation in Ireland
1921 – Anglo-Irish negotiations open with Griffith and Collins leading the Irish delegation
1922 – The Irish Constitution for the Free State, drafted by the Thomas Cosgrove Dáil, is adopted
1974 – Adoption of the Celtic League American Branch
1999 – Hospitals begin scaling down their services after nurses vote overwhelmingly to go on strike
1999 – Taoiseach Bertie Ahern pays tribute to Mo Mowlam’s courage and understanding after it emerges that she is leaving her Northern Ireland post
2000 – In an historic move, Ireland’s Bishops vote at the autumn meeting of the Irish Bishop’s Conference in St Patrick’s College, Maynooth to seek the permission of Pope John Paul II to establish a Permanent Diaconate in Ireland. What this means is that Irish men will be ordained as deacons in the Catholic Church within the next five years and will have powers to officiate at weddings, baptisms and funerals
2002 – Geraldine Kennedy is appointed editor of The Irish Times and becomes the first female editor of a national daily newspaper

October 12
1645 Archbishop Rinuccini arrives in Ireland
1798 – French fleet intercepted off Donegal. Wolfe Tone captured when the Hoche strikes its colors
1970 – Founding in Dublin of what is considered by some to be the first Celtic rock band, Horslips
1975 – Sir Oliver Plunkett is canonised
1999 – Former US Senator George Mitchell moves his make or break review of the Good Friday Agreement to London, just hours after new Secretary of State Peter Mandelson arrives in Northern Ireland to meet the North’s political leaders
2000 – Roman Catholic and Protestant Bishops are on a collision course following Archbishop Dr Desmond O’ Connell’s backing of the controversial document “Dominus Iesus” which proclaims the Catholic Church to be the one true church
2002 – Paddy’s Bar, owned by Cork woman Natalia Daly, is destroyed in a series of explosions which kill more than 200 people in Bali. Most of those killed or injured are Australian tourists; the dead and injured also include Swiss, Germans, Swedes, Americans, Britons and Italians. Three Irish people are still unaccounted for.

October 13
1494 – Poynings lands at Howth and summons a parliament to Drogheda. He then campaigns in the north
1729 – William Conolly resigns as Speaker of the Irish House of Commons on grounds of ill health. Sir Ralph Gore is elected unanimously in his place
1881 – Charles Stewart Parnell and others are arrested for Land League activities
1923 – Republican prisoners in Mountjoy prison begin mass hunger strike
2000 – Provisional IRA gunmen are blamed by some for the murder of an alleged leading member of the RIRA, Joseph “Jo Jo” O’Connor who is shot dead in West Belfast.  [The original source cited JO JO as a leading member of the CIRA. I have, I think, corrected the oversight. If I’m wrong then, it is up to anyone who thinks so to tell me and I’ll correct it or amend it]*
2002 – Three Irish tourists are among 25 people still unaccounted for following a massive bomb blast which ripped through two packed bars on the Indonesian resort island of Bali.

October 14
1702 – Irish Brigade of France fights in the battle of Friedlingen
1767 – George Townshend, 4th Viscount Townshend, becomes Lord Lieutenant of Ireland
1783 – Edmond Sexton Pery is unanimously re-elected as Speaker of the Irish parliament
1791 – Wolfe Tone visits Belfast for the first time; the Society of United Irishmen is founded there on this date by Tone, Henry Joy McCracken, Thomas Russell and Samuel Neilson
1814 – Birth of author and patriot, Thomas Osborne Davis in Mallow, Co. Cork
1880 – Nationalist and Gaelic League activist, Mary Ellen Spring-Rice is born
1882 – Eamon de Valera, nationalist campaigner, Fianna Fáil leader, Taoiseach and president of Ireland, is born in Brooklyn, New York of a Spanish father and an Irish mother
1920 – Tipperary IRA man, Sean Treacy, is killed in a gun battle in Talbot Street, Dublin
1932 – Between October 4 and this date, strikes, marches and protests are held in Belfast against low unemployment payments, temporarily uniting Catholic and Protestant unemployed; payments are raised
1999 – More than 1,000 mourners gather in Belfast for the funeral of Patrick Campbell, a hard line republican paramilitary who was murdered in a drugs dispute [Patrick Campbell was a member of INLA and was apparently killed by drug dealers. There is no evedence as far as I know that Parick Campbell was involved with drugs apart from fighting them]*
2001 – The first multiple State funeral is held in honour of 10 IRA Volunteers, including Kevin Barry, who were executed for their role in the War of Independence. More than 80 years after they were buried in the grounds of Mountjoy Prison, the bodies of the 10 men were exhumed and reinterred in a special new plot at Glasnevin Cemetery. The ten men were Kevin Barry, Thomas Bryan, Patrick Doyle, Frank Flood, Patrick Moran, Thomas Whelan, Bernard Ryan, Thomas Traynor, Edmond Foley and Patrick Maher.
* Entries edited by An Fíníneach

October 1
1751 – Cornelius Bolton, politician, Volunteer and improving landlord is born
1761 – In the climate of sectarian tension created partly by the Mathew-Maude controversy, the Whiteboys, a violent agrarian protest movement, begins in Tipperary and spreads through Munster and West Leinster
1911 – Statue of Charles Stewart Parnell is unveiled in Dublin
1979 – RTÉ broadcasts Pope John Paul II’s visit to Ireland
2001 – Journalists from all over Ireland gather to pay tribute to colleague Martin O’Hagan who was gunned down last week. More than 1,500 people attend his funeral in his hometown of Lurgan, County Armagh

October 2
1600 – O’Neill engages Mountjoy’s forces in the Battle of Moyry Pass
1833 – Birth of Father William Corby who became Chaplain of the Irish Brigade in Detroit, Michigan
1852 – William O’Brien, writer and nationalist, is born in Mallow, Co. Cork
1879 – Kate Coll arrives in New York from Ireland on board the SS Nevada. She later marries Juan Vivion de Valera, and gives birth to Éamon on October 14, 1882 in New York
1900 – Hubert Butler, writer and local historian, is born near Bennettsbridge, Co. Kilkenny
1942 – The British cruiser Curaçao sinks off Donegal after colliding with the Queen Mary; 338 lives are lost

October 3
1691– Treaty of Limerick is signed by Ginkel and Sarsfield, ending the Williamite War in Ireland; the treaty allows evacuation of the Irish army to France and promises tolerance of Irish Catholics
1750 – James McLaine, gentleman highwayman born in Monaghan, is hanged at Tyburn
1871 – Gen. John O’Neill and a small force of Fenians invade Canada at Pembina, Manitoba
1961 – Ireland applies for membership of the European Economic Community on 1 August and joins UNESCO on this date
1966 – Birth of Niall Quinn, footballer
1971 – Death of Seán Ó Riada, founder, composer, and arranger for the Chieftains. He composed Mná na hÉireann (Women of Ireland). Guided by his vision, traditional music changed radically, and became accessible to a modern Irish audience, and through this traditional music, the cultural life of Ireland was invigorated. (taken from the book “Bringing It All Back Home” by Nuala O Connor)
1975 – Dr Tiede Herrema, chief executive of the Dutch-owned Ferenka factory in Ballyvarra, County Limerick, is kidnapped by the IRA
1981 – In the Maze Prison, Northern Ireland, ten IRA and INLA hunger-strikers die between 5 May and 12 August; the hunger strike is called off on this date
2002 – Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness condemns a weekend gun attack on a bus driver in his home city of Derry which police believe was the work of the IRA.
October 4
1582 – Pope Gregory reforms the calendar introduced by Julius Caesar in 45BCE: 4 October is followed by 15 October. However, the reform will not be implemented in Ireland till 1752
1693 – Irish Brigade of France fights in the battle of Marsaglia
1733 – Henry Boyle, the future Earl of Shannon, is unanimously elected Speaker of the Irish parliament. He will serve till 1756 – the longest-serving Speaker of the 1692-1800 parliaments
1842 – Birth of heavyweight bare-knuckle boxer Jim Dunne in Co. Kildare.
Dunne won the American heavyweight title from fellow Irishman Jim Elliot – the pair were jailed after the illegal event
1961 – General election is held in the Republic. Fianna Fáil gains 70 of the 144 seats
2001 – Cork will be Europe’s Culture Capital in 2005 after landing the prestigious title ahead of Galway
2002 – Thousands of people from all over the country march in protest over redundancy payments
2002 – The North’s police service launch dawn raids on Sinn Féin’s offices at the Northern Ireland parliament at Stormont

October 5
1731 – Parliament meets at the new parliament house in College Green for the first time
1878 – New York Gaelic Society is formed
1923 – Birth of Philip Berrigan – militant priest, Virginia, Minn
1924 – John Joe Barry, athlete who is known as ‘the Ballincurry Hare’, is born
1968 – Police clash with Derry civil rights marchers, giving birth to the civil rights organization People’s Democracy
2000 – With pressure growing on Trimble to withdraw from the Northern Ireland power sharing executive, parliamentary colleague William Thompson, the West Tyrone MP is quoted as saying ‘‘He is on the skids and he cannot survive’
2000 – In one of the largest operations in the history of the State, over 150 gardaí and officers from the FBI search a warehouse and distribution center. At the centre of the investigation is a Shannon based company that is alleged to have sold counterfeit aircraft parts to aircraft maintenance and repair facilities
2000 – Ireland’s ban on tobacco advertising stands despite the decision by the European Court of Justice to knock down an EU wide ban
2001 – Former NI First Minister David Trimble announces plans to go to the House of Lords after failing to overturn a ruling that his ban on Sinn Fein ministers attending cross-Border meetings is illegal
2001 – Ten thousand rail travellers are delayed when Dublin’s Heuston railway station closed because of a bomb alert

October 6
1175 – Under the Treaty of Windsor, concluded on this date, Rory O’Connor recognizes Henry as his overlord and agrees to collect tribute for him from all parts of Ireland. Henry agrees that O’Connor can be king of the areas not conquered by the Normans. But O’Connor cannot control the territories of which he is nominally king, and Henry and his barons annex further land without consulting him
1216 – The union of the diocese of Glendalough with that of Dublin, having been promulgated by Pope Innocent III last year, is confirmed by Pope Honorius III
1798 – Grattan removed from Irish Privy Council, falsely charged with being a sworn member of United Irishmen
1891 – Death of Charles Stewart Parnell, champion of tenants rights and co-founder of the Land League; often called the “Uncrowned King of Ireland”
1928 – Death of Galway man Pádraic Ó Conaire, who was among the first writers to develop a new modern literature in the Irish language
1948 – Birth of Gerry Adams
1970 – Opening of the arms trial involving Charles Haughey
1980 – Mella Carroll, first female judge in the Republic, is appointed
2000 – The High Court grant gardaí the right to detain Slobodan Milosevic if he sets foot in Ireland

October 7
1878 – Birth of Margaret (Gretta) Cousins, Irish women’s rights activist.
1910.- Premiere of Percy French’s play The Immigrant’s Letter
1919 – A cabinet committee is appointed to consider Irish self government
1935 – Birth of Thomas Kineally, Irish-Australian author of Schindler’s List which was originally called Schindler’s Ark
1968 – Death of Margaret Mary Pearse, Irish language educator
1998 – The Bank of Ireland announces an unprecedented 20-year fixed rate of 6·99% within the first of a wave of interest cuts that will bring Irish rates into line with Europe for the introduction of the euro on January 1
1999 – Ireland moves a step closer to raising the recruitment age of the armed forces from 16 to 18
2000 – The tenants of a Dublin inner city community refuse to leave their houses after been evicted. The tenants of 28 cottages – – almost all single mothers – block access to their homes when they go up for viewing to prospective buyers
2002 – Police in Northern Ireland are attacked with bottles and other missiles after a crowd of youths go on the rampage through Kilkeel, Co. Down
2002 – The peace process faces its gravest crisis with the announcement that Ian Paisley’s DUP two ministers will withdraw from the government
2002 – A man is shot and critically wounded in east Belfast in what is believed to be an escalation of a bitter feud between the Loyalist paramilitary groups, the UDA and UVF.

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