On This Day

Published in Editorial, Issue 2 (March/April 2014), Volume 22


Daniel Mannix, archbishop of Melbourne (1917–63) and staunch Irish nationalist, born in Charleville, Co. Cork.

Merlyn Rees appointed secretary of state for Northern Ireland, where all but one of the Westminster seats in the general election the previous month had gone to anti-Sunningdale unionists.

The ‘Army Mutiny’ began when the Old IRA element within the Free State Army issued an ultimatum to the government demanding an end to demobilisation, the abolition of the Army Council established by Minister for Defence Richard Mulcahy, and a declaration that the government was still committed to the ideal of an indepen-dent Irish republic.

Senator Billy Fox of Fine Gael was killed by the IRA, the first member of the Oireachtas to be killed since Kevin O’Higgins in 1927.

Rosemary Nelson, prominent human rights solicitor, killed by loyalists in Lurgan, Co. Armagh.

Charlotte Milligan Fox, folk music collector who founded the Irish Folk Song Society (1904) and elder sister of the writer and Gaelic League organiser Alice Milligan, born in Omagh, Co. Tyrone.

The ‘Curragh incident’: 57 officers at the Curragh, led by Major-General Sir Hubert Gough, decided that they would resign their commissions if ordered to enforce Home Rule against the wishes of the Ulster Unionists.

Brendan Behan (41), revolutionary, Borstal boy and writer, died.

Smoking ban introduced in the Republic of Ireland.

T.D. (Timothy Daniel) Sullivan, journalist, Home Rule politician and poet who wrote The Song of the Canadian Backwoods or Ireland, Boys, Hurrah! (sung by both Union and Confederate troops on the eve of the Battle of Fredericksburg) and God Save Ireland to commemorate the Manchester Martyrs (1867), died.


Cumann na mBan (‘The women’s organisation’) launched in Wynne’s Hotel, Abbey Street, Dublin, as an
auxiliary to the Irish Volunteers. Its aims included ‘to advance the cause of Irish liberty’ and ‘to assist in arming and equipping a body of Irish men for the defence of Ireland’.

Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev stopped over at Shannon airport en route to Cuba and held one hour of talks with Taoiseach Charles J. Haughey—the first and last Irish–Soviet summit. His wife, Raisa, was taken on a tour of nearby Bunratty Folk Park.

Seán O’Sullivan, portrait painter, whose portfolio included most of the major political and cultural figures of his day, including Maud Gonne MacBride, Éamon de Valera, Douglas Hyde, W.B. Yeats and James Joyce, died.

General Douglas MacArthur (84), controversial US commander in the Pacific during World War II and commander of UN forces during the Korean War (1950–3), who was dismissed by President Truman, died.

El Greco, one of the greatest artists of the Spanish Renaissance, died.

The first Dublin Horse Show, organised by the Royal Agricultural Society, took place.

23/1014 (Good Friday)
The Battle of Clontarf took place, north and east of the River Tolka; Brian Boru, high-king of Ireland, with an Irish army from Munster and south Connacht, supported by a considerable number of Limerick Norse, defeated the army of his son-in-law, Sitric Silkenbeard, king of Dublin, made up of Viking mercenaries from Orkney, the Hebrides and the Isle of Man.

23/1564 (St George’s Day)
The traditional date of the birth of William Shakespeare.

Thomas Addis Emmet, United Irishman, lawyer and older brother of Robert Emmet, who was the first attorney general of New York State, born.

The Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) landed some 25,000 German rifles and three million rounds of ammunition at Larne, Donaghadee and Bangor.


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