On this day

Published in 20th-century / Contemporary History, General, Issue 5 (Sept/Oct 2011), On this Day



14 1911

Canon James McDyer, priest and community leader associated with Glencolmcille, Co. Donegal, born in Kilraine, Glenties, Co. Donegal.


16 1941

Sixteen Irish soldiers were killed in an explosion whilst conducting tests with anti-tank mines in the Glen of Imaal, Co. Wicklow—the worst disaster in the history of the Irish defence forces.


17 1711

John Holwell, surgeon, East India Company employee and author of A genuine narrative of the deplorable deaths of the English gentlemen and others who were suffocated in the Black Hole (London, 1758) about his part in the alleged ‘Black Hole of Calcutta’ incident of June 1756, born in Dublin.


19 1971

Former Fianna Fáil government minister Kevin Boland launched the Aontacht Éireann (Unity of Ireland) party. In the general election of 1973 its thirteen candidates received less than 1% of the vote. The party was wound up in 1984.


20 1911

Anna Parnell (59), younger sister of Charles Stewart Parnell and co-founder of the Ladies Land League (1881), drowned at Ilfracombe in Devon.

Sir Robert Hart, Armagh-born British consular official in China who served as inspector-general of customs from 1863 and founded the Imperial Chinese Post Office (1896), died. In 1985 the Chinese government marked the 150th anniversary of his birth with a special stamp.


23 1911

‘With the help of God, you and I joined together . . . will yet defeat the most nefarious conspiracy that has ever been hatched against a free people . . . We must be prepared . . . the morning Home Rule passes, ourselves to become responsible for the government of the Protestant province of Ulster’—Sir Edward Carson in an address to 50,000 members of the Orange Order and Unionist Clubs at Craigavon House, three weeks after the passing of the Parliament Act.


28 2001

Martin O’Hagan (51), investigative journalist who specialised in exposing paramilitary drug-dealing gangs, was assassinated by loyalists near his home in Lurgan, Co. Armagh.




1 1911

The Parnell monument by Dublin-born sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens, featuring an 8ft statue of the nationalist leader in heroic pose and wearing two coats, as was his custom, was unveiled before a massive crowd in Sackville Street by John Redmond.


3 1971

Seán Ó Riada (40), composer, notably of the music for the historical documentary Mise Éire (1959), died.


5 1911

Brian O’Nolan, alias Flann O’Brien and Myles na gCopaleen, wit, novelist and Irish Times columnist, born in Strabane, Co. Tyrone.


13 1911

Margaret Noble (43), known as Sister Nivedita, Co. Tyrone-born writer, teacher and advocate of Irish and Indian Home Rule, died in West Bengal.


18 1861

William Sherman Crawford, landlord and politician who founded the Ulster Tenant Right Association (1846), which became the Tenant League of Ireland in 1850, died.


20 1986

General Michael J. Costello, colonel-commandant in the National Army during the Civil War (1922–3) at the age of eighteen, assistant chief-of-staff (1937–9) and latterly general manager of the Irish Sugar Company (1945–66), died.


23 1921

John Boyd Dunlop, veterinary surgeon and inventor of the pneumatic tyre, died.


22 1811

Franz Liszt, international piano virtuoso, inventor of the master class and prolific composer, born in Raiding, Oedenburg, Hungary.


23 1921

‘This is a real nest of singing birds. They chirrup mightily one to the other—and there’s the falseness of it all, because not one trusts the other’—Michael Collins in a letter to John O’Kane on early moves in the Treaty negotiations.


31 1981

‘Who here really believes we can win the war through the ballot box? But will anyone here object if, with a ballot paper in one hand and an Armalite in this hand, we take power in Ireland?’—Danny Morrison, in a speech at the Sinn Féin Árd Fheis.


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