On this day

Published in 20th-century / Contemporary History, Issue 2 (March/April 2010), News, Volume 18

10   1810
Sir Samuel Ferguson, antiquary and poet, notably of Lays of the Western Gael (1865), was born in Belfast. He was knighted in 1878 for his work as first Deputy Keeper of the Public Records of Ireland.

12   1910
Timothy Harrington, Irish Party MP who was mainly responsible for devising the ‘Plan of Campaign’ (1886–90) during the Land War, died.

15   1970
The Communist Parties of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland united to form the Communist Party of Ireland, with Michael O’Riordan as general secretary.

16   1960
The 45,270-ton P & O liner Canberra was launched at the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast, the last large liner launched from the yard.

19   1870
The serialisation of Knocknagow; or, The homes of Tipperary by Charles J. Kickham, arguably the most significant single literary work ever written by a leading Irish revolutionary figure, began in the Shamrock.

20   1920
Thomas MacCurtain, lord mayor of Cork, was shot dead in his home by the RIC. The following month an inquest returned a verdict of wilful murder against the RIC and indicted Lloyd George and the British government.

21   1960
South African police opened fire on black protesters at Sharpeville, a black township near Johannesburg, killing 69 and injuring over 180.
24   1980
Oscar Romero, archbishop of San Salvador, was assassinated as he celebrated Mass by a right-wing group led by a former mayor. His death provoked an international outcry for reform in El Salvador.

25   1920
Demobilised British servicemen, recruited as reinforcements to the RIC, arrived in Ireland. They soon became known as the ‘Black and Tans’.

27   1940
Michael Joseph Savage, the son of Irish parents and New Zealand’s first Labour prime minister (since 1935), died.

28   1760
Dublin-born Margaret (Peg) Woffington, renowned beauty and leading actress on the London stage for almost two decades, died.



12   1960
The Broadcasting Authority Act established a nine-member RTÉ Authority to run both radio and television as a public service. RTÉ’s monopoly was abolished with the passing of the Radio and Television Act (1988), which allowed for the licensing of private commercial broadcasting.
16   1660
Sir Hans Sloane, physician and collector, whose natural history collection formed the foundation of the British Museum, was born at Killyleagh Castle, Co. Down.
17   1970
Ian Paisley (Protestant Unionist) won his first election, taking the Bannside seat in Stormont in a by-election following the elevation of former prime minister Terence O’Neill to the peerage.
18   1870
Robert Tressell, nom de plume of Robert Croker, latterly Robert Noonan, author of The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists (first unabridged edition published in 1955), was born in Dublin, the illegitimate son of RIC inspector and later magistrate Sir Samuel Croker.
22   1970
In Northern Ireland the Alliance Party, representing Unionists, Catholic Liberals and the New Ulster Movement, was launched, under the leadership of Phelim O’Neill.
23   1970
St Enda’s, Rathfarnham, the bilingual school founded by Patrick Pearse in 1908, was presented to the nation as a Patrick Pearse Museum.
25   1915
During the First World War, Allied troops landed on Turkey’s Gallipoli Peninsula. The disastrous Gallipoli campaign, ending in January 1916, cost 46,000 Allied lives, including over 2,295 Irishmen.
26   1900
Queen Victoria concluded her final, three-week visit to Ireland, the purpose of which was to encourage Irishmen to join the British Army and fight in the Second Boer War. Nationalist opposition to her visit was led by Arthur Griffith and his newspaper, The United Irishman.
30   1970
In Northern Ireland the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) assumed the duties of the Ulster Special Constabulary (‘B’ Specials), now officially stood down. Over the 22 years of the regiment’s existence 192 members, mainly off-duty, were shot dead by republican paramilitaries.


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