On this Day

Published in Editorial, Issue 2 (March/April 2016), News, Volume 24

March

01/1976
Secretary of State Merlyn Rees announced the ending of special- category status for political prisoners in Northern Ireland.

04/1966
Capital punishment was abolished in Northern Ireland, except for political murders.

06/1918
John Redmond (62), leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party since 1900, died.

07/1936
German troops occupied the Rhineland in defiance of the Treaty of Versailles, which designated it a ‘demilitarised zone’.

8/1966
A republican bomb destroyed the top half of Nelson’s Pillar in O’Connell Street, Dublin. The remainder of the column was officially demolished three days later.

10/1966
Frank O’Connor (62) (real name Michael O’Donovan), whose works included short stories, notably ‘Guests of the Nation’ (1931), The Big Fellow (1937), a biography of Michael Collins, and a racy rendering of Merriman’s Midnight Court (1945), died.

17/1981
The ‘Friends of Ireland’ organisation, to support initiatives for peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland, was launched by leading members of the US Congress.

18/1916
Stopford Augustus Brooke, Donegal-born preacher, churchman, chaplain to Queen Victoria and writer, whose Primer of English literature (1876) sold half a million copies during his lifetime, died.

25/1916
Charlotte Milligan Fox, folk music collector and sister of the writer Alice Milligan, died.

25/1996
Mary Lavin, short-story writer (notably of ‘Tales from Bective Bridge’) and novelist, died.

27/1766
The vicar of Wakefield, subtitled ‘A Tale, Supposed to be written by Himself’, a novel by Oliver Goldsmith (1728–74), was published.

31/1976
The Cork–Dublin mail train was robbed of c. £150,000 near Sallins, Co. Kildare.

April

01/1966
Brian O’Nolan (54), novelist and satirist who wrote under the names Myles na gCopaleen and Flann O’Brien, died.

04/2006
Dennis Donaldson (56), former head of administration for Sinn Féin in Stormont and self-confessed British spy, was assassinated at his home in County Donegal.

05/1916
Gregory Peck, Hollywood actor and distant relative of revolutionary Thomas Ashe (1885–1917), born in San Diego, California.

08/1816
Sir Frederick Burton, antiquarian and watercolour painter, notably of The meeting on the turret stairs (1864), born in Corrofin, Co. Clare.

12/1816
Sir Charles Gavin Duffy, journalist, Young Irelander, co-founder and first editor of The Nation (1842) and latterly premier of Victoria, Australia, born in Monaghan.

21/1816
Charlotte Bronte, the eldest of the three Bronte sisters, author notably of Jane Eyre (1847) and Villette (1853), born in Thornton, Yorkshire.

21/1916
Sir Roger Casement was arrested on Banna Beach, Co. Kerry, after being put ashore by a German submarine.

21/1926
Queen Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary), the first British monarch to visit the Republic of Ireland (May 2011), born, the eldest daughter of King George VI.

23/1616
William Shakespeare (52), dramatist and poet, died.

24/1916
The Easter Rising began.

Sir Ernest Shackleton and five of his crew set out on their epic 720-nautical-mile rescue mission in the James Caird, from Elephant Island to South Georgia.

27/1916
Outside Hulluch, north of Loos in northern France, the 16th (Irish) Division suffered one of the heaviest gas attacks of the First World War; 538 men died and a further 1,590 were injured.

29/1916
The Easter Rising ended after six days.

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