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1828 Patrick Cleburne was born on this day in Cork in 1828. After his father died, he moved to America and worked as a pharmacist and then a lawyer. He was a natural leader and rose to be a prominent figure in his community.
At the outbreak of the American Civil War, Cleburne signed up to fight for the Confederate States. As he feared the Confederates would lose the war due to a lack of resources, he suggested that the Southern states enrol their slaves to fight for them, in return for their freedom once the war had ended. This suggestion was scoffed at by his fellow military leaders.
Cleburne was engaged to Susan Tarleton of Alabama, but was killed in battle before they were married.
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1839 John Butler Yeats was born on this day in County Down in 1839. He was a talented artist and did portraits of various prominent figures in Irish history including Easter Rising leader Countess Markievicz, and the Nobel Prize winning writer WB Yeats, his son.
Click here to read more about the Easter Rising
Click here to read more about WB Yeats, his son.
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1907 John O’Leary died on this day in 1907. He was a leading Fenian and was imprisoned for his involvement in the Irish Republican Brotherhood.
WB Yeats pays tribute to John O’Leary in his poem, September 1913, which was voted Ireland’s 16th favourite poem. See the whole poem September 1913, here.
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1960 The SS Canberra was launched from Belfast on this day in 1960. Constructed by Northern Irish shipbuilders Harland and Wolff, the 820-foot ocean liner began life as a commercial cruise ship before being enlisted by the British navy for combat during the Falklands War.
She served a vital role during the conflict, delivering troops and supplies right through the battle zone. Once the war had ended, the Canberra was returned to commercial sailing. Cruises became very popular amongst British tourists, with the ships new military history.
The SS Canberra was eventually retired in 1997, as more modern ships were far more economically sound with regards to fuel and running costs. She was sent to Pakistan to be scrapped.
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1988 The funeral of the ‘Gibraltar Three’ took place in Belfast on this day in 1988. The three Provisional IRA members (Mairead Farrell, 31, Daniel McCann, 30, and Sean Savage, 23) were shot by SAS soldiers who suspected they were attempting to plant a bomb at a British military base.
At the funeral three mourners were killed and more than 50 injured, after shots were fired and grenades were thrown at the 10,000 strong crowd. The Ulster Defence Association, the largest Protestant paramilitary group, denied any involvement in the attack.
These events became known as the Milltown Massacre. Below is a TV report on the events at Milltown Cemetery.
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1990 Happy birthday to Simon Zebo, born in Cork on this day in 1990. He is a professional rugby player who has played for Munster since 2010 and made his debut for the national team in 2012.
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1998 Northern Irish farmers received a boost on this day in 1998, as the ban on exports of beef was lifted after concerns over an outbreak of BSE (mad cow disease).
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2000 On this day in 2000, Irish regiments of the British army all around the world received sprigs of shamrock airlifted to them by the RAF.
100 years ago, in 1900, Queen Victoria decreed that on St Patrick’s Day, all Irish regiments of the British Army should wear a shamrock to commemorate the bravery of all Irish troops during the Boer War.