1844 Daniel O’Connell was sentenced to 12 months in prison and fined £2,000 on this day in 1844. He had hosted a meeting with fellow Catholics, discussing the best way to achieve a peaceful separation of Ireland from Britain.
Prime Minister Robert Peel, an enemy of O’Connell’s, suspected a conspiracy against him was being planned, and deemed the meeting unlawful. O’Connell was held responsible and convicted, although the charges were reversed after being thrown out by the House of Lords.
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1860 George Lambert VC died on this day in 1860. He was born in Northern Ireland and served as Lieutenant in the British army, where he was awarded the Victoria Cross, for his bravery in battle during the Indian War of Independence.
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1889 On this day in 1889, Charles Parnell was cleared of any involvement in the murder of two British policemen in Phoenix Park, Dublin. Parnell was Ireland’s leading politician and president of the Irish Land League.
Letters implicating Parnell to the murders were forged by journalist, Richard Pigott, who had a long-standing hatred of Parnell. Pigott sold the letters to the national newspapers, but Parnell immediately dismissed them as forgeries.
Experts confirmed the letters were forged, after Pigott had mis-spelt the word ‘hesitancy’, a mistake he often made in his publications. When confronted, Pigott admitted to the forgeries, and fled to Spain where he took his own life.
Parnell was given a round of applause by his peers on his return to the British parliament.
William Topaz McGonagall, a Scottish poet gained notoriety as an extremely bad poet. This is the start of his poem about Richard Pigott. Click to read the whole poem.
1926 On this day in 10 February 1926, Danny Blanchflower, was born in Belfast. He was a Northern Ireland international footballer and was capped 56 times. In 1961, he was captain of Tottenham Hotspur F.C when they won the League Championship and FA Cup – Spurs were the first team to achieve this double success in the 20th century.
Blanchflower was a hugely popular player because of his ability to entertain the crowd with his stunning technique and his ability to split a defence open with an inch perfect pass.
He believed that the game was about more than just winning, and that professional players had a duty to put on a spectacle that would entertain the crowd. He spent most of his career at Tottenham Hotspur in England, where he won the league and cup double in 1961. He was also named player of the year on two occasions and won the Cup Winner’s Cup in 1963. In 2009, The Times newspaper ranked Blanchflower as the greatest player ever in Spurs history.
Click here to read about more top Irish sports stars
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1964 Happy birthday to Michelin Star chef Richard Corrigan, born in Dublin on this day in 1964. He is among Ireland’s most famous chefs and has made several TV appearances.
Corrigan has ran the kitchen in one of London’s top restaurants, Bentley’s Oyster Bar and Grill in Mayfair, and he’s also been in charge of Bentley’s Sea Grill in Harrods.
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1965 On this day in 1965, Catholics in Northern Ireland were outraged when the British government published the Lockwood Report, its plans for education in Northern Ireland. The committee, which didn’t include any Catholics, named the mainly Protestant area Coleraine as the site for a new school. The people of Londonderry, a predominantly Catholic area, responded to the report with a 1,500 vehicle convoy driving the 90 miles to Stormont to protest, but the decision wasn’t overturned.
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2011 A painting by Dublin-born artist Francis Bacon was sold for €27m at Sotheby’s on this day in 2011. Bacon painted Three Studies For A Portrait Of Lucian Freud in 1964, and it shows his friend posing with various facial expressions. It was purchased by an anonymous buyer after an intense bidding war involving collectors from all over the world.