1787 On this day in 1787, a Sunday afternoon, Archdeacon Hastings witnessed a boisterous crowd in Dublin shouting and wrestling across Merrion Square.
He accused them of disgracing the Sabbath and ordered the police to disperse them with bayonets. The MP Richard Griffith, who was present at the time, tried to prevent the heavy handed approach by telling Hastings that his men weren’t legally allowed to use force to disperse the crowd without having firstly read them the Riot Act.
Alderman Exshaw, the commanding officer of the police, reported that Griffith’s speech encouraged the crowd into a violent frenzy. They began attacking the police with stones and rocks and it took several hours to eventually quell the disturbance. Griffith was found guilty of instigating the riot and was fortunate to avoid the death penalty.
* * *
1842 Arthur Sullivan was born to an Irish father on this day in 1842. He grew up to be a noted composer and his collaborations with writer WS Gilbert are some of the most performed operas in the world.
The Mikado, The Pirates of Penzance and HMS Pinafore are still widely performed by orchestras around the world today. Sullivan’s final piece of work was a tribute to the land of his father and called The Emerald Isle.
Click here to read about some of Ireland’s top songwriters
* * *
1852 Anna Catherine Parnell was born in Dublin on this day in 1852. She was the founder of the Ladies Land League, which was an organisation set up by women in Ireland to take over the work from the male-ran Land League when several of its leaders were arrested.
Parnell helped to gain support for the Ladies League. They encouraged workers to withhold rent from their British landlords and issued wooden hut shelters to those that had been evicted. Parnell was the younger sister of the noted Irish politician Charles Parnell.
* * *
1906 Samuel Beckett was born in Dublin on this day in 1906. He is widely regarded as one of Ireland’s greatest writers of the 20th century. Beckett wrote numerous plays, novels and radio and television shows and was highly respected by both his peers and the public.
In 1959 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Trinity College, Dublin and he also won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1969.
Click here to read about more great Irish writers
* * *
1990 Happy birthday to Stephen Byrne, born in Dublin on this day in 1990. He is a professional vlogger (video blogger) who first rose to prominence when his YouTube videos were noticed by RTÉ producers. Byrne was invited to work as a presenter for the Irish broadcaster.
Byrne’s has been posting videos on YouTube since he was 17 under the name 3sixty5days. His rise to prominence has seen him invited to speak for companies and young people all around the world. His 2009 video ‘Because of YouTube’ featured on the websites front page and was viewed by more than 600,000 people, and his videos combined have had more than 5million views.
Byrne showed the creativity and entrepreneurial skills to publicise himself using free media in the competitive online world.
Because of YouTube;
* * *
2003 Clare O’Leary and Hannah Shields and their climbing team were forced to retreat to their base camp on Mount Everest on this day in 2003 as extreme wind made it too dangerous to attempt to continue their climb.
They were aiming to become the first Irish women to scale the world’s highest mountain. O’Leary, from Cork and Shields, from Derry, were part of a 13-strong team led by Pat Falvey. On the 22nd May, the team successful got four people onto the summit, although unfortunately not O’Leary or Shields. An outstanding achievement nonetheless.
Click here to read about some of the top Irish sports stars