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1672 Sir Richard Steele was baptised on this day, 12 March 1672 (his exact birthdate is unknown). He was an Irish writer and politician and co-founder of The Spectator magazine (with Joseph Addison) in 1711.
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1689 The Battle of the Boyne began on this day 12 March 1689. It ended 3 October 1691 – lasting 2 years, 6 months and 3 weeks. It was part of the Williamite-Jacobite War in Ireland.
It was known as the ‘war of the two kings’ between the Jacobites who supported of King James II (Catholic) and the Williamites who supported Prince William of Orange (Protestant). The victor would be King of England, Scotland and Ireland.
It ended with a Williamite victory, and ultimately leading to the Treaty of Limerick being signed on 3 October 1691.
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1832 Charles Boycott was born on this day in 1832. He was an unpopular agent for English landowners in Ireland, and fell victim to the political and social influence of Charles Parnell.
Parnell was trying to gain support in British parliament for the Irish Fair Land League to protect the rights of the Irish working on British owned land. It consisted of the ‘Three Fs’; fair rent, fixity of tenure, and free right of sale.
Parnell ordered the Irish community to completely shun Boycott, from the workers refusing to harvest the crops on his land to the local shopkeepers refusing to sell him groceries. The land was worth nothing to the British if there were no crops being harvested.
The British had to send 50 men to harvest the lands, and 1,000 soldiers were sent to protect them at a cost of around £10,000 for crops worth only £500.
It was these events that the term ‘to boycott’ someone or something came from.
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1873 The Irish University Bill was rejected in the House of Commons on this day in 1873. Prime Minister Gladstone wanted to expand Trinity College in Dublin to incorporate several universities around Ireland.
He also wanted to abolish the law that only Protestant professors and scholars could teach there. The Bill was thrown out after strong objections from the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland.
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1971 Happy birthday to Conrad Gallagher, the Michelin star chef from Ireland. He was born in County Donegal on this day in 1971, and has ran restaurants in Dublin, New York, Cape Town and Las Vegas.
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1975 Happy birthday to Barry Glendenning, born in Ireland on this day in 1973. He is a sports journalist who has worked for the Guardian newspaper and appeared as a guest presenter on radio station talkSPORT.
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1974 Billy Fox, a Protestant politician from County Monaghan was shot dead on this day in 1974. He was visiting the home of his fiancé when 13 gunmen ambushed him and killed him. Five members of the Provisional IRA were convicted of his murder, despite the Ulster Freedom Fighters claiming responsibility for the killing in the belief that Fox had links within the IRA.
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2000 On this day in 2000, volunteers planted 5,000 trees in Corkagh Park in Dublin to close the curtain on Ireland’s National Tree Week. Click here to read about Trees in Celtic Mythology