Titanic Survivors. Belfast Blitz Kills 900. John Milllington Synge – on this day in Irish History

April 16: TODAY in Irish History (by IrishmanSpeaks) Twitter Icon

1871: Birth of Irish playwright, poet and author John Millington Synge. Synge was one of the leading lights of what was known as the Irish Literary Revival and along with Yeats and Lady Gregory was a founding member of the Abbey Theatre. His most famous work is The Playboy of the Western World, a satirical comedy which exposed some of the flaws in at the time not very accepting Irish society. On opening night, January 26 1907, an angry crowd rioted during the play at what the Freeman’s Journal referred to (quite hyperbolickly) as “an unmitigated, protracted libel upon Irish peasant men, and worse still upon Irish girlhood.”

When commenting on riots that occurred after the opening of Sean O’Casey’s The Plough and the Stars, in 1926 Yeats referenced this event. “You have disgraced yourselves again. Is this to be an ever-recurring celebration of the arrival of Irish genius? Synge first and then O’Casey?

John Millington Synge 1871-1909

1912: The World learns about the sinking of the Titanic. Survivors picked up by the California head for the United States.

Newsboy Ned Parfett outside offices of White Star Line

Titanic orphans Louis and Lola. Four year old Michel Marcel Navratil and younger brother Edmond Roger Navratil, before they were formally identified. They had boarded the Titanic with their father who did not survive. Michael was one of the longest surviving Titanic passengers. He died 2001.

1941: Belfast suffers major damage on night of 15/16 April as Nazi bombers rain death on the city. An estimated 180 planes participated in a concerted assault for more than four hours. An estimated 900 died in an attack on a city whose anti-aircraft guns and civil defense infrastructure was woefully inadequate. Belfast would not suffer nightly attacks as London did, but there would be more nights of terror in coming months.

Belfast Bitz Damage

Belfast Bitz Damage

1970: The militant unionist politician Rev. Ian Paisley wins election to the House of Commons representing North Antrim. Paisley was a trenchant critic of the Unionist party “led by Chichester-Clark has been deceiving and betraying us,”

Paisley would prove to be a thorn in the side of London and Dublin governments for over thirty years as he opposed the Sunningdale Agreement 1973, the 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement and the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. He was a major player in the Ulster Workers’ Strike which brought down the power-sharing administration in 1974.

In what can only be called an astonishing conversion, Paisley would eventually enter Government in May 2007 with some of his long time Sinn Fein opponents.

See Guardian Article on Ian Paisley

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This history is written by Irish author, business keynote speaker and award winning humoristIrishmanSpeaks – Conor Cunneen. If you spot any inaccuracies or wish to make a comment, please don’t hesitate to contact us via the comment button.

Visit Conor’s YouTube channel IrishmanSpeaksto Laugh and Learn. Tags: Best Irish Gift, Creative Irish Gift, Unique Irish Gifts, Irish Books, Irish Authors, Today in Irish History

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