Ireland’s Greatest, John Hume – Ian Paisley – Shakespearean Actor Charles Kean at Today in Irish History

January 18: TODAY in Irish History:

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John Hume

Snippets of Irish History by Conor Cunneen IrishmanSpeaks

Conor is a Chicago based Motivational Humorous Business Speaker, Author and History buff.

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1811: Shakespearean Actor Charles Kean

Birth of Shakespearean actor Charles Kean in Waterford.

Waterford born Charles Kean famous shakespearean actor

Waterford born Charles Kean in 1832 portrayal as Hamlet

Charles Kean was the son of a famous actor of the time, Edmund Kean. Charles was educated at Eton. He went on to act in America and more regularly in London playing a number of Shakespeare’s major characters. He was playing Iago to his father’s Othello in 1833 when the elder Kean collapsed on stage in his final performance. The old man died some days later.




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1937: John Hume, Politician and Nobel Prize Winner

Nobel Peace Prize winner and Nationalist politician, John Hume is born in Derry. Hume played a prominent and decisive role in the Northern Ireland peace process.

A former teacher, Hume first came to prominence through the civil rights movement in the late 1960s and worked tirelessly to improve the lot of discriminated Catholics, but also build bridges with the Loyalist Community. He was a founding member of the moderate nationalist Social Democratic and Labour Party in 1970, taking over as leader in 1979.

John Hume was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1998 with David Trimble. Other awards for this tireless worker for peace include the Martin Luther King Peace Award (1999), and the Gandhi Peace Prize (2001).

In 2010, John Hume in a phone and text poll conducted by Irish national broadcaster RTE, was voted Ireland’s Greatest.

In 2012, Hume received one of the premier titles of the Catholic church – Knight Commander of St. Gregory the Great




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1978: United Kingdom guilty of Inhuman and Degrading Treatment of Prisoners

In a very public slap in the face, The European Court of Human Rights finds the British Government guilty of inhuman and degrading treatment of prisoners in Northern Ireland. The action had been taken by the Irish government. Full details can be read in IRELAND vs THE UNITED KINGDOM

As described in the Court’s judgement

“The salient facts (were):

In August and October 1971, fourteen persons were arrested with a view to extracting confession or information from them. They were submitted to a form of “interrogation in depth” by members of the security forces or persons authorised to do it. The said form of interrogation involved the application of the five techniques which consisted of:

1. hooding the detainees except during interrogation;

2. making them stand continuously against a wall in a spreadeagled and painful posture for prolonged periods of some hours;

3. submitting them to continuous and monotonous noise;

4. depriving them of sleep; and

5. restricting them to a diet of one round of bread and one pint of water at six-hourly intervals.


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2008: Ian Paisley Retires

Long time adversary of John Hume, the Reverend Ian Paisley retires from active politics.  Paisley was Moderator and minister of the Free Presbyterian Church,  and dominated the voice of reactionary loyalist emotion for most of the latter part of the twentieth century. Paisley first came to prominence in the 1960s organizing demonstrations and loyalist paramilitary groups that often bordered on the edge of legality.

Ian Paisley
Cover image of Clifford Smith book on Ian Paisley

In 1969, Paisley was jailed along for organizing an illegal counter-demonstration against a Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association march in Armagh. His bullying personality and robust  anti-papist rhetoric made him a hero amongst working class protestants. Over a period of time, the big man mellowed from one who was a leader architect of the downfall of the Sunningdale power sharing agreement to joining in government with life long foe (and alleged former IRA leader) Martin McGuinness. On 8 May 2007 Paisley was elected as First Minister of Northern Ireland with Martin McGuinness as the deputy First Minister.



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Want to learn more about Ireland? See these images and more in the acclaimed For the Love of Being Irish

Irish gift ideas. Best selling Irish booksRonnie Drew and Luke Kelly - Musical Irish Gifts to the worldJoyce Image in For the Love of Being IrishMichael Collins: Image from For the Love of Being Irish


This history is written by Irish author, business keynote speaker and award winning humorist IrishmanSpeaks – 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 IrishmanSpeaks to Laugh and Learn.

Tags: Best Irish Gift, Creative Irish Gift, Unique Irish Gifts, Irish Books, Irish Authors, Today in Irish History TODAY IN IRISH HISTORY (published by IrishmanSpeaks)

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