Monthly Archives: December 2013

A year in Ireland – 1761

 

  • There is a general election. In Co. Tipperary, Sir Thomas Maude declares himself a candidate and threatens to petition against another candidate, Thomas Mathew, on the grounds that Mathew is Catholic in all but name. Daniel Gahan, agent for Maude, subsequently kills Thomas Prendergast, Mathew’s agent, in a duel. Mathew is elected but is declared not duly elected after a petition from Maude, who thus gains the seat
  • In the climate of sectarian tension created partly by the Mathew–Maude controversy, the Whiteboys, a violent agrarian protest movement, begins in Tipperary and spreads through Munster and West Leinster (October–December).
  • John MacNaghten, a gambler, duellist and criminal born in Ballymoney, Co. Antrim, who had been involved in the killing of Mary Anne Knox, daughter of Andrew Knox MP, is hanged for murder at Strabane jail on 15 December. At the first attempt to hang him the rope breaks but, eschewing offers from the crowd to help him make his escape, he declares that he does not wish to be known for ever as ‘half-hung McNaghten’ and asks the hangman to proceed. (He is nevertheless known as ‘half-hung McNaghten’.)
  • Richard Nugent (Lord Delvin), MP for Fore and still a teenager, fights a duel with a Mr Reilly on 30 July and dies of his wounds on 6 August. Duelling will reach a peak in Ireland in the 1770s and 1780s.
  • Those born in Ireland in 1761 include two giants: Charles Byrne, who will be eight feet tall at 19 years of age, and Patrick Cotter (born in Kinsale, Co. Cork), who will be 97 inches tall according to his coffin plate. Other births include political radicals such as Edward Hay, James Coigley and the deportee Samuel Neilson. Dorothy Jordan, a famous Drury Lane actress and the mother of ten children by the future William IV, is born near Waterford.
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Some diary entries … 28 July to 31 August 1991

29 July 1991 – Sean aged less than 24 hours

29 July 1991 – Sean aged less than 24 hours

My intention was to post diary entries from 2004 (when I stopped keeping a diary) back as far as the day Sean was born, to try to give an insight into his life as a baby and a boy, and into the lives of the rest of his family too. I have now reached the beginning.

28/7/91 – I have already described this day here

29/7/91 – I got up pretty early, not having slept well. I spent a good part of the morning with Pauline and the baby, having first phoned work (cheers in the background) [and others] … the baby was fine – sleeping a lot – and Pauline was fine too … I cycled to the Coombe and back. Peter and Nuala arrived around 1.30, and after a cup of tea we went to the Coombe … Sean (we still hadn’t finally decided on a name) was looking great, and of course P & N loved him … [later] Christine, Aileen, Dave and Dervla arrived … the five of us went to the hospital (Christine was driving), where Sean again made a big impression. Later, the uncle and aunts went with the father to Arbour House, where everyone had a few drinks.

30/7/91 – The others were visiting Pauline in the afternoon session. I cooked spaghetti bolognaise for dinner, and we had a bottle of red wine, then Christine drove us all to the hospital. Mary and Aisling arrived too, Sean was universally eulogized; the uncle and aunts and I went home and then to Uncle Tom’s Cabin. We had all decided on ‘Seán Peter O’Brien’. [note: I always used the fada (accent) in Sean’s name in my diaries, and it appears on his birth certificate, but he didn’t bother with it himself, and I have followed his example on this blog.] Continue reading

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