New Year’s Day (a Saturday)

1 January – Estonia officially adopts the Euro as its currency becoming the 17th Eurozone member.

Pete Postlethwaite

Pete Postlethwaite 1946-2011

1 January: Civil Partnership Act comes into effect in Ireland giving hetero- and homosexual civil partnerships the same rights.

1 January: Met Éireann confirms that December 2010 was the coldest on record in Ireland, with, for example, a temperature of -17.5 °C recorded in County Mayo on Christmas Day.

1 January – Inmates riot at Ford Open Prison near Arundel, West Sussex. Trouble believed to have been sparked by staff attempts to breathalyse prisoners following allegations that alcohol had been smuggled into the prison.

2 January: death of British actor Pete Postlethwaite: Distant Voices, Still Lives (1988), The Usual Suspects (1995), The Shipping News (2001), The Town (2010) et al.


Tunisian stamp commemorating Mohamed Bouazizi

4 January – Tunisian street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi dies after setting himself alight in a protest a month earlier, sparking anti-government protests in Tunisia.

4 January: death of musician Gerry Rafferty (b. 1947), ‘Baker Street’, ‘(Here I am) Stuck in the Middle with You’ et al.

4 January – In UK Value Added Tax (a sales tax) increases from 17.5% to 20%.

5 January – Following disappointing Christmas sales, music retailer HMV announces the closure of 60 stores in the UK – which will see the firm lose 10% of its stores (up to 900 jobs to go).

7 January – England’s cricket team win The Ashes series (3–1) in Australia.

England cricket captain Andrew Strauss

England cricket captain Andrew Strauss

7 January – Former British Labour member of parliament David Chaytor jailed for 18 months for fraudulently claiming more than £20,000 in expenses.

5 January: In Ireland junior minister for housing, Fianna Fáil’s Michael Finneran announces he will not contest the forthcoming general election. See also 5 January, below.

5 January: Minister for Defence, Fianna Fáil’s Tony Killeen announces he will not contest the 2011 general election (Fianna Fáil people like rats scuttling off a sinking boat — having bankrupted the country they know they have no chance of being re-elected. See also 5 January, above, and 22, 23, and 25 January, below).

PC Mark Kennedy (aka Mark Stone and/or Mark Flash)

PC Mark Kennedy (aka Mark Stone and/or Mark Flood)

9 January – An investigation by The Guardian newspaper reveals how Metropolitan police officer Mark Kennedy (an officer in the National Public Order Intelligent Unit) infiltrated dozens of protest groups using the pseudonym Mark Stone (also sometimes Mark Flash), especially targeting Green and environmental groups — controversy centres on the fact that he was so active in these groups (including committing crimes) that it amounted to his being an agent provocateur — also sexually active, above and beyond the call of duty (on any reasonable view of such things).

9 – 15 January: Southern Sudan holds referendum on independence (from Sudan proper). The electorate votes in favour of independence, paving the way for the creation of the new state of South Sudan.

John and Michaela McAreavey

John and Michaela McAreavey

10 January – Michaela McAreavey (née Harte), 27, daughter of Tyrone Gaelic football manager Mickey Harte, strangled in hotel bedroom during her honeymoon in Mauritius (it is believed she walked in on a couple of guys robbing the honeymoon suite).

11 January – Flooding and mudslides in Brazil kills 903.

13 January – Labour Party win the Oldham East and Saddleworth by-election.

14 January – the kleptocratic Tunisian dictatorship is toppled following weeks of increasingly violent protests: after 23 years in power, President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali has fled the country (to Saudi Arabia it is believed). See also 4 January, above.

15 January: death of British actress Susannah York (b. 1939): A Man for All Seasons (1966), The Shoot Horses, Don’t They? (1969), and Superman’s mother in the Superman movie series, et cet.

Andy Coulson, David Cameron's director of communications

Andy Coulson, David Cameron’s director of communications

15 January – Three former Church of England bishops are ordained as priests in the Roman Catholic Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham at Westminster Cathedral in London.

18 January – A spectacular fireball exploded in the clear Irish sky at 18:00, it was witnessed across the country. Astronomers calculated that it may have landed as a meteorite shower in County Clare.

21 January: Andy Coulson, former editor of the News of the World, resigns as David Cameron’s communications director (it has been building up to this for months now), citing the distraction caused by “continued coverage of events connected to my old job at the News of the World” (ie, the phone-hacking scandal — Coulson was in the thick of it).

Tony Blair Chilcot Inquiry21 January: former British prime minister Tony Blair appears before the Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq War. He has his lines well-rehearsed, everything is carefully choreographed, and, of course, not a glove is laid on him.

21 January: In Britain Alan Johnson resigns as the Labour Party’s shadow chancellor; he is succeeded by Ed Balls (who is a leadership rival for the so far unimpressive Ed Miliband, which is why Miliband did not want Balls to have the shadow Treasury brief).

Irish prime minister Brian Cowen

Irish prime minister Brian Cowen

22 January – In Ireland, Taoiseach Brian Cowen resigns as leader of the Fianna Fáil party (which is, of course, an attempt to allow the party to make some form of a presentation to the electorate at the forthcoming general election).

23 January – The Green Party withdraws from the coalition government in Ireland, which is in meltdown, making an immediate general election necessary. Now that the two Green Party ministers John Gormley (Environment, Heritage and Local Government) and Eamon Ryan (Communications, Energy and Natural Resources) have resigned from the cabinet, only seven ministers remain, which is the constitutional minimum.

24 January: bombing at Domodedovo International Airport in Moscow; 37 people killed and more than 180 wounded.

25 January: Statistics reveal that the UK economy contracted by 0.5% during the final quarter of last year.

Micheál Martin

Micheál Martin, the new Fianna Fáil party leader

25 January: Fianna Fáil’s Micheál Martin elected party leader.

25 January: Fianna Fáil TD for Galway East, Noel Treacy, announces he will not contest the 2011 general election, while Fianna Fáil’s Mattie McGrath, TD for Tipperary South, announces he is leaving the party to become an independent. See also 5, 22 and 23 January, above, and 1 and 25 February, below.

26 January – Sinn Féin’s Gerry Adams resigns from the British parliament (a seat which he never occupied anyway) — Adams wants to stand for a seat in the Irish parliament — and has accepted the position of Crown Steward and Bailiff of the Manor of Northstead (which is the technical means by which an MP resigns hisser seat, ie by accepting a Crown appointment). See also 5, 22 and 23 January, above, and 1 and 25 February, below.

28 January – Another fireball exploded in the Irish atmosphere (see also 18 January, above). Astronomy Ireland appeal to the public to report sightings.


1 February: Fianna Fáil TD for Limerick West, John Cregan, announces he will not contest the 2011 general election. See also 5, 22, 23 and 25 January, above, and 1 and 25 February, below.

1 February: three of Waterstone’s bookshops in Dublin to close.

Sunday Tribune1 February: It was announced today that the Sunday Tribune newspaper has been put into receivership following the decision of Independent News & Media to stop funding it.

Brian Cowen, prime minister of the Republic of Ireland facing political annihilation

Brian Cowen, prime minister of the Republic of Ireland, facing political annihilation

1 February: In Dublin Taoiseach Brian Cowen goes to Áras an Uachtaráin [the president’s residence] to ask her to dissolve the Dáil [the Irish parliament] and thereby trigger a general election. The Minister for Local Government made an order appointing 25 February as polling day.

1 February: Alexander Smirnov, the first secretary in the Russian embassy’s consular section, has been instructed to leave Ireland (that is, he has been expelled) because of his role in the forgery of Irish passports for use in the “Illegals Program” spy ring in the United States. A Garda investigation revealed that members of the Russian espionage agency, the SVR, were involved in producing the forgeries.

2 February – Russian deputy foreign minister Vladimir Titov threatened Ireland that Russia will retaliate for the Irish expulsion of Alexander Smirnov (see 1 February, above). An Irish government spokesman says Irish embassy staff in Moscow perform no espionage activity so Russian retaliation would be unjustified.

Maria Schneider

Maria Schneider, circa 1972

2 February – BBC executive Craig Oliver chosen to replace Andy Coulson as Prime Minister David Cameron’s Director of Communications (see 21 January, above).

3 February: death of French actress Maria Schneider (b. 1952), Last Tango in Paris (1972) et cet.

6 February – death of musician Gary Moore, 58, former Thin Lizzy guitarist. Heart attack while on holiday in Spain.

7 February – The first gay civil partnership ceremony under the newly enacted civil partnership law took place in the Civil Registration Office in Dublin.

10 February – A small plane carrying ten passengers and two crew crashed while landing in fog at Cork Airport. Six people killed.

End of the Mubarak regime in Egypt after 30 years (1981-2011)

End of the Mubarak regime in Egypt after 30 years (1981-2011)

T.P. McKenna

T. P. McKenna 1929-2011

11 February – Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak resigns after widespread protests calling for his departure, leaving control of Egypt in the hands of the military until a general election can be held. These protests across the Arab world have been dubbed the ‘Arab Spring’ (after the 1960s ‘Prague Spring’ of the Cold War Era).

13 February – death of Irish actor T. P. McKenna (b. 1929): film credits include playing Simon Dedalus in Joseph Strick’s 1967 film version of Ulysses, Straw Dogs (1971) et al.

14 February: death of jazz-piano man and composer George Shearing (b. 1919)

22 February: Uncertainty over so-called ‘Arab Spring’ (particularly in relation to Libyan oil output) causes crude oil prices to spike by 20%, a mini energy crisis.


Graphic contrasting the distribution of 1st preference votes in the general elections in 2007 and 2011

Graphic contrasting the distribution of 1st preference votes in the general elections in the Republic of Ireland in 2007 and 2011

the-kings-speech25 February – General election in Ireland. Outgoing government coalition partners, Fianna Fáil and the Green Party, savaged: the Greens have been wiped out (loosing all 6 of their seats) and Fianna Fáil have lost 51 of their 71 seats! Fine Gael have picked up 25 seats to hold 76 seats and Labour have gained 17 seats to achieve a total of 37 members of parliament (an historic high-water mark). Sinn Féin have gained 9 seats to hold 14 in the new parliament. A lot of newbie independents elected.

27 February –  The King’s Speech, with Colin Firth as the speech-impeded George VI, wins four Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

28 February: death of American actress Jane Russell (b. 1921), The Outlaw (1943), Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) et al.


Kevin O'Brien2 March – in cricket Ireland beat England by three wickets in Bangalore at the (50 over format) World Cup, Kevin O’Brien hitting the fastest World Cup century off only 50 balls. Despite this win Ireland fail to make it out of the Group stage of the competition. (England go out at the Quarter-Final stage.) India win the competition (for the second time) beating Sri Lanka in the final on 2 April.

3 March – The Labour Party won the Barnsley Central By-election (with the Liberal Democrats, the junior partners in the governing coalition, in sixth place).

9 March – Members of the 31st Dáil convened for the first time and elected Enda Kenny as Taoiseach by a vote of 117–27.

11 March – Light aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal HMS Ark Royal, flagship of the Royal Navy, decommissioned, part of the naval restructuring following the Blair’s Arabian adventures (followed by the cost of bailing out the banks).


11 March – A huge earthquake (9.0) and subsequent tsunami hit the east of Japan, killing 15,840 and another 3,926 missing. Tsunami warnings are issued in 50 countries and territories in the region. Emergencies are declared at four nuclear power plants affected by the quake.

Arab Spring protests in Bahrain

Arab Spring protests in Bahrain

15 March: Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, king of Bahrain, declares a three-month state of emergency as troops from the Gulf Co-operation Council are sent to quell the civil unrest.

Smiley Culture15 March: death of British reggae musician Smiley Culture (b. 1963).

17 March: The United Nations Security Council votes to create a no-fly zone over Libya in response to allegations of the Libyan government deploying military forces for use against it’s protesting civilians (Arab Spring uprisings).

17 March: death of British actor Michael Gough (b. 1916)

18 March: death of Warren Christopher, former U.S. secretary of state (b. 1925)

18 March – Former British Airways software engineer Rajib Karim, of Newcastle upon Tyne, jailed for 30 years having been convicted of plotting to blow up an aeroplane.


Elizabeth Taylor 1932-2011

Elizabeth Taylor 1932-2011

19 March – British and French air strikes in Libya following United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973.

19 March – Ireland defeat England in the Six Nations Rugby tournament, nevertheless England win the championship.

23 March: death of British/American actress Elizabeth Taylor (b. 1932)

26 March – Hundreds of thousands of people marched in London against government budget cuts, the protests later turning violent.

27 March – The UK 2011 Census conducted.


Sunday Sport 31 AprilThe Daily Sport and Sunday Sport tabloid newspapers cease publication.

4 April – As part of the British government’s package of welfare reforms, starting from this date the one-and-a-half million people in the United Kingdom who were claiming incapacity benefit begin receiving letters asking them to attend a work capability assessment. The tests are part of government plans to reduce the number of long-term claimants and will take until 2014 to complete.

6 April – Mandatory retirement ages to be phased out in UK and Ireland.

Sidney Lumet 1924-2011

Sidney Lumet 1924-2011

9 April: death of American film-maker Sidney Lumet, Twelve Angry Men (1957), Dog Day Afternoon (1975), Network (1976) et al.

April 11 – Former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo is arrested in his home in Abidjan by supporters of elected President Alassane Ouattara, with support from French forces, thereby bringing to an end the 2010–2011 Ivorian civil war.

12–14 April: The Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, visits Ireland (third time he has done so); speaks at a couple of conferences, one in Kildare and one at the University of Limerick.

22 April: Good Friday

24 April: Easter Sunday

Royal Wedding 129 April – Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Catherine Middleton marry in Westminster Abbey in London. A public holiday celebrates the day, which in conjunction with the May Bank Holiday, makes for a four-day Bank Holiday Weekend. Worldwide an estimated two billion people watch the televised wedding ceremony.


May 1 – death of Ted Lowe (b. 1926), British television snooker commentator

May 1 – death of Henry Cooper (b. 1934), British heavyweight boxer

May 1 – U.S. President Barack Obama announces that Osama bin Laden (b. 1957), the founder and leader of the militant group Al-Qaeda, has been killed in an American military operation in northern Pakistan.

Compound in northern Pakistan where Osama's been hiding. United States sent in Navy SEAL team in a few low-flying, blacked-out helicopters and executed him in the middle of the night

Compound in northern Pakistan where Osama’s been hiding. United States sent in a Navy SEAL team in low-flying, blacked-out helicopters and executed him in the middle of the night

5 May: Elections were held for the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly and the Northern Ireland Assembly. Local elections are held on the same day together with the referendum on whether to adopt the Alternative Vote electoral system for elections to the House of Commons of the United Kingdom.

Mila Kunus for W magazine5 May: Claude Choules, the oldest living British born male and the last combat veteran of World War I, died aged 110 in Australia, where he had lived since 1926. His death left 110-year-old Norfolkwoman Florence Green, a Women’s Royal Air Force waitress, as the conflict’s last verified veteran of any status.

6 May: The Scottish National Party secured election victory, winning an overall majority in the Scottish parliament elections.

6 May: The counting of votes in local elections in England and Northern Ireland continued with the Labour Party making gains and the Liberal Democrats losing seats. Voters reject proposal to introduce the Alternative Voting system in the UK.

6 May: In England Labour Party candidate Jon Ashworth wins Leicester South by-election.

Seve Ballesteros 1957-2011

Seve Ballesteros 1957-2011

7 May: Counting for the Northern Ireland Assembly election ended with the DUP and Sinn Féin winning most of the 108 seats, 38 and 29 respectively.

7 May: The Welsh Labour Party won 30 of the 60 Welsh Assembly seats in Thursday’s election and form the regional government for the region.

7 May: death of Spanish golfer Seve Ballesteros (b. 1957)

14 May – The city of Manchester celebrate as Manchester United seal their record 19th top division league title and Manchester City win the FA Cup to end their 35-year wait for a major trophy.

jedward-4f9e6ede5402b14 May: Jedward represented Ireland in the 56th EuroVision Song Contest staged in Düsseldorf, Germany, coming 8th. The competition was won by Ell & Nikki performing “Running Scared” for Azerbaijan.

May 16 – The European Union agrees to a €78 billion rescue deal for Portugal. The bailout loan will be equally split between the European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism, the European Financial Stability Facility, and the International Monetary Fund.

Queen Elizabeth and President Mary McAleese at Dublin Castle State Banquet

Queen Elizabeth and President Mary McAleese at Dublin Castle State Banquet


Garret FitzGerald 1926-2011

17–20 May: Queen Elizabeth II made a state visit to the Republic of Ireland, the first by a reigning monarch of the United Kingdom since Irish independence.

19 May: death of Dr Garrett FitzGerald, author, economists, and former prime minister of Ireland (b. 1926)

21 May – Leinster win 2011 Heineken Cup Final defeating Northampton Saints (33–22) at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.

22–25 May: the eruption of the Icelandic Grímsvötn volcano caused major disruption to air travel in North-Western Europe (and consequently, in a knock-on way, throughout a lot of the rest of the world).

Irish prime minister Enda Kenny introduces President Obama to Gaelic Games

Irish prime minister Enda Kenny introduces President Obama to Gaelic Games

23 May – President Barack Obama of the United States paid an official visit to Ireland which included Dublin and his ancestral village of Moneygall, Co. Offaly (County Offaly: formerly Kings County).

Lionel Messi of  Barcelona

Lionel Messi of Barcelona

26 May – Former Bosnian Serb Army commander Ratko Mladić, wanted for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, is arrested in Serbia.

27 May: death of American poet and musician Gil-Scott Heron (b. 1949)

28 May: Barcelona defeat Manchester United 3-1 at Wembley Stadium to win the European Champions League.


June 4 – Chile’s Puyehue volcano erupts, causing air traffic cancellations across South America, New Zealand, Australia and forcing over 3,000 people to evacuate.

brian lenihanJune 5 – Arab Spring: Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh travels to Saudi Arabia for treatment of an injury sustained during an attack on the presidential palace. Protesters celebrate his transfer of power to his Vice-President Abd al-Rab Mansur al-Hadi.

10 June: death of British author and adventurer Patrick Leigh-Fermor (b. 1915)

10 June – death of Brian Lenihan, Jnr, 52; Ireland’s minister of finance during the economic meltdown of 2007-10.

10 June: Sinn Féin’s Paul Maskey wins the West Belfast by-election, the seat vacated by Gerry Adams who surrendered his seat at Westminster in order to stand for a seat in the parliament in the Republic of Ireland (Dundalk and Co. Louth) which was a success.

Peter Falk 1927-2011

Peter Falk 1927-2011

12 June – Arab Spring: Thousands of Syrians flee to Turkey as Syrian troops lay siege to Jisr ash-Shugur.

15 June: St Paul’s Cathedral completed its £40 million restoration project. The 15-year programme of cleaning and repair was among the largest restoration projects ever undertaken in the UK.

18 June: death of American actor and musician Clarence Clemons [of Springsteen’s E Street Band fame] (b. 1942)

23 June: death of American actor Peter Falk (b. 1927), best known for his portrayal of LAPD’s Lieutenant Colombo in the long running eponymous television police drama.

Mirror.Bellfield23 June: Levi Bellfield, three years into a life sentence for the murder of two young women and the attempted murder of a third, was found guilty of murdering Amanda Dowler, the Surrey teenager who disappeared in March 2002 and whose remains were found in Hampshire six months later.

24 June: Levi Bellfield received an additional life sentence for the murder of Amanda Dowler.

24 June: Household furnishings retailer Habitat went into administration.

30 June: Hundreds of thousands of public sector workers go on strike across the UK over planned changes to pension sschemes.

30 June: The UK population rose by 470,000 between 2009 and 2010, according to new figures from the Office for National Statistics – the biggest increase in nearly 50 years.

30 June: The cheque guarantee card scheme – which ensures some cheques are honoured even if the account holder does not have sufficient funds in their account – was withdrawn after operating for over 40 years.


1 July – The Labour Party’s Iain McKenzie won the Inverclyde by-election with a majority reduced from 14,416 in 2010 to 5,838.

Petra Kvitová

Petra Kvitová

3 July: death of British actress Anna Massey (b. 1937)

3 July: In the Wimbledon finals Serbia’s Novak Djokovic defeated Spain’s Rafael Nadal to win the men’s singles while Czech Petra Kvitová won the women’s singles defeating 2004 champion Maria Sharapova from Russia.

July 7 – The world’s first artificial organ transplant is achieved, using an artificial windpipe coated with stem cells.

8 July – Rushden & Diamonds F.C. went out of business after 19 years in existence, having recently been expelled from the Blue Square Premier League because of their huge debts. The Northamptonshire club had been members of the Football League from 2001 until 2006.

9 July – South Sudan secedes from Sudan, per the result of the independence referendum held in January.

NewsOfTheWorldFinalFrontPage_large10 July – Following allegations that its journalists had hacked into the mobile phones of celebrities, politicians and high profile crime victims over the last decade, it was announced that the News of the World is to cease publication; its final edition was on Sunday 10 July, having been in circulation for 168 years.


HP (8 films) 2001-11

12 July – A Scottish ticket scooped €185m (£163,077,500) in the Euro Millions jackpot. This was the biggest ever jackpot won in Euro Millions history.

13 July – The Cloyne Report was published, an investigation into how the Cloyne Diocese mishandled child sexual abuse allegations. The investigating commission stated that the greatest failure by the diocese was the failure to report all abuse cases to the Gardaí.

14 July – South Sudan joins the United Nations as the 194th member

15 JulyHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, the final instalment in the Harry Potter film series, was released in UK cinemas.

Sean Hoare 1964-2011

Sean Hoare 1964-2011

18 July – Sean Hoare (b. 1964), the former News of the World reporter who made phone-hacking allegations against the newspaper which contributed to its recent demise, was found dead in Watford. His death is being treated as “unexplained but not suspicious” by police.

July 20: Goran Hadžić is detained in Serbia, becoming the last of 161 people indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

July 20: The United Nations declares a famine in southern Somalia, the first in over 30 years.

20 July – The Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, made a Dáil speech in response to the Cloyne Report strongly attacking the Vatican and the Catholic Church

20 July: death of German-born British painter Lucian Freud (b. 1922)

21 July – Space Shuttle Atlantis lands successfully at Kennedy Space Center after completing STS-135, concluding NASA’s space shuttle program.

Anders-Behring-Bre_2313494b22 July – Anders Behring Breivik kills 77 people in twin terrorist attacks in Norway, after a bombing in the Regjeringskvartalet government center in Oslo and a shooting at a political youth camp on the island of Utøya.

Amy Winehouse 1983-2011

Amy Winehouse 1983-2011

23 July – The British singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse, 27, was found dead at her London home (drugs and drink and whatever you’re having yourself).

29 July – Wolverhampton man Bilal Zaheer Ahmad, 23, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for making calls on an internet blog for MPs who backed the war in Iraq to be murdered.

31 July: In Thailand over 12.8 million people are affected by severe flooding. The World Bank estimates damages at 1,440 billion baht (US$45 billion). 815 people are killed, with 58 of the country’s 77 provinces affected.

31 July: Arab Spring  because of the uncertainties associated with a clamp-down of the free press, there are believed to be at least 121 people killed in a Syrian Army tank raid on the town of Hama and over 150 people are reportedly killed across the country.


August Bank Holiday Weekend (Friday 29 July to Monday 1 August)

2–19 August: Stock exchanges worldwide suffer heavy losses due to the fears of contagion of the European sovereign debt crisis and the credit rating downgraded as a result of the debt-ceiling crisis of the United States.

Emma Watson4 August – Downing Street launched a new e-petition website to encourage the public to prompt parliamentary debate on topics they feel are important. Several of the initial petitions concerned proposals for and against restoring the death penalty, last used in the UK in 1964.

5 August: NASA announces that its Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has captured photographic evidence of possible liquid water on Mars during warm seasons.

5 August: Juno, the first solar-powered spacecraft on a mission to Jupiter, is launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

7 August – The Metropolitan Police struggled to restore order in Tottenham, (London) after a riot the previous evening.

London riots started off from a rowdy demonstration about the shooting dead of a local youth

London riots started off from a rowdy demonstration outside a police station about the shooting dead of a local youth

Commander Sarah West

Commander Sarah West

8 August – Prime Minister David Cameron cut short his summer holiday to chair a meeting of the COBRA [emergency] Committee as rioting in north London continued into its third day and the violence and disturbances begins to spread across England, with Birmingham, Liverpool, Nottingham, and Bristol now also affected.

8 August – The Royal Navy appointed its first female warship commander. Lieutenant Commander Sarah West, 39, will take control of HMS Portland in May 2012.

9 August – Further sporadic violence broke out in several towns and cities around England, although London stayed largely quiet overnight. Police say that the fatal shooting of a 26-year-old man in Croydon, London, may have been linked to the rioting in the area.

Shooting-in-Tottenham-Hal-00110 August – Police from Scotland were sent to England to help combat riots and disorder. There are three fatalities in Birmingham, all Muslim men who were run over in the Winson Green district of the city while protecting their neighbourhood from rioters.

11 August – UK parliament recalled as a result of riots and disorder.

12 August – The number of deaths in the recent wave of rioting across England reached five when 68-year-old Richard Bowes died in hospital from injuries suffered when he was attacking while trying to put out flames during rioting in Ealing, west London, four days ago.

12 August: death of British radio and television broadcaster Robert Robinson (b. 1927)

August 20–28:  Arab Spring and the Libyan civil war: In the Battle of Tripoli, Libyan rebels take control of the nation’s capital, effectively overthrowing the government of Muammar Gaddafi.

Libya23 August – An e-petition (see 4 August, above) calling for the British Government to release of Cabinet documents relating to the 1989 Hillsborough [football stadium] disaster collected 100,000 signatures [fans believe that police mismanagement of the situation — in which 96 people died — made it much worse] – enough for MPs to consider a House of Commons debate on the matter. It was the first government e-petition to reach the target.


Kilkenny's Henry Shefflin

Kilkenny’s Henry Shefflin

4 September: Kilkenny win GAA All-Ireland Hurling Championship beating Tipperary in the final.

5 September – India and Bangladesh sign a pact to end their 40-year border demarcation dispute.

7 September – Telecommunication company TalkTalk announced the loss of 575 jobs with the closure of its call centre in Waterford.

10 September – Zanzibar ferry sinking: The MV Spice Islander I, carrying at least 800 people, sinks off the coast of Zanzibar, killing 240 people.

Bernard Hogan-Howe

Bernard Hogan-Howe

12 September – Approximately 100 people die after a petrol pipeline explodes in Nairobi.

12 September: The Independent Commission on Banking recommended that British banks should separate their retail banking divisions from investment banking arms to safeguard against riskier banking activities.

12 September: Bernard Hogan-Howe was named as the new Commissioner of London’s Metropolitan Police.

13 September – Home-owner Teresa Treacy was jailed for contempt of court in County Offaly. Government contractors cut down 12,000 of her trees to make way for electricity pylons while she was detained

OccupyAMericaFawkesBB14 September – UK unemployment rose by 80,000 to 2.51 million, the largest increase in nearly two years, in the three months to July.

15 September – The Fixed-term Parliaments Act is passed. This requires General Elections to take place at fixed five-year intervals, starting with 7 May 2015, (which removes the prime minister’s prerogative to select a date).

17 September – Occupy Wall Street protests begin in the United States. This develops into the Occupy movement which spreads to 82 countries by October.

18 September: Dublin win GAA All-Ireland Football Championship beating Kerry in the final.

Refuelling station, 2007, Air Liquide19 September – With 434 dead, the United Nations launches a $357 million appeal for victims of the floods in Pakistan (in Sindh).

20 September – The UK’s first commercial hydrogen filling station opened in Swindon.

21 September – An energy firm which had been test drilling for controversial “shale gas” in Lancashire said it had found vast gas resources underground.

26 September – Labour Party delegates voted to scrap the tradition of Shadow Cabinet elections at their annual conference in Liverpool.

29 September – The United Kingdom’s Department for Transport announced a consultation process on raising the motorway speed limit in England and Wales to 80 mph / 130 kph (currently 60/100).

Ford Fiesta, best-selling car in Britain in 2011

Ford Fiesta, best-selling car in Britain in 2011


Graphene1 October – A new record was set for the highest temperature recorded in UK in October – at 29.9 C (85.8 F).

3 October – The UK government pledged £50 million towards developing spin-off technologies from the super-strong material graphene.

4 October: 2011 Mogadishu bombing: 100 people are killed in a car bombing in the Somali capital Mogadishu.

4 October: The death toll from the flooding of Cambodia’s Mekong River and attendant flash floods reaches 207.

5 October – The world’s largest solar bridge project got underway in London (at Blackfriars).

bridge-016 October – The Bank of England said it would inject a further £75 billion into the economy through so-called Quantitative Easing (QE), and continue to hold interest rates at 0.5%.


George Baker

7 October: death of Bulgarian-born British actor George Baker (b. 1931): Inspector Wexford in the television adaptation of the Ruth Rendell detective mysteries.

8 October – Occupy Dame Street in Dublin began this afternoon.

10 October – The trial of Vincent Tabak, who is accused of murdering British landscape architect Joanna Yeates began at Bristol Crown Court.

11 October – Ireland’s football team reached the play-offs of the UEFA Euro 2012 qualifiers.

11 October – Two crosses, including the cross said to contain part of the “true cross” were stolen in a masked raid on Holy Cross Abbey.

Liam Fox

Liam Fox

12 October – A government ban on non-EU foreign spouses under the age of 21 coming to the UK was ruled unlawful by the UK Supreme Court.

13 October – BP was given the go-ahead to proceed with a new £4.5 billion oil project west of the Shetland Islands.

14 October – Liam Fox resigns as UK Defence Secretary after allegations over his working relationship with friend and self-styled adviser Adam Werritty.

18 October – Israel and the Palestinian militant organization Hamas begin a prisoner swap, in which the captured Israeli Army soldier Gilad Shalit is released by Hamas in exchange for 1,027 Palestinian and Israeli-Arab prisoners held in Israel, including 280 prisoners serving life sentences for planning and perpetrating terror attacks.

gaddafi-dies20 October: Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi is killed in Sirte, with National Transitional Council forces taking control of the city, and ending the war.

20 October: Basque separatist militant organisation ETA declares an end to its 43-year campaign of political violence, which has killed over 800 people since 1968.

21 October – London’s St Paul’s Cathedral was forced to close its doors to visitors for the first time since the Second World War after Occupy London protesters set up camp on its doorstep.

23 October – A magnitude 7.2 earthquake jolts eastern Turkey near the city of Van, killing 604 people, and damaging about 2,200 buildings.

rugby_10023 October – Host nation New Zealand wins Rugby World Cup defeating France in the final. Ireland and England go out at the Quarter-Final stage.

24 October – Ireland was struck by flash floods including heavy torrential rain in Dublin with up to 90 mm of rain falling during six hours in the evening.

25 October: Shamrock Rovers win Irish soccer league.

27 October – Lucy Caldwell wins Rooney Prize for Irish Literature (€10,000); previous winners of the prize include Neil Jordan (1981), Anne Enright (1991), Hugo Hamilton (1992), Mike McCormack (1996), and Kevin Barry (2007).

michaeldhiggins27 October – Presidential election and three constitutional referenda held in Ireland (Michael D. Higgins elected president and proposal to abolish the senate rejected).

27 October – After an emergency meeting in Brussels, the European Union announces an agreement to tackle the European sovereign debt crisis which includes a writedown of 50% of Greek bonds, a recapitalisation of European banks and an increase of the bailout fund of the European Financial Stability Facility totaling to €1 trillion.

27 October: The serial killer Robert Black was convicted of the 1981 murder of Northern Ireland schoolgirl Jennifer Cardy.

splash_662061a27 October: As police prepared to remove protestors from the grounds of St Paul’s Cathedral, London, Giles Fraser resigned as its canon chancellor, saying he could not condone the use of violence against the demonstrators.

28 October: Dutch engineer Vincent Tabak was convicted of the murder of landscape artist Joanna Yeates and sentenced to life imprisonment.

Jimmy Savile 1926-2011

Jimmy Savile 1926-2011

28 October: As St Paul’s Cathedral re-opened to visitors the City of London Corporation announced plans to launch legal action to evict protesters from the cathedral’s grounds.

29 October: death of British radio and television broadcaster Sir Jimmy Savile.

31 October: Date selected by the UN as the symbolic date when global population reaches seven billion.

31 October: UNESCO admitted Palestine as a member, following a vote in which 107 member states supported and 14 opposed.

31 October – Graeme Knowles resigned as Dean of St Paul’s as protestors by Occupy London demonstrators continued.


3 November – Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs announced the closure of Ireland’s embassies in Iran and the Vatican, and its representative office in East Timor, as cost-cutting measures resulting from the financial crisis.

4 November: Seven people died and dozens were injured after a 34 vehicles collided – many bursting into flames – on the M5 motorway near Taunton in Somerset.

Philip Gould6 November: death of New Labour political consultant and polling guru Philip Gould (b. 1950)

6 November: Sligo Rovers win FAI Cup defeating Shelbourne in the final (Sligo win in penalty shoot-out after 1-1 draw in match proper).

Joseph Ndo of Sligo Rovers celebrating cup triumph

Joseph Ndo of Sligo Rovers celebrating cup triumph

11 November – The Labour Party’s Michael D. Higgins was inaugurated as President of Ireland at a ceremony in Dublin Castle.

15 November – The Irish soccer team qualified for UEFA Euro 2012 to be staged in Poland and Ukraine next summer.

16 November – Unemployment rose to more than 2,600,000 (the highest level since 1994) during September. Sir Mervyn King, governor of the Bank of England, warned that the UK is now at a great risk from the Eurozone debt crisis. Youth unemployment has now passed the 1,000,000 mark for the first time since 1986.

16 November – Thousands of students and their families from around Ireland marched on Government Buildings in Dublin to protest against the re-introduction of third-level education fees. A small group also engage in a sit-down protest outside the Fine Gael office on Upper Mount Street.

Northern Rock

17 November: The UK Government sold the Northern Rock Bank – which was nationalised in 2008 – to Virgin Money for £747m.

19 November – Four Metropolitan Police officers were stabbed while chasing a suspect in Kingsbury, north London. Two officers were seriously injured, and a 32-year-old suspect was arrested for attempted murder.

23 November – The Prime Time Investigates television programme was cancelled as Director-General of RTÉ Noel Curran described the broadcasting of “Mission to Prey” (in May) as “one of the gravest editorial mistakes ever made” at RTÉ.

26 November – The Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity, the most elaborate Martian exploration vehicle to date, is launched from the Kennedy Space Center. It lands on Mars on August 6,2012.

Gary Speed 1969-2011

Gary Speed 1969-2011

27 November – Iran’s parliament voted by a large majority to downgrade diplomatic relations with the UK. The move came after the UK Treasury imposed sanctions on Iranian banks.

27 November – Welsh national football team manager Gary Speed, 42 (b. 1969), was found dead at his home in Chester. Speed, who had previously managed Sheffield United, had been a prominent footballer who was one of his country’s most capped players with 85 appearances at senior level and also won a league title with Leeds United.

27 November: death of British film-maker Ken Russell (b. 1927): film credits include adaptations of D.H. Lawrence’s Women in Love (1969) and The Rainbow, starring Glenda Jackson, Tommy (1975) The Who’s rock opera, and The Russia House (1990) with Sean Connery and Michelle Pfeiffer.


2 December – Eight students from the National University of Ireland, Maynooth (NUIM), including the university’s student union president Rob Munnelly, occupyied the Naas constituency office of Fine Gael TD Anthony Lawlor. They brought sleeping bags, clothes, a chemical toilet and a week’s supply of food. During the occupation Munnelly debated with Lawlor live on Kildare TV, USI President Gary Redmond visited the students, and a banner with the slogan “Save the Grant” was erected at Lawlor’s entrance.

3 December – Hundreds of people from County Donegal assembled in Buncrana to protest against austerity and to tell the government that “Inishowen and Donegal says no to further cuts and austerity”.

6 December – Patrick Nulty TD voted against the value added tax increase in the 2012 budget and lost the Labour Party whip as a result.

8 DecemberThe Prime Minister, David Cameron, vetoed a European Union treaty concerning the Eurozone crisis.

Christopher Hitchens 1949-2011

Christopher Hitchens 1949-2011

15 December: death of British writer and contrarian Christopher Hitchens (b. 1949): The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice (1995), No One Left to Lie To (1999), Letters to a Young Contrarian (2001), et cet; his anti-religion polemic God is not Great – How Religion Poisons Everything (2007) sold over 500,000 copies. Prolific contributor to journals and magazines, The New Statesman, The Nation, The Atlantic, The London Review of Books, The Times Literary Supplement and Vanity Fair.

16 December – Tropical Storm Washi causes 1,268 flash flood fatalities in the Philippines, with 85 people officially listed as missing.

16 December – Staff at the Vita Cortex plant in Cork began a sit-in after being told their jobs were eliminated and that they were to receive no redundancy payments.

16 December – The Labour Party’s Seema Malhotra retained the Feltham and Heston seat in south-west London for the party in a by-election.

17 December: Opinion polls show the Conservatives have established a lead of up to six points ahead of Labour, who had narrowly led most of the polls this year.

Kim Jong Il Weird Fiction Collection17 December: death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il (b. 1941)

Václav Havel 1936-2011

Václav Havel 1936-2011

18 December – death of Václav Havel, Czech playwright, 10th President of Czechoslovakia and 1st President of the Czech Republic (b. 1936)

19 December – The Criminal Law (Defence and the Dwelling) Act 2012 was signed by President Higgins. The new home defence law, which came into effect on 13 January 2012, allowed householders to defend their homes against intruders using reasonable force, including lethal force.

23 December – Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, was treated in hospital for a blocked coronary artery.

24 December (a Saturday)

25 December (a Sunday)

Adele's 21, best-selling album in UK in 2011

Adele’s 21, best-selling album in UK in 2011

29 December – Samoa and Tokelau move from east to west of the International Date Line, thereby skipping December 30, in order to align their time zones better with their main trading partners.

30 December – 2011 was the second warmest year on record for the UK, according to the Met Office. Only 2006, with an average temperature of 9.73C (49.5F), was warmer than the 2011 average temperature of 9.62C (49.3F).

31 December (New Year’s Eve, a Saturday)


1 thought on “2011”

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