Today in Irish History – 5th April:

456 – St. Patrick returns to Ireland as a missionary bishop.

584 – Death of Saint Ruadhan (Ruadán), one of the twelve “Apostles of Erin”. He died at the monastery of Lorrha, County Tipperary.

1806 – William Dool Killen, ecclesiastical historian, is born in Ballymena, Co. Antrim.

1818 – Bernardo O’Higgins defeats the Spanish at the battle of Maipo River, Chile.

1855 – The Dublin-Belfast railway line is completed.

1869 – Birth in Dublin of Margaret Tennant, née Abraham; trade unionist and campaigner for improved working conditions.

1900 – Spencer Tracy, the son of an Irish father, is born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

1916 – Patrick Pearse denies rumors of a possible rising to Irish Volunteer Chief of Staff Eoin MacNeill.

1920 – IRA prisoners starts a hunger strike in Mountjoy Jail demanding prisoner of war status.

1922 – The Northern Ireland Government formally takes over control of the special constabulary and policing in the six counties. For the next eighty years, the Royal Ulster Constabulary would be almost exclusively a non-Catholic police force, often involved in sectarian discrimination and often subject to murderous attacks by various Republican elements. Between 1969-99, the R.U.C. would lose three hundred officers to violence.

1923 – Senior Republican leaders Tom Derrig and Moss Twomey are captured by Free State troops on Raglan Road, in Ballsbridge, in Dublin.

1936 – Birth of John Kelly (Seán Ó Ceallaigh), Irish republican militant and politician born in Belfast. He joined the IRA in the 1950s, and was a founder member and a leader of the Provisional Irish Republican Army in the early 1970s.

1938 – Bill Attley, trade unionist, is born in Rathcoole, Co. Dublin.

1944 – As part of an ongoing cold war, the British government ceases telephone service to Ireland and ends the distribution of newspapers there. Britain was concerned about leakage of military information to the neutral Ireland which still allowed Nazi Germany an embassy in Ireland.

1962 – Guinness formally adopts the harp as its symbol.

1975 – L’escargot, ridden by Tommy Carberry, wins the Aintree Grand National.

1998 – All sides in the Northern peace talks talk up the chances of a new peace agreement as Stormont sources reveal that both Bertie Ahern and Tony Blair will fly to Belfast for the final hours of talks on Thursday.

1998 – Cannabis worth £2 million is seized during a dramatic early morning raid by members of the National Drugs Unit (NDU) in Ashbourne, Co Meath.

1999 – More than 300 Co. Waterford people armed with gloves and plastic bags brave a driving mist and head for the hills for the annual Clean up the Comeraghs campaign.

1999 – The first major event of the Loyalist marching season a controversial Apprentice Boys parade along the predominantly Nationalist Ormeau Road in Belfast – passes off peacefully.

2000 – Debbie Walsh and Jennifer McCarthy are shown at the opening of ‘the father of the modern day submarine’ exhibition in Cobh heritage centre. This year is the 100th anniversary of the commissioning of the first US submarine invented by John Phillip Holland from Liscannor, Co. Clare.

2000 – Marine Minister, Frank Fahey, announces new moves to protect Irish fishing vessels from harassment outside the 12 mile limit.

2001 – Gardaí attempt to trace the origin of a herd of Friesian cattle found roaming without ear tags on a roadside at Rosadrehid in the Glen of Aherlow, Co. Tipperary.

2002 – Forty-four young police graduates march their way into the North’s history books as they become the first fully-fledged members of the new Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).

2003 – Attended by the entire cast of Fair City, the popular RTÉ television soap in which she starred for 11 years, the funeral of veteran actress Pat Leavy takes place at the Church of the Holy Spirit in Ballyroan, south Dublin.

2011 – Filmmaker and lecturer Barry Dignam and and his partner of 17 years, Hugh Hugh Walsh become the first gay couple in Irish history to enter into a civil partnership. The event takes place at the Registry Office in Dublin city centre.

Photo: Belvelly Castle, Cobh in County Cork

Photo credit: Mark Callanan

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