Today in Irish History – 6th May:

1074 – Donatus (or Dunan), the first Bishop of Dublin, dies on this date and is buried in Christ Church Cathedral. Patrick, his successor, is sent to Canterbury for consecration (records are unreliable – the date of his death is also recorded as November 23).

1384 – Philip de Courtenay lands at Dalkey and campaigns in the midlands and the Leinster mountains.

1728 – Act of Parliament removes the right to vote from Catholics.

1763 – Mary Molesworth, widow of Richard Molesworth (3rd Viscount Molesworth, MP for Swords 1715-26), and her daughters Melosina and Mary die in a fire at their London house.

1820 – Birth in St. Cleran’s, Co. Galway of Robert O’Hara Burke, explorer.

1830 – Birth of Irish naturalist and librarian, William Archer in Magherahamlet, Co. Down. Archer did work on protozoa and was the first librarian of the National Library of Ireland.

1832 – Birth of Margaret Anna Cusack, a Catholic nun and the founder of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace. Sister Margaret was a strong advocate for the poor and oppressed, especially women.

1882 – ‘Phoenix Park murders’ – The assassination of the British chief secretary of Ireland, Lord Frederick Cavendish, and his under secretary, T.H. Burke. Both are stabbed to death as they walk in Dublin’s Phoenix Park by members of a nationalist secret society, the “Invincibles”. The attack is attributed to the Fenians. It is not actually connected with land agitation.

1884 – Birth of painter William Conor in Belfast.

1844 – Irish Catholics in the Kensington slum area of Philadelphia are attacked by a mob of Nativists, a group of virulent anti-Catholic, anti-immigrant activists whose philosophy permeated much of American Protestant society at the time. The riots last for a number of days.

1916 -The U-20, a German U-boat commanded by Captain Schweiger, sinks the Centurion off the south-east Irish coast; the next day, the U-20 sinks the Lusitania.

1923 – A National Army sergeant is shot dead while on sentry duty.

1925 – Máire de Paor (née McDermott) archaeologist and arts activist, is born in Buncrana, Co. Donegal.

1937 – Birth of Shay Brennan, Irish international footballer.

1947 – Singer Paul Brady is born.

1964 – Birth of actress Roma Downey in Co. Derry.

1967 – Seven Drunken Nights by the Dubliners enters the British Top Ten.

1970 – Charles Haughey (Minister for Finance) and Neil Blaney (Minister for Agriculture) are dismissed by Taoiseach Jack Lynch; later, the are arrested and charged with importing arms for the IRA. Blaney is discharged on 2 July; Haughey is acquitted on 23 October.

1990 – Operation Conservation – the British Army attempted to ambush a PIRA unit in South Armagh, but were counter-ambushed and one British soldier was killed.

1998 – The High Court hears that an advance of £175,000 has been negotiated by convicted IRA killer-turned-informer Seán O’Callaghan for his autobiography.

2000 – Large crowds turn out in bright summer sunshine in Fenit, Co. Kerry, where President Mary McAleese officially christens the three-masted, famine ship replica, the Jeanie Johnston.

2000 – Peace and prosperity are within Northern Ireland’s grasp, according to European Commissioner Chris Patten.

2001 – A bomb explodes at a north London postal sorting office. It is the second such attack in three weeks and is linked to the Real IRA.

2003 – The Taoiseach and the British Prime Minister pledge to move the Northern peace process forward following their talks at Farmleigh in Dublin.

2008 – Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and Northern Ireland First Minister Ian Paisley officially open the Battle of the Boyne site in Co Meath. It is the last official engagement of Bertie Ahern as Taoiseach.

Photo: Kilmacduagh Monastery, County Galway

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