Today in Irish History – 6 December:

In the liturgical calendar, today is the feast of St. Nicholas.

1679 – St. Oliver Plunkett, Archbishop of Armagh, is accused of instigating the “Irish Popish” Plot and arrested.

1820 – Spanish General Diego O’Reilly is defeated by Peruvian revolutionaries.

1908 – Cornelius Cremin, diplomat, is born in Kenmare, Co. Kerry.

1920 – An IRA unit attacked the RIC barracks in Camlough, County Armagh. Roughly 300 IRA volunteers assaulted the building, which was held by six RIC constables, for several hours. Troops arriving from Newry were ambushed by the IRA before they retired. In reprisal, the Ulster Special Constabulary burned buildings in the village of Camlough. Local IRA leader Frank Aiken’s home was burned the next day, as were the homes of ten of his relatives.

1921 – Representatives of the Irish government appointed by President Éamon de Valera, and those negotiating for the Crown sign the Anglo-Irish Treaty, ending the Irish War of Independence against England. Michael Collins declares: “I have signed my own death warrant”.

1922 – The Irish Free State, Saorstát Éireann, comes into being. For one day, it encompassed ALL of Ireland. On 7th December, Northern Ireland opted out and remained part of the United Kingdom.

1922 – National Army troops encounter 80 republicans at Kilcash, County Tipperary occupying a hill top position. A fire fight breaks out that lasts for three hours. Two Republicans are killed, four wounded and eleven captured. The remainder of their column gets away by burning the furze bushes to cover their retreat. Free State troops have three men wounded.

1923 – Scartaglen, Co Kerry. Free State Lt. Jeremiah Gaffney shot dead republican Thomas Brosnan in a revenge attack. Gaffney was executed for the shooting on 13 March 1924.

1925 – Con Houlihan, journalist, is born in Castleisland, Co. Kerry.

1975 – Balcombe Street Siege: An IRA Active Service Unit takes a couple hostage in Balcombe Street, London.

1982 – Droppin Well bombing: The Irish National Liberation Army detonate a bomb in Ballykelly, County Derry, killing eleven British soldiers and six civilians.

1999 – The Abbey Bridge is opened in Limerick. It is intended to relieve chronic traffic congestion and provide a link to the city’s historic quarter of King’s Island.

1999 – Actor Gabriel Byrne brings out a host of stars for the Irish premiere of his new movie End of Days in Dublin
Image: Official Gabriel Byrne web site: Gabriel Byrne.

2002 – The RDS Irish Forestry and Wood Awards introduces a new special category award for hurley ash plantations and forests. This year’s award is won by Theresa Greene, from Cappamurragh House, Dundrum, Co Tipperary, who has an eight-year-old plantation specifically geared towards the growing of suitable ash trees for hurley-making.

2002 – Publicist to the stars, Chris Roche, loses his battle with cancer.

2007 – Death of Katy Ellen French. She was an Irish socialite, model, writer, television personality and charity worker. According to the BBC, “in the space of less than two years, she had become one of Ireland’s best-known models and socialites.” She collapsed at a friend’s house on 2 December 2007 and died on 6 December. A post mortem examination determined that she had suffered brain damage, and that traces of cocaine were found in her body.

Photo: Beara Peninsula, Co Cork

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