Today in Irish History – 6 February:

1685 – Coronation of King James II. He was King of England and Ireland as James II, and Scotland as James VII, from 6 February 1685. He was the last Catholic monarch to reign over the Kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland. Increasingly Britain’s political and religious leaders opposed him as too pro-French, too pro-Catholic, and too much of an absolute monarch. When he produced a Catholic heir the tension exploded and the leaders called on William of Orange (his son-in-law) to land an invasion army from the Netherlands.

1877 – John O’Mahoney, Irish patriot, dies in New York City.

1900 – John Redmond is elected leader of the Irish Party.

1918 – The silent film version of Charles Kickham’s popular novel Knocknagow, about life in a Tipperary village, is shown for the first time.

1921 – Two attacks on British soldiers at Merrion Square and Camden Street, Dublin by the 3rd Battalion Dublin Brigade.

1933 – 2RN is superseded by Radio Athlone.

1949 – Birth of Jim Sheridan in Dublin. He is an Irish film director, six-time Academy Award nominee, Sheridan is perhaps best known for his films My Left Foot, In the Name of the Father, The Field, Get Rich or Die Tryin’ and In America.

1951 – Birth of Margo (born Margaret Catherine O’Donnell in Co Donegal), an Irish singer. She rose to prominence during the 1960s in the Irish country music scene and has had a successful career since.

1958 – Eight players of Manchester United were killed in the Munich air disaster.

1971 – In Belfast, Robert Curtis becomes the first British soldier to be killed by the Provisional IRA.

1998 – The European Commission launches an investigation into the FAI’s refusal to allow Wimbledon football club to move to Dublin which could trigger a revolution in Irish and European soccer.

1998 – Dr Kieran McCarthy, a marine specialist in the Zoology Department at UCG expresses fears that a uniquely Irish species of fish – pollan – which is found in only four fresh water lakes is being threatened by the vigorous spread of zebra mussels.

2000 – A continuity IRA bomb explodes at a Co Fermanagh hotel less than 24 hours before the Ulster Unionist Party’s Ken McGuinness is due to visit.

2001 – Over 8,000 homes in the south of the country are left without power after a severe electrical storm and high winds wreak havoc.

2001 – For the first time in three decades, Ireland’s first Eurovision winner Dana is back in the famous contest’s spotlight as she takes to the stage to introduce the entertainers at the Dublin launch of Eurosong 2001.

2002 – The jinx on ‘famine’ replica ship, the Jeanie Johnston, continues as the High Court grants an order against the owners and all persons claiming an interest in the ship.

2002 – Pharmacists vow to fight Health Minister Micheál Martin through the courts to stop plans for industry deregulation.

2003 – The Northern Secretary, Paul Murphy, returns Johnny Adair to prison alleging he had been involved in directing terrorism, drug dealing, extortion, money laundering and procuring and distributing guns.

2011 – Renowned rock guitarist Gary Moore dies in a hotel room while on holiday in Spain. Originally from Belfast, he was a former member of the legendary Irish group Thin Lizzy. Sir Bob Geldof pays tribute saying “Moore was “without question, one of the great Irish bluesmen. His playing was exceptional and beautiful. We won’t see his like again.”

Photo: Monastery of Clonmacnoise, Co Offaly

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