Today in Irish History – 2 April:

World Autism Awareness Day

Feast Day of Saint Brónach (sometimes anglicised to Bronagh), a 6th-century holy woman from Ireland, the reputed founder and patron saint of Cell Brónche (“church of Brónach”), now Kilbroney, in Co Down.

1807 – Birth of Sir Charles Edward Trevelyan, 1st Baronet, KCB, a British civil servant and Governor of Madras. Trevelyan is referred to in the modern Irish folk song The Fields of Athenry about ‘An Gorta Mor’. For his actions, he is commonly considered one of the most detested figures in Irish history, along with the likes of Cromwell.

1871 – A census on this date shows the population of Ireland to be 5,412,377; only 285 Jews are recorded in the census.

1902 – Premiere of Yeats’ Cathleen ni Houlihan starring Maud Gonne.

1914 – Cumann na mBan, Irish women’s Republican movement, is founded.

1921 – An IRA informer, Vincent Fovargue from Dublin, was shot dead at a golf course near London, England. A note was left saying, “let spies and traitors beware, IRA”.

1970 – Several days of rioting following Easter rising commemorations end on this date.

1972 – Radio na Gaeltachta goes on the air for the first time and is launched by Éamon de Valera.

1973 – Special Powers Act replaced by Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act.

1977 – Birth of Michael Fassbender, a German-Irish actor. He is best known for his roles as Lieutenant Archie Hicox in the film Inglourious Basterds (2009), Magneto in the superhero film X-Men: First Class (2011), and the android David in the science fiction film Prometheus (2012).

1998 – Dissident republicans, aligned to the 32 County Sovereignty Committee and a Louth-based former IRA. Quartermaster are said to be behind a massive explosives find in Dun Laoghaire.

1998 – Mentally exhausted and following the advice of his doctor, Christy Moore announces in an open letter to fans that he is taking a year off from live performances.

1999 – More than 170 staff at the biggest Dunnes Stores branch in the west of Ireland are suspended in a row over a worker facing dismissal because she sampled food at the delicatessen counter.

2000 – Westlife make pop history with five consecutive British number one chart hits.

2002 – Linda and Declan Fleming win the second largest individual jackpot in Lotto history – £5.26 million.

2003 – Protestors against the war in Iraq clash with gardaí outside the Dáil.

2003 – Pat Leahy, star of Fair City for eleven years, dies of kidney failure.

2011 – Ronan Kerr, a 25-year-old Catholic PSNI officer, was killed after a bomb exploded under his car in Omagh, Co Tyrone. The Real IRA claimed responsibility.

2013 – Death of actor, Milo O’Shea. He was nominated for the Tony Award for his roles in Staircase and Mass Appeal. O’Shea was born and raised in Dublin and educated by the Christian Brothers at Synge Street school, along with his friend Donal Donnelly. His father was a singer and his mother a ballet teacher. Because he was bilingual, O’Shea performed in English-speaking theatres and in Irish in the Abbey Theatre Company.

Photo: Aerial view of Portstewart Strand, Co Antrim

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