Today in Irish History – 4 June:

In the Liturgical calendar, today is the Feast day of St Cornelius also known as Conchobar mac Meic Con Caille, Archbishop of Armagh. He entered the Augustinians at Armagh in 1140, before being made abbot in 1151. Later in 1174, Cornelius was consecrated bishop. Cornelius died on his return from a pilgrimage from Rome in Chambray, Savoy, France, in 1175.

1487 – Thomas FitzGerald, Kildare’s brother, accompanies Simnel’s army of German mercenaries and some Irishmen to England on this date.

1651 – Siege of Limerick: Henry Ireton, Oliver Cromwell’s son-in-law, lays siege to Limerick city. By October, Limerick is in Ireton’s hands. Ireton dies of the plague shortly afterwards.

1731 – Allegedly, the date when the robbery of the Golden Lyon’s cargo takes place at Ballyheige Co Kerry. Owned by the Danish East India Company, the ship had become stranded near Ballyheige, Co Kerry. Its valuable cargo is moved into a house and guarded by troops, but ‘About twelve or one in the night a number of men broke into the house at Ballyheige where the money chests were kept, wounded three of the Danes and carried it off.’ Eventually, about ten of the robbers are apprehended and charged, and approximately £7,524 2s is recovered.

1798 – United Irishmen Rebellion: Battle of Tuberneering, Co Wexford.

1798 – Lord Edward Fitzgerald dies at Newgate prison from wounds sustained in the course of his arrest.

1820 – Henry Grattan, the moving force behind the Irish Parliament at College Green before it was dissolved by the Act of Union, dies and is buried – against his wishes – in Westminster Abbey.

1864 – Neilí Ni Bhriain, Irish Gaelic League activist, is born.

1886 – Months of serious rioting begin in Belfast on this date. The massive 1886 riot in Belfast, which broke out in the context of Protestant mobilisation in a close seat in anticipation of an imminent general election, was therefore very different from the 1864 riot. Catholics stayed in their houses throughout the riots, which were largely a battle of Protestants against the police (371 of whom were injured) and the army. Militant Protestants complained bitterly in the aftermath of the riots about the fact that the force had protected Catholics, and they demanded a return to the pre-1865 system in which there was a separate Belfast police system under local (Protestant) control.

1909 – Charlotte Grace O’Brien, Irish social reformer dies.

1909 – Robert Dudley Edwards, historian, is born in Dublin.

1921 – 4-14: Around 800 British troops swept the Macroom area, of Co Cork.

1952 – Birth of rugby player, Ciaran Fitzgerald, in Loughrea, Co Galway. He captained Ireland to the Triple Crown in 1982 and 1985, and the Five Nations Championship in 1983.

1956 – Birth of Gerard “Gerry” Ryan, was an Irish presenter of radio and television employed by RTÉ. He presented The Gerry Ryan Show on radio station RTÉ 2fm each weekday morning from 1988 until his death (30 April 2010).

1957 – John Treacy, athlete and Olympic medalist, is born in Villierstown, Co Waterford. He represented Ireland at four Olympic Games between 1980 and 1992. His nickname was “The Mudlark,” due to his winning consecutive world cross−country championships in muddy conditions.

1978 – Belfast virtuoso flute player, James Galway, reaches no. 10 in the UK charts with Annie’s Song. Galway is nicknamed “The Man With the Golden Flute”. He received the 2014 Gramophone Lifetime Achievement Award.

1980 – Assassination of John Tunley, a Protestant politician and activist. Originally from a Unionist background he was gradually drawn to Irish nationalism and became a Republican activist. He was assassinated by loyalists in Carnlough, Co Antrim.

1984 – President of the United States, Ronald Reagan, addresses joint session of Houses of the Oireachtas in Dublin.

1998 – A collection of 15 documents, one from George Yeats, the other 14 hand-written missives signed by WB Yeats is sold by fine art auctioneers Christie’s for over £5,500; a second collection of 12 letters, including eight signed by WB Yeats, and one by Ezra Pound sells for £5,585.

1998 – Amid strict security, His Royal Highness, the Duke of Kent makes a courtesy visit to Lifeboat Stations in Cork and Kerry in his role as President of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).

1999 – Around 4,000 jobs are threatened in the Irish transport sector, support services and manufacturing industry after defeat is conceded in the fight to save duty free sales.

2001 – It is announced that a previously unknown and heavily re-worked draft of one of the closing chapters of James Joyce’s epic novel, Ulysses, is set to fetch up to £1.2 million at auction in London next month.

Photo: Celtic Cross gravestones in the ruins of Derrynane Abbey, Caherdaniel, Co Kerry

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