Today in Irish History – 5 June:

1646 – The Battle of Benburb: Eoghan Rua O’Neill, a superb military strategist, defeats Robert Munro’s Scottish army at Benburb in Co Tyrone. The victory is celebrated by Pope Innocent X with a Te Deum in Rome.

1686 – Richard Talbot, the Earl of Tyrconnell, appointed Lord Deputy of Ireland, (the first Catholic to hold the position since the Reformation) becomes Commander-in-Chief of the Irish army.

1795 – An Act provides for the establishment of a Catholic seminary.

1798 – United Irishmen Rebellion/Battle of New Ross: The Battle of New Ross took place in Co Wexford during the Irish Rebellion of 1798.

1798 – The Reverend William Steel Dickson, a Presbyterian minister and United Irishmen supporter is arrested and imprisoned without trial.

1868 – James Connolly is born of Irish parents in Edinburgh.

1886 – Alasdair Mac Cába, pro-Treaty nationalist, politician, and founder of the Educational Building Society, is born in Ballymote, Co Sligo.

1899 – Margaret Anne Cusack (Sister Mary Francis Clare), the ‘Nun of Kenmare,’ dies in Leamington, Warwickshire, England.

1916 – Death of Listowel, Co Kerry man Lord Kitchener.

1920 – Cornelius Ryan, war correspondent and author of The Longest Day, The Last Battle and A Bridge Too Far, is born in Dublin.

1921 – The first sitting of the Northern Ireland Parliament takes place.

1921 – Three members of Manchester Regiment killed at Kilcrea, Co Cork.

1932 – Birth of Christy Brown, paraplegic painter and writer. His book “Down All the Days” and the film “My Left Foot” are based on his life.

1944 – Birth of tenor and actor, Colm Wilkinson in Drimnagh, Co Dublin. Best known for originating the role of Jean Valjean in Les Miserables (in the West End and Broadway) and for taking the title role in The Phantom of the Opera at the Sydmonton Festival and in the original Canadian production. He has performed in New York and London and collaborated with Andrew Lloyd Weber on more than one occasion.

1966 – Birth of actor, singer and producer, Michael McCarthy in Turners Cross, Co Cork. Best known for his many appearances as Javert in the musical Les Misérables, other musical stage roles have included: Max in Cabaret; Sir Lancelot in Camelot; Thomas Inkle in a 1997 revival of Inkle and Yarico; the Phantom in Ken Hill’s Phantom of the Opera; Ivan Molokov in Chess and Sweeney Todd in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

1968 – Robert Kennedy is seriously injured in shooting after a victory speech.

1971 – Birth of actress Susan Lynch in Corrinshego, Newry, Co Armagh. Her film roles include Beautiful Creatures (2000),[2] Waking Ned (1998), and the title role in Nora (2000), about Nora Barnacle.

1976 – Nine civilians were killed during separate attacks in and around Belfast. After a suspected republican bombing killed two Protestant civilians in a pub, the UVF killed five civilians in a gun and bomb attack at the Chlorane Bar. The UDA/UFF also assassinated a member of Sinn Féin.

2000 – British Prime Minister Tony Blair issues an apology to the Guilford Four 11 years after they had been released from prison where they each spent 15 years on a trumped up conviction.

2001 – Hopes that the £200 million a year Egyptian market for Irish beef would re-open shortly receive a major set back. The authorities in Cairo decide to extend for another four months the import ban they imposed on EU beef after the BSE crisis late last year.

2002 – Former US President Bill Clinton travels to Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh, to open a £3m peace centre named after him in recognition of his special role in helping the divided North’s community towards the Good Friday Agreement. The centre is built on the site of the 1987 Remembrance Sunday bombing.

2003 – Relics of one of the best loved and admired saints, St Anthony of Padua, arrive in Ireland for a special tour of churches in Dublin and Carlow. The remains, contained in a statue of the Franciscan monk, are received at Fairview Church by Cardinal Desmond Connell and the Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland, Archbishop Giuseppe Lazaretto.

2013 – Death of Ruairí Ó Brádaigh. Born Peter Roger Casement Brady in Co Longford, he was an Irish republican paramilitary and political leader. He was Chief of Staff of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) from 1958 to 1959 and again from 1960 to 1962, president of Sinn Féin from 1970 to 1983, and president of Republican Sinn Féin from 1987 to 2009. He opposed the decision of the IRA and Sinn Féin to drop abstentionism and to recognise Westminster, Stormont Belfast and Dáil Éireann at Leinster House in 1969/1970. On 11 January 1970, along with Seán Mac Stíofáin, he led the walkout from the 1970 Sinn Féin Ard Fheis after the majority voted to end the policy of abstentionism. He and his wife, Patsy, had six children.

Photo: Hook Lighthouse, Hook Peninsula, Co Wexford

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