Today in Irish History – 7 June:

In the Liturgical calendar, today is the Feast day of St. Colman of Dromore.

1420 – A parliament meets at Dublin.

1546 – England signs Peace of Andres with Ireland and Scotland.

1705 – Francis Flood, grandfather of Henry Flood, is expelled from the House of Commons for abuses against Agmondisham Cuffe MP, Cuffe’s tenants and others in Co Kilkenny.

1766 – The Tumultuous Risings Act, against the Whiteboys, is passed.

1798 – Father James Coigly is executed by hanging at Pennington Heath. A member of the United Irishmen, he had been arrested in Margate, England as he was about to embark for France. Papers found on his person indicate that his intention is to invite the French Directory to land an army in England. He is found guilty of high treason.

1798 – United Irishmen Rebellion: The Battle of Antrim.

1861 – Death of Patrick Brontë from Emdale, Drumballyroney, Co Down, father of Emily, Charlotte, Anne and Bramwell. Patrick outlived all his children and his wife, the former Maria Branwell, by forty years.

1886 – Prime Minister William Gladstone in beseeching Parliament to pass the (first) Home Rule bill to grant Ireland its own parliament makes one of the finest (and honest) speeches by any British Prime Minister about Ireland.

1866 – Irish Fenians raid Pigeon Hill, Quebec. 1,800 Fenian raiders are repelled back to the United States after they loot and plunder around Saint-Armand and Frelighsburg, Quebec.

1892 – Birth of Irish statesman, Kevin Christopher O’Higgins in Stradbally, Co Laois. He attempted severe repression of the Irish Republican Army following the Anglo-Irish treaty of 1921. A man of intellectual power, he is described as “a soul incapable of remorse or rest” and – by William Butler Yeats – “a great man in his pride confronting”.

1899 – Birth in Dublin of Elizabeth Bowen, novelist and short-story writer. Acclaimed for her fictional representations of Anglo-Irish “Big House” life, she is best known in Ireland for her novel The Last September.

1900 – Patricia Lynch, children’s author, is born in Cork.

1920 – IRA volunteers attacked Drangan barracks on Co Tipperary/Co Kilkenny border.

1921 – The Lord Lieutenant of Ireland appoints James Craig the first Prime Minister of Northern Ireland. Several other members of the new Northern government are also appointed.

1925 – Death of Matt Talbot. With the help of a friend and priest, Matt overcomes chronic alcoholism and models his life on that of the monks, who lived in Ireland in the 6th and 7th centuries. It is a tough programme of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. He gives away most of his wages every week to the poor at home and abroad. He is also keenly aware of his fellow workers struggle for social justice. A loyal member of Ireland’s Transport and General Workers Union, a Union leader, Stephen McGonagle, describes him as “a beacon of light to Irish workers”. After a life of heroic perseverance, he dies suddenly on the way to Mass. A candidate for canonisation, his statue stands at the south end of the Liffey, by the bridge named after him.

1952 – Birth of actor, Liam Neeson, in Ballymena, Co Antrim.

1956 – Birth of Marty Whelan in Dublin. He is a radio and television personality currently working for RTÉ. His early television credits included the game shows Millionaire and Fame and Fortune, and the weekday afternoon show, Open House. Whelan hosted the The Rose of Tralee contest until Ryan Tubridy replaced him in 2003, a role which he had held since 1997.

1999 – British Prime Minister Tony Blair urges an immediate Downing Street meeting in a fresh bid to end the disarmament deadlock threatening the future of the Northern Ireland peace process.

2001 – At the RTÉ Radio Centre, President Mary McAleese unveils a sculpture by Galway-based artist John Behan to celebrate the 75th anniversary of radio in Ireland.

2002 – An imposing white limestone statue created by Cork sculptor Ken Thompson in honour of St. Patrick is unveiled by celebrated author Brian Keenan and blessed by the Bishop of Clogher, Most Rev Joseph Duffy at Europe’s only island pilgrimage location, St Patrick’s Purgatory in Lough Derg, Co Donegal.

Photo: Cruit Island, Co Donegal, © Owen clarke photography

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