Today in Irish History – 2 July:

1790 – In an election for Speaker of the Irish parliament, John Foster defeats William Brabazon Ponsonby by 145 votes to 105.

1798 – United Irishmen Rebellion: Rebels defeat small force of Yeomanry at Ballraheen Hill; they move to camp at Croghan.

1798 – United Irishmen Rebellion: Execution of Father John Murphy.

1800 – The Act of Union is passed which united the Kingdom of Great Britain and the Kingdom of Ireland to create the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The act meant Ireland lost its own independent Parliament and was now to be ruled from England. It would not be until 1922 before Ireland regained legislative independence. The Irish state came into being in 1922 as the Irish Free State, a dominion of the British Commonwealth, having seceded from the United Kingdom under the Anglo-Irish Treaty. It comprises 26 of the island of Ireland’s 32 counties. The 1937 constitution renamed the state Ireland. In 1949 it explicitly became a republic, definitively ending its tenuous membership of the British Commonwealth. In 1973 it joined the European Communities.

1819 – Edward Vaughan Kenealy, barrister and writer, is born in Cork.

1863 – More than six hundred men of the Irish Brigade fight at Gettysburg, losing one-third of their number in The Wheatfield. The Irish Brigade suffered severe losses during the Civil War, initially starting with over 2,500 volunteers. The Brigade distinguished itself in numerous conflicts including Chancellorsville, Fair Oaks and Fredericksburg.

1869 – Birth of one of Ireland’s greatest ever tennis players, Joshua Prine, who won the Wimbledon singles in 1893 and 1894.

1874 – Isaac Butt’s Home Rule motion was defeated in the House of Commons 458-6.

1903 – One of the greatest motoring events is held in Ireland – the Gordon Bennett Race, sponsored by James Gordon Bennett, owner of the New York Herald. Under the rules, the races were hosted in the country of the previous year’s winner. As the races were between national teams, it led to the reorganisation and standardisation of national racing colours. Reputedly as a concession to Ireland where the 1903 race was run (racing was illegal on British public roads), the British adopted shamrock green which became known as British racing green, although the winning Napier of 1902 had already worn Olive Green. Britain had to choose a different colour to its usual national colours of red, white and blue, as these had already been taken by Italy, Germany and France respectively.

1920 – Newtown Cross Ambush in Co Tipperary: A four man RIC patrol was making its way back from Cashel to its Barracks at Ballinure when it was ambushed midway between Dualla village and the Barracks. Sergeant Robert Tobin was killed and Constable Brady was wounded. (He had volunteered for service early in the war and joined the Irish Guards and was wounded in action abroad. Michael Burke, who lived about three miles from the scene, was arrested on 9 August 1920 to await trial by court-martial for the incident. it was alleged that at the time of his arrest he had in his possession an automatic revolver which had been removed from constable Maloney, another member of the ambushed patrol.

1922 – In Dublin, the Republican garrison of thirty men in Moran’s hotel on the corner of Gardiner street and Talbot street surrender after being shelled at close range by artillery.

1922 – Fighting breaks out in Boyle, Co Roscommon, when Republicans attack Free State held buildings. Casualties include National Army officer Michael Dockery. Fighting continues in Boyle for three more days.

1922 – The Free State garrison in Ballyjamesduff barracks in Co Cavan is attacked with rifle fire and grenades. There are no casualties. Barracks are also attacked at Balyshannon and Cordonoagh and troops’ arms are taken by anti-Treaty fighters.

1957 – Bridie Gallagher reaches no.1 in the Irish charts with “The Boys From The County Armagh”.

1958 – The Industrial Development Act is passed to encourage an influx of foreign capital.

1970 – Irish Catholic bishops announce that it is no longer obligatory to abstain from eating meat on Friday.

1970 – Following his arrest on 28 May for allegedly importing arms for the IRA, Neil Blaney is discharged.

1976 – Ramble Inn attack: the UVF killed six civilians (five Protestants, one Catholic) in a gun attack at a pub near Antrim. The pub was targeted because it was owned by Catholics.

1980 – Death of Tom Barry, he died in a Cork hospital and was survived by his wife, Leslie de Barra (née Price), whom he married in 1921 and who was the director of organisation for Cumann na mBan and later President of the Irish Red Cross. She died in 1984.

2000 – Joey Dunlop, motorcycle racer and humanitarian worker, dies in an accident during a race in Estonia.

2000 – The 25th anniversary of St. Oliver Plunkett’s canonisation is celebrated in Drogheda, Co Armagh.

2000 – Navan-born jockey, Johnny Murtagh, rides Sinndar to an easy victory at the Budweiser Irish Derby.

2000 – 2-12: Drumcree conflict – the annual Orange Order parade was banned from marching through the nationalist Garvaghy area of Portadown. The security forces erected large barricades to prevent loyalists from entering the area. About 2,000 British soldiers were deployed to keep order. During the standoff at Drumcree Church, loyalists continually launched missiles at the security forces.

2001 – Ireland bids farewell to the relics of St Therese of Lisieux at the end of an 11-week tour which organisers claim drew three million onlookers.

Photo: Glendalough, Co Wicklow

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