Today in Irish History – 3 September:

In the Liturgical calendar, it is the Feast day of St. MacNis, baptised by St Patrick, and later consecrated Bishop by the Saint.

1649 – The Siege of Drogheda begins.

1654 – The first Protectorate parliament meets; Ireland is represented by 30 members.

1658 – Nine years after the Siege of Drogheda starts, Oliver Cromwell dies. He is probably the most reviled man in Irish history following his scorched earth policy of destruction and death during the his campaign in Ireland.

1781 – Birth of William Sharman Crawford, radical politician, in Co Down.

1821 – The last day of George IV’s visit to Ireland.

1842 – Birth of journalist and leading member of the Fenians, John Devoy in Kill, Co Kildare.

1850 – Charters are granted to colleges in Belfast (now Queen’s University), Cork (now UCC) and Galway (now UCG), under the Universities (Ireland) Act.

1897 – James Hanley, novelist and short story writer, is born in Liverpool of Irish parents.

1905 – Birth of James “Snowy” Dunne, widely regarded as one of Ireland’s greatest centre forwards. He played for Arsenal, Southampton and the Shamrock Rovers.

1913 – A meeting of 400 employers with William Martin Murphy pledges not to employ any persons who continue to be members of the Irish Transport & General Workers’ Union.

1929 – Notorious organised crime figure James “Whitey” Bulger is born to a first generation Irish-American mother. In August 2013, he was found guilty on numerous counts of murder, extortion and racketeering.

1943 – Birth of Liam Maguire, trade unionist and campaigner for disabled people.

1944 – Death of physician, John Lumsden. Born in Drogheda, Co Louth, he was the founder of the St. John Ambulance Brigade of Ireland.

1947 – Birth of rock musician and guitarist, Eric Bell, in Belfast. He was the lead guitarist for Thin Lizzy, and played on the band’s first three albums Thin Lizzy, Shades of a Blue Orphanage and Vagabonds of the Western World. He had spent most of the 1960s playing in a number of Irish bands, including Shades of Blue (the Thin Lizzy album took its name from this band and from Phil Lynott and Brian Downey’s band Orphanage) and a brief stint with Them (September – October 1966, the last line up to feature Van Morrison).

1956 – Birth of Pat “Beag” McGeown in Belfast, He was a volunteer in the Provisional Irish Republican Army who took part in the 1981 Irish hunger strike. McGeown was found dead in his home on 1 October 1996, after suffering a heart attack. Sinn Féin chairman Mitchel McLaughlin said his death was “a great loss to Sinn Féin and the republican struggle”. McGeown was buried in the Republican plot at Belfast’s Milltown Cemetery, and since his death is often referred to as the “11th hunger striker”.

1963 – Death of poet and playwright, Louis MacNeice. Born in Belfast, he was part of the generation of the Auden Group, also sometimes known as the “Thirties poets”, that included W. H. Auden, Stephen Spender and Cecil Day-Lewis, nicknamed collectively “MacSpaunday” – a term coined by Roy Campbell, in his Talking Bronco (1946).

1972 – Mary Peters wins the women’s pentathlon in Munich and becomes the first Irish woman to win an Olympic Gold medal.

1998 – Near the scene of the explosion, US President Bill Clinton and British Premier Tony Blair unveil a plaque in memory of the Omagh bombing victims.

1998 – New Garda powers come into force which open the way for a clampdown on hardline extremists.

2000 – Dom Columba Marmion, a Dublin priest who is credited with curing an American woman of cancer, is beatified by Pope John Paul II.

2001 – In Belfast, Protestant loyalists begin a picket of Holy Cross, a Catholic primary school for girls. For the next 11 weeks, riot police escort the schoolchildren and their parents through hundreds of protesters, some of whom hurl missiles and abuse. The protest sparks fierce rioting and grabs world headlines.

Photo by Mac Creative Photography

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