Today in Irish History – 2 October:

1600 – O’Neill engages Mountjoy’s forces in the Battle of Moyry Pass.

1833 – Birth of Father William Corby who became Chaplain of the Irish Brigade in Detroit, Michigan.

1852 – William O’Brien, writer and nationalist, is born in Mallow, Co Cork.

1875 – Arthur Conway, mathematician and president of University College Dublin, is born in Wexford.

1879 – Kate Coll arrives in New York from Ireland on board the SS Nevada. She later marries Juan Vivion de Valera, and gives birth to Éamon on 14 October 1882 in New York.

1900 – Hubert Butler, writer and local historian, is born near Bennettsbridge, Co Kilkenny.

1939 – With the onset of World War II, the government of Éamon de Valera passes the Emergency Powers Act 1939. The act gave the government wide sweeping security powers as it endeavored (successfully) to maintain Irish neutrality during what is euphemistically called “The Emergency.” In 1940, the Irish Government would extend its wartime power with the introduction of the Emergency Powers (Amendment) Act providing authority for Irish-born citizens to be interned. The device was designed to intern IRA activists who were involved in activity on both sides of the border. Some of those interned under this legislation would have fought with de Valera twenty years previously.

1942 – Twenty miles off the coast of Donegal, the luxury Cunard liner Queen Mary – converted into a troop carrier for the war smashes into her escort ship, the British cruiser Curaçao. The Curaçao which had connected with the Queen Mary to escort her for the final two hundred miles to the port of Greenock, Scotland sinks with the loss of 338 men. As were his orders, Captain Cyril of the Queen Mary which was carrying an estimated 15,000 US troops does not stop to mount a rescue operation!

1957 – Launch of VHI, The Voluntary Health Insurance Board (An Bord Árachais Sláinte Shaorálaigh), which trades under the brand name VHI Healthcare, and is still commonly referred to in Ireland as “The VHI” – is the largest health insurance company in the Republic of Ireland.

1975 – Death of sculptor, Seamus Murphy.

1975 – The UVF killed seven civilians in a series of attacks across Northern Ireland. Six were Catholic civilians and one was a Protestant civilian. Four UVF volutneers were also killed when their bomb prematurely exploded as they drove along a road in Farrenlester, near Coleraine.

2001 – Máire Ní Chathasaigh, harpist and composer wins the TG4 Traditional Music Award 2001.

2002 – In Málaga, Spain, a street is to be named after deceased Irish painter, George Campbell. Mr Campbell, from Arklow, Co Wicklow, died in 1979. He spent five months of every year of his last 27 years in Málaga.

2002 – A 1.3 acre site at Railway Square in Waterford city is sold at auction for €4.9 million – over twice its guide price and a record for the region.

2007 – Death of Dan Keating. He was a life-long Irish republican and patron of Republican Sinn Féin. At the time of death he was Ireland’s oldest man and the last surviving veteran of the Irish War of Independence. Dan Keating was born and raised in the townland of Ballygamboon, Castlemaine, Co Kerry. He received his education in local schools, including the Christian Brothers’ School in Tralee. Tralee was also the place where Keating did his apprenticeship. During this time he became a skillful Gaelic football player in his native Kerry.

2009 – Irish voters strongly endorse the European Union’s Lisbon Treaty – 16 months after their first vote rejecting it plunged EU reforms into deadlock. According to final results, 67.1% of Irish voters approved it, while 32.9% voted “No”. Turnout in the three-million electorate was 58%.

2015 – Death of Playwright Brian Friel, born Knockmoyle, Omagh, Co Tyrone. He was an Irish dramatist, short story writer and founder of the Field Day Theatre Company. Considered one of the greatest English-language dramatists, the English-speaking world hailed him as an “Irish Chekhov” and “the universally accented voice of Ireland”. His plays have been compared favourably to those of contemporaries such as Samuel Beckett, Arthur Miller, Harold Pinter and Tennessee Williams.

Photo: Rock of Cashel, Co Tipperary

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