Today in Irish History – 4 October:

1331 – Birth of James Butler, 2nd Earl of Ormond, as a noble in the Peerage of Ireland. He was Lord Justice of Ireland in 1359, 1364, and 1376. The son of James Butler, 1st Earl of Ormond and Eleanor de Bohun, James was born at Kilkenny and given in ward, 1 September 1344, to Maurice FitzGerald, 1st Earl of Desmond, for the fine of 2306 marcs; and afterward to Sir John Darcy who married him to his daughter Elizabeth. He was usually called The Noble Earl, being a great-grandson of King Edward I of England.

1582 – Pope Gregory reforms the calendar introduced by Julius Caesar in 45BCE: 4 October is followed by 15 October. However, the reform will not be implemented in Ireland till 1752.

1693 – Irish Brigade of France fights in the battle of Marsaglia.

1733 – Henry Boyle, the future Earl of Shannon, is unanimously elected Speaker of the Irish parliament. He will serve till 1756 – the longest-serving Speaker of the 1692-1800 parliaments.

1741 – Edmund Malone, editor and Shakespearian scholar, is born in Dublin.

1842 – Birth of heavyweight bare-knuckle boxer Jim Dunne in Co Kildare. Dunne won the American heavyweight title from fellow Irishman Jim Elliot – the pair were jailed after the illegal event.

1886 – Lennox Robinson, playwright and one-time Abbey Theatre manager, is born in Douglas, Co Cork.

1939 – In one of the more intriguing episodes of World War II, German U-Boat 35 under the command of Kapitan Werner Lott disembarked 28 men at Dingle, Co Kerry from the Greek cargo ship Diamantis. About 15.40 hours on 3 Oct, 1939, the Diamantis was torpedoed by U-35 and sank 40 miles west of the Scilly Islands. Because the lifeboats were not suited for use in the bad weather, Lott decided to take all crew members aboard and landed them the next day in Dingle Bay, Co Kerry. Lott survived the war.

1942 – Birth of Frank Stagg (Proinsias Stagg) was a Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) hunger striker from County Mayo who died in 1976 in Wakefield Prison, Yorkshire after 62 days on hunger strike. Stagg was the seventh child in a family of thirteen children, born at Hollymount near Ballinrobe, County Mayo, in 1942. Stagg was educated to primary level at Newbrooke Primary School and at CBS Ballinrobe to secondary level. After finishing his schooling, he worked as an assistant gamekeeper with his uncle prior to emigrating from Ireland to England in search of work.

1944 – In 1928, Alfred Emanuel “Al” Smith was the first Catholic to represent any of the major political parties in a presidential election. Smith’s grandmother hailed from Co Westmeath. Smith grew up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in a melting pot that included Irish, Germans, French, Polish, Italian emigrants. Smith was known as a “man of the people” and is memorialized as such by The Alfred E Smith Foundation, founded by Francis Cardinal Spellman. Today it is a significant fund-raiser for charity. Each election year, presidential candidates are expected to attend, make witty remarks and profound commentary about Smith. In 2008, then candidate Obama spoke eloquently of a man who a man who fought for many years to give Americans nothing more than fair shake and a chance to succeed. He touched the lives of millions as a result.”

1959 – Direct dialing is launched in Ireland.

1961 – General election is held in the Republic. Fianna Fáil gains 70 of the 144 seats.

1979 – Birth of actress and model, Caitriona Balfe, in Dublin. She is best known for her role as Claire Beauchamp in the Starz series Outlander, for which she won a People’s Choice Award and two Saturn Awards, and received a nomination for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Television Series – Drama.

1999 – Aer Lingus announces it will drop its Knock Birmingham route. The decision by the national airline to cease operations on this route also means the severing of its only regular link with Knock Airport. A spokesperson for Aer Lingus confirms that the last flight on the Knock Birmingham route will be on 29 October.

2001 – Cork will be Europe’s Culture Capital in 2005 after landing the prestigious title ahead of Galway.

2002 – Thousands of people from all over the country march in protest over redundancy payments.

2002 – The North’s police service launch dawn raids on Sinn Féin’s offices at the Northern Ireland parliament at Stormont.

2010 – Graeme McDowell after delivering the match-winning point for Europe in his final singles match against the USA’s Hunter Mahan at the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor in Wales. For the first time in its history, the Ryder Cup stretched into a fourth day due to inclement weather

Photo: Conor Pass, Dingle Peninsula, Co Kerry, Photography by Barbara Walsh

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