Today in Irish History – 4 November:

1802 – Birth of novelist Lady Rosina Lytton, née Wheeler, in Co Limerick.

1884 – Birth in Hillsborough, Co Down of Harry Ferguson, engineer, inventor, and pioneer of the modern tractor.

1908 – Six women meet at the home of women’s activists Hanna and Francis Sheehy-Skeffington to establish the Irish Women’s Franchise League.

1920 – Black and Tans burned the businesses of Sinn Féin sympathisers in Tralee.

1922 – Ernie O’Malley, Anti-Treaty IRA commander in Dublin, is captured following a shoot out with Free State soldiers on Ailesbury road in Donnybrook. O’Malley is hit over 20 times, but survives. He kills a National Army soldier in the gun fight.

1922 – Two Free State soldiers are killed by a land mine and gun attack on a patrol near Dundalk. Another two are killed in Kerry.

1922 – Skirmish between National Army and Republican troops who attack military posts in two villages, Enniskean and Ballineen in West Cork. Five Free State soldiers are injured, two fatally. Republican losses are at least two dead; a section commander Tadhg O’Leary and a volunteer, both IRA West Cork Brigade

1927 – Birth in Waterford of comedian, Hal Roach.

1932 – Birth of Tommy Makem. He was an internationally celebrated Irish folk musician, artist, poet and storyteller. He was best known as a member of The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem. He played the long-necked 5-string banjo, guitar, tin whistle, and bagpipes, and sang in a distinctive baritone. He was sometimes known as “The Bard of Armagh” (taken from a traditional song of the same name) and “The Godfather of Irish Music”.

1944 – Death of Al Smith. 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 memorialised 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.

1951 – Debut of the Wexford Opera Festival.

1974 – IRA Coach Bomb Conviction of Judith Ward, her conviction was quashed in 1992 and she was subsequently released. This was one of a series of miscarriages of justice during the latter half of the 20th century.

2001 – Riverdeep founder Pat McDonagh is named Ireland’s wealthiest businessman by the Sunday Times.

2001 – The RUC was replaced by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI). Recruits were recruited on the basis of 50% Catholic, 50% Protestant.

2002 – Delivery of up to a half million letters grounds to a halt with the 24-hour closure of sorting facilities.

2002 – Sonia O’Sullivan finishes 12th in NYC marathon.

2002 – King of skiffle Lonnie Donegan dies after collapsing midway through a UK tour.

2002 – Gerry Adams and David Trimble hold a face to face meeting at Stormont in an attempt to break the deadlock in the peace process.

Photo: Mizen Head, Co Cork

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