Today in Irish History – 3 January:

1663 – Thomas Crompton of Arklow, a clergyman, petitions the House of Lords that ‘Constantine Neal of Wexford, merchant, refuseth to restore the bell belonging to the steepl (sic) of Arklow, which he saw in his possession’. An order is made for its restoration.

1823 – Death of General Jean Joseph Amable Humbert. He was a French soldier, a participant in the French Revolution, who led a failed invasion of Ireland to assist Irish rebels in 1798. Born in Saint-Nabord, Vosges, he was a sergeant in the National Guard of Lyon, and rapidly advanced through the ranks to become Brigadier General on 9 April 1794, and fought in the Western campaigns before being allocated to the Army of the Rhine. There is a Monument to General Humbert depicting Mother Ireland on Humbert Street, Ballina, Co Mayo.

1855 – Birth of John McKenna in Co Monaghan. He was a businessman, professional rugby player, and the first manager of the Liverpool Football Club.

1864 – John Joseph Hughes, first Archbishop of the Archdiocese of New York dies. Hughes was born in in County Tyrone in 1797. Ordained a priest in 1826, he served as Archbishop from 1850 until his death. Hughes was a strong supporter of Irish immigrants who suffered dreadful discrimination during his life in America. At a time when many Catholics literally faced mortal danger from anti-catholic movements like the Nativists, Hughes was not afraid to invoke the use of firearms to defend the faith. In 1841, he founded St. John’s College which went on to be Fordham University. Hughes laid the foundation stone for St. Patricks’ Cathedral on 5 August 1858.

1880 – Birth of Francis Browne in Co Cork. He was a distinguished Irish Jesuit and a prolific photographer. His best known photographs are those of the RMS Titanic and its passengers and crew taken shortly before its sinking in 1912.

1905 – Pádraic Fallon, poet and playwright, is born in Athenry, Co Galway. Fallon later moved to Dublin where he became part of the George Russell (AE) circle. For almost twenty-five years he served as a Customs and Excise official in Co Wexford where he lived and farmed with his wife and sons. In the 1950s he wrote many plays for radio. His first book, Poems, appeared in 1974, the year he died.

1922 – Michael Collins Defends Treaty as Debate Resumes.

1923 – An anti-Treaty IRA Volunteer (Morris) is accidentally killed in Co Wexford, after shooting himself while cleaning his revolver.

1925 – Acclaimed singer, actor, comedian and performer Maureen Potter is born in Dublin.

1940 – Emergency anti-IRA legislation is introduced in the Free State.

1966 – Birth of Martin Galway in Belfast. He is one of the best known composers of chiptune video game music for the Commodore 64 sound chip, the SID soundchip, and for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum. His works include Rambo: First Blood Part II, Comic Bakery and Wizball’s scores, as well as the music used in the loader for the C64 version of Arkanoid.

1986 – Pascal O’Hare, Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) Assembly Member, resigned from the party because he believed the Anglo-Irish Agreement (AIA) secured the union with Britain and reduced the chance of a united Ireland.

1987 – The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) organised a petition against the Anglo-Irish Agreement (AIA). Eventually 400,000 signatures were collected and the petition handed into Buckingham Palace on 12 February 1987.

1999 – Economic history is created with the much-heralded arrival of the euro on the international currency markets. Its first day of trading gets off to a smooth start in Australia, at 6.00pm Irish time.

1999 – Death of boxer ‘Irish’ Jerry Quarry. ‘Irish’ Jerry Quarry who is the only fighter to have fought Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier twice. He lost each time and was virtually a punch bag for Ali in their second fight. Quarry was voted the most popular boxer in the sport by Boxing Illustrated for three years running 1968-1970, partly because he was promoted as the ‘Great White Hope.’

1999 – The Irish group ‘Boyzone’ held a concert in Omagh to help raise money for the fund established to help victims of the bombing. After the concert the band-members met with survivors of the bombing. The concert raised £20,000 for the victims’ fund.

2007 – Michael Yeats, the only son of the poet W. B. Yeats dies at age 86. A former Fianna Fáil Senator, he served both as a Senator and as Cathaoirleach of the Seanad, and was also one of Ireland’s first members of the European Parliament.

Photo: Lough Leane, Killarney, Co Kerry

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