Today in Irish History – 6 January:

In the Liturgical Calendar, today is Epiphany and Little Christmas (Nollaig Bheag) and/or Women’s Christmas (Nollaig na mBan) and/or Twelfth Day (the traditional end of the Christmas season) and for Irish Roman Catholics, a Holy Day of Obligation.

1562 – Shane O’Neill submits to Queen Elizabeth at Whitehall, but rebels again within months.

1654 – Commissioners are appointed to allot the land of Oliver Cromwell’s Connacht plantation to transplanted Irish.

1794 – Frances Ball who, as Mother Mary Teresa founded the Sisters of Loretto, is born in Dublin.

1800 – Author Anna Maria Hall, née Fielding, is born in Dublin.

1839 – On this date, the Night Of The Big Wind or Oíche na Gaoithe Moire takes place; the most damaging storm in Irish history, some winds are estimated in excess of 130 m.p.h.

1857 – Birth of Hugh Mahon in Killurin, near Tullamore, Co Offaly. He was an Australian politician and a member of the first Commonwealth Parliament for the Australian Labour Party. He was the only Member of Parliament ever expelled from the Federal Parliament.

1898 – Colonel James Fitzmaurice, Ireland’s greatest aviator, is born in Dublin.

1921 – As the Irish War of Independence continues, British Prime Minister Lloyd George and Fr. O’Flannagan, Acting Vice-President of Sinn Féin meet to discuss the Irish situation. The outcome of the meeting was described as ‘not altogether as satisfactory as could be hoped.’

1923 – Skirmish at Ballyconnell on the Cavan-Fermanagh border, Anti-Treaty IRA captain Michael Cull killed by plain clothes Free State officer while raiding a hardware shop.

1939 – First publication of the newspaper Irish Freedom.

1940 – Irish Government introduces Emergency Powers (Amendment) Act providing authority for Irish-born citizens to be interned. The device was designed to intern IRA activists, some of whom would have fought with De Valera twenty years previously during the Irish War of Independence and the Irish Civil War.

1941 – Birth of Noel Pearson, theatre impresario and film producer.

1998 – Embattled Northern Ireland Secretary of State Mo Mowlam receives the full backing of SDLP leader John Hume in her efforts to maintain the faltering peace process.

1999 – The IRA published a New Year Message in ‘An Phoblacht’ in which they said that the Good Friday Agreement had failed to deliver meaningful change and that Unionists were pursuing conditions that had contributed to the breakdown of the 1994 ceasefire. Unionists regarded the statement as a threat by the IRA to end its ceasefire.

2000 – Residents in counties in the west and midlands, coping with the effects of the most devastating floods to have hit the region in fifty years, brace themselves for another rainstorm.

2000 – Families from all over Ireland join President Mary McAleese and her family in Áras an Uachtaráin in Dublin to celebrate the feast of the Holy Family. Bay laurels from Bethlehem are planted to mark the 2000th anniversary since the birth of Christ.

2000 – The IRA issued a new year statement in ‘An Phoblact’, warning that any move on decommissioning would depend on a dramatic reduction in the British military presence in Northern Ireland.

2003 – According to a study published today, the Irish language is on the brink of extinction unless radical measures are taken to arrest its decline.

2003 – Farmers put 1,000 tractors on the country’s roads and head for Dublin at the start of the IFA’s five-day family farm survival campaign.

2003 – The campaign against the construction of a motorway near the ruins of Carrickmines Castle in South Dublin is stepped up as protesters re-erect a blockade to prevent large diggers moving onto the site.

2005 – Death of Labour Party politician, Eileen Desmond née Harrington. Born in Kinsale, Co Cork, she served in the Dáil, the Seanad and the European Parliament, and was Minister for Health and Minister for Social Welfare from 1981 to 1982.

2010 – It was announced that the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) had decommissioned its weapons in front of independent witnesses.

Photo: Cliffs Of Dún Aonghasa, Aran Islands, Co Galway

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