Today in Irish History – 2 February:

1172 – Last day King Henry II holds his court in Dublin.

1172 – The Synod of Cashel: the Bishops of Ireland, under duress, pledge allegiance to Henry II of England.

1806 – Birth of painter, Daniel Maclise, in Co Cork.

1880 – Charles Stewart Parnell addresses the U.S. Congress.

1882 – Birth of novelist, short story writer, and poet, James Joyce, in Dublin.

1882 – Birth of poet and novelist, James Stephens, in Dublin.

1889 – Birth of writer, novelist, playwright, and non-academic historian, Dorothy Macardle in Dundalk, Co Louth. Her book, The Irish Republic, is one of the more frequently cited narrative accounts of the Irish War of Independence and its aftermath, particularly for its exposition of the anti-treaty viewpoint.

1903 – Birth of Hilton Edwards, actor and producer.

1918 – Former Heavyweight champion, John L. Sullivan dies.

1922 – James Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’ published in Paris – on his birthday.

1923 – One Free State soldier is killed and another wounded in an ambush of a patrol near Cahirsiveen, Co Kerry.

1936 – Birth of Tony Ryan, aviation entrepreneur, in Co Tipperary.

1939 – Desmond O’Malley, Fianna Fáil politician and leader of the Progressive Democrats, is born in Co Limerick.

1972 – Funerals of eleven of those killed on Bloody Sunday. Prayer services held across Ireland. In Dublin, over 30,000 – 100,000 marched to the British Embassy, carrying thirteen replica coffins and black flags. They attacked the Embassy with stones and bottles, then petrol bombs. The building was eventually burnt to the ground.

1977 – Jeffrey Agate (59), Managing Director of the American Du Pont factory in Derry was shot dead by members of the IRA outside his home at Talbot Park, Derry. This killing marked the beginning of a series of attacks on businessmen. There were further killings on 2 March 1977 and 14 March 1977.

1984 – Singer and musician, Luke Kelly, was laid to rest at Glasnevin Cemetery. The mass was celebrated by Fr Michael Cleary and The Dubliners performed during the ceremony. Luke Kelly’s family and friends were joined by people from the worlds of television, theatre, radio, politics, sport and music. Guests included John Sheehan, Ciarán Bourke, Barney McKenna, Finbar Furey, Jim McCann, Charles Haughey, Albert Reynolds, Noel Pearson, Phil Coulter, and Ronnie Drew. The people of Dublin also came in their thousands to bid farewell to one of their own.

1991 – An interview with Garret FitzGerald, Taoiseach, was published in the Irish Independent. Fitzgerald said that he had considered holding a referendum on Articles 2 and 3 of the Irish constitution at the time of the Anglo-Irish Agreement (AIA).

1994 – Before leaving New York, Gerry Adams, President of Sinn Féin, said he would not disappoint those who had ‘stuck their neck out’ to secure his visa. Douglas Hurd, British Foreign Secretary, speaking in the House of Commons described Adams as a ‘failed politician’.

1996 – Gene Kelly dies in his sleep. The fleet-footed dancer and star of ‘Singin’ in the Rain’, ‘An American in Paris’ and other popular movies was the grandson of Irish immigrants.

1997 – A march was held in Derry to commemorate the 25th anniversary of ‘Bloody Sunday’. The march attracted an estimated 30,000 to 40,000 people.

1997 – Sean O’Callaghan, an IRA informer, claimed in Fortnight magazine that Gerry Adams, President of Sinn Féin, had in the past suggested killing John Hume, leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP). The claims were widely reported in national and international media. SF said the claims were ‘rubbish’.

1998 – Terror gangs on both sides of the religious divide in the North issue threat and counter-threat as fears grow of another bloody month of sectarian slaughter.

2000 – It is announced that cars in the pot holed county of Cavan are failing the National Car Test in bigger numbers than any other part of the country.

2000 – The founding President of the University of Limerick, Dr Edward Walsh, is praised for his role in the development of the college at the launch of a book “University of Limerick — a Celebration” which charts the history of UL.

2001 – Edna O’Brien receives a lifetime achievement award from the society for Irish writers, Irish PEN, in recognition of her work which spans 25 years.

2002 – In a pre-recorded interview for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Martin McGuinness, Vice-President of Sinn Féin, denied that he had fired the first shot during Bloody Sunday (30 January 1972). He described the allegations as a ‘Plan B’ on the part of the British Military Establishment: ‘Everybody knows that every single person shot on that day was an innocent marcher. So they now move to plan B, and plan B is – if you can’t blame the people who were killed on the day try to blame Martin McGuinness.’ McGuinness had given a written statement to the Bloody Sunday Inquiry stating that he was second in command of the (Provisional) Irish Republican Army at the time of Bloody Sunday.

2002 – Spring tides after a full moon, driving rain, gale force southerly winds and low pressure all contribute to the highest water levels on the River Liffey in Dublin since 1924.

Photo: Giants Causeway Chimney Stacks, Co Antrim

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