#OTD in Irish History – 3 February:

1537 – Thomas FitzGerald, 10th Earl of Kildare, also known as Silken Thomas, and five of his uncles are executed at Tyburn. Silken Thomas’s revolt caused Henry to pay more attention to Irish matters, and was a factor in the creation of the Kingdom of Ireland in 1542. In particular the powers of the lords deputy were curbed, and policies such as surrender and regrant were introduced.

1729 – Foundation stone laid of the new Irish Houses of Parliament in College Green. The architect for the building was Edward Lovett Pearce, who was also a member of parliament.

1744 – Lord Netterville, indicted in August 1743 for the murder of Michael Walsh, is tried by his peers in the parliament house and honourably acquitted.

1801 – Prime Minister, William Pitt, resigns over royal veto on Catholic emancipation.

1813 – Birth of entrepreneur, lawyer, and judge, Thomas Mellon, in Cappagh, Co Tyrone. Best known as the founder of Mellon Bank and patriarch of the Mellon family of Pittsburgh.

1881 – Irish Land League organiser, Michael Davitt, is arrested again for his outspoken speeches when he had accused chief secretary of Ireland W. E. Forster of ‘infamous lying’. His ticket of leave was revoked and he was sent to Portland jail. Charles Stewart Parnell protested loudly in the House of Commons and the Irish members protested so strongly that they were ejected from the House.

1896 – Lady Jane Wilde (Speranza), poet, nationalist and the mother of Oscar, dies in London.

1911 – Death of Dublin-born Robert Noonan, better known as Robert Tressell, author of The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists.

1919 – Harry Boland and Michael Collins engineer Éamon de Valera’s escape from Lincoln Jail in England. He is dressed as a woman.

1922 – Death of John Butler Yeats. Born in Tullylish, Co Down, he was an artist and the father of William Butler Yeats and Jack Butler Yeats. He is probably best known for his portrait of the young William Butler Yeats which is one of a number of his pictures in the Yeats museum in the National Gallery of Ireland. His portrait of John O’Leary (1904) is considered to be his masterpiece.

1922 – Two RIC constables were shot dead after leaving a pub in Lisdoonvarna, Co Clare.

1923 – A Postmaster J O’Reilly, is shot dead by Republican raiders on the post office at Clonakilty, Co Cork.

1927 – Birth of singer and entertainer, Val Doonican, in Co Waterford. Noted for his warm and relaxed style, Doonican was a popular success in Ireland and Britain in the 1960s, when he had five successive top ten albums, and also had his own BBC entertainment show.

1939 – Amanda McKittrick Ros, novelist and poet, dies.

1954 – Birth of PIRA Volunteer, Marian Price, in Belfast.

1969 – Terence O’Neill, Northern Ireland Prime Minister, announced the dissolution of the Stormont parliament and the holding of an election on 24 February 1969. This was a political gamble by O’Neill in an attempt to strengthen the hand of those in favour of reform.

1971 – 3-7: Under pressure from the Unionist government, the British Army began a series of raids in nationalist areas of Belfast, sparking three days of violence. On 6 February, British soldiers shot dead a Catholic civilian in Ardoyne and an IRA member in Oldpark, claiming both were armed. Shortly after, the IRA shot dead British soldier Robert Curtis during rioting in New Lodge. He was the first British soldier killed in the Troubles. The next day, James Chichester-Clark, Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, declared that ‘Northern Ireland is at war with the Irish Republican Army Provisionals’.

1972 – Public Record released 1 January 2003: Annex to British Cabinet Minutes which recorded the discussion of the aftermath of the killings on 30 January 1972 (‘Bloody Sunday’).

1985 – Garret FitzGerald, Taoiseach, said that the proposed meeting between John Hume, leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), and the IRA would be used by Republicans for propaganda purposes. Charles Haughey, leader of Fianna Fáil (FF), supported Hume.

1991 – The PIRA launched a ‘proxy bomb’ attack on a British Army (Ulster Defense Regiment) base in Magherafelt, Co Derry. The bomb caused major damage to the base and nearby houses, but the driver escaped before it exploded.

1997 – It was reported in the Irish Times that Members of Parliament (MP) from the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) had met representatives of the British Foreign Office to complain about the frequency of visits by Mary Robinson, President of the Republic of Ireland, to Northern Ireland. They also expressed concerns about breaches of protocol and distinctions between ‘official’ and ‘private’ visits.

1998 – Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, warns that substantive progress in the Northern peace talks would not be made by Easter unless the parties start discussing a single document containing the outline proposals for an agreement.

1998 – Northern Ireland politician, Billy Hutchinson, facing a death threat from the Loyalist Volunteer Force brands the outlawed terror group as ‘a bunch of thugs, drug dealers and police informers’.

2001 – It is announced that Irish celebrities in show business, sport and the world of writing are among the top earners in England and Ireland. The Irish stars on the rich list include U2, The Corrs, Enya, Ronan Keating, Pierce Brosnan, Eddie Irvine, Roy Keane, Marian Keyes and Maeve Binchy.

2001 – The Department of the Marine appeals for help in identifying a long-legged deep-sea creature, which was netted off the Kerry coast. A seasoned specialist on rare fish says he is baffled by the strange grasshopper like specimen found in nets 220 miles from the shore.

2002 – British abortion providers began taking legal advice after Golden Pages informed them they were pulling ads for their services from its 2003 directory.

2002 – ‘Bloody Sunday’ commemoration march in Derry to mark the 30th anniversary of the events on 30 January 1972. An estimated 30,000 people took part in the march through the Creggan and the Bogside areas of the city to a rally at ‘Free Derry Corner’. There were representatives from the main nationalist political parties, and people had travelled from throughout Ireland, Britain, and America to take part. Up to 400 members of the Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH) from different cities in the United States of America (USA) also took part in the march. Representatives from political parties in Northern Ireland were present at the World Economic Forum in New York. During a discussion session Gerry Adams, President of Sinn Féin, said that he did not want to force Unionists into a united Ireland without their consent.

2002 – Gales of up to 65 miles per hour ground flights at Dublin Airport and cause a Delta flight carrying 167 passengers and 14 crew to overshoot the main runway. No passengers are injured.

2006 – Meteor Ireland Music Awards, Dublin: U2 scooped three awards: Best Album for How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, Best Live Performance for their Croke Park gigs in 2005, and Best Irish Band. Bass player, Adam Clayton, was there to collect the group’s awards.

Image | Cliffs of Moher, Co Clare | Hibernia Landscapes by Stephen Wallace

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