#OTD in Irish History – 6 February:

1685 – Coronation of King James II. He was King of England and Ireland as James II, and Scotland as James VII. He was the last Catholic monarch to reign over the Kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland. Increasingly Britain’s political and religious leaders opposed him as too pro-French, too pro-Catholic, and too much of an absolute monarch. When he produced a Catholic heir the tension exploded and the leaders called on William of Orange (his son-in-law) to land an invasion army from the Netherlands.

1900 – John Redmond is elected leader of the Irish Party. Redmond was a conciliatory politician who achieved the two main objectives of his political life: party unity and, in September 1914, the passing of the Irish Home Rule Act.

1918 – The silent film version of Charles Kickham’s popular novel Knocknagow, about life in a Tipperary village, is shown for the first time. https://youtu.be/ZJJvHGv6fwU

1921 – Two attacks on British soldiers at Merrion Square and Camden Street, Dublin by the 3rd Battalion Dublin Brigade.

1933 – 2RN is superseded by Radio Athlone.

1949 – Birth of film director, Jim Sheridan, in Dublin. Sheridan made three acclaimed films set in Ireland (My Left Foot, The Field, and In the Name of the Father) that between them received a remarkable 13 Academy Award nominations. He is a six-time Academy Award nominee

1951 – Birth of Margo (born Margaret Catherine O’Donnell in Co Donegal), an Irish singer. She rose to prominence during the 1960s in the Irish country music scene and has had a successful career since.

1958 – Eight players of Manchester United were killed in the Munich air disaster.

1959 – Birth of former bare-knuckle boxer, Paddy Doherty, in Manchester. He is best known as one of the interviewed ‘Irish Travellers’ in My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding and as one of Danny Dyer’s Deadliest Men. He won Celebrity Big Brother 8. He appeared in When Paddy Met Sally in January 2012 and on Celebrity Bainisteoir later that year.

1969 – The New Ulster Movement (NUM) was formed. This pressure group was established to promote moderate and non-sectarian policies and to assist those candidates who supported Terence O’Neill, Northern Ireland Prime Minister, in the election on 24 February 1969.

1971 – The IRA shot and killed Gunner Robert Curtis, the first British soldier to die during the Troubles. Bernard Watt (28), a Catholic civilian, was shot and killed by the British Army during street disturbances in Ardoyne, Belfast. James Saunders (22), a member of the IRA, was shot and killed by the British Army during a gun battle near the Oldpark Road, Belfast.

1971 – The IRA bombed and sunk a British coal boat, Nellie M, off the coast at Moville, Co Donegal.

1981 – Ian Paisley, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), led a group of 500 men up a hillside in Co Antrim at night. Those taking part in the gathering were photographed holding firearms certificates above their head. Firearm certificates are issued by the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) to those people who possess legally held firearms. The implication of the demonstration was that those taking part could as easily have been holding their weapons above their head.

1992 – Albert Reynolds was elected as leader of Fianna Fáil and also became Taoiseach.

1998 – The European Commission launches an investigation into the FAI’s refusal to allow Wimbledon football club to move to Dublin which could trigger a revolution in Irish and European soccer.

1998 – Dr Kieran McCarthy, a marine specialist in the Zoology Department at UCG expresses fears that a uniquely Irish species of fish – pollan – which is found in only four fresh water lakes is being threatened by the vigorous spread of zebra mussels.

2000 – A continuity IRA bomb explodes at a Co Fermanagh hotel less than 24 hours before the Ulster Unionist Party’s Ken McGuinness is due to visit.

2001 – Over 8,000 homes in the south of the country are left without power after a severe electrical storm and high winds wreak havoc.

2001 – For the first time in three decades, Ireland’s first Eurovision winner Dana is back in the famous contest’s spotlight as she takes to the stage to introduce the entertainers at the Dublin launch of Eurosong 2001.

2002 – The jinx on ‘famine’ replica ship, the Jeanie Johnston, continues as the High Court grants an order against the owners and all persons claiming an interest in the ship.

2002 – Pharmacists vow to fight Health Minister Micheál Martin through the courts to stop plans for industry deregulation.

2003 – The Northern Secretary, Paul Murphy, returns Johnny Adair to prison alleging he had been involved in directing terrorism, drug dealing, extortion, money laundering and procuring and distributing guns.

2011 – Renowned rock guitarist Gary Moore dies in a hotel room while on holiday in Spain. Originally from Belfast, he was a former member of the legendary Irish group Thin Lizzy. Sir Bob Geldof pays tribute saying “Moore was “without question, one of the great Irish bluesmen. His playing was exceptional and beautiful. We won’t see his like again.”

2012 – Death of musician, Noel Kelehan. Kelehan was a former conductor of the RTÉ Concert Orchestra and former musical director of Radio Telefís Éireann. He worked with Irish artists at the Eurovision Song Contest, beginning in 1966 and ending in 1998, and conducted five winning entries. He retired as conductor in 1998.

Photo: Irish traffic jam, Connemara, Co Galway

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