#OTD in Irish History – 12 May:

563 – St Columcille establishes a community on Iona.

1641 – Thomas Wentworth, English viceroy of Ireland and Earl of Stafford is beheaded. From 1632–39 he was Lord Deputy of Ireland, where he established a strong authoritarian rule. Recalled to England, he became a leading advisor to the king, attempting to strengthen the royal position against Parliament. When Parliament condemned him to death, Charles signed the death warrant and Wentworth was executed.

1784 – J.S. Knowles, dramatist and Baptist preacher, is born in Cork.

1806 – Brigadier General James Shields, US army, and the only person to be elected a senator by three states, is born in Artmore, Co Tyrone.

1823 – Daniel O’Connell founds the Catholic Association, an organisation dedicated to obtaining the franchise for Catholics.

1916 – Irish Patriots, Seán MacDiarmada and James Connolly are executed at Kilmainham Gaol.

1921 – A group of Black and Tans traveling from Listowel towards Athea arrested four young men (Paddy Dalton, Paddy Walsh, Jerry Lyons, Con Dee) in Gortaglanna. One of the men, Con Dee, attempted to free himself from captivity and escaped, though injured by a bullet. Three of the other men are shot dead on the spot.

1944 – Cork-born Venerable Edel Quinn, one of the outstanding missionary figures of the 20th century, dies of TB in Nairobi, Kenya.

1950 – Birth in Dublin of internationally acclaimed actor, film director, film producer, writer, cultural ambassador and audiobook narrator, Gabriel Byrne.

1952 – Birth of former long-distance runner, Patrick “Pat” Hooper in Dublin. He represented Ireland twice and his personal best is 2:17:46. He is the older brother of marathoner and three-time Olympian Dick Hooper.

1981 – Francis Hughes, Irish political prisoner, dies on hunger strike in Long Kesh Prison. His death comes a week after the death of Bobby Sands on 5 May, the first to die in a republican campaign for political status to be granted to IRA prisoners. In Dublin a group of 2,000 people tried to break into the British Embassy.

1983 – Birth of actor, Domhnall Gleeson, son of actor, Brendan Gleeson. He is best known for his portrayal of Bill Weasley in the Harry Potter film franchise, General Hux in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Caleb in Ex Machina and Tim Lake in About Time. He has acted on both stage and screen, earning a Tony Award nomination in 2006 for his role in the Broadway production The Lieutenant of Inishmore.

1997 – Sean Brown (61), a Catholic civilian, was abducted by members of the Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) as he locked the gates of Bellaghy Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA). Brown was beaten before being shot dead and his body was found the next day beside his burnt-out car at Randalstown, Co Antrim. Brown who left a wife and six children was a GAA official and was often the last person to leave the Bellaghy GAA club.

1998 – British Chancellor Gordon Brown hands the Yes campaign in the North a monster financial boost when he unveils a bumper £315 million plan — over twice what was expected.

1999 – US First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton become the first woman to be granted the Freedom of Galway city, following in the footsteps of her country’s former presidents, John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan.

2003 – Dublin City Council votes by an overwhelming majority to call for the preservation of a house in Moore Street where the leaders of the 1916 Rising have their last meeting and decide to surrender to British forces.

Photo: Trim Castle, Co Meath, Fiachra Mangan Photography

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Stair na hÉireann is steeped in Ireland's turbulent history, culture, ancient secrets and thousands of places that link us to our past and the present. With insight to folklore, literature, art, and music, you’ll experience an irresistible tour through the remarkable Emerald Isle.