#OTD in Irish History – 27 May:

1224 – Cathal Crobhdearg Ua Conchobair, king of Connacht and brother of Rory O’Connor, dies at the age of 72. This finally opens the way for the Norman occupation of Connacht.

1595 – Hugh O’Neill, Earl of Tyrone, defeats the English forces of his brother-in-law, Sir Henry Bagenal, at the Battle of Clontibret, Co Monaghan; he is proclaimed a traitor at Newry in June.

1648 – Giovanni Rinuccini, papal nuncio to the confederates, excommunicates adherents of the truce between confederates and Inchiquin.

1798 – The Battle of Oulart Hill: Wexford rebels massacre Kingsborough’s militiamen and yeomanry at Oulart.

1857 – Death of poet, journalist and author, Joseph Brenan. Born in Co Cork, Brenan was a leading member of the Young Irelanders and Irish Confederation, as well as an active member of the Cork Historical Society, and one of the editors of the Cork Magazine. In 1848, John Mitchel visited Cork and, according to Michael Cavanagh, who would publish a sketch of Brenan’s life in Young Ireland, Dublin, Brenan for the first time “beheld the man he most admired on earth, and with whose future destiny, whether for weal or woe, he felt his own was bound up. Never had the arch-enemy of England a more faithful or earnest follower.”

1881 – Birth of Thomas Trayner in Tullow, Co Carlow. He was a member of the Boland’s Mill garrison during the 1916 Easter Rising. He worked as a boot maker and was married with ten children. He was hanged in Mountjoy Prison during the Irish War of Independence after being captured during an ambush on Auxiliaries in Brunswick Street, Dublin. He was one of a group of men hanged in Mountjoy Prison in the period 1920-1921, commonly referred to as The Forgotten Ten. In 2001 he and the other nine, including Kevin Barry, were exhumed from their graves in the prison and given a full State Funeral. He is now buried in Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin.

1921 – Captain Paddy Boland O/C Crossard Coy, Ballyhaunis IRA killed by Crown Forces.

1936 – Following the Free State’s provision for the formation of Aer Lingus as the national airline, Aer Lingus opens routes to Bristol and London, commencing with a flight from Baldonnell to Bristol on this date.

1960 – The last barge on the Grand Canal makes its final journey to Limerick with a cargo of Guinness.

1966 – The UVF shoot and mortally wound John Scullion, a Catholic civilian, in the Clonard area of west Belfast.

1968 – Gerry Fitt, an MP, tabled a House of Commons motion, which was signed by 60 Labour Party backbenchers, which criticised RUC action in Dungannon on 24 August 1968 and demanded that: “citizens of Northern Ireland should be allowed the same rights of peaceful demonstration as those in other parts of the United Kingdom”.

1970 – Charles Haughey and Neil Blaney, both former Irish government ministers, together with two other men James Kelly (Captain), then an Irish Army Intelligence Officer, and John Kelly, a Belfast Republican, were charged in a Dublin court with conspiracy to illegally import arms for use by the IRA. It was alleged that the arms were to be smuggled to the IRA in Northern Ireland. The men denied any involvement in the affair. This was the first day of the ‘Arms Trial’. Blaney was found not guilty on 2 July 1970, Haughey and the others were found not guilty on 23 October 1970.

1981 – Martin Hurson, an IRA prisoner in Long Kesh Prison, joined the hunger strike to replace Brendan McLaughlin who had been taken off the strike on 26 May 1981.

1981 – British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, paid a visit to Northern Ireland and made a statement indicating the British government’s belief that the hunger strike was the ‘last card’ of the IRA.

1993 – Mary Robinson, the first female president of Éire, becomes the first Irish head of state to meet with a British monarch when she visits Queen Elizabeth II.

1998 – Actor Brendan Gleeson strongly defends his lead role in the controversial £6m film The General, rebutting criticism that it attempts to portray the assassinated Dublin gangster Martin Cahill as a latter-day Robin Hood.

1998 – Martin McGuinness, Vice-President of Sinn Féin, held a meeting with Marjorie (Mo) Mowlam, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. Following the meeting, McGuinness warned against “falling into the trap of trying to make decommissioning the most important item on the agenda”. A concert featuring Elton John was held in the grounds of Stormont.

1999 – The body of Eamon Molloy, one of the ‘disappeared’ who had been missing since 1975, was found above ground in a new coffin in a cemetery in Co Louth. Garda Síochána went to the site following information given by the IRA to the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains (ICLVR). The IRA passed on information about the location of nine bodies at six sites in four counties in the Republic of Ireland. The discovery marked the beginning of digging at a number of locations in Counties Louth, Monaghan, Meath, and Wicklow.

2001 – The breakaway Real IRA is believed to be behind a rocket attack on Strabane RUC station which sparks a five-hour security alert. No-one is injured but 12 families are evacuated from their homes during the follow-up security operation in the Co.Tyrone town.

2001 – Fears of a long, difficult summer are growing after 57 RUC officers are injured in clashes with nationalist youths on the flashpoint Garvaghy Road in Portadown following a Junior Orange parade.

2001 – Thousands of traditional music fans flock to Ennis for the 50th anniversary of Fleadh Nua.

2003 – Water quality has taken a dip at Irish beaches with fewer bathing areas meeting standards of cleanliness. But Irish bathing water still ranks among the best in Europe, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) annual report, and the small number of freshwater lakes and rivers tested produce their best results ever.

2003 – It is announced that the Royal Irish Regiment is to be scrapped as part of a major plan to cut troop numbers in the North. British military authorities plan to abolish all three Home Service battalions, comprising nearly 3,000 soldiers under a new deal to break the deadlock in the peace process.

2003 – Paul McCartney performs his first Irish show in 40 years at the RDS Arena. It’s also his first solo concert in Dublin.

2003 – FAI and Communications Minister Dermot Ahern announces that all Republic of Ireland competitive soccer internationals will now be available free on RTÉ.

2015 – Death of U2 manager Dennis Sheehan. Born in Wolverhampton, England, Sheehan grew up in southern Ireland – where his family was from – and in England. Sheehan had served as U2’s tour manager for more than three decades. Over the course of his career, he also worked with Led Zeppelin, assisting on their 1975 and 1977 tours, as well as Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, Lou Reed, Siouxsie and the Banshees and members of the Sex Pistols.

2015 – Death of Fr. Liam Ryan. Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Maynooth NUI Fr Liam Ryan – a hurler, theologian and proud Limerick man – passed away, but not before his county had defeated Clare in the Munster hurling championship.

Photo: King John’s Castle, Limerick city

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