#OTD in Irish History – 3 June:

In the Liturgical calendar, today is the Feast day of Saint Cóemgen, also known as Kevin and Kevin of the Angels. He is the patron of blackbirds, the archdiocese of Dublin and Glendalough, Co Wicklow.

1798 – United Irishmen Rebellion: Government reinforces Gorey and Bunclody, Co Wexford. Rebels decide to attack Gorey.

1810 – Birth of Robert Mallet in Dublin. He was a geologist, civil engineer, and inventor who distinguished himself in research on earthquakes and is sometimes called the father of seismology.

1836 – Barry Edward O’Meara, surgeon to Napoleon, dies in London.

1866 – Fenians are driven out of Fort Erie, Ontario, into the United States to a heroes’ welcome.

1878 – Birth of teacher and writer, Sinéad de Valera, née Flanagan, in Balbriggan, Co Dublin.

1899 – Death of clergyman, chess master and writer, George Alcock MacDonnell. MacDonnell competed with the world’s greatest chess players in the late 19th century. He led a chess column in the Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News for many years. He wrote two books: Chess Life Pictures (London 1883) and Knights and Kings of Chess (London 1894).

1919 – The Local Government Act provides for proportional representation at local authority elections.

1920 – 3/4: IRA volunteers destroyed the Drangan RIC barracks and captured weapons.

1921 – IRA volunteers ambushed British troops at Kylebeg near Modreeny in North Tipperary. Members of the IRA’s North Tipperary Flying Column led by Sean Gaynor attacked a mixed group of 25 British soldiers, RIC policemen and Black & Tans, travelling from Borrisokane to Cloughjordan killing four and injuring 14.

1922 – British troops re-take Pettigo. They bombarded the village with artillery and then stormed it. Seven IRA volunteers were killed, six were wounded and four were captured. Another 50 IRA volunteers were later taken prisoner. The remainder made it back across the border. One British soldier died in the engagement.

1938 – Death of Olympic gold medalist, John Flanagan. Born in Kilbreedy, Co Limerick, he emigrated to the United States in 1896, at that time he already held the world record for the hammer throw. He competed for both the New York Athletic Club and the Irish American Athletic Club. He was part of a group of Irish-American athletes known as the “Irish Whales.” Flanagan was a three-time Olympic gold medalist in the hammer throw: 1900, 1904, and 1908.

1963 – Birth of writer, Lucy Grealy, in Dublin, who wrote Autobiography of a Face in 1994. Her family moved to the United States in 1967, settling in New York. She was diagnosed at age 9 with a rare form of cancer that led to the removal of her jawbone, and over the following years she had many facial reconstructive surgeries. In her memoir, Autobiography of a Face, Grealy describes her life from the time of her diagnosis and how she weathered the cruelty of schoolmates and others. In a 1994 interview with Charlie Rose conducted right before she rose to the height of her fame, Lucy states that she considers her book to be primarily about the issue of “identity.” She died of a heroin overdose in 2002.

1966 – Death of Fionán Lynch. Born in Cahersiveen, Co Kerry, he was a revolutionary, barrister, politician and judge. He was a founder member of the Irish Volunteers in 1913 and was sworn into the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) that same year. He was a friend of Michael Collins. Lynch fought in the 1916 Easter Rising in the Four Courts garrison with Commandant Edward Daly in North King Street. He spent the rest of his career in Irish politics and served as a Pro-Treaty Sinn Féin TD, Cumann na nGaedheal and Fine Gael deputy for the constituencies of Kerry.

1972 – A Protestant march against the creation of “no-go” areas in Derry ends in a bloody battle on the Craigavon Bridge. Soldiers use rubber bullets and water cannon to control the crowd when the so-called “Tartan gangs” at the tail end of the march begin to throw bottles and stones at the Army.

1973 – British troop casualties mount in Northern Ireland as the IRA campaign becomes more skillful and deadly. On this day, the fifth soldier to die following a booby-trap bomb attack in Omagh, County Tyrone on 17 May passes away. Four soldiers were killed instantly on the day.

1974 – Michael Gaughan dies on hunger strike at Parkhurst Prison in England.

1975 – In Kileen, Co Armagh, the IRA kill Ulster Defence Regiment member Alfred Doyle who is a passenger in a car driven by civilian David Thompson. Thompson and another civilian John Presha are also killed.

1983 – Birth of GAA footballer, Colm ‘The Gooch’ Cooper in Killarney, Co Kerry. His league and championship career with the Kerry senior team spanned fifteen years from 2002 to 2017.

1984 – Ronald Reagan visits his ancestral home in Ballyporeen, Co Tipperary.

1991 – Coagh ambush: The SAS shot dead three PIRA volunteers as they travelled in a car through Coagh, Co Tyrone. The car burst into flames. There have been claims that two of the volunteers fled the blazing car, only to be shot and then put back inside by the SAS. Approximately 200 shots were fired by the SAS soldiers at the car. Two rifles were later recovered from the car.

1998 – In a landmark ruling on army hearing disability cases — immediately interpreted as a disaster for soldiers with noise-induced deafness — the High Court lays down a compensation marker of £1,500 per 1% loss of hearing.

1998 – The Prince of Wales meets with the political spokesmen for loyalist paramilitary groups at a garden party hosted by Britain’s Northern Ireland Secretary Mo Mowlam. The Prince also meets victims of terrorist violence and presents others with MBEs. The event at Hillsborough Castle is attended by 2,500 people including Gary McMichael and David Adams of the Ulster Democratic Party. The garden party, which Sinn Féin leaders had refused to attend because of the Prince’s links to the Parachute Regiment, is the highlight of his hectic two-day visit. Representatives of the DUP are also present – less than a week after party leader Ian Paisley brands the Queen a “parrot”.

1998 – The Irish Times carried a report on the death of Robin Jackson on 30 May 1998. The report claimed that Jackson was the infamous Loyalist killer of the 1970s and 1980s known as ‘The Jackal’. The report stated that he had been commander of the Mid-Ulster Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) from 1972 to the 1990s and had been responsible for the deaths of dozens of Catholic civilians. Jackson was also implicated in the Dublin and Monaghan Bombings in May 1974 which resulted in the deaths of 33 civilians.

2000 – Twelve people are injured, none seriously, when gas tanks explode at the rear of Cronin’s restaurant, in Killarney, Co Kerry.

2000 – Cathal Crumley, a former IRA prisoner faces unionist anger as he prepares to become the first Sinn Féin Mayor in Ireland since 1920.

2000 – Security chiefs in the North come under fire after further reductions in troop levels following the increased threat posed by the Real IRA.

2000 – Cash-conscious councillors in the North refuse to sponsor Michael Flatley’s Feet of Flames concert in Belfast next month.

2000 – Almost half the mainline train drivers threaten to resign rather than face the possibility of legal action for striking — or accepting the company’s new pay deal and conditions.

2001 – It is announced that the Irish immigration authorities are to open special visa offices in Bejing and Moscow. The move is aimed at speeding up the entry of Chinese and Russian workers and students to Ireland.

2002 – Residents of east Belfast begin clearing up following another night of sectarian violence that saw armed gunmen on the streets of the city. Tension remains high in the area around the nationalist Short Strand enclave as both communities brace themselves for a fresh bout of sectarian violence.

2002 – The Dublin mini-marathon, the largest gathering of its kind in the world, attracts nearly 40,000 women from all over the country and various parts of the world.

2016 – Death of boxing legend, Muhammad Ali. He was an American professional boxer, considered among the greatest heavyweights in the history of the sport. Early in his career, Ali was known for being a controversial and polarizing figure both inside and outside the boxing ring. He was one of the most recognized sports figures of the past 100 years, crowned “Sportsman of the Century” by Sports Illustrated and “Sports Personality of the Century” by the BBC. He also wrote several best-selling books about his career, including The Greatest: My Own Story and The Soul of a Butterfly.

Photo: Virgin Rock, Nuns Strand, Ballybunion, Co Kerry

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