#OTD in Irish History – 24 June:

In the Liturgical Calendar, today is the feast of St. John and the second day of the Midsummer celebrations.

637 – The Battle of Moira is fought between the High King of Ireland and the Kings of Ulster and Dalriada. It is the largest battle in the history of Ireland.

1747 – Birth of actor and dramatist, John O’Keeffe, in Dublin. He wrote a number of farces, amusing dramatic pieces and librettos for pasticcio operas, many of which had great success.

1754 – Death of Robin Downes. Thomas Waite writes: ‘Yesterday morning Robin Downes, member for Kildare, was found in his parlour in his house in Dawson Street with a sword run through his body. There are hopes of his recovery. He himself says … that he received the wound in a fair duel … but the general opinion seems to be that he transfixed himself, though no one pretends to assign the reason. My Lord Kildare is come to town in vast agitation at this accident’.

1798 – United Irishmen Rebellion: Rebel southern column captures Castlecomer, Co Kilkenny and camp at Slatt, in Co Laois.

1803 – Death of Matthew Thornton in Co Limerick. He was a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence as a representative of New Hampshire.

1830 – Birth of Bernard J. D. Irwin in Co Roscommon. He was an assistant army surgeon during the Apache Wars and the first (chronologically by action) Medal of Honor recipient. His actions on 13 February 1861 are the earliest for which the Medal of Honor was awarded.

1850 – Horatio Kitchener, 1st Earl Kitchener of Khartoum; soldier and statesman, is born in Ballylongford, Co Kerry.

1874 – Birth of Úna Ní Fhaircheallaigh; nom-de-plume ‘Uan Uladh’, was an academic and Professor of Irish at UCD. She was also the first female Irish-language novelist, a founding member of Cumann na mBan, and fourth president of the Camogie Association.

1876 – Birth of Forrest Reid in Belfast. He was a novelist, critic, and autobiographer. He became a distinguished book and print collector, eventually writing a definitive work on the book of illustrators of the 1860s.

1881 – Birth of dramatist, George Shiels, in Co Antrim. His plays were a success both in his native Ulster and at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin. His most famous plays are The Rugged Path, The Passing Day, and The New Gossoon.

1905 – Birth of Michael Scott in Drogheda. He was an architect whose buildings included the Busáras building in Dublin, the Abbey Theatre, and Tullamore Hospital.

1921 – The British Coalition Government’s Cabinet decided to propose talks with the leaders of Sinn Féin. Coalition Liberals and Unionists agreed that an offer to negotiate would strengthen the Government’s position if the revolutionaries refused. Austen Chamberlain, the new leader of the Unionist Party, said that “the King’s Speech ought to be followed up as a last attempt at peace before we go to full martial law”.

1921 – The IRA mounted an attack on Grafton Street, central Dublin, killing two Auxiliaries.

1987 – U2 performed at King’s Hall, Belfast as part of their Joshua Tree Tour.

2012 – Death of Eugene Moloney. He was a journalist who had worked for the Irish News in Belfast, and later the Evening Herald and Irish Independent in Dublin among other newspapers. Moloney was found dead on a Dublin street after being attacked and struck on the head while walking in the early morning.

2015 – Death of John Joe Nerney. He was a footballer who played as a left corner-forward with the Roscommon senior team. Born in Croghan, Co Roscommon, Nerney first excelled at football in his youth. He arrived on the inter-county scene at the age of seventeen when he first linked up with the Roscommon minor team. He subsequently joined the Roscommon senior team. Nerney was a regular on the starting fifteen for over a decade and won one All-Ireland medal and several Connacht medals. He was an All-Ireland runner-up on one occasion. At club level Nerney played with Boyle. In retirement from playing, Nerney became involved in team management and coaching. He guided Eastern Harps in Sligo to a championship title in 1975.

Photo: Great Blasket Island, Co Kerry

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