#OTD in Irish History – 30 June:

1691 – The Fall of Athlone: Despite the bravery of legendary Sergeant Custume and others, severely outnumbered, the Connacht side of the town fell. The remainder of the Irish garrison retreats to Limerick.

1790 – Birth in Knockfin, Co Laois of Arthur Jacob – noted oculist and Professor of Anatomy in the Royal College of Surgeons, Dublin.

1798 – United Irishmen Rebellion: Battle of Ballyellis – In what was a relatively small skirmish compared to the mayhem of previous weeks of the 1798 Rebellion, Irish rebels win a small victory against English troops at Ballyellis, Co Wexford. It would be the last Irish victory in the most violent Irish rebellion in modern history. At least 10,000 died in a campaign that saw appalling atrocities inflicted by English and Irish.

1835 – Sir Samuel McCaughey, who is destined to become a sheep tycoon in Australia, is born near Ballymena, Co Antrim.

1916 – Roger Casement was stripped of his knighthood after being sentenced to death for taking part in the Easter Rising the previous day (29 June).

1921 – The Pearson brothers were executed by an IRA firing squad at Coolacrease, Co Offaly. They were seized while gathering hay and shot several times. They died from blood loss some six hours later, as no coup de grace was made. The family house was also burned out. There are conflicting versions of the incident. Some locals contend that the two men were killed for sectarian reasons and to steal their land. Others argue that the family were British informers and that they had fired at an IRA party some days before.

1922 – Thirty people were killed in Belfast during the month of June; violence in the north dramatically fell after this point. Six people died in Belfast in July and August and another five in September. The last reported conflict-related deaths in the north took place in October 1922.

1922 – Anti-Treaty forces abandon The Four Courts in Dublin which was bombarded for two days under the orders of Michael Collins. Tragically, the Irish Public Records Office which housed official documents, archives and artifacts from almost 1,000 years of Irish history was destroyed during the bombing.

1922 – A Free State column under Commandant General Sweeney breaks up Anti-Treaty units in Co Donegal. There are fire fights at Letterkenny, Buncrana and Bundoran. Casualties are reported, including at least one irregular killed and 200 taken prisoner.

1922 – Anti-Treaty IRA fighters fire on National Army billets in Tralee, killing one soldier

1932 – Éamon de Valera abolishes the oath of allegiance and withholds land annuities from the British Government.

1941 – Stephen Hayes, a former IRA chief of staff, is kidnapped; he later claims to have been ‘court-martialled’ and tortured by the IRA; Seán McCaughey is later convicted of his kidnapping.

1972 – Ulster Defence Association (UDA) began to organise its own ‘no-go’ areas. This is seen as a response to the continuation of Republican ‘no-go’ areas and fears about concessions to the IRA.

1980 – The Grundig company announced that its factory in Belfast would close with the loss of 1,000 jobs.

1981 – The British government issued a statement on prison policy in the north of Ireland. The government said that it would not grant special category status and would retain control of the prisons.

1981 – Garret Fitzgerald replaces Charles Haughey as Taoiseach.

1990 – The great Irish adventure at Italia 90 comes to an end when they were beaten 1-0 in the quarter-finals by hosts Italy. The venue was the Stadio Olympic in Rome; there were 73,303 in the stadium that evening and it is estimated that 15,000 of them were Irish and they certainly made their presence felt.

1994 – The British government announced that almost 40 prisoners would be transferred from prisons in England to prisons in Northern Ireland.

1998 – The British government announced the setting up of a trauma unit in Belfast to help young people and families affected by the conflict in Northern Ireland.

1998 – Security Minsiter, Adam Ingram, who had recently been given the ‘minister for victims’ portfolio made the announcement and said that a package of £700,000 had been allocated to the unit.

1999 – The “absolute deadline” set by British Prime Minister Tony Blair, passed without the establishment of the Executive. The Prime Minister agreed to an extension. Sinn Féin published a document entitled ‘Breaking the impasse: A Sinn Féin declaration’.

2000 – Breakaway republicans are held responsible for an explosion which halts all cross border rail services.

2001 – David Trimble resigns as Northern Ireland First Minister.

2003 – Death of actress, Constance Smith. Born in Limerick, she was most active in 1950s, appearing in Hollywood features such as Man in the Attic and Treasure of the Golden Condor (1953) and Impulse (1954). Smith was a presenter at the Academy Awards ceremony in 1952.

Photo: Lismore Castle, Co Waterford

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