#OTD in Irish History – 4 July:

1653 – Ireland and Scotland are represented by six and five members respectively in the ‘Barebones’ parliament. It was an assembly entirely nominated by Oliver Cromwell and the Army’s Council of Officers. It acquired its name from the nominee for the City of London, Praise-God Barebone.

1690 – James II flees to France for assistance after his defeat by William of Orange.

1921 – Awaiting truce with the English, Éamon de Valera orders the American flag flown in Dublin to “emphasize the principle for which we are fighting”.

1798 – United Irishmen Rebellion: Rebels remain in camp at Croghan; General Needham prepares attack on Croghan camp.

1845 – Birth of Thomas John Barnardo in Dublin. He was a philanthropist and founder and director of homes for poor children. From the foundation of the first Barnardo’s home in 1867 to the date of Barnardo’s death, nearly 60,000 children had been rescued, and trained for a better life. Bernard was also a member of the Orange Order in Dublin.

1863 – Coleraine born Colonel Dennis O’Kane dies of wounds sustained the previous day when fighting with the 69th Pennsylvania Irish Brigade at Gettysburg.

1870 – Bartholemew (Batt) O’Connor is born in Brosna, East Kerry. O’Connor was a member of the Gaelic League and a close friend of Michael Collins. Although not a direct participant in the 1916 Rising, he was sentenced to be shot by British authorities but was deported to Wandsworth Jail and later Frongoch prison camp in Wales. During the War of Independence he ran a number of safe houses and hid funds and documents for the IRA. He was a strong proponent of Collins going to London for the Anglo-Irish Treaty talks and supported him after the Treaty signing. O’Connor died in 1935.

1919 – Sinn Féin, Irish Volunteers, Cumann na mBan and the Gaelic League declared illegal in Co Tipperary.

1921 – Local IRA Volunteers joined West Waterford Column under George Lennon in attack on Waterford bound military train. After a fire fight of some fifteen minutes the train smashed through the crossing gates. This was the last engagement between enemy forces and the Waterford Brigade Flying Column.

1922 – Frank Aiken, writes to Richard Mulcahy stating the Fourth Northern Division of the IRA would stay neutral, called for an end to the fighting and for the removal of the Oath of Allegiance (Ireland) from the Free State Constitution.

1922 – In Dublin, Free State troops bring up a field gun to Henry street, within 100 metres of the remaining republican held positions to fire on them at point-blank range. Incendiary bombs are also thrown into the “block”, which is set ablaze.

1922 – Ernie O’Malley and 250 Anti-Treaty fighters take Enniscorthy in Co Wexford after some fighting. They take the Free State garrison there captive but release them on condition that they do not fight again against Republicans. Seán Moylan and 230 republican troops occupy New Ross.

1922 – A large Free State force takes Drogheda, Co Louth. The republicans are based in Millmount Fort, which overlooks the town and also hold the railway station. National Army troops bring up mortars and 18 pounder guns to shell them. After several hours of bombardment, the Anti-Treaty fighters surrender. There is also some fighting at the railway station in the town, which again ends in the surrender of the republicans.

1922 – Free State troops from the Curragh attack the Republican post at Baltimore Eustace, Co Kildare but are beaten off with 3 killed and 8 wounded.

1931 – Birth of actor, Stephen Boyd in Glengormley, Co Antrim. He appeared in some 60 films, most notably as Mescal in Ben-Hur (1959), a role that earned him the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture. He received his second Golden Globe nomination for Billy Rose’s Jumbo (1962).

1945 – Birth of singer, songwriter, and guitarist, David McWilliams, in Belfast. Best known for his 1967 song “Days of Pearly Spencer”. McWilliams died of a heart attack at his home in Ballycastle, Co Antrim, in 2002, at the age of 56. He was married twice and had eight children.

1970 – The Falls Road curfew continued throughout the day; one man was killed by the British Army.

1974 – The Northern Ireland Office (NIO) published a White Paper, The Northern Ireland Constitution (Cmnd. 5675), which set out government plans to hold elections to a Constitutional Convention which would look for an agreed political settlement to the Northern Ireland conflict. Many elements of previous attempts at a settlement were present in the document including that of power-sharing and the recognition that there should be an Irish dimension. The Act of Parliament which gave effect to the proposals was passed on 17 July 1974.

1976 – Death of insurgent and trade union leader, Rosie Hackett. She was a founder-member of the Women Workers’ Union.

1981 – In a statement issued on behalf of the hunger strikers, they said that they had no objection to any changes in the prison regime being applied to all prisoners. This would have meant that special category status was not being conferred on Republican prisoners alone.

1983 – Catholic Bishops in Northern Ireland warned against the dangers of the reintroduction of the death penalty. They also called for a ban on the use of plastic bullets by members of the security forces.

1987 – Birth of sprint runner, Jason Smyth, in Co Derry. He competes in the T13 disability sport classification as he is legally blind, with his central vision being affected by Stargardt’s disease; he also competes in elite non-Paralympic competition. As of July 2014, Smyth holds T13 World records in the 100m and 200m events. He was selected to represent Northern Ireland at the 2014 Commonwealth Games. Deterioration in his vision meant that he was reassigned to the T12 classification in 2014, but he was subsequently reclassified back to T13 in 2015.

1988 – Chief Constable of the RUC, John Hermon, announced that disciplinary proceedings were to be undertaken against 20 RUC officers as a result of the investigation into the ‘shoot to kill’ incidents in 1982.

1993 – The Sunday Tribune carried an interview with President of Sinn Féin, Gerry Adams. Adams was reported as stating that Republicans might accept joint authority as “part of the process towards an end to partition”.

1997 – As tension mounted in the run-up to the planned Drumcree parade on 6 July 1997, thousands of people left Northern Ireland to avoid the kind of trouble and disruption witnessed in 1996.

1998 – Private meetings were held to attempt to resolve the dispute over the forthcoming Orange Order parade from Drumcree to Portadown. However, the talks failed to produce a breakthrough in the dispute. As no resolution had been achieved to the Drumcree dispute there was considerable tension in Northern Ireland. In fact many people had arranged to take their holidays to coincide with the Drumcree march.

1998 – It is announced that outgoing US Ambassador Jean Kennedy-Smith is to be made an honorary Irish citizen in recognition of her contribution to the peace process.

1999 – For the fifth year in a row attention was focused on the Orange Order parade at Drumcree, Portadown, Co Armagh. Hundreds of Orangemen from across Co Armagh paraded to Drumcree Churce. However, the Orange Order was refused permission in a determination by the Parades Commission to parade down the mainly Nationalist Garvaghy Road.

1999 – Posh Spice Victoria Adams and England and Manchester United soccer star David Beckham are married at Dublin castle.

2000 – Major international survey reveals that Irish workers pay the lowest tax rates in the European Union – even though pay rates are just barely below the EU average.

2001 – Ciaran Cummings (19), a Catholic civilian, was shot dead by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) while on his way to work in Co Antrim. Cummings was shot as he waited for a lift to work at the Greystone roundabout outside Antrim town at 7.30am. The gunmen used a motorcycle in the ‘drive-by’ killing. The Red Hand Defenders (RHD), a cover name used by members of the UDA, claimed responsibility for the killing.

2001 – The Orange order puts new proposals to the Parades Commission in an attempt to reverse the decision to divert next Sunday’s Orange Order march from the Garvaghy Road.

2013 – Death of Bernie Nolan. She was an actress, singer and television personality, formerly lead vocalist of the girl group The Nolans. She was the second youngest of sisters Anne, Denise, Maureen, Linda and Coleen Nolan. Born in Dublin, The Nolans began in 1974 and went on to have seven UK Top 20 hits, including “I’m in the Mood for Dancing” (1979), “Gotta Pull Myself Together” (1980) and “Attention to Me” (1981).

Photo: Pedlar’s Lake on Conor Pass, Co Kerry, by @realcorbally

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