#OTD in Irish History – 8 July:

In the Liturgical calendar the Feast Day of Saint Kilian, also spelled Killian (or Cillian). He was an Irish missionary bishop and the apostle of Franconia (nowadays the northern part of Bavaria), where he began his labours towards the end of the 7th century. According to Irish sources, Kilian was born in Mullagh, Co Cavan and is the patron saint of the parish of Tuosist, near Kenmare in Co Kerry, where he is believed to have resided before travelling to Germany.

1642 – Owen Roe O’Neill accepts an offer to lead the Ulster rebels and arrives in Ulster. O’Neill’s ally (and rival) Thomas Preston arrives in Wexford about the same time. The subsequent war, known as the Irish Confederate Wars, was part of the Wars of the Three Kingdoms.

1730 – Robert Edgeworth, former MP for St. Johnstown, Co Longford, dies.

1770 – Mary Anne McCracken, patriot and supporter of the United Irishmen, is born in Belfast.

1808 – Birth of Bernard (Barney) Hughes, baker, entrepreneur and philanthropist; first Catholic member of Belfast Town Council, in Armagh.

1819 – Sir Francis McClintock, naval officer and polar explorer, is born in Dundalk, Co Louth.

1838 – Civil War Union officer John Burke is born in Dunmanway, Co Cork. The Irish have a fine heritage and history in the US military including some like John King who is a two-time recipient of the Medal of Honor. John Burke did not exactly fit that mould. He was court-martialed following the Battle of Antietam for alleged cowardice.

1889 – In the last official bare knuckle title fight ever held, heavyweight boxer, John L. Sullivan beats fellow Irishman Jack Kilrain in a world championship bout which lasts 75 rounds.

1892 – Birth of Dion (Dean) O’Banion, born to Irish Catholic parents in Maroa, Illinois. O’Banion for a short period would become a major kingpin in Prohibition Chicago, controlling most of the bootlegging and gambling in the northside of Chicago.

1914 – The House of Lords enacts the Government of Ireland Bill, excluding all Ulster permanently from its stipulations.

1921 – Éamon de Valera replies to Lloyd George’s request for negotiations to end the War of Independence.

1921 – IRA man, Dennis Spriggs was taken from his home in Cork and killed by British forces.

1922 – The Republicans in Wexford abandon Enniscorthy and New Ross.

1927 – Birth of politician, Maurice Hayes, in Co Down. He was an independent member of the 21st (1997) and 22nd (2002) Seanads, nominated as a senator by the Taoiseach. He has written numerous pieces of journalism and has written regularly for the Irish Independent, as well as, the author of three books of memoirs. Hayes is a former county hurler, who in the mid-1950s became County Secretary of the Down Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) and set a ten-year plan for the county Gaelic football team to become the first team from the north of Ireland to win an All-Ireland football final. Within five years, Down had won their first All Ireland trophy in 1960.

1971 – During street disturbances, British soldiers shot dead two Catholic civilians (Seamus Cusack and Desmond Beattie). As a result, riots erupted in the city and the SDLP withdrew from Stormant in protest. Seamus Cusack (28), was shot and mortally wounded by a British soldier during street disturbances at Abbey Park, in the Bogside area of Derry. The shooting happened at approximately 1.00am and Cusack died in Letterkenny Hospital at approximately 1.40am. The British Army later claimed that Cusack had been armed with a rifle but local witnesses denied this. The death of Cusack led to further disturbances in the Bogside and at approximately 3.15pm Desmond Beattie (19), was shot dead by British soldiers at Lecky Road. Again the circumstances of the shooting were disputed. The British Army later claimed that Beattie was about to throw a nail bomb when he was shot; local people insisted he was unarmed at the time of his killing. The Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) withdrew from Stormont on 16 July 1971 because no official inquiry was announced into the killings.

1980 – Birth of footballer, Robbie Keane, in Dublin. He plays as a striker and is captain of both LA Galaxy and the Republic of Ireland national team. A talented, quick, and agile player, Keane is capable of playing anywhere along the front line, due to his ability to score and create goals. Throughout his career, he has been deployed as a striker, and also in more creative roles, as a second striker, as a winger, or as an attacking midfielder. A technically gifted, intelligent, and hard-working forward, Keane is also renowned for his pace, dribbling skills, and creativity, and has also stood out for his leadership throughout his career.

1981 – Death of Joe McDonnell, from Lenadoon, Belfast, after 61 days on hunger strike. The Irish Commission for Justice and Peace (ICJP), which had been established by the Catholics Bishops Conference, accused the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) of retreating from earlier offers made to the ICJP on the hunger strikers five demands.

1983 – The Northern Ireland Assembly voted by 35 to 11 for the introduction of the death penalty for terrorist murders.

1984 – Two Irish-Americans slug it out on Wimbledon’s centre court for the men’s singles’ title – John McEnroe beats Jimmy Connors.

1984 – In the late spring of 1984 Bob Dylan set out on a twenty-seven date European tour, on this date, he ended the tour at Slane Castle, Co Meath, which featured performances by Van Morrison, U2 and Santana.

1997 – The Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) threatened to attack Orangemen whom it viewed as responsible for forcing parades through Nationalist areas.

1999 – A disagreement arose between British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, over whether or not Sinn Féin (SF) was now a separate organisation from the IRA. Ahern said on BBC Radio Ulster that they were two separate organisations but senior police sources on both sides of the Border supported Blair’s stated view that the two organisations were “inextricably linked”.

2001 – The annual Orange Order parade at Drumcree, Co Armagh, which had been the setting for violent confrontation for several years, passed off peacefully under a heavy security presence. However, in the following days there were violent clashes in north Belfast.

2001 – The President and Taoiseach head a large crowd of dignitaries at the annual National Day of Commemoration in Dublin.

Photo: Dursey Island, Beara Peninsula, Co Cork

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