#OTD in Irish History – 31 August:

In the Liturgical calendar, it is the Feast day of St. Aidan of Lindisfarne, the Apostle of Northumbria. He was the founder and first bishop of the monastery on the island of Lindisfarne in England. A Christian missionary, he is credited with restoring Christianity to Northumbria. Aidan is the anglicized form of the original Old Irish Áedán.

1767 – Birth of Henry Joy McCracken, United Irishman and leader of Ulster insurgents in 1798 rebellion, in Belfast.

1798 – Irish Rebellion of 1798: Irish rebels, with French assistance, establish the short-lived Republic of Connacht.

1803 – French “Irish Legion” organised in Brittany.

1806 – Birth in Dublin of Charles Lever; fiction writer who was famous for his rendering of Trinity College’s privileged atmosphere.

1830 – William Fitzpatrick, biographer and historian, is born in Dublin.

1869 – Death of astronomer and entomologist, Mary Ward (born Mary King), in Co Offaly. She was killed when she fell under the wheels of an experimental steam car built by her cousins. As the unfortunate event occurred in 1869, she is the world’s first motor vehicle accident victim.

1922 – The Anti-Treaty IRA mounts gun and grenade attacks on National Army soldiers at Stephen’s Green, Dublin. In Cork, there is an exchange of fire between Free State troops and Anti-Treaty snipers. One Republican is killed by machine gun fire.

1922 – Republicans blow up the railway bridge over the river Blackwater at Mallow, Co Cork, disabling the rail line between Cork and Dublin.

1922 – Two Republicans are taken from a car in Drumcondra in Dublin and shot dead. Their bodies are left on the street. A British soldier on the scene reported that the car contained three men in “Provisional Government uniform” and three more in trench coats – presumed to be from the CID intelligence unit.

1922 – Three unarmed Free State soldiers are shot at Glasson, near Athlone. One is killed.

1945 – Birth of Van Morrison “Van the Man” in Belfast. He is a critically acclaimed singer and songwriter with a reputation for being at once stubborn, idiosyncratic, and sublime. His live performances at their best are seen as transcendental and inspired; while some of his recordings, such as the studio albums Astral Weeks and Moondance, and the live album It’s Too Late to Stop Now, are acclaimed as among the greatest ever made.

1957 – Birth of retired sportsperson, columnist and analyst, Colm O’Rourke in Co Meath. He used to play Gaelic football for the Meath senior inter-county team. Now he is a columnist with the Sunday Independent and a panellist on The Sunday Game on RTÉ. He is also the principal of St. Patrick’s Classical School in Navan.

1971 – Birth of professional golfer, Pádraig Harrington, in Dublin. He has won three major championships: The Open Championship in 2007 and 2008 and the PGA Championship, also in 2008. He has spent over 300 weeks in the top-10 of the Official World Golf Ranking, and reached a career-high ranking of third in July 2008.

1971 – An inquiry into allegations of brutality by the security forces against those interned without trial was announced. The report of the inquiry, the Compton Report was published on 16 November 1971.

1973 – Two members of the IRA were shot by British Army in Ballymurphy, west Belfast. One IRA member died on the day and the other died on 22 September 1973.

1973 – Death of legendary film Director John Ford. Ford was born in Maine in 1894 to Irish immigrant parents. His father was born in Spiddal, Co Galway and his mother in the Aran Islands.

1981 – Hugh Carville, an IRA prisoner, joined the hunger strike.

1994 – The Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA) issued a statement which announced a complete cessation of military activities. This ceasefire was broken less than two years later.

1997 – U2 pays tribute to Princess Diana at Dublin concert.

2000 – First Minister David Trimble is understood to be involved in secret talks with the Ulster Volunteer Force in an attempt to resolve the bloody loyalist feud raging on the streets of Northern Ireland.

2000 – Former SDLP Derry Mayor Annie Courtney is to replace John Hume as an Assembly member for Foyle.

2000 – The world’s largest fishing vessel arrives in Dublin after completing its maiden voyage from Norway. “Atlantic Dawn”, which took over two and a half years to build in a Norwegian shipyard, cost Irish owner Kevin McHugh £50 million.

2001 – Three men from Co Louth, were due to appear before Belmarsh Magistrates’ Court in London on charges under Britain’s Terrorism Act (2000). The men had been arrested in Slovakia on 5 July 2001 and were extradited to Britain on 30 August 2001.

2010 – Death of stage, film and television actor, Mick Lally. Born in Tourmakeady, Co Mayo, he departed from a teaching career for acting during the 1970s. Though best known in Ireland for his role as Miley in the television soap Glenroe, Lally’s stage career spanned several decades, and he was involved in feature films such as Alexander and the Academy Award-nominated The Secret of Kells. He died in August 2010 after a battle with emphysema. Many reports cited him as one of Ireland’s finest and most recognisable actors.

Photo: Old Church Dunlewey, Co Donegal, Fiachra Mangan Photography

#irishhistory #ireland #irelandinspires

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