#OTD in Irish History – 3 September:

In the Liturgical calendar, it is the Feast day of St McNisse, baptised by St Patrick, and later consecrated him the first abbot-bishop of Kells, which became the diocese of Connor.

1649 – The Siege of Drogheda begins.

1654 – The first Protectorate parliament meets; Ireland is represented by 30 members.

1658 – Nine years after the Siege of Drogheda starts, Oliver Cromwell dies. He is probably the most reviled man in Irish history following his scorched earth policy of destruction and death during the his campaign in Ireland.

1781 – Birth of William Sharman Crawford, radical politician, in Co Down.

1821 – The last day of George IV’s visit to Ireland.

1842 – Birth of journalist and leading member of the Fenians, John Devoy in Kill, Co Kildare.

1850 – Charters are granted to colleges in Belfast (now Queen’s University), Cork (now UCC) and Galway (now UCG), under the Universities (Ireland) Act.

1897 – James Hanley, novelist and short story writer, is born in Liverpool of Irish parents.

1905 – Birth of James “Snowy” Dunne, widely regarded as one of Ireland’s greatest centre forwards. He played for Arsenal, Southampton and the Shamrock Rovers.

1913 – A meeting of 400 employers with William Martin Murphy pledges not to employ any persons who continue to be members of the Irish Transport & General Workers’ Union.

1929 – Notorious organised crime figure James “Whitey” Bulger is born to a first generation Irish-American mother. In August 2013, he was found guilty on numerous counts of murder, extortion and racketeering.

1943 – Birth of Liam Maguire, trade unionist and campaigner for disabled people.

1944 – Death of physician, John Lumsden. Born in Drogheda, Co Louth, he was the founder of the St. John Ambulance Brigade of Ireland.

1947 – Birth of rock musician and guitarist, Eric Bell, in Belfast. He was the lead guitarist for Thin Lizzy, and played on the band’s first three albums Thin Lizzy, Shades of a Blue Orphanage and Vagabonds of the Western World. He had spent most of the 1960s playing in a number of Irish bands, including Shades of Blue (the Thin Lizzy album took its name from this band and from Phil Lynott and Brian Downey’s band Orphanage) and a brief stint with Them (September – October 1966, the last line up to feature Van Morrison).

1956 – Birth of Pat “Beag” McGeown in Belfast, He was a volunteer in the Provisional Irish Republican Army who took part in the 1981 Irish hunger strike. McGeown was found dead in his home on 1 October 1996, after suffering a heart attack. Sinn Féin chairman Mitchel McLaughlin said his death was “a great loss to Sinn Féin and the republican struggle”. McGeown was buried in the Republican plot at Belfast’s Milltown Cemetery, and since his death is often referred to as the “11th hunger striker”.

1963 – Death of poet and playwright, Louise MacNeice. Born in Belfast, he was part of the generation of the Auden Group, also sometimes known as the “Thirties poets”, that included W. H. Auden, Stephen Spender and Cecil Day-Lewis, nicknamed collectively “MacSpaunday” – a term coined by Roy Campbell, in his Talking Bronco (1946).

1972 – Mary Peters wins the women’s pentathlon in Munich and becomes the first Irish woman to win an Olympic Gold medal.

1974 – Enoch Powell receives the endorsement of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) in South Down to stand as the official UUP candidate in forthcoming elections.

1988 – The RUC turned out in force to police the funeral of an IRA member. This was a reversal of an earlier low-key approach.

1991 – John Taylor, a senior member of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), addressed a meeting of the Young Unionist conference. He said that one in three Catholics was “either a supporter of murder or worse still a murderer”.

1993 – The IRA exploded a bomb, estimated at 1,000 lbs, in the centre of Armagh. The explosion caused extensive damage to property in the area.

1996 – Hugh Torney, believed to be the former Chief of Staff of the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA), was shot dead in Lurgan. This killing was part of feud that had begun on 30 January 1996 with the killing of Gino Gallagher. Hugh Torney’s faction later disbanded on 9 September 1996.

1998 – Near the scene of the explosion, US President Bill Clinton and British Premier Tony Blair unveil a plaque in memory of the Omagh bombing victims.

1998 – New Garda powers come into force which open the way for a clampdown on hardline extremists.

1998 – Roy Bradford, a veteran Unionist politician who had served in the 1974 Executive died at the age of 78.

1999 – The remains of John McClory were buried in Milltown Cemetery in west Belfast. McClory (17) was one of the ‘disappeared’; he and Brian McKinney (22) had been abducted on 25 May 1978 and were shot some time later by the IRA for allegedly stealing weapons. Their bodies were discovered on 29 June 1999 by Garda Síochána in a bog in Co Monaghan.

1999 – The family of Peter McBride, who had been shot dead by two British soldiers on 4 September 1992, won a judicial review which sought to block the reinstatement into the British Army of the soldiers concerned. The two soldiers, Scots Guardsmen Fisher and Wright, had been sentenced for the murder of McBride in February 1995 but were released by the Secretary of State in August 1998.

2000 – Dom Columba Marmion, a Dublin priest who is credited with curing an American woman of cancer, is beatified by Pope John Paul II.

2001 – In Belfast, Protestant loyalists begin a picket of Holy Cross, a Catholic primary school for girls. For the next 11 weeks, riot police escort the schoolchildren and their parents through hundreds of protesters, some of whom hurl missiles and abuse. The protest sparks fierce rioting and grabs world headlines.

Photo: Binn Diarmada, Dingle Peninsula, Co Kerry, kerryviews.com

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