#OTD in Irish History – 6 September:

1798 – United Irishmen Rebellion: Humbert marches to Drumkeeran. Lake is still tailing Humbert.

1813 – Isaac Butt, barrister, politician and founder of the Home Rule movement, is born in Glenfin, Co Donegal.

1831 – Birth in Rosscarbery, Co Cork of Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa, one of the founders of the Fenian Brotherhood.

1890 – Birth of John Weldon; alternatively “A. E. Weldon”), known by his pen- and stage-name Brinsley MacNamara. Born in Co Westmeath, he was a writer, playwright, and the registrar of the National Gallery of Ireland. He is the author of several novels, the most well-known of which was his first, The Valley of the Squinting Windows (1918). His acting career with the Abbey Theatre began in September 1910 with a role in R. J. Ryan’s The Casting-out of Martin Whelan.

1890 – Dublin football club Bohemian F.C. are founded in the Gate Lodge, Phoenix Park.

1922 – A Free State column is ambushed outside Kilkelly, Co Mayo by Anti-Treaty fighters. The Free State troops have five wounded and claim to have killed seven irregulars.

1922 – A skirmish takes place in Mitchelstown, Co Cork. One Anti-Treaty officer is killed and 12 of his men are captured.

1929 – Despite now being an independent state, Ireland still faced challenges in terms of basic administration. On this day diplomat John V. Fahy wrote a memorandum decrying that Irish Free State Passports in the United States of America had to be issued via Britain. “The present position is that all Irish nationals in the U.S.A. who have not acquired American citizenship and who do not possess either British passports or Irish Free State passports must apply to the British Consular officers who will issue British passports to enable them to visit this country or to travel to any other country outside the U.S.A. The continuance of the anomalous position whereby the British authorities, notwithstanding the establishment of the Legation and of our offices in New York, still continue to perform functions of this character on our behalf has been the subject of a good deal of adverse criticism. The Minister Plenipotentiary has at various times pointed out the urgency of the question of the issue of our own passports in the U.S.A., stressing that the fact of having to refer our nationals to British Consulates has resulted in loss of prestige for the constitutional and international position of the (country). Action is at present being taken with a view to the inauguration of satisfactory machinery for the issue of our own passports early in the coming winter, that is, some time about November.” Source: Documents on Irish Foreign Policy

1935 – The Catholic Herald reported on the commissioning of officers in Irish army in the presence of Éamon De Valera. “The first commissions in the volunteer force were conferred at Curragh Camp, Co Kildare, on Wednesday. Mass was celebrated at 11 o’clock by the Rev. J. Fitzsimons, who later blessed the officers’ swords. When Mr. de Valera arrived the National anthem was played and the President inspected the guard of honour, under Captain F. Tummon. The general salute was sounded as the colours were marched into the square. The 79 new lieutenants then took the oath to the colours in presence of Mr. Aiken, Minister for Defence, and were presented with their commissions, swords and epaulettes.”

1936 – Birth of Bruce Arnold, journalist and author.

1940 – War comes to Galway: The horror of a war declared just days previously comes to Galway. German U-boat 30 torpedoed the SS Athenia 250 miles north-west of the Donegal coast resulting in the deaths of 112 of over 1,400 passengers and crew. The Athenia was bound for Quebec carrying civilians fleeing the situation in Europe. It was the first ship to be sunk in the war. Survivors were picked up by the Norwegian freighter Knute Nelson and brought to Galway.

1965 – Birth of Christopher Nolan in Mullangar, Co Westmeath. He was a poet and author, son of Joseph and Bernadette Nolan. He grew up in Mullingar, but later moved to Dublin to attend college. He was educated at the Central Remedial Clinic School, Mount Temple Comprehensive School and at Trinity College, Dublin. His first book was published when he was fifteen. He won the Whitbread Book Award, for his autobiography in 1988. He was also awarded an Honourary Doctorate of Letters in the UK, the medal of excellence from the United Nations Society of Writers, and a Person of the Year award in Ireland. Christopher Nolan died at age 43 in Beaumont hospital in Dublin on 20 February 2009. He died after a piece of salmon became trapped in his airway.

1971 – Birth of musician, singer and songwriter, Dolores O’Riordan in Co Limerick. She led The Cranberries to worldwide success and fame for 13 years before the band took a hiatus in 2003. Her first solo album Are You Listening? was released in May 2007. Her second solo album No Baggage was released in August 2009.

1971 – British Prime Minister, Edward Heath, met with Taoiseach, Jack Lynch, at Chequers in England to discuss the situation in Northern Ireland.

1971 – William Craig and Ian Paisley spoke at a rally at Victoria Park in Belfast before a crowd of approximately 20,000 people. They called for the establishment of a ‘third force’ to defend ‘Ulster’ This was taken to mean the establishment of a paramilitary force in addition to the RUC and British Army.

1974 – 19 Prisoners escape from Portlaoise Prison.

1978 – Gerry Adams, Vice-President of Sinn Féin, was cleared of a charge of membership of the IRA when the Judge hearing the case ruled that there was insufficient evidence to prove that he was a member of the organisation.

1981 – The family of Laurence McKeown, then on day 70 of his hunger strike, intervened and asked for medical treatment to save his life. The Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) issued a statement saying that it would not replace men on hunger strike at the same rate as before. At this stage the INLA had only 28 prisoners in Long Kesh Prison compared to the IRA which had approximately 380 prisoners. Cahal Daly, Catholic Bishop of Down and Connor, called on Republican prisoners to end the hunger strike.

1984 – The government announced that the proposed project to build a pipe-line to bring natural gas from the Republic of Ireland to Northern Ireland would be cancelled. It was also announced that subsidies to the ‘town gas’ industry in Northern Ireland would end with the loss of 1,000 jobs.

1987 – Cyclist, Stephen Roche, wins the World Professional Road Race Championship.

1987 – Chris Mullin, English Labour Party Member of Parliament (MP), claimed that he had tracked down and interviewed those who were really responsible for the Birmingham pub bombs.

1994 – Prime Minister of Dublin government meets with Sinn Féin President for the first time since the ratification of the 1922 Anglo-Irish Treaty.

1999 – The £20 million Cavan town and Butlersbridge by-pass is officially opened by Environment Minister Noel Dempsey.

1999 – George Mitchell, Chairman of the multi-party talks, was in Castle Buildings to open the Review of the Good Friday Agreement. He made clear that the review would concentrate specifically on breaking the deadlock over decommissioning and the formation of an Executive. The talks adjourned until the following week to give politicians time to study the Patten report on policing. Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, held discussions with British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, to review the political situation in Northern Ireland.

2000 – Taoiseach Bertie Ahern pledges to the United Nations that Ireland will more than double its level of aid to the world’s poorest countries over the next seven years.

2000 – Dublin’s City Hall reopens after a two-year, £4·5 million refurbishment program me.

2001 – Loyalists held another protest on the Ardoyne Road in north Belfast as Catholic parents and their children made their way to Holy Cross Girls’ Primary School. The protest was peaceful but very noisy as protesters used air horns (klaxons), blew whistles, and banged metal bin lids, as the children passed along the security cordon.

2002 – Death of Bobby Clancy of the Clancy Brothers. He was born in Carrick-on-Suir, County Tipperary. He was the twin brother of Joan Clancy, and a member of the Irish folk group, the Clancy Brothers. He accompanied his songs on five-string banjo, guitar, bodhrán and harmonica.

2009 – Death of Irish-Australian romance, novelist, Catherine Gaskin. Gaskin was born in Dundalk Bay, Co Louth, in 1929. When she was only three months old, her parents moved to Australia, settling in Coogee, a suburb of Sydney, where she grew up.

Photo: The Great Blasket, Co Kerry, George Karbus Photography

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