1649 – Siege of Drogheda ends: The first siege occurred during the Irish Rebellion of 1641, when Phelim O’Neill and the insurgents failed to take the town. The second more famous siege happened in 1649 during the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland, when the New Model Army under Oliver Cromwell took the town by storm and massacred its garrison, and many civilians.
1766 – John Bligh, former MP for Athboy, who suffers from the delusion that he is a teapot, marries suddenly and unexpectedly at nearly 50 years of age. Between now and his death in 1781 he will father at least seven children, ‘in spite of his initial alarm that his spout would come off in the night’.
1838 – Birth of John Ireland in Burnchurch, Co Kilkenny. He was the third bishop and first archbishop of Saint Paul, Minnesota (1888-1918). He became both a religious as well as civic leader in Saint Paul during the turn of the century. Ireland was known for his progressive stance on education, immigration and relations between church and state as well as his conservative stance towards drinking and political corruption. He is also remembered for his acrimonious relations with Greek Catholics. He created or helped to create many religious and educational institutions in Saint Paul and Washington, D.C.
1921 – De Valera received nationalist delegations from counties Down, Derry, Antrim and the city of Belfast who expressed anxiety at partition. Referring to the unionists, one Protestant member of the Belfast delegation said that “partition would place power in the hands of those responsible for the pogroms”.
1922 – Proportional representation for local elections is abolished in Northern Ireland.
1922 – A Free State column travelling from Macroom, Cork, towards Kerry, is attacked with a mine on a bridge at Carrigphooka, west Cork. National Army commandant Tom Keogh and eight other soldiers are killed in the blast. A Republican prisoner is shot dead in reprisal by Dublin Guard troops.
1975 – British Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, together with Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Merlyn Rees, held a meeting with leader of the Conservative Party, Margaret Thatcher, to brief her about a number of matters including Northern Ireland. On 3 May 2006, the Irish News published details of confidential cabinet minutes that had been taken at the meeting. The minutes reveal that the British government was aware of collusion between the security forces, particularly the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR), and Loyalist paramilitaries.
1983 – First Episode of Glenroe airs on RTÉ. You kind of had to be there. Glenroe was one of RTÉ’s most popular productions featuring a wonderful cast of character based in rural Ireland. The show would run for eighteen years. The following clip of the opening credits will bring back memories for many. It is worth noting the comments to show what Glenroe meant to so many: http://youtu.be/SePNWYpb-NQ
1989 – Further security forces documents, containing details of suspected IRA members, were reported to have gone missing. Nationalists called for the disbandment of the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR).
1996 – Taoiseach, John Bruton, addressed a joint session of the United States Congress. His address was upbeat and optimistic about the prospects for progress in the all-party talks and also the possibility of a new IRA ceasefire.
1998 – British troops are withdrawn from the streets of Belfast in response to the ongoing republican and loyalist ceasefires.
1998 – The first of the paramilitary prisoners were released from jails in Northern Ireland under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement. Seven prisoners, including three Republican and three Loyalist, were released in a programme that was expected to take two years to complete. Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, told Chris Patten, chairman of the Commission reviewing the future of the RUC, that major reform of the force was necessary if the force was to become acceptable to both communities in Northern Ireland. Ahern made his comments during a meeting with Patten at Government buildings in Dublin.
1998 – The Northern Ireland Office announces that more than 200 loyalist and republican prisoners will be freed from Long Kesh Prison before the end of the year.
1998 – The Northern Ireland Office announces that more than 200 loyalist and republican prisoners will be freed from the Maze Prison before the end of the year.
2000 – Gina Adair, the wife of jailed loyalist paramilitary boss Johnny Adair is thrown out of the public gallery after disrupting proceedings at the Northern Ireland Assembly.
2000 – Picturesque Kenmare completes a unique double by becoming the first town in the country to take the prize as both Ireland’s Tidiest Town and Ireland’s Best Kept Town.
2001 – President Mary McAleese goes on RTÉ Radio to express her shock and horror at the terrorist attacks in the US. In the wake of the attacks, the government immediately begins reviewing security arrangements.
2001 – United States special envoy, Richard Haass, was in Dublin for a meeting with Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, when news of the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington were passed to the two men. Richard Haass decided to continue with his meetings in Dublin and then to travel to Belfast for pre-arranged meetings with political leaders in Northern Ireland.
2001 – The Loyalist protest at the Holy Cross Girls’ Primary School followed the pattern of yesterday. Loyalist protesters remained silent as Catholic children and parents made their way into the school along a security cordon. However, protesters used air horns (klaxons), blew whistles, and banged metal bin lids, as the Catholic parents made their way back down the Ardoyne Road.
2001 – Aidan Troy (Fr), Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Holy Cross Girls’ Primary School, together with a local Protestant clergyman, held a meeting with representatives of the Concerned Residents of Upper Ardoyne (CRUA) who were engaged in a protest at the school. The meeting was described as “exploratory”. Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, John Reid, held a meeting with representatives of the residents of the Glenbryn estate who were engaged in the protest at the Holy Cross school in Ardoyne, north Belfast. The meeting lasted for 2 hours but residents made no comment after the meeting.
2002 – In a gesture of support and solidarity, schools, shops and businesses come to a symbolic halt at 1.46pm – the precise moment, Irish time, that the first terrorist hijacked plane hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center in NYC in 2001.
2008 – The Irish government-owned training yacht Asgard sinks in the Bay of Biscay, off the coast of France. All crew and trainees are rescued by the French coastguard after managing to get onto life rafts. They are taken to a hotel on the nearby island of Belle Isle where they are recovering from their ordeal. Trainees pay up to 430 euros to spend a week on board the vessel, which has taken part in Tall Ships events.
2017 – Death of novelist and playwright, J.P. Donleavy, in Mullingar, Co Westmeath. His best-known work is the novel The Ginger Man, which was initially banned for obscenity. Another novel, A Fairy Tale of New York, provided the title of the song, “Fairytale of New York“.
Photo: Giant Causeway Coast, Co Antrim, Steven Hanna Photography
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