#OTD in Irish History – 2 December:

1649 – Oliver Cromwell abandoned the siege of Waterford. Marching west into the territory secured by Lord Broghill, Cromwell dispersed his army into winter quarters at Cork, Youghal and Dungarvan.

1738 – Birth of Richard Montgomery in Swords, Co Dublin. He was a soldier who first served in the British Army. He later became a major-general in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War, and he is most famous for leading the failed 1775 invasion of Canada. On 31 December 1775, he led an attack on Quebec city, but was killed during the battle.

1783 – Death of Thomas Burke. Born in Co Galway, he was a physician, lawyer, and statesman in Hillsborough, North Carolina. He represented North Carolina as a delegate to the Continental Congress and was Governor of the state. Thomas went to Virginia and practiced medicine for a number of years. He studied law, and began its practice in Norfolk, Virginia. He became an early supporter of the American Revolution, writing tracts in opposition to the Stamp Act.

1791 – Death in Kilkenny of statesman and Lord Chief Justice of the King’s Bench for Ireland, Henry Flood, founder of the movement which forces Britain to grant legislative independence to Ireland.

1802 – Sir Dominic Corrigan, cardiologist, was born in Dublin.

1805 – William Thompson, naturalist, was born in Belfast.

1811 – The Kildare Place Society is formed to maintain non-denominational schools and to promote the education of the poor.

1865 – The Fenian senate deposes founder, John O’Mahoney, as president, replacing him with William Roberts.

1877 – Birth of nationalist politician, Cahir Healy, in Mountcharles, Co Donegal.

1920 – Shooting of Escaping Irish Prisoners.

1920 – Countess Markievicz was court-martialed by the British administration.

1921 – Michael Collins, Arthur Griffith and the other plenipotentiaries return from London to present Britain’s proposed treaty draft to government colleagues. The seeds were being set for a bitterly divided cabinet which would eventually lead to civil war.

1924 – William Craig, unionist politician, is born.

1942 – Omagh songsmith, Jimmy Kennedy, wrote the song ‘The Hokey Cokey’ on this date. Jimmy Kennedy was a songwriter, predominantly a lyricist, putting words to existing music such as ‘Teddy Bears Picnic and ‘My Prayer, or co-writing with the composers Michael Carr, Wilhelm Grosz (aka Hugh Williams) and Nat Simon, among others.

1954 – Joe McCarthy is censured by US Senate for conduct unbecoming a Senator. Joe McCarthy, Republican Senator for Wisconsin, arch anti-communist, unfounded fear monger and generator of McCarthyism was the son of Bridget Tierney, from Co Tipperary and Timothy McCarthy whose own father emigrated from Ireland.

1966 – Death of playwright and prolific radio dramatist, Giles Cooper, after falling from a train as it passed through Surbiton, Surrey, returning from a Guild of Dramatists’ Christmas dinner. Born in Carrickmines, Co Dublin, he wrote over sixty scripts for BBC Radio and television. A dozen years after his death at only 48 the Giles Cooper Awards for Radio Drama were instituted in his honour, jointly by the BBC and the publishers Eyre Methuen.

1971 – A teenage girl died four days after being shot during a gun attack on members of the RUC.

1984 – An undercover British soldier, believed to be a member of the Special Air Service (SAS), and two members of the IRA were killed in an exchange of gun fire near Kesh, Co Fermanagh.

1993 – Sinn Féin publicly released more information on the secret talks between the British government and the Republican Movement. Martin McGuinness, the Vice-President of Sinn Féin, claimed that the British government had begun the contacts in 1990.

1995 – It was announced that 600 British soldiers, serving with 45 Royal Marine Commando in Fermanagh had left Northern Ireland. The overall troop level in Northern Ireland was reported at 17,000.

1997 – The RUC announced that all day-time foot patrol by the British Army were to be withdrawn from all of Belfast.

1998 – In an effort to break the deadlock in the stalled Northern Ireland political process, British Premier Tony Blair holds intensive discussions with David Trimble and Seamus Mallon at Stormont.

1998 – Death of Mary McShain at Killarney House, Killarney, Co Kerry. In 1960, she and her late husband, John McShain, acquired the Killarney Estate, which had been owned by the Earls of Kenmare since the 16th century. Most of that property, as well as Killarney House, has since been turned over to the State.

1999 – The Good Friday Agreement comes into operation as the British and Irish governments formally notify each other that all the necessary arrangements are in place.The notification ceremony takes place at Iveagh House, St Stephen’s Green, headquarters of the Department of Foreign Affairs, at a joint signing by Foreign Affairs Minister, David Andrews, and the Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Peter Mandelson.

1999 – Direct Rule came to an end as powers were devolved to the Northern Ireland Assembly (NIA). Devolution took effect as of midnight on 1 December 1999.

1999 – Mary McAleese, President of Ireland, was in London for a lunch engagement with Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace.

1999 – The IRA appoints an unnamed representative to enter into talks with General John de Chastelain on decommissioning.

2002 – Former Fine Gael deputy leader Jim Mitchell loses his three-year battle with cancer.

2004 – Death of Margaret Dolan at the age of 104. She was known as ‘Maggie’ as well as the daughter and one of eight children of a farmer from Tuam, Co Galway. She didn’t smoke or drink and believed what kept her going was being young at heart. She didn’t marry, and spent her entire life in Galway, apart from two years working in the US, before returning at the time of the Wall Street Crash. She was an avid reader until her eyesight deteriorated. Her niece Julia said Maggie believed ‘the simple life’ was the best life. She attended Mass in the village of Corofin, where she lived, every week. Maggie once said, when questioned about the secret to her longevity. ‘I believe in hard work, lots of prayer and the eating of plain food,’

Photo: Shaw’s Bridge, Belfast, Co Antrim, Captive Landscapes by Steven Emerson

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