#OTD in Irish History – 3 December:

1366 – With the sliotar topping 93mph (150km/h) from a good strike, hurling is the fastest game on grass. It was first played here at least 3,000 years ago, and first crops up in print in statutes banning its mayhem on this date. Ancient chroniclers report violent days-long matches between whole towns, but these might simply have been battles. There’s not a whole lot of difference if you think about it.

1745 – John Toler, 1st Earl of Norbury and Chief Justice, is born in Beechwood, Co Tipperary.

1792 – Beginning on this date and continuing through 8 December, a Catholic Convention is held in Tailors’ Hall, Dublin to demand abolition of the remaining penal laws; a petition is presented to the king in London.

1831 – Birth of banker, mining tycoon and US senator, James Graham Fair, in Belfast.

1897 – Birth of writer, Kate O’Brien, in Limerick city. Best known for her novels, ‘Land of Spices’ and ‘That Lady’. Kate O’Brien’s determination to encourage a greater understanding of sexual diversity — several of her books include positive gay/lesbian characters, make her a pioneer in queer literary representation. She was very critical of conservatism in Ireland, and by spearheading a challenge to the Irish Censorship Act, she helped bring to an end the cultural restrictions of the 1930s and 40s in the country.

1916 – Birth of Seán Ó Ríordáin in Baile Mhúirne, Co Cork. He was one of the most important Irish language poets of the 20th century and arguably the most significant figure in introducing European themes into traditional poetry. Ó Ríordáin’s poems have enjoyed constant popularity, due in part to the exposure gained by the inclusion of his work in the standard Irish curriculum. Poems such as Fill Arís and Tost are widely known and Fill Arís was short-listed in the Favourite Irish Poems comptetions run by RTÉ in 2015. ‘Toil’ is a contemplation on the limitations of human will.

1920 – Three Bandon members of the IRA were killed in an ambush set by the Essex Regiment. The IRA men John Galvin, Lieutenant Jim Donohue and Joe Begley thought they were meeting a British army deserter on the outskirts of their home town. The facts of the case are as muddy now as they were in that highly volatile time, but it does appear that the men were given little chance to surrender.

1921 – Dáil Cabinet Discusses Treaty Proposals.

1923 – One garda is killed.

1925 – Report of the Boundary Commission made public.

1937 – Birth of Morgan Llywelyn. She is an American-born Irish author best known for her historical fantasy, historical fiction, and historical non-fiction. Her fiction has received several awards and has sold more than 40 million copies, and she herself is recipient of the 1999 Exceptional Celtic Woman of the Year Award from Celtic Women International.

1942 – Birth of former rugby player, Mike Gibson, in Belfast.

1944 – Birth of Ralph McTell in England. Best known for his song ‘Streets of London’, which has been covered by over two hundred artists around the world, and for his tale of Irish emigration, ‘From Clare to Here’.

1959 – Birth of journalist and broadcaster, Eamonn Holmes, in Belfast.

1970 – Birth of software developer and author, Brendan Kehoe, in Dublin. Raised in China, Maine and the United States, in his early teens, he was first exposed to computing when he was given a Commodore 64 computer, which he used to teach himself about computing/computer networks. Kehoe wrote two books and a number of technology articles on the topic of the Internet. His first book, Zen and the Art of the Internet: A Beginner’s Guide, first published by Prentice Hall in July 1992, was the first mass-published user’s guide to the Internet. Kehoe was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia and underwent chemotherapy to fight the disease but succumbed to it on 19 July 2011.

1973 – Francis Pym succeeded William Whitelaw as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. Many people were critical of this particular change given that the talks on the crucial issue of the Council of Ireland were scheduled to begin on 6 December 1973. Pym it was believed had comparatively little knowledge of Northern Ireland.

1974 – Members of the Maguire family, who later became known as the ‘Maguire Seven’, were arrested at their home in London. They were held on suspicion of making the bombs used in the explosions in Guildford on 5 October 1974. The ‘Maguire Seven’ were convicted on 3 March 1976 of possession of explosives (although none were found) and some served 10 years in prison before the convictions were overturned.

1976 – Patrick Hillery inaugurated as President of Ireland.

1977 – Chief of Staff of the IRA, Seamus Twomey, was arrested in Dublin.

1981 – Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), Ian Paisley, claimed that the ‘Third Force’ had between 15,000 and 20,000 members. Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, James Prior, said in response that private armies would not be tolerated.

1983 – Patrick Hillery is inaugurated for a second term as President of Ireland.

1985 – Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Tom King, expressed his regret for a speech he made in Brussels in which he had said he thought the Irish government accepted that there would never be a united Ireland.

1986 – Brendan McFarlane and Gerard Kelly, who had escaped from Long Kesh prison on 25 September 1983 were extradited from Holland to Northern Ireland and appeared in a Lisburn court on charges related to the escape.

1990 – Inauguration of Mary Robinson as President of Ireland.

1993 – Two bombs explode in the center of Manchester, injuring 65 people; the IRA claimed responsibility the following day.

1993 – The Irish Times reported the results of a poll on the options for a political settlement in Northern Ireland. Among Catholic respondents, 33 per cent favoured the option of joint authority while 32 per cent wanted to see a United Ireland. Among Protestant respondents, 35 per cent favoured closer integration with the United Kingdom.

1996 – Six officers are hurt as loyalists attack police with fireworks, bottles and stones in Portadown, Co Armagh.

2000 – Hiúdaí, an Irish language cartoon character, is voted Best TV Personality at the Irish Film and Television Awards in Belfast.

2000 – Browns on the Green wins the prestigious Gilbeys Gold Medal Award for excellence in catering.

2002 – Up to 2000 mourners gather at St Joseph’s Church, Terenure for the removal of Fine Gael minister and deputy leader, Jim Mitchell.

2002 – Ulster Unionist leader, David Trimble, says there is little point in proceeding with multi-party talks in the North if the IRA refuses to address the need to give up all paramilitary activity.

2002 – Death of actor, Glenn Quinn. Born in Dublin, he is best known for playing Mark Healy in the American sitcom Roseanne, and Doyle, a half-demon, on the 1999-2004 television series Angel, a spin-off series of the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Quinn was born in Dublin, and raised in both America and then again as a teenager in Cabinteely, Co Dublin. Quinn was found dead of a drug overdose. He was 32 years old. Police and autopsy reports revealed the cause of death to be an accidental heroin overdose. His body was found on the couch of a friend he was visiting in North Hollywood, California.

2009 – Death of soldier and actor, Richard Todd. Born in Dublin, he served in WWII for the British Army and after the war returned to acting. Alfred Hitchcock used him in Stage Fright (1950). He appeared in three films for the Disney Corporation, The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men (1952), The Sword and the Rose (1953) and Rob Roy, the Highland Rogue.

Photo: Doolough Pass, Co May, Photography by Stair na hÉireann

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