#OTD in Irish History – 7 December:

521 – Birth of Saint Columba (Columba of Iona) or in Old Irish, as Colm Cille, Columbkill, Columbkille or Columcille (meaning ‘Dove of the church’). He was an outstanding figure among the Gaelic missionary monks who, some of his advocates claim, introduced Christianity to the Kingdom of the Picts during the Early Medieval Period. He was one of the Twelve Apostles of Ireland. He is the Patron Saint of Derry.

1487 – The Earl of Desmond is murdered at the instigation of his brother, John; another brother, Maurice, is his heir.

1688 – Thirteen ‘Apprentice Boys’ refuse to let a Catholic army into Derry; Tyrconnell backs down and allows the city to keep its Protestant garrison. Enniskillen also defies James II.

1754 – Francis Rawdon-Hastings, 1st Marquess of Hastings, soldier and colonial administrator, is born in Dublin.

1768 – William Bulkely, an officer in the Irish Brigade of France, is born in Clonmel, Co Tipperary.

1775 – ‘The Father of the American Navy’ was actually John Barry from Tacumshane, Co Wexford. On this date, Barry was made the first Captain in the Continental Navy of a US warship commissioned for service. After the war, he became America’s first commissioned naval officer, at the rank of Commodore, receiving his commission from President George Washington in 1797. Barry was once offered £100,000 and command of any frigate in the entire British Navy if he would desert the American Navy. The outraged Captain Barry responded that not all the money in the British treasury or command of its entire fleet could tempt him to desert his adopted country.

1879 – Birth of anti-Treaty nationalist and politician, Austin Stack, in Tralee, Co Kerry.

1888 – Birth of novelist, Joyce Cary, in Derry. Two of his novels were made into films: The Horse’s Mouth (1958) starring Sir. Alec Guinness and Mister Johnson (1990). His family had been landlords in Inishowen, Co Donegal since Elizabethan times, but lost their property after passage of the Irish Land Act in 1882.

1921 – Éamon de Valera Summons Collins, Griffith to Emergency Meeting. Disturbed at reports from London as to the Treaty signature, a furious de Valera issues an announcement that “In view of the nature of the proposed treaty with Great Britain, President de Valera has sent an urgent summons to the members of the cabinet in London to report at once so that a full cabinet decision may be taken.”

1922 – Assasination of TD Sean Hales. Cork born Hales and TD Padraig O Maile of Mayo emerged from their lunch at a hotel on Ormonde Quay. As they were getting into a car that would drive them to parliament, two gunmen opened fire on them, killing Hales and severely wounding O Maile, before disappearing into the backstreets behind the Quays.

1922 – The six counties of Northern Ireland opt out of the Free State.

1941 – Birth of middle distance runner, Noel Carroll, in Ballynagassan, Co Louth. Carroll competed in the Olympic Games in Tokyo in the Men’s 800 metres. He represented Ireland in the 400 metres and the 800 metres in the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, and continued to win national championships (14 in total) and two further European Indoor Championships for the 800 metres during the 1960s. He became the Dublin Corporation’s first official spokesman, and later the Chief Executive of the Dublin Chamber of Commerce, and led the group which founded the Dublin Marathon.

1971 – An off duty member of the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) was shot dead by members of the IRA in Co Tyrone.

1972 – Fourth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland (Voting age reduced to 18).

1972 – Fifth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland, (Recognition of religions).

1973 – Birth of Damien Rice in Dublin. He is a singer-songwriter, musician and record producer who plays guitar, piano, clarinet and percussion.

1979 – Charles Haughey replaced Jack Lynch as Taoiseach. The Fiannia Fáil parliamentary party voted by 44 votes to 38 in favour of Haughey.

1982 – The Irish Supreme Court made a ruling which opened up the possibility of extradition between the Republic and the United Kingdom. The court rejected the claim that paramilitary offences were politically motivated.

1983 – Edgar Graham, an Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) Assembly member, was shot dead by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) at Queen’s University of Belfast, where he was a lecturer in the Faculty of Law.

1985 – Attack on Ballygawley Barracks: the PIRA launched an assault on the RUC barracks in Ballygawley, Co Tyrone. Two RUC officers were killed and the barracks was completely destroyed by the subsequent bomb explosion.

1987 – Birth of magician, mentalist and escapologist, Paul Gleeson or ‘Rua’, in Monkstown, Dublin. Rua’s television career began in 2012 when he started filming his debut series Draíocht for Irish national broadcaster TG4, with Midas Productions. This 10-part series was the first Irish-language magic series to be broadcast in Ireland, and the first Irish television series that featured an escapologist. Rua has also been featured heavily in the Irish Media.

1994 – The European Commission agreed to the funding of a £230 million aid programme for Northern Ireland as well as the border counties in the Republic of Ireland. The funding was to be spread over the following three years.

1995 – The IRA issued a statement which said that the British government “has sought only to frustrate movement into inclusive negotiations … there is no question of the IRA meeting the ludicrous demand for a surrender of IRA weapons”.

1997 – President, Mary McAleese, broke new ecumenical ground when she took communion at a Church of Ireland service in Christ Church, Dublin. The decision caused a debate in the Catholic church with a number of senior figures criticising the President over the coming days and weeks.

1998 – The IRA makes an historic decision to start decommissioning following an IRA Army Convention meeting in Donegal.

1999 – There was a series of walk-outs by pupils at state (Protestant) schools in protest at the appointment of Martin McGuinness as Minister of Education. Protests were held in Carrickergus, Cookstown, Glengormley, Newtownabbey, and the Shankill Road in Belfast. McGuinness claimed that the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) was orchestrating the protests. The DUP denied the claim.

2000 – Blackrock Castle in Cork City went on the auction block with a starting bid of £850,000. There were no bidders.

2001 – John Hume, former leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), was awarded the Mahatma Ghandi Peace Prize by the India government.

2010 – The Irish government passes its most austere budget in living memory with most workers facing substantial tax increases, while social welfare recipients will have their benefits cut.

#irishhistory #ireland #irelandinspires

Photo: Aerial View of Knocknarea, Co Sligo, Photo Credit: Irish Air Corps

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Stair na hÉireann is steeped in Ireland's turbulent history, culture, ancient secrets and thousands of places that link us to our past and the present. With insight to folklore, literature, art, and music, you’ll experience an irresistible tour through the remarkable Emerald Isle.

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