#OTD in Irish History – 5 February:

1703 – Birth of Gilbert Tennenta pietistic Protestant evangelist in colonial America. Born to a Presbyterian Scots-Irish family in Co Armagh, he migrated to America as a teenager, trained for pastoral ministry, and became one of the leaders of the Great Awakening of religious feeling in Colonial America, along with Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield.

1811 – Birth of journalist and historian, Maurice Lenihan, in Co Waterford.

1820 – Death of physician, poet, educator and political radical, William Drennan, one of the chief architects of the Society of United Irishmen. He is also known as the first to refer in print to Ireland as ‘the Emerald Isle’ in his poem ‘When Erin First Rose’. Burial takes place in Clifton Street burial-ground in Belfast and, according to his will and with deliberate symbolism, his coffin is borne to the grave by three Catholics and three Protestants.

1827 – Birth of Peter Fintan Lalor in Tenakill at Raheen, Co Laois. He was an activist turned politician who rose to fame for his leading role in the Eureka Stockade, an event controversially identified with the ‘birth of democracy’ in Australia. He is famous for being the only outlaw to make it to parliament. The son of Patrick ‘Patt’ Lalor, a landowner and supporter of the abolition of tithes who held a seat in the House of Commons from 1832 to 1835. He was the first Catholic MP for Queens County, since the reign of James II. His mother was Ann, née Dillon.

1853 – Death of soldier and politician, Thomas Talbot. Talbot was born at Malahide Castle near Dublin. Talbot received a commission in the army as ensign before he was twelve years old, and was appointed at sixteen to aid his relative, the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. He saw active service in Holland and at Gibraltar. Talbot immigrated to Canada in 1791, where he became personal secretary to John Graves Simcoe, Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada. After returning to England, Talbot convinced the government to allow him to implement a land settlement scheme along the shore of Lake Erie.

1866 – Birth of politician, Domhnall Ua Buachalla, in Maynooth, Co Kildare. He was a member of the First Dáil who served as third and final Governor-General of the Irish Free State and later served as a member of the Council of State.

1880 – The Irish Rugby Football Union is founded in Dublin.

1866 – Birth of politician, Domhnall Ua Buachalla, in Maynooth, Co Kildare. He was a member of the First Dáil who served as third and final Governor-General of the Irish Free State and later served as a member of the Council of State. He was a member of the Irish Volunteers and on the outbreak of the 1916 Easter Rising he walked the 26 kilometres to Dublin to fight for Irish independence. He was imprisoned in the mass arrests and deportations that followed, and released in 1917.

1872 – The novella, Carmilla, was published In a Glass Darkly, a collection of five short stories by Sheridan Le Fanu, the year before his death. The second and third are revised versions of previously published stories, and the fourth and fifth are long enough to be called novellas. The title is taken from 1 Corinthians 13:12, a deliberate misquotation of the passage which describes humanity as perceiving the world ‘through a glass darkly’. Carmella is a tale of a lesbian vampire thriller, set in Styria, Austria. This story was to greatly influence Bram Stoker in writing Dracula (1897).

1918 – The SS Tuscania, a Cunard passenger liner converted for troop use is torpedoed off Rathlin Island, north of Ireland by U-boat 77. The ship was carrying over 2,000 troops heading for the war in Europe. Over 200 people lost their lives.

1921 – Death of Katharine O’Shea, also known as Katie O’Shea, Kitty O’Shea or following her second marriage Katharine Parnell was an English woman of aristocratic background, whose family relationship over many years with Charles Stewart Parnell eventually caused his political downfall.

1921 – Éamon de Valera in America: de Valera states ‘The so-called Ulster difficulty is purely artificial as far as Ireland itself is concerned. It is an accident arising out of the British connection and will disappear with it.’

1921 – British Intelligence officer Lance Corporal MPC/MFP John Ryan was assassinated by IRA volunteers in a pub on Corporation Street in Dublin.

1921 – An IRA Volunteer of Cork 3 Brigade died in an accidental shooting.

1922 – Cumann na mBan, at the behest of Countess Markievicz votes overwhelmingly to reject the Treaty. During the civil war, over 400 members of the movement were arrested by the Free State Government.

1923 – A party of 50 Anti-Treaty IRA fighters, operating from the Arigna mountains, raid the town of Ballyconnell in County Cavan. They shoot dead two Free State supporters and wounded another man. The Post Office was robbed and car dealership blown up. The raid was in reprisal for the shooting of a Republican named Cull the month before in the town.

1923 – A National Army soldier accidentally shoots dead a civilian, Elizabeth Walsh, in her home in Parnell Street, Dublin, while she was making him dinner, his revolver went off.

1960 – The Gael-Linn film ‘Mise Éire – I am Ireland’, based on the poem by Pádraig Pearse, with music by Seán Ó Riada, has its first public showing.

1961 – The Sunday Telegraph begins its publication.

1967 – The Musicians’ Union bans the Rolling Stones’s ‘Let’s Spend The Night Together’ from Eamonn Andrews’ television show.

1973 – Following a decision to intern two Loyalists, suspected of the murder of a Catholic man, there was a call for a general strike under the auspices of the United Loyalist Council (ULC). Although Internment had been introduced on 9 August 1971 and hundreds of Catholics / Nationalists had been arrested and interned, this was the first time that Protestants had been held under the Detention of Terrorists Order. This decision was to lead to a strike by Loyalists and an upsurge in Loyalist violence.

1975 – The Northern Ireland Office (NIO) published a discussion paper on power-sharing, The Government of Northern Ireland: A Society Divided. This was the third discussion paper published in advance of the Northern Ireland Constitutional Convention.

1975 – Secretary of Sate for Northern Ireland, Merlyn Rees, announced that new blocks (‘H-Blocks’) were to be built at Long Kesh Prison while waiting for a new prison at Maghaberry, Co Antrim, to be completed.

1981 – In a statement Republican prisoners warned that there could be further hunger strikes if they were not granted special category status.

1986 – Chief Constable of the RUC, John Hermon, instructed leaders of the Northern Ireland Police Federation (NIPF), the main union for RUC officers, not to give interviews to the media without receiving clearance from RUC headquarters. The chairman of the Federation later stated that the Police Act (1970) protected the organisation’s freedom of speech.

1988 – John Stalker, who initially investigated the ‘shoot to kill’ inquiry, alleged that he was removed from the inquiry because his investigations would have caused political embarrassment.

1992 – The Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF), a pseudonym used by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), shot dead five Catholic civilians, including a 15-year-old boy, in a gun attack on Sean Graham’s Bookmaker’s shop on the lower Ormeau Road in Belfast. The UDA at this time was a legal organisation and there were calls for it to be proscribed. A statement from the UFF concluded with the words ‘Remember Teebane’.

1993 – Death of Fianna Fáil politician and footballer, Seán Flanagan. He served under Taoiseach Jack Lynch as Minister for Health (1966-1969) and Minister for Lands (1969-1973).

1993 – Roger Wheeler, a Lieutenant-General in the British Army, replaced John Wilsey as General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the army in Northern Ireland.

1997 – Billy McCaughey, an ex-officer of the RUC who had served 16 years for a sectarian murder, denied that he was organising the pickets each Saturday night outside the Catholic chapel at Harryville, Ballymena.

1998 – It is announced that the Ulster Democratic Party, which was suspended from the Northern talks in the wake of Ulster Freedom Fighters-orchestrated sectarian killings, will not be granted a reprieve in time for the upcoming Dublin Castle negotiations.

1998 – President of Sinn Féin, Gerry Adams, published his response to remarks made by John Hume, leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), and David Trimble, leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP). In the response Adams set out Sinn Féin’s opposition to any new Assembly at Stormont.

1998 – Irish Foreign Minister, David Andrews, paid a visit to Northern Ireland. He travelled to Kilkeel and Newcastle, Co Down before travelling to Belfast. In Belfast, Andrews laid a wreath at the site of the shooting of five Catholics on the Lower Ormea Road in 1992. Unionist politicians criticised the visit.

1999 – Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, warned against any attempt to ‘park’ the Good Friday Agreement.

2001 – Extra British troops are deployed in an attempt to prevent further loyalist pipe bomb attacks on Catholic homes in north Belfast.

2002 – Security Minister, Jane Kennedy, announced new security measures and new peace lines at a number of interface areas in Northern Ireland. The schemes mainly involved extensions to existing peace lines and the cost was estimated at £670,000.

2002 – The Northern Ireland Policing Board (NIPB) held separate private meetings with Ronnie Flanagan, then Chief Constable of the PSNI, and Nuala O’Loan, Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland. The meetings were to allow the NIPB to hear reports on the investigation of the Omagh bombing (15 August 1998) and also to see if it could come to a decision on the public disagreement between O’Loan and Flanagan. However, it was clear that the NIPB was deeply divided on the issue with one Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) member calling, prior to the meeting, for the resignation of O’Loan.

2002 – It was revealed that the Department of Health and Social Services had spend £180,000 implementing the bilingual policy adopted by Minister of Health, Bairbre de Brún (SF). The policy means that all public notices, documents, and advertising campaigns, are available in both English and Irish. The total also includes translations into other languages including Chinese, Punjabi, and Ulster Scots.

2003 – A 120-strong 12th Infantry Battalion from Sarsfield Barracks is sent to Shannon to beef up security at the airport. The troops will remain until the threat of further attacks on military planes abates.

2003 – The trial of three Irishmen charged with training members of the FARC guerilla movement resumes in Bogota, Columbia.

2006 – Former Bishop of Galway, Eamonn Casey, returns to Ireland after 14 years in exile. The cleric fled the country after he admitted to fathering his son, Peter.

Image: Statue of Cú Chulainn, in Mullaghbawn, Co Armagh, at the foot of Slieve Gullion, Mac Creative Photography

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