#OTD in Irish History – 6 February:

797 – Death of High King of Ireland, Donnchad mac Domnaill, called Donnchad Midi. His father, Domnall Midi, had been the first Uí Néill High King from the south-central Clann Cholmáin based in modern Co Westmeath and western Co Meath.

1685 – Coronation of King James II. He was King of England and Ireland as James II, and Scotland as James VII. He was the last Catholic monarch to reign over the Kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland. Increasingly Britain’s political and religious leaders opposed him as too pro-French, too pro-Catholic, and too much of an absolute monarch. When he produced a Catholic heir the tension exploded and the leaders called on William of Orange (his son-in-law) to land an invasion army from the Netherlands.

1781 – Birth of soldier, John Keane, 1st Baron Keane, in Co Waterford. He joined the British Army as an Ensign at age 11 in 1792. He rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the 60th Foot and commanded a brigade in the Peninsular War.

1900 – John Redmond is elected leader of the Irish Party. Redmond was a conciliatory politician who achieved the two main objectives of his political life: party unity and, in September 1914, the passing of the Irish Home Rule Act.

1918 – The silent film version of Charles Kickham’s popular novel Knocknagow, about life in a Tipperary village, is shown for the first time. https://youtu.be/ZJJvHGv6fwU

1918 – Captain Bowen-Colthurst, responsible for the murder of three civilians during the Easter Rising was released from Broadmoor Asylum. He was tried by court-martial in June 1916, on charges connected with the shooting of Francis Sheehy Skeffington, Thomas Dickson and Patrick McIntyre at Portobello Barracks, and was found guilty, but insane. After 20 months of detention, he was moved to a private hospital for nerve cases.

1918 – The Representation of the People Act (or Fourth Reform Act) is passed giving the right to vote to women aged over 30, who meet property qualifications, in Great Britain and Ireland.

1921 – Two attacks on British soldiers at Merrion Square and Camden Street, Dublin by the 3rd Battalion Dublin Brigade.

1933 – 2RN is superseded by Radio Athlone.

1949 – Birth of playwright, screenwriter, film director, and film producer, Jim Sheridan, in Dublin. In the few years from 1989 to 1993, Sheridan made three acclaimed films set in Ireland (My Left Foot, The Field, and In the Name of the Father) that between them received 13 Academy Award nominations. Sheridan has personally received six Academy Award nominations. In addition to the above-mentioned films, he is also known for the films The Boxer and In America.

1951 – Birth of Margo (born Margaret Catherine O’Donnell in Co Donegal), an Irish singer. She rose to prominence during the 1960s in the Irish country music scene and has had a successful career since.

1958 – Eight players of Manchester United were killed in the Munich air disaster.

1959 – Birth of former bare-knuckle boxer, Paddy Doherty, in Manchester. He is best known as one of the interviewed ‘Irish Travellers’ in My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding and as one of Danny Dyer’s Deadliest Men. He won Celebrity Big Brother 8. He appeared in When Paddy Met Sally in January 2012 and on Celebrity Bainisteoir later that year.

1969 – The New Ulster Movement (NUM) was formed. This pressure group was established to promote moderate and non-sectarian policies and to assist those candidates who supported Terence O’Neill, Northern Ireland Prime Minister, in the election on 24 February 1969.

1971 – The IRA shot and killed Gunner Robert Curtis, the first British soldier to die during the Troubles. Bernard Watt (28), a Catholic civilian, was shot and killed by the British Army during street disturbances in Ardoyne, Belfast. James Saunders (22), a member of the IRA, was shot and killed by the British Army during a gun battle near the Oldpark Road, Belfast.

1972 – Civil Rights march held in Newry, Co Down: there was a very large turn-out for the march with many people attending to protest at the killings in Derry the previous Sunday.

1972 – Patrick Cotter O’Brien’s remains were examined and it was determined that, while alive, he stood approximately 8 feet 1 inch tall. This made him the tallest person ever at that time, a record that would be surpassed by the next ‘eight-footer’, John Rogan, who died almost a century later. Born on 19 January 1760, Patrick Cotter O’Brien was the first of only seventeen people in medical history to stand at a verified height of eight feet or more. Born in Kinsale, Co Cork, his real name was Patrick Cotter and he adopted O’Brien as his stage name in the sideshow circus, claiming descent from the legendarily gigantic Brian Boru. He was also known as the Bristol Giant and the Irish Giant. He died on 8 September 1806 and it is believed that he died from the effects of the disease gigantism. No hearse could be found to accommodate his nine feet four-inch casket encased in lead, and his remains were borne to the grave by relays of fourteen men. In his will, Cotter left £2,000 to his mother and a request that his body be entombed within twelve feet of solid rock (to prevent exhumation for scientific or medical research). Patrick Cotter’s giant boots are on display in the Kinsale Museum. An arm of Cotter’s is currently preserved in the Medical Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons, London.

1973 – Although a number of ‘moderate’ Unionist politicians called on people not to heed the call by the United Loyalist Council (ULC) for a region wide strike, by the evening cuts in the electricity supply began to affect Belfast. The ULC strike officially began on 7 February 1973.

1976 – Two RUC officers were shot dead by the IRA at Cliftonville Circus, Belfast. A Protestant civilian died then days after being shot by Republicans in Belfast.

1981 – Ian Paisley, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), led a group of 500 men up a hillside in Co Antrim at night. Those taking part in the gathering were photographed holding firearms certificates above their head. Firearm certificates are issued by the RUC to those people who possess legally held firearms. The implication of the demonstration was that those taking part could as easily have been holding their weapons above their head.

1981 – The IRA bombed and sunk a British coal boat, Nellie M, off the coast at Moville, Co Donegal.

1992 – Albert Reynolds was elected as leader of Fianna Fáil and also became Taoiseach.

1998 – It was reported in the Irish Times that the British government would not implement proposals which would reduce the number of legally held firearms in Northern Ireland. The report suggested that Unionist politicians had lobbied hard to have the proposals shelved. It is estimated that there are 87,017 firearms certificates issued in Northern Ireland which cover 134,086 weapons. The RUC state that 80 per cent of the weapons are shotguns and air guns while the remainder are personal protection weapons. There are no figures for the religious breakdown of the ownership of weapons but it is generally thought that the vast majority of weapons are held by Protestants.

1998 – The European Commission launches an investigation into the FAI’s refusal to allow Wimbledon football club to move to Dublin which could trigger a revolution in Irish and European soccer.

1998 – Dr Kieran McCarthy, a marine specialist in the Zoology Department at UCG expresses fears that a uniquely Irish species of fish – pollan – which is found in only four fresh water lakes is being threatened by the vigorous spread of zebra mussels.

1999 – Concern was expressed for the future of the peace process with Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Marjorie (Mo) Mowlam, conceding that the deadline for the devolution of powers could be missed. Roberty McCartney, Leader of the United Kingdom Unionist Party (UKUP), warned that North-South bodies could remain in place even if the Northern Ireland Assembly collapsed.

1999 – The Association of Garda Síochána Superintendents announced that it was planning to meet the Minister for Justice to discuss the decision of the prosecution to accept a manslaughter plea in the Jerry McCabe case.

2000 – A continuity IRA bomb explodes at a Co Fermanagh hotel less than 24 hours before the Ulster Unionist Party’s Ken McGuinness is due to visit.

2001 – Over 8,000 homes in the south of the country are left without power after a severe electrical storm and high winds wreak havoc.

2001 – For the first time in three decades, Ireland’s first Eurovision winner Dana is back in the famous contest’s spotlight as she takes to the stage to introduce the entertainers at the Dublin launch of Eurosong 2001.

2002 – PSNI officers arrested a man (33) under the Terrorism Act. He was arrested at the request of Metropolitan Police and was taken to a central London police station. It was believed that he was questioned about bombs in Birmingham, Ealing, and west London, during 2001.

2002 – The Northern Ireland Policing Board (NIPB) appointed a four man committee to continue the work began on Tuesday 5 February 2002 on the reports of the investigation into the Omagh bombing (15 August 1998). Some of the relatives of those killed in the Omagh bomb called for an outside police officer to take charge of a fresh investigation. This was one recommendation of Nuala O’Loan, Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland (PONI), but was opposed by the Chief Constable.

2002 – The jinx on ‘famine’ replica ship, the Jeanie Johnston, continues as the High Court grants an order against the owners and all persons claiming an interest in the ship.

2002 – Pharmacists vow to fight Health Minister Micheál Martin through the courts to stop plans for industry deregulation.

2003 – The Northern Secretary, Paul Murphy, returns Johnny Adair to prison alleging he had been involved in directing terrorism, drug dealing, extortion, money laundering and procuring and distributing guns.

2011 – Renowned rock guitarist Gary Moore dies in a hotel room while on holiday in Spain. Originally from Belfast, he was a former member of the legendary Irish group Thin Lizzy. Sir Bob Geldof pays tribute saying “Moore was “without question, one of the great Irish bluesmen. His playing was exceptional and beautiful. We won’t see his like again.”

2012 – Death of musician, Noel Kelehan. Kelehan was a former conductor of the RTÉ Concert Orchestra and former musical director of Radio Telefís Éireann. He worked with Irish artists at the Eurovision Song Contest, beginning in 1966 and ending in 1998, and conducted five winning entries. He retired as conductor in 1998.

Image | Irish traffic jam, Connemara, Co Galway

#irishhistory #ireland #irelandinspires

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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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