#OTD in Irish History – 7 May:

1689 – James II arrives from exile in France and addresses the Irish Parliament. Thanking them for support, applauding their courage and vowing to “venture my life…in defence of your liberties”. Thus begins the events leading up to the Battle of the Boyne.

1689 – James II’s predominantly Catholic Irish parliament which is in session from this date until 18 July, implements various measures redressing Catholic grievances.

1716 – John Medcalf, previously dismissed as Church of Ireland curate of Powerscourt for conducting clandestine marriages, is excommunicated for refusing to appear in the Consistory Court when cited by a woman for conjugal rights.

1720 – James Cotter is executed for high treason in supporting the Jacobite cause: his son, Sir James Cotter, will later be MP for Askeaton.

1741 – Anthony Tanner, perpetual curate for Holmpatrick, who has been married for less than six months, is murdered near Rush, Co. Dublin.

1838 – Charles Owen O’Conor, politician, is born in Dublin.

1865 – John MacBride, revolutionary and leader of the 1916 Easter Rising, is born in Westport, Co Mayo.

1915 – The Lusitania is sunk by a German U-boat off the Old Head of Kinsale, Co Cork with the loss of more than 1,100 lives.

1931 – An Óige, Irish Youth Hostel Association is established. At the end of that year, it has just 215 members and 2 hostels. Today, An Óige has well over 30 youth hostels located throughout Ireland.

1936 – Birth of former businessman and rugby player, Tony Reilly in Dublin. He is known for his involvement in the Independent News and Media Group, which he led from 1973 to 2009, and as former CEO and Chairman of the H.J. Heinz Company. He was the leading shareholder of Waterford Wedgwood. Perhaps Ireland’s first billionaire, as of 26 May 2014 O’Reilly is being pursued in the Irish courts for debts amounting to €22 million by AIB, following losses amounting to hundreds of millions of euro in his unsuccessful attempt to stop Denis O’Brien from assuming control of Independent News and Media. As a rugby player, he represented Ireland, the British and Irish Lions and the Barbarians and is enshrined as a member of the International Rugby Board’s Hall of Fame.

1938 – Johnny Caldwell, flyweight boxer and winner of a bronze medal in the 1956 Olympics, is born in Belfast.

1945 – Birth of folk singer, songwriter, and guitarist, Christy Moore in Newbridge, Co Kildare. He is well-known as one of the founding members of Planxty and Moving Hearts. His first album, Paddy on the Road (a minor release of 500, although made available again on CD through his website and at gigs in 2010) was recorded with Dominic Behan (brother of Brendan) in 1969. In 2007, he was named as Ireland’s greatest living musician in RTÉ’s People of the Year Awards.

1965 – Birth of soccer player, Norman Whiteside, in Belfast.

1966 – The UVF carry out a petrol bomb attack on a Catholic-owned bar and off-licence in Upper Charleville Street in the Shankill Road area of Belfast. The attackers miss their intended target and set fire to the home of Matilda Gould (77), a Protestant civilian, who lived next door to the public house. Gould is severely injured in the attack and dies on 27 June 1984.

1967 – ‘Seven Drunken Nights’ by The Dubliners enters the UK top ten. It also appeared on Top of the Pops, thanks to its diffusion on Radio Caroline, though it was banned from the national broadcasting station. The song also charted at No.1 in Ireland.

1972 – At approximately 11.50 pm a 15-year-old boy was shot and injured outside a disco at Oliver Plunkett School, Glen Road, Belfast. On 1 December 2015 the PSNI listed this shooting as one of nine incidents it was investigating in relation to the activities of the British Army’s Military Reaction Force (MRF).

1974 – Two Catholic civilians, James Devlin and his wife Gertrude, were shot dead by members of the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) as they drove into the driveway of their home, Congo, near Donaghmore, Co Tyrone.

1977 – Birth of Lisa Kelly in Dublin. She is a singer of both classical and Celtic music and has taken part in many musical theatre productions and concerts. She is a founding and former member of the musical group Celtic Woman.

1977 – The Peace People held a rally, its first public rally for some time, outside Belfast City Hall to protest at the levels of intimidation in the wake of the United Unionist Action Council (UUAC) strike. Attention once again turned to the workers at Ballylumford power station, near Larne, which was increasingly being seen as crucial to the outcome of the UUAC strike. A delegation of four Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) MPs, Robert Bradford, William Craig, James Molyneaux, and Harold McCusker, who were opposed to the UUAC strike, visited the Ballylumford power station and urged workers to remain at their posts. Ian Paisley, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), together with a delegation from the UUAC also held a meeting with workers at Ballylumford. Paisley claimed that he could close the plant at any point but instead had urged staff there to keep working in order to maintain ‘essential supplies’. In the Lisburn-Hillsborough-Moira area, south of Belfast, some 600 farm vehicles took part in a cavalcade to call for an improvement in the security situation. Those behind the protest however made clear that their actions did not represent any support for the UUAC strike.

1981 – An estimated 100,000 people attended the funeral of Bobby Sands in Belfast. The size of the crowd reflected the impact the hunger strike was having on the Nationalist community in Northern Ireland.

1983 – An alleged INLA informer was shot dead in Co Armagh.

1987 – Death of actor, Colin Blakely. Born in Bangor, Co Down, he was nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actor for the Academy Award-nominated film Equus. He died of leukaemia at the peak of his career, aged 56.

1991 – A series of bilateral political talks (later known as the Brooke/Mayhew talks) were held at Stormont but there was no agreement among the parties about the venue of the main talks.

1992 – Bishop of Galway, Dr. Eamonn Casey, resigns.

1995 – The RUC rerouted a Republican parade away from the Protestant Suffolk area of west Belfast. President of Sinn Féin, Gerry Adams, began a three week tour of the United States. Before leaving he said that there was no split in the Republican movement and that the IRA ceasefire was secure.

1997 – David Trimble, leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), paid a visit to British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, in Downing Street, London. Trimble had asked to see Blair before the Prime Minister held a meeting with Taoiseach, John Bruton, on 8 May 1997. Bruton was invited to speak at the Oxford Union where he said that a new IRA ceasefire was inevitable.

1998 – It was confirmed that a new Republican paramilitary group had emerged. The group was mainly formed from dissident members of the IRA. The media reported the name of the group as the ‘real’ IRA (rIRA); the group was believed to refer to itself as Óglaigh na hÉireann. It was thought that the group had formed in November 1997.

1998 – The Northern Ireland (Elections) Act became law. The Act provided for the establishment of an Assembly at Stormont if the Agreement was approved in the forthcoming referendums.

1998 – The British government announced that funding (estimated at £5 million) was to be made available for support schemes for victims of the conflict.

1999 – The Bloody Sunday Inquiry ruled that the British Army soldiers who had fired their weapons on 30 January 1972 would not be allowed to remain anonymous. The soldiers later managed to have the decision reversed in the Court of Appeal.

1999 – James le Moyne, a UN negotiator, has agreed to help break the decommissioning deadlock in the Northern peace process before the marching season begins.

2001 – The Broadway play Stones in His Pockets by Belfast playwright Marie Jones receives three nominations for the theatre world’s top honour, the Tony awards, in New York. Conleth Hill and Sean Campion are nominated in the Leading Actor category and Ian McElhinney is nominated for Best Director.

2001 – Islanders off the coast of Cork rescue a 20ft pilot whale who became stranded at Hare Island with another dead whale.

2009 – Ronan O’Gara – with his hands in his pockets – standing alongside his teammates awaiting to be greeted by the Queen at a Civic Reception to honour the Grand Slam winning Ireland team – did not shake hands with Queen Elizabeth II. It was the first time Ireland won a Grand Slam in 61 years.

Image | Cliffs near Dun Aengus, Inishmore, Aran islands, Co Galway | © Stair na hÉireann/History of Ireland

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