#OTD in Irish History – 4 August:

1654 – Birth in Midleton, Co Cork of Thomas Brodrick, politician in Irish and British Houses of Commons who led the inquiry into the ‘South Sea Bubble’.

1805 – Birth in Dublin of Sir William Rowan Hamilton. He was an Irish physicist, astronomer, and mathematician, who made important contributions to classical mechanics, optics, and algebra. His studies of mechanical and optical systems led him to discover new mathematical concepts and techniques. His greatest contribution is perhaps the reformulation of Newtonian mechanics, now called Hamiltonian mechanics.

1832 – The Making of Poitín. A lengthy article on this interesting Irish craft appeared in the Dublin Penny Journal on this day.

1846 – The Great Southern and Western Railway line between Dublin and Carlow opens.

1920 – Unarmed IRA burn down unoccupied RIC barracks in Blackrock Co Louth.

1922 – Republican troops abandon Cashel, Co Tipperary.

1922 – 150 Free State troops under Paddy Daly take Castleisland, Co Kerry. The Republicans abandon their positions after six shrapnel shells are fired at them from an 18-pounder field gun.

1922 – Three Free State soldiers, including two commandants, Collison and McCurtain, are killed in a mine and gun attack on a troop lorry in Co Tipperary.

1927 – Death of John Dillon, an Irish land reform agitator, Irish Home Rule activist, nationalist politician, Member of Parliament (MP) in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and last leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party.

1935 – Birth of politician, Michael J. Noonan, in Bruff, Co Limerick. He served as Minister for Defence from 1987 until 1989. Noonan was elected to Dáil Éireann on his first attempt as a Fianna Fáil TD for the Limerick West constituency at the 1969 general election. He remained a controversial figure by voting against the Divorce referendum bill in the Dáil and lost the Fianna Fáil party whip as a result. He retired from political life at the 1997 general election. He died on 17 September 2013.

1952 – Birth of Máire Philomena Ní Bhraonáin, better known as Máire Brennan or Moya Brennan, in Gweedore, Co Donegal. She is a Grammy Award-nominated Irish folk singer, songwriter, harpist and philanthropist. She began her singing career when her family formed the band Clannad in 1970, and is widely regarded today as the “First Lady of Celtic Music”.

1956 – Heavyweight boxer Gerry Cooney is born to Irish-American parents on Long Island. As a teenager, Cooney won two New York Golden Glove Championships. After turning professional, he won his first twenty-five fights and of course becoming the media’s latest “Great White Hope.” Few would place him in the pantheon of great fighters but he was brave and had a lethal left hook that saw him win twenty-four of his twenty-eight victories via a knockout. Cooney fought Larry Holmes for the World Heavyweight Boxing Title in June 1982. Cooney performed credibly before being stopped in the thirteenth round by Larry Holmes who was then in his prime. Cooney has avoided the fate of many a washed up fighter like Irish Mike Quarry and today is still active in the fight game in media work. He also promoted a number of bouts for Roberto Duran and Hector Camacho. Cooney is a member of the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame.

1959 – Birth of politician, John Gormley, in Dublin. He is a former Irish Green Party politician who served as Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government from July 2007 to January 2011, Leader of the Green Party from June 2007 to May 2011. He served as a Teachta Dála (TD) for the Dublin South-East constituency from 1997 to 2011.

1972 – Public Records 1972 – Released 1 January 2003: Note from R.T. Armstrong, with the Prime Minister’s office, to T.C. Platt, with the Northern Ireland Office (NIO). The note shows that Prime Minister, Edward Heath, was highly sensitive to the issue of interrogation of prisoners by the security forces.

1976 – Birth of author, Kealan Patrick Burke, in Dungarvan, Co Waterford. Some of his works include the novels Kin, Currency of Souls, Master of the Moors, and The Hides (Bram Stoker Award nominee), the novellas The Turtle Boy (Bram Stoker Award Winner, 2004) and Vessels, and the collections Ravenous Ghosts, The Number 121 to Pennsylvania & Others, Theater Macabre and The Novellas. He has also appeared in a number of publications, including Postscripts, Cemetery Dance, Grave Tales, Shivers II, Shivers III, Shivers IV, Looking Glass, Masques V, Subterranean #1, Evermore, Inhuman, Horror World, Surreal Magazine, and Corpse Blossoms.

1988 – Two Protestant building workers (William Hassard and Frederick Love), were killed by the IRA in Belleek, Co Fermanagh. The two workers had been carrying out repairs at Belleek police station.

1998 – Dissident Republicans carried out an attack on a police patrol outside an RUC station in Lurgan, Co Armagh.

1998 – Gerry Adams is under growing pressure to declare the republican war over after loyalists warn that the North’s peace agreement is in real danger of collapsing.

1999 – The Government abandons all plans to transform the Great Blasket Island into a State Park and the 1,132 acre island is to remain in private ownership.

2000 – The stand-off in the seven-week old train strike intensifies as Transport and Public Enterprise Minister Mary O’Rourke refuses to intervene.

2000 – Loyalists protest after the north of Ireland health minister Bairbre de Brun, a member of Sinn Féin, refuses to fly the Union flag outside her Belfast offices to mark the 100th birthday of Britain’s Queen Mother.

2000 – Residents of Belfast’s Lower Ormeau Road vote overwhelmingly against allowing Orange parades through the flashpoint district.

2002 – Less than two months after turning professional, rookie Graeme McDowell from Portrush, Co Antrim, wins the Scandinavian Masters.

2012 – Death of sportswriter, Con Houlihan. Despite only progressing to national journalism at the age of 46, he would become “the greatest and the best-loved Irish sports journalist of all”. A bronze bust of Houlihan was unveiled in his hometown of Castleisland in 2004. In 2011, another sculpture was erected outside The Palace bar in Dublin.

2016 – Death of handball player for Kilkenny, Michael “Ducksie” Walsh. Considered by many as the greatest player to play singles handball. He contested the 2007 M Donnelly 60 x 30 Singles Handball final against Eoin Kennedy of Dublin. Michael won all of the Senior Softball Singles title between 1985 and 1997. He won again in 1999, 2000 and 2001. He also won ten All Ireland Softball Doubles with fellow Kilkennyman, Eugene Downey. Even up until his death he was still competing at the highest level of 60×30 Handball. The week before his death he won the senior Irish Nationals, settling the score with Eoin Kennedy, Dublin. And in 2015 he reached the Senior Doubles 60×30 All Ireland final with Ciaran Neary. He lost out in the tie break and followed this up weeks later by winning the All Ireland Masters 60×30 Singles title.

Image | Dunquin Pier, Dingle, Co Kerry | George Karbus Photography

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