#OTD in Irish History – 8 September:

In the Liturgical calendar, today is the Feast day of St. Disbode, a 7th century Irish missionary. According to German legend, the Irish saint founded the German wine industry when wine started pouring from his pilgrim’s staff.

1783 – A second convention of Dungannon – a gathering of Volunteers from Ulster – is held and prepares the way for a National Volunteer convention on parliamentary reform.

1798 – United Irishmen Rebellion: Battle of Ballinamuck – Last major battle of “The Year of the French” – after a short fight, Humbert surrenders.

1806 – Death of Patrick Cotter O’Brien. He was the first of only sixteen people in medical history to stand at a verified height of eight feet (2.44 m) or more. O’Brien was born in Kinsale, Co Cork. His real name was Patrick Cotter and he adopted O’Brien as his stage name in the sideshow circus. He was also known as the Bristol Giant and the Irish Giant. It is believed he died from the effects of the disease gigantism.

1812 – John Martin was an Irish nationalist activist who progressed from early militant support for Young Ireland and Repeal, to non-violent alternatives such as support for tenant farmers’ rights and eventually as the first Home Rule MP, for Meath 1871-1875. He was born near Newry, Co. Down.

1830 – Thomas Nicholas Burke, Dominican friar, preacher and lecturer, is born in Galway.

1852 – A conference of the Tenant League in Dublin adopts a policy of independent opposition in Parliament.

1908 – Poet, educator and eventual Easter Rising leader, Pádraig Pearse, opens St. Edna’s school for boys (Scoil Eanna), combining new European theories of education with a focus on the glory of the Gaelic past.

1909 – Death of tennis player, Vere Thomas “St. Leger” Goold. He quickly faded from the game and ended his life in prison convicted of murder and premature death, by suicide. His wife committed the murder, however, he confessed and she was sentenced to death; she died of typhoid fever in prison in 1914.

1919 – British troops “sack” the town of Fermoy, Co Cork as reprisal for an ambush by the IRA the previous day which resulted in the death of one soldier. The attack by the IRA, led by Liam Lynch was the first deliberate ambush by the IRA on British troops and opened the War of Independence.

1922 – A secret meeting takes place between Richard Mulcahy and Éamon de Valera, to try to arrange a truce. However, according to de Valera, they, ‘couldn’t find a basis’ of agreement.

1922 – Republican activist Timothy Kenefick is abducted from his home in Cork city by Free State troops. He is shot dead and his body is dumped near Macroom. Anti-Treaty fighters attack National Army posts protecting the railway line around Limerick Junction, County Tipperary. One Free State soldier and one republican are killed and several others wounded in the fighting

1931 – Birth of Desmond Guinness, author and conservationist.

1933 – Fine Gael was founded on 8 September 1933 following the merger of Cumann na nGaedheal, the National Centre Party and the National Guard, popularly known as the “Blueshirts.” It’s first leader was W.T. Cosgrove.

1970 – Birth of Andy Ward in Whangarei, New Zealand. He is a rugby player currently playing at Ballynahinch RFC. He has played for Ireland with 28 caps, and for Ulster. In 2011, he became the strength and conditioning coach of the Antrim Gaelic Football team. He currently runs a fitness studio in Dunadry, Co Antrim.

1971 – Harold Wilson, Leader of the Labour Party, announced details of a plan for a united Ireland.

1972 – Released 1 January 2003: Memo from the Cabinet Secretary to British Prime Minister, Edward Heath. This memo covered: the future of Northern Ireland; the Security Package; and changes in the administration of justice (most notably the introduction of special courts).

1975 – During a United Ulster Unionist Council (UUUC) meeting William Craig was the only member to vote for a voluntary coalition with the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP).

1980 – U2 plays the first of four consecutive Monday night performances at London’s famous Marquee Club.

1985 – A married couple Gerard and Catherine Mahon, both Catholic civilians, were found shot dead in Turf Lodge in west Belfast. The couple had been shot by the IRA who alleged that they were informers working on behalf of the RUC.

1994 – The Combined Loyalist Military Command (CLMC) set out a list of issues that it wished to receive assurances on before it considered calling a ceasefire of Loyalist paramilitary groups. In particular the CLMC wasn’t convinced that the IRA ceasefire was permanent and that no secret deal had been done to achieve it.

1994 – British Army soldiers wore berets instead of steel helmets while on patrol in Belfast. It was viewed as a symbolic gesture representing a relaxation of security measures.

1994 – The Belfast Coroner abandoned the Inquest into the deaths of the six men at the centre of the alleged ‘shoot to kill’ incidents in November and December 1982. The reason given for the action was the decision of Chief Constable of the RUC, Sir Hugh Annesley, not to provide the Inquest with a copy of the Stalker report. The Belfast High Court had ruled against the Coroner on 11 July 1994 when the court said he could not have access to the contents of the Stalker report.

1995 – The Ulster Unionist Council (UUC) held a meeting to choose a new leader following the resignation of James Molyneaux on 28 August 1995. David Trimble, UUP MP, won the contest on the third count beating John Taylor, UUP MP, who had been considered the favourite to win. Trimble won by 466 to 333 votes.

1996 – An Orange parade in Dunloy, Co Antrim was rerouted by the RUC. In protest at this decision the Orangemen held a short stand-off at a police line.

1997 – President Mary Robinson, paid her final visit before retiring to Northern Ireland. Robinson attended a meeting of the Council for Ethnic Minorities and also addressed a special meeting of community and voluntary sector groups at Balmoral, Belfast. Previous visits by the President had been criticised by Unionist politicians particularly when she shook hands with Gerry Adams, President of Sinn Féin, in 1993.

1998 – A radical Government action plan aiming to cut thousands off the dole is launched.

1999 – AB Airlines will cease operations on the Shannon to London Gatwick route at midnight.

2000 – US President Bill Clinton announces he will visit Ireland in December.

2000 – Clonakilty, Co Cork claims the Best Village title in the prestigious European Entente Florale competition; in the town category, Letterkenny, Co Donegal, wins a bronze medal in the highly competitive environmental contest.

2001 – A Catholic primary school on Newington Avenue in north Belfast was damaged in an arson attack.

2002 – The Kilkenny Cats beat the Banner, Co Clare and collect their 27th All-Ireland hurling title in front of 76,254 fans at Croke Park.

2005 – Death of Noel Cantwell. Born in Co Cork, he was a cricketer and football player. Cantwell played as a full-back for Western Rovers, Cork Athletic, West Ham United, and Manchester United.

Image | From the top of Loher looking out to the Skelligs | Photography by Mike Curran

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