#OTD in Irish History – 5 March:

In the liturgical calendar, today is the Feast day of St. Kieran, sometimes listed as ‘Kevin the elder’.

1389 – Thomas Mortimer is appointed Justiciar of Ireland. Mortimer was an English soldier and nobleman. He moved to Ireland as a deputy to his brother Edmund after he was made Lord of Ireland.

1716 – Martin Bladen, soldier, politician, civil servant, gambler and writer, is given leave in the British House of Commons to bring in a bill to continue the privilege of exporting Irish linen cloth to British plantations without the duty payable by exporters in England and Scotland. The bill eventually passes.

1867 – Fenian Rising begins in Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Clare and Tipperary. The Fenian Rising of 1867 (Éirí Amach na bhFiann, 1867) was a rebellion against British rule in Ireland, organised by the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB).

1892 – Birth of Thomas ‘Tom’ Hales in Knocknacurra, Ballinadee, near Bandon, Co Cork. He was an Irish Republican Army (IRA) volunteer and politician and friend of Michael Collins. His father Robert was an activist in the Land War and a reputed member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood.

1911 – Birth of actor and playwright, Joseph Tomelty, in Portaferry, Co Down.

1918 – Co Clare is subject to martial law. This state has been brought about by new military orders issued in response to agrarian, political and social unrest – instances include cattle driving, land seizures, shooting affrays and the raiding of houses for arms. Alongside an increased military presence, a new regime effectively cuts the county off from the rest of Ireland; permits are now required to enter the county and all private letters and telegrams entering and leaving the county will be subject to censorship. A special staff is being set up in Limerick to carry out this work.

1921 – The IRA ambush a British army convoy near Clonbanin, Co Cork, killing Brigadier General H. R. Cumming, one of the highest ranked British officers to die in the Irish War of Independence.

1921 – Two ambushes took place in Dublin, one near Parnell Square and one in Clontarf, both in the north of the city. In both incidents, IRA members threw hand grenades and exchanged fire with British troops. One civilian was killed and four wounded. No combatant casualties were reported.

1923 – A Free state patrol comes upon a 36-man strong Anti-Treaty column about to attack Cahersiveen, Co Kerry. The IRA retreat, fighting a rearguard action against pursuing National Army troops through the Garrane mountains. In the running fights, 3 Free State soldiers killed. Two Republicans, including one Anti-Treaty engineer (Dan Clifford) are killed, allegedly after being wounded and then falling into the hands of the pro-Treaty troops. Another later died of wounds. The National Army claims that three more Anti-Treaty fighters were killed in the action and carried away by their comrades. Six Anti-Treaty men are captured, five of whom are executed on 28 March.

1947 – Birth of Clodagh Rodgers in Ballymena, Co Antrim. She is a singer and actress best known for her hit singles including, ‘Come Back and Shake Me’ and ‘Jack in the Box’. In 1970 she was asked to represent the UK in the 1971 Eurovision Song Contest in Dublin. According to John Kennedy O’Connor’s The Eurovision Song Contest – The Official History, part of the reasoning behind the BBC’s invitation was their concern over the reaction the UK entrant would get on the stage from the Irish public. She received death threats from the IRA as a result of her appearing for the UK.

1960 – The image of Che Guevera wearing a beret that has become a symbol of rebellion that was popularised by Irish artist, Jim Fitzpatrick, from a photograph taken by Alberto Kordo was taken on this date at a funeral service for 136 people who were killed when a French ship carrying arms to Havana was sabotaged and blown-up.

1973 – There was a general election and as a result, there was a change of government. A Fine Gael/Labour coalition government took over from Fianna Fáil which had been in power for 16 years. Liam Cosgrave succeeded Jack Lynch as Taoiseach.

1974 – Merlyn Rees was appointed as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. Due to the narrow majority of the Labour government, Rees found that he was tied to Westminster more than he may have wished.

1976 – In the House of Commons, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Merlyn Rees, announces the dissolution of the short-lived Northern Ireland Constitutional Convention, an ill-fated effort to bring an element of democratically elected domestic rule to the strife torn province.

1980 – Catholic Primate of Ireland, Tomás Ó Fiaich, and Bishop of Derry Edward Daly, held a meeting with Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Humphrey Atkins, to express their concerns about conditions within Long Kesh Prison.

1980 – Chairman of the Peace People, Peter McLachlan, resigned from the organisation.

1981 – Frank Maguire, Independent Member of Parliament for Fermanagh/South Tyrone, died. In the aftermath of his death there was some debate amongst Nationalists as to the possibility of an agreed candidate for the forthcoming by-election. Initially Noel Maguire, Frank’s brother, Austin Curry, then a member of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), and Bernadette McAliskey all expressed an interest in standing for the vacant seat. However, McAliskey later stated that she would be willing to step down in favour of a candidate chosen by the prisoners in the H-Blocks. Eventually the leadership of Sinn Féin decided to put forward a candidate and on 26 March, Bobby Sands was nominated.

1981 – British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, paid a visit to Northern Ireland and denied claims that the constitutional position of Northern Ireland would be threatened by the on-going talks between the British and Irish governments.

1981 – Bobby Sands recorded his diary for the first seventeen days of his hunger strike in which he detailed his thoughts and feelings on the momentous task that lay ahead of him. In order to secure his status as Irish political prisoner he was willing to fast til death, an event that would earn him a place in the annals of Irish history and in the hearts and minds of Irish republicans world-wide. See Bobby Sands Trust for today’s recording: http://www.bobbysandstrust.com/writings/prison-diary

1982 – Seamus Morgan (24), a member of the IRA, was shot dead by fellow members of the IRA who alleged that he was an informer. His body was found near to Forkhill, Co Armagh.

1989 – President of Sinn Féin, Gerry Adams, delivered a speech in which he said that he sought a ‘non-armed political movement to work for self-determination’ in Ireland.

1992 – The IRA exploded a bomb, estimated at 1,000 lbs, in the centre of Lurgan, Co Armagh. The bomb caused extensive damage of commercial properties in the town. They also exploded another bomb in the centre of Belfast that also caused extensive damage.

1993 – Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dick Spring, gave a speech at a meeting of the Irish Association in which he acknowledged that changes to the Irish Constitution would be required in any future settlement.

1997 – The Stormont multi-party talks were adjourned until 3 June 1997. This break was to allow the parties to contest the forthcoming general election.

1998 – Dublin gangland criminal Georgie ‘the Penguin’ Mitchell is arrested in Holland after a joint operation between Irish and Dutch police catch him red-handed stealing £4 million worth of computer parts.

1998 – The remains of Dermot Morgan are received at St Theresa’s Church in his native Dublin. More than 1,000 mourners attend.

1999 – As a precautionary measure, eighteen workers at the Warner-Lambert plant in Ringaskiddy, Co Cork, are taken to hospital following a chemical spillage. They are found to be unharmed and are released.

1999 – Bobby Philpott, a leader in the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), said that when active in the organisation he had received so many leaked security documents from the RUC and the British Army that he had difficulty in storing them. The claim was made in a BBC programme.

2000 – The Government closes the book on the millennium bug after spending £40m preparing for a potential disaster that doesn’t happen.

2001 – A total of 520 farms are under investigation because of fears of foot and mouth, Agriculture Minister Joe Walsh reveals.

2001 – The shortlist for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award is announced by Lord Mayor Maurice Ahern. Six novels are in contention for the world’s richest literary prize (worth IR£100,000) for a single work of fiction, among them Colm Tóibín’s The Blackwater Lightship. Alistair MacLeod is later named the winner for his 1999 novel No Great Mischief.

2002 – Education Minister, Martin McGuinness, addressed the Sinn Féin student group at the Student Union building in the Queen’s University, Belfast. A group called Unionist Students Against Intimidation (USAI) staged a protest against the visit and were involved in scuffles and also threw eggs. No one was injured.

2002 – It was disclosed that insurance claims by former workers of the Harland and Wolff shipyard could cost the British government up to £190 million. The claims related to illness caused by exposure to asbestos.Enterprise Minister, Reg Empy, told the Northern Ireland Assembly that up to 3,000 former employees could become affected.

2002 – A plan to display ‘Easter lilies’ in the main hall of Stormont parliament buildings was rejected by the corporate body of the Assembly. Unionists had objected to the display of flowers which are seen as a Republican symbol. It was suggested that shamrocks should be put on display instead.

2003 – In Blarney, Co Cork, pubs, restaurants and supermarkets enthusiastically embrace a no smoking day and the Blarney Stone restaurant in the town square takes the lead by slapping a permanent ban on smoking.

2015 – Death of entertainer and folk musician, Jim McCann. Although a solo artist for most of his career, McCann was a member of the Dubliners from 1974 until 1979, then later appearing with them in their 2002 reunion and their 50th anniversary tour in 2012. He had been battling throat cancer for some time. Ar dheis Dé go raibh anam.

2019 – Five parcel bombs were mailed to various addresses, with four sent to Waterloo rail station, administration buildings at Heathrow and London City airports, and the University of Glasgow (intended for army recruitment officers). The 5th bomb was discovered 25 March in a Limerick sorting office. The New IRA claimed responsibility

Image | Skellig Michael, Co Kerry | Mariusz Kamionka Photography

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