#OTD in Irish History – 9 June:

In the Liturgical calendar, today is the Feast day of St Columba (St Colmcille, ‘dove of the church’). He was an abbot and missionary credited with spreading Christianity in what is today Scotland at the start of the Hiberno-Scottish mission. He founded the important abbey on Iona, which became a dominant religious and political institution in the region for centuries. He is the Patron Saint of Derry. He was highly regarded by both the Gaels of Dál Riata and the Picts, and is remembered today as a Christian saint and one of the Twelve Apostles of Ireland.

597 – Death of St. Colomcille (meaning “Dove of the church”), also known as St Columba. A Gaelic Irish missionary monk who, some of his advocates claim, introduced Christianity to the Picts during the Early Medieval Period. He was one of the Twelve Apostles of Ireland.

1549 – Book of Common Prayer ordered to be used in Ireland. William Bedell had undertaken an Irish translation of the Book of Common Prayer in 1606. An Irish translation of the revised prayer-book of 1662 was effected by John Richardson (1664-1747) and published in 1712. It has been revised several times, and the present edition has been used since 2004.

1641 – Patrick Darcy, a prominent constitutional lawyer, argues that the Irish parliament possesses independent authority. During a conference held in the dining-room of Dublin Castle on 9 June 1641, Darcy delivered his famous Argument, published in 1643 and reprinted in 1764, it was the first forceful and detailed statement of the rule of law in Ireland, articulating an effective constitutional position for her as England’s colonial country.

1657 – The Settlement Act “for the Assuming, Confirming and Settling of Lands and Estates in Ireland” is passed. The Act of Settlement 1657 was an Act of the Cromwellian Parliament for the Assuring, Confirming and Settling of lands and estates in Ireland. The Act received its Third Reading on 8 June 1657 and received the assent of the Lord Protector the following day. Its purpose was to ratify previous decrees, judgments, grants and instructions made or given by the various officers and councils in applying the Act for the Settlement of Ireland 1652.

1798 – United Irishmen Rebellion: Battle of Arklow and Battle of Saintfield.

1850 – Birth of Pierce Charles de Lacy O’Mahon in Kilmorna, Duagh, Co Kerry. Known up to 1901 as Pierce Mahony, and from 1912 also as The O’Mahony of Kerry, was an Irish Protestant nationalist politician and philanthropist, who practised as a barrister from 1898 to 1900. He was remarkable in having had successively three names, two wives and three faiths, and for being honoured by the Kings of two opposing countries in World War I. He was elected unopposed as Member of Parliament (MP) for North Meath in the July 1886 general election, taking his seat in the House of Commons. When the Irish Parliamentary Party split over Charles Stewart Parnell’s leadership in 1890, Mahony was one of the four Protestant MPs who supported Parnell. The two remained close, with Mahony entertaining Parnell in Kerry shortly before the latter’s death in 1891.

1882 – Birth of Robert ‘Bobby’ Kerr in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh. He was an Irish Canadian sprinter. He won the gold medal in the 200 meters and the bronze medal in the 100 meters at the 1908 Summer Olympics. Kerr’s family immigrated to Canada when he was aged five.

1888 – Basil Stanley Brooke, 1st Viscount Brookeborough; unionist politician and Northern Ireland prime minister from 1943-63, is born in Colebrook, Co Fermanagh.

1915 – William Jennings Bryan resigns as Woodrow Wilson’s Secretary of State over a disagreement regarding the United States’ handling of the sinking of the RMS Lusitania.

1927 – The newly formed Fianna Fáil under the leadership of Éamon de Valera proves to be a potent force in Irish constitutional politics. The party won 44 seats to the Cumann na nGaedheal government party’s 47 seats. Following this election, de Valera and Fianna Fáil Deputies ended the policy of abstentionism and took their seats in Dáil Éireann. Fianna Fáil would win the 1932 election and enter government for the first time.

1936 – Birth of Mick O’Dwyer in Waterville, Co Kerry. He is a retired Gaelic football manager and former player. He most famously managed the Kerry senior team between 1974 and 1989, during which time he became the county’s longest-serving manager and most successful in terms of major titles won. O’Dwyer is regarded as the one of the greatest managers in the history of the game.

1953 – Cinema owners in Dublin unanimously decide not to show the film of Queen Elizabeth’s coronation in London. There were real fears that any such screening would lead to widespread damage to the cinemas.

1980 – Taoiseach, Charles Haughey, argued on the BBC programme Panorama that it was in the best interest of both Britain and Ireland for Britain to withdraw from Northern Ireland. He indicated that some form of federation could be possible in the event of a British withdrawal.

1983 – In the United Kingdom General Election, the Conservative Party was returned to power with an increased majority. In Northern Ireland the election was contested across the new 17 constituencies. When the counting was completed the major news story was the election of Gerry Adams, Vice-President of Sinn Féin, in the west Belfast constituency where he beat the sitting Member of Parliament (MP) Gerry Fitt and Joe Hendron of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP). The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) won 11 seats (with 34% of the vote), the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) 3 seats (20.6%), Ulster Popular Unionist Party (UPUP) 1 seat, Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) 1 seat (17.9%), and SF 1 seat (13.4%). Unionist candidates therefore took 15 of the 17 seats. Many commentators again speculated on the possibility of SF replacing the SDLP as the main voice of Nationalism in Northern Ireland.

1989 – Birth of Chloë Agnew in Knocklyon, Dublin. Agnew is a singer and songwriter who is an original former member of the Celtic music group Celtic Woman, as well as its youngest member. She lived in Dublin with her mother Adele “Twink” King and younger sister, Naomi. She sings in English, Irish, Latin, Italian, and German. Agnew has a soprano vocal range. Agnew commented on Irish music: “Irish music was bred into us from the day we are born. Looking back to our ancestors and our heritage, it was always in our culture. Even through the hardest of times Irish people always turned to music. They have a song for everything – for drinking, for depression, for famine. I remember a song growing up that was for milking the cows.”

1993 – The report of the Opsahl Commission, entitled A Citizens’ Inquiry, was published. The Commission had been established as part of Initiative ’92 with the intention of seeking a wide range of views on the future of Northern Ireland.

1994 – European Elections were held in Northern Ireland. When the votes were counted a few days later Ian Paisley, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), narrowly topped the poll ahead of John Hume, leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP). Jim Nicholson, member of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), took the third seat.

1994 – Seán Hick, Paul Hughes, and Donna Maguire, were acquitted in a court in Germany of the murder of a British Army officer in Dortmund in 1990. Hick and Hughes were released but Maguire was held on other charges. On 28 June 1995 Maguire was sentenced to 9 years imprisonment for the bombing of a British Army barracks in Osnabruck, Germany, in 1989. She was later released because of the number of years held on remand.

1995 – Taoiseach, John Bruton, warned that the freeing of Lee Clegg prior to the release of paramilitary prisoners might damage the peace process. Bruton was in Paris when he made the comments. Clegg, a private in the Parachute Regiment, had been given a life sentence for the murder of Karen Reilly (16) on 30 September 1990. He had two appeals turned down. However, Clegg was released from prison on 3 July 1995 having served two years of his sentence.

1997 – The Independent Commission for Police Complaints published its annual report. The report showed that the Commission had investigated 2,540 complaints against the police during 1996 of which 12 per cent resulted in disciplinary charges or informal action.

1998 – Plans by supermarket chains to build shopping centres on the outskirts of towns are thrown into doubt, following the decision of Environment Minister Noel Dempsey to impose strict size restrictions.

1998 – Sinn Féin (SF) held a press conference to display surveillance equipment, believed to belong to the British Army, found by a farmer from south Armagh on his land. The equipment was being used to monitor a house and a road junction in the area.

1999 – The Bloody Sunday Inquiry admitted that during the autumn of 1998, 73 sets of documents presented to the original Widgery Inquiry had been released to interested parties’ solicitors which included statements by five ex-Paratroopers who were involved in the events but did not open fire. The statements contained the soldiers’ names, ranks, and army serial numbers.

2001 – Cetacean experts head for Cork harbour after the arrival of three stocky killer whales in the estuary. The black Orcas with distinctive white markings create a huge stir in the Cobh area where the promenade is lined with people from early afternoon until near darkness as the whales circled the waters.

2001 – Bord Fáilte director, Maurice O’Donoghue, a pioneering figure in Irish tourism, dies after collapsing at Macroom Golf Club.

2003 – Readers of the best-selling international guide to romantic hotels, Room for Romance, give their number one vote to the Stephen’s Green luxury hideaway, Brownes Townhouse.

2003 – A huge amount of equipment needed for the visiting special Olympians starts rolling out of the state’s prisons as the final countdown to the tournament begins. Inmates and officers in four prisons have been working for nearly two years to produce a range of equipment, from 75,000 opening ceremony flags to power-lifting platforms.

2004 – The replica ‘An Gorta Mór’ ship Jeanie Johnston begins a four-month voyage around Ireland.

Image | Cliffs of Moher, Co Clare

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