#OTD in Irish History | 3 February:

1537 – Thomas FitzGerald, 10th Earl of Kildare, also known as Silken Thomas, and five of his uncles are executed at Tyburn. Silken Thomas’s revolt caused Henry to pay more attention to Irish matters, and was a factor in the creation of the Kingdom of Ireland in 1542. In particular the powers of the lords deputy were curbed, and policies such as surrender and regrant were introduced.

1729 – Foundation stone laid of the new Irish Houses of Parliament in College Green. The architect for the building was Edward Lovett Pearce, who was also a member of parliament. The design is a masterpiece of Palladian architecture that was imitated by the British Museum and US Capitol building. After the Act of Union, it was used for a variety of purposes, including a military garrison and an art gallery. In 1803 the Bank of Ireland bought the building from the British Government for £40,000 for use as its headquarters. One proviso stipulated that it was to be modified so that it could never again be used as a parliament. As a result, the chamber was broken up to form small offices and by a magnificent cash office.

1744 – Lord Netterville, indicted in August 1743 for the murder of Michael Walsh, is tried by his peers in the parliament house and honourably acquitted.

1801 – Prime Minister, William Pitt, resigns over royal veto on Catholic emancipation.

1813 – Birth of entrepreneur, lawyer, and judge, Thomas Mellon, in Cappagh, Co Tyrone. Best known as the founder of Mellon Bank and patriarch of the Mellon family of Pittsburgh.

1881 – Irish Land League organiser, Michael Davitt, is arrested again for his outspoken speeches when he had accused chief secretary of Ireland W. E. Forster of ‘infamous lying’. His ticket of leave was revoked and he was sent to Portland jail. Charles Stewart Parnell protested loudly in the House of Commons and the Irish members protested so strongly that they were ejected from the House.

1896 – Lady Jane Wilde (Speranza), poet, nationalist and the mother of Oscar, dies in London.

1911 – Death of Dublin-born Robert Noonan, better known as Robert Tressell, author of The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists.

1919 – Harry Boland and Michael Collins engineer Éamon de Valera’s escape from Lincoln Jail in England. He is dressed as a woman.

1922 – Death of John Butler Yeats. Born in Tullylish, Co Down, he was an artist and the father of William Butler Yeats and Jack Butler Yeats. He is probably best known for his portrait of the young William Butler Yeats which is one of a number of his pictures in the Yeats museum in the National Gallery of Ireland. His portrait of John O’Leary (1904) is considered to be his masterpiece.

1922 – Two RIC constables were shot dead after leaving a pub in Lisdoonvarna, Co Clare.

1923 – A Postmaster, J O’Reilly, is shot dead by Republican raiders at the post office in Clonakilty, Co Cork.

1927 – Birth of singer and entertainer, Val Doonican, in Co Waterford. Noted for his warm and relaxed style, Doonican was a popular success in Ireland and Britain in the 1960s, when he had five successive top ten albums, and also had his own BBC entertainment show.

1939 – Death of novelist and poet, Amanda McKittrick Ros.

1954 – Birth of PIRA Volunteer, Marian Price, in Belfast.

1969 – Northern Ireland Prime Minister, Terence O’Neill, announced the dissolution of the Stormont parliament and the holding of an election on 24 February 1969. This was a political gamble by O’Neill in an attempt to strengthen the hand of those in favour of reform.

1971 – 3-7: Under pressure from the Unionist government, the British Army began a series of raids in nationalist areas of Belfast, sparking three days of violence. On 6 February, British soldiers shot dead a Catholic civilian in Ardoyne and an IRA member in Oldpark, claiming both were armed. Shortly after, the IRA shot dead British soldier Robert Curtis during rioting in New Lodge. He was the first British soldier killed in the Troubles. The next day, Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, James Chichester-Clark, declared that ‘Northern Ireland is at war with the IRA Provisionals’.

1972 – Public Record released 1 January 2003: Annex to British Cabinet Minutes which recorded the discussion of the aftermath of the killings on 30 January 1972 (‘Bloody Sunday’).

1973 – Two Loyalists were detained, and then subsequently interned (5 February 1973), because of their involvement in the killing of an innocent Catholic man. Following their arrest a crowd of approximately 2,000 marched in protest to the Castlereagh RUC station to demand the release of the two men.

1976 – The Constitutional Convention was reconvened in an attempt to reach agreement on a constitutional arrangement for Northern Ireland. A series of inter-party talks were held over the next three weeks and these were chaired by Robert Lowry.

1977 – Joseph Morrissey (52), a Catholic civilian, was found stabbed and with his throat cut on the Glencairn Road, Belfast. Members of he UVF gang,  ‘Shankill Butchers’ were responsible for the killing.

1985 – Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald,  said that the proposed meeting between John Hume, leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), and the IRA would be used by Republicans for propaganda purposes. Charles Haughey, leader of Fianna Fáil (FF), supported Hume.

1991 – The PIRA launched a ‘proxy bomb’ attack on a British Army (Ulster Defense Regiment) base in Magherafelt, Co Derry. The bomb caused major damage to the base and nearby houses, but the driver escaped before it exploded.

1991 – A man, who was employed by a company that carried out work for the security forces, was forced to drive his van containing a bomb, estimated at 500lbs, into the UDR base. He managed to get away from the vehicle before the bomb exploded. The bomb caused extensive damage to the UDR base and also damaged approximately 50 nearby houses.

1993 – The Anglo-Irish Intergovernmental Conference (AIIC) held a meeting in London and decided to issue invitations to the political parties to attend bilateral talks.

1994 – On his return to Ireland from the United States, President of Sinn Féin, Gerry Adams, was confronted in Dublin airport by a protest of victims of IRA violence. Adams said that he thought this was ‘the final phase’ of the conflict.

1995 – Results from the 1993 Labour Force Survey showed that Catholics remained twice as likely to be unemployed as Protestants in the North of Ireland.

1997 – It was reported in the Irish Times that Members of Parliament (MP) from the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) had met representatives of the British Foreign Office to complain about the frequency of visits by President Mary Robinson, to the North of Ireland. They also expressed concerns about breaches of protocol and distinctions between ‘official’ and ‘private’ visits.

1998 – Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, warns that substantive progress in the Northern peace talks would not be made by Easter unless the parties start discussing a single document containing the outline proposals for an agreement.

1998 – David Trimble, leader of the Ulster Unionist Party, published his reply to a letter from President of Sinn Féin, Gerry Adams, requesting a meeting between the two parties. In his reply, in the form of a statement to the Irish Times, Trimble set out a number of conditions for meeting with Adams.

1998 – Northern Ireland politician, Billy Hutchinson, facing a death threat from the Loyalist Volunteer Force brands the outlawed terror group as ‘a bunch of thugs, drug dealers and police informers’.

1999 – The Belfast Telegraph contained a report that the North Ulster Unit of the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) had brought new weapons into the North of Ireland. The report also claimed that the Continuity Irish Republican Army (CIRA) had also obtained new weapons.

1999 – At the trial of four men for the murder of Jerry McCabe, who was a Detective in the Garda Síochána, the charges were changed from capital murder to manslaughter, to which the four men pleaded guilty. There was widespread criticism at the development from politicians, Gardaí, and members of the public. Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, said the men would not benefit from early release under the Good Friday Agreement.

2001 – It is announced that Irish celebrities in show business, sport and the world of writing are among the top earners in England and Ireland. The Irish stars on the rich list include U2, The Corrs, Enya, Ronan Keating, Pierce Brosnan, Eddie Irvine, Roy Keane, Marian Keyes and Maeve Binchy.

2001 – The Department of the Marine appeals for help in identifying a long-legged deep-sea creature, which was netted off the Kerry coast. A seasoned specialist on rare fish says he is baffled by the strange grasshopper like specimen found in nets 220 miles from the shore.

2002 – British abortion providers began taking legal advice after Golden Pages informed them they were pulling ads for their services from its 2003 directory.

2002 – ‘Bloody Sunday’ commemoration march in Derry to mark the 30th anniversary of the events on 30 January 1972. An estimated 30,000 people took part in the march through the Creggan and the Bogside areas of the city to a rally at ‘Free Derry Corner’. There were representatives from the main nationalist political parties, and people had travelled from throughout Ireland, Britain, and America to take part. Up to 400 members of the Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH) from different cities in the United States also took part in the march. Representatives from political parties in Northern Ireland were present at the World Economic Forum in New York. During a discussion session President of Sinn Féin, Gerry Adams, said that he did not want to force Unionists into a united Ireland without their consent.

2002 – Gales of up to 65 miles per hour ground flights at Dublin Airport and cause a Delta flight carrying 167 passengers and 14 crew to overshoot the main runway. No passengers are injured.

2006 – Meteor Ireland Music Awards, Dublin: U2 scooped three awards: Best Album for How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, Best Live Performance for their Croke Park gigs in 2005, and Best Irish Band. Bass player, Adam Clayton, was there to collect the group’s awards.

Image | Glencolmcille, Co Donegal | Fiachra Mangan Photography‎ 

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