#OTD in Irish History | 4 May:

1699 – According to Jonathan Swift’s book, Gulliver’s Travels, it was on this day that Lemuel Gulliver sets sail on board the Antelope from Bristol.

1715 – Joseph Deane, Justice of Assize for Munster and MP for Co Dublin, dies of a fever resulting from a cold he caught (allegedly caused by a total eclipse of the sun) while returning from circuit on horseback.

1773 – Art Ó Laoghaire, the subject of Eileen O’Leary’s lament ‘Caoineadh Airt Uí Laoghaire’, an Irish Roman Catholic, got into a feud with the High Sheriff of Co Cork, an Englishman named Abraham Morris and is killed near Millstream, Co Cork. Ó Laoghaire’s tomb at Kilcrea Friary has the epitaph (probably composed by his widow): “Lo Arthur Leary, generous, handsome, brave, / Slain in his bloom lies in this humble grave.”

1773 – The Dublin Journal of 4-6 May reports that Thomas Burton (former MP for Ennis) ‘met with the melancholy accident of being overturned in his chaise, by which he was killed on the spot, on his return home, in company with a gentleman who was to have been married to his daughter the following day’.

1782 – Second and third Catholic Relief Acts (4 May, 27 July) allow Catholics to own land outside parliamentary boroughs, to be teachers, and to act as guardians.

1782 – Acts establish the Bank of Ireland, and validates marriages by Presbyterian ministers.

1836 – The Ancient Order of Hibernians in America is founded in New York City.

1838 – Charles Williams, war correspondent, is born in Coleraine, Co Derry.

1902 – Eight fishermen from the Claddagh fishing village lost their lives while sailing on Galway Bay, near the village of Killcolgan, Co Galway.

1916 – Easter Rising: Edward Daly, Michael O’Hanrahan, William Pearse (brother of Pádraig Pearse) and Joseph Mary Plunkett are executed by firing squad in Kilmainham Gaol.

1921 – The Kerry IRA ambushed an RIC patrol. Eight Policemen were killed/died of wounds, with only one escapee from the RIC patrol. Five houses and a creamery were burned in reprisal by British forces. The IRA had left the body of an 80 year-old informer, Thomas Sullivan, they had killed at the side of the road near Rathmore, in order to lure the police into the ambush.

1922 – Pro and Anti Treaty IRA forces clash in Donegal. There is firefight at Buncrana in which two republicans and two civilians are wounded, two fatally.

1924 – The first Olympic medal won by the Irish Free State was a silver medal, awarded to Jack Butler Yeats for his 1923 painting The Liffey Swim. Between 1912 and 1948 the arts took pride of place alongside sporting events in the Olympic Games. The arts section was broken down into five categories: architecture, literature, music, painting and sculpture.

1928 – Birth of poet, Thomas Kinsella, in Inchicore, Co Dublin.

1946 – Birth of former Formula 1 racing driver, John Watson, in Belfast.

1956 – Birth of film director, producer and music video director, Steve Barron, in Dublin. He is best known for directing the films Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990), Boneheads (1993) and the innovative music videos for a-ha’s ‘Take on Me’ and Michael Jackson’s ‘Billie Jean’.

1974 – Birth of former horse racing jockey, Tony McCoy, in Moneyglass, Co Antrim. Based in Ireland and the UK, McCoy rode a record 4,358 winners, and was Champion Jockey a record 20 consecutive times, every year he was a professional. He stands 1.78 m (5’10”), far taller than most jockeys.

1977 – The UUUC parliamentary coalition was ended because of the support of Ian Paisley and Ernest Baird for the United Unionist Action Council (UUAC) strike. This decision was taken by James Molyneaux, leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) at Westminster, on the grounds that elements of the UUAC were planning to establish a provisional government in Northern Ireland as the next stage of the stoppage. Roy Mason argued that more people had attended work than on the first day of the strike.

1977 – In Belfast loyalist paramilitaries were suspected of being responsible for a bomb explosion outside a police station on the York Road.

1979 – Margaret Thatcher becomes the first female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

1981 – The European Commission on Human Rights announced that it had no power to proceed with the case brought against the British government by Marcella Sands, the sister of Bobby Sands. The case had been announced on 23 April 1981.

1988 – British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, failed in an attempt to stop a Northern Ireland BBC programme about the Gibraltar inquests being shown on 5 May 1988.

1989 – Birth of Rory McIlroy in Hollywood, Co Down. He is a professional golfer who is a member of both the European and PGA Tours. He was world number one in the Official World Golf Ranking for 95 weeks. He is a four-time major champion, winning the 2011 U.S Open with a tournament record: Lowest score under par (−16), 2012 PGA Championship with a tournament record: Largest victory margin (8 strokes), 2014 Open Championship, and 2014 PGA Championship. Along with Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods he is one of three players to win three majors by the age of 25.

1990 – Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Peter Brooke, told Unionist leaders that proposed political talks would consider an alternative to the Anglo-Irish Agreement (AIA).

1994 – The first report of the Independent Assessor of Military Complaints Procedures in Northern Ireland showed that 606 complaints had been made during 1993. However, only one soldier had been severely reprimanded as the result of a complaint.

1998 – Dissident IRA bombers strike in the heart of west Belfast to disrupt the city’s annual marathon in an incident which reflects the growing divisions among republicans.

1998 – There was a bomb attack on the home of a former Sinn Féin (SF) councillor in Craigavon, County Armagh. Although Loyalist paramilitaries were believed to have carried out the attack, no organisation claimed responsibility.

1998 – Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, officially launched the Fianna Fáil (FF) campaign for a ‘Yes’ vote in the Republic of Ireland. John Bruton, leader of Fine Gael (FG), called on political leaders, north and south, to step up their campaigns for a ‘Yes’ vote.

1999 – TV3 pulls off the biggest coup of its short existence by securing the broadcasting rights to the UEFA Champions League for three years from the start of the 2000-01 season.

1999 – Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has a working dinner in Government Buildings with the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, who is in Ireland as part of an European tour.

1999 – Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Marjorie (Mo) Mowlam, announced that there would be a new police investigation into allegations of collusion between the security services and Loyalist paramilitaries in the killing of Belfast solicitor, Pat Finucane, on 12 February 1989. The Independent published details of an Irish government document that alleged collusion in the killing of Pat Finucane.

1999 – President of Sinn Féin (SF), Gerry Adams, called for an inquiry into the shooting death of five people on 9 July 1972 by the security forces.

2000 – Kieran Nugent, the first IRA ‘blanket man’ in the H-Blocks, was found dead in his home. When sentenced to three years, Nugent refused to wear a prison uniform and said the prison guards would have to “…nail it to my back”.

2000 – British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, and Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, arrived in Northern Ireland for a further round of political talks as part of a review of the Good Friday Agreement.

2001 – The remains of St Therese of Lisieux arrive at Mountjoy Prison where they will remain overnight.

2003 – Sinn Féin’s chief negotiator, Martin McGuinness, tells a republican rally in west Belfast that the British government has effectively capitulated to the leadership of the Ulster Unionist Party by postponing the Assembly elections until the autumn.

Image | Inis Mór, Aran Islands, Co Galway | Photography by Hélène Gondelle

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