#OTD in Irish History | 7 August:

1690 – William of Orange and his army reached Limerick with 25,000 men and occupied Ireton’s fort and Cromwell’s fort (built during the Siege of Limerick (1650–1651), outside the city. However he had with him only his field artillery, as his siege cannon were still making their way from Dublin with a light escort. This siege train was intercepted by Sarsfield’s cavalry, (600 men guided by “Galloping Hogan”) at Ballyneety in Co Limerick, and destroyed, along with the Williamites’ siege guns and ammunition. This meant that William 8had to wait another ten days before he could start bombarding Limerick in earnest, while another siege train was brought up from Waterford.

1798 – United Irishmen Rebellion: Examination by secret committee of MacNeven, O’Connor, Neilson, Thomas Emmet, and Bond begins in the House of Lords.

1832 – The Parliamentary Reform Act increases Irish seats from 100 to 105 and introduces ten-pound franchise in the boroughs: the electorate is increased to 1.2% of the population (county electorate 60,000; borough electorate 30,000). 1 Irish urban dweller in 26 and one Irish rural dweller in 116 now has the vote, as compared to 1 in 17 and 1 in 24 in England.

1892 – Birth of Tom Falcon Hazell, WWI Ace, in Clifden, Co Galway. Hazell was a fighter pilot with the Royal Flying Corps, (Royal Air Force) downing forty-three enemy planes during World War I. He was one of a number of very skilled Irish-born air aces of the war including Edward Mannock and George McElroy. He was the only one of the three to survive the war and the most successful air ace to survive the war.

1914 – Death of Charles Davis Lucas. Born in Co Armagh, Lewis was the first recipient of the Victoria Cross, which he won for action during the Crimean War when serving with the Royal Navy. The citation reads in part that “at the height of the action a live shell landed on Hecla’s upper deck, with its fuse still hissing. All hands were ordered to fling themselves flat on the deck, but Mr. Lucas with great presence of mind ran forward and hurled the shell into the sea, where it exploded with a tremendous roar before it hit the water. Thanks to Mr. Lucas’s action no one was killed or seriously wounded.” He would go on to have a very successful career finally retiring as Rear Admiral.

1916 – O’Neil of the Glen, the first production released by the Film Company of Ireland, premiers at Dublin’s Bohemian Theatre.

1920 – The IRA East Limerick Flying Column under Donnchadh O’Hannigan and George Lennon, joined forces with Cork Column under Tom Barry to ambush a six man RIC foot patrol near Kildorrery, Co Cork. All the RIC men were wounded, one fatally (Black and Tan, Ernest S. Watkins). Six revolvers and 250 rounds of ammunition were seized.

1922 – Heavy fighting takes place at Newcastle West, Co Limerick. Free State troops, advancing from Rathkeale, take the town with armoured cars and infantry supported by artillery. During the 12 hour battle, a party of republicans is caught in machine gun fire from one of the Free State armoured cars, taking many casualties. The Republican headquarters is shelled by field guns and they eventually retreat along the Cork road. Press reports say that 12 Anti-Treaty fighters are killed in the action. National Army casualties are reported as, ‘less than those of the irregulars.’

1922 – Joe Hudson, is shot dead in his Garden at Glasthule, Dún Laoghaire by a Free State Army officer.

1922 – National Army troops assault and take Kildorrey, Co Cork from its Anti-Treaty garrison. Casualties are reported as one dead and two wounded on either side. Twenty-seven Republicans are taken prisoner.

1937 – Ireland’s most successful female rally driver Rosemary Smith is born in Dublin. Smith’s career included successes in the Circuit of Ireland Rally, East African Rally, Cork 20, Scottish Rally. Smith was controversially disqualified from the 1966 Monte Carlo Rally, after winning the Coupe des Dames, the ladies class. Smith gives her reasons for the qualification at about 10.46 of this YouTube video. It is an excellent interview with a very entertaining lady. Her explanation of why she was prevented from driving in the Le Mans 24 is nothing short of hilarious. Listen at 13.00. http://youtu.be/cVVCHT08W88

1943 – Death of artist, Sarah Purser. She was born in Kingstown (now Dún Laoghaire), Co Dublin, and raised in Dungarvan, Co Waterford, educated in Switzerland and afterwards studied at the Metropolitan School of Art in Dublin and in Paris at the Académie Julian. She worked mostly as a portraitist. Through her talent and energy, and owing to her friendship with the Gore-Booths, she was very successful in obtaining commissions, famously commenting: “I went through the British aristocracy like the measles.”

1944 – Birth of meteorologist and science writer, Brendan McWilliams, in Dublin. He grew up in Waterville, Co Kerry where his father was in charge of the Valentia Observatory.

1952 – Birth of professional golfer, Eamonn Darcy, in Delgany, Co Wicklow.

1957 – Birth of Daire Brehan in Dublin. She was an actress, broadcaster and barrister who presented a variety of BBC Radio programs during the 1990s. Prior to her broadcasting career, she worked as an actress on stage and TV in Ireland. Her broadcasting work began with RTÉ Radio 1, for whom she presented programmes including Sounding Out and Brehan’s Law, the latter drawing on her earlier legal training. As an undergraduate in the 1970s at Trinity College Dublin her law tutors included Mary McAleese and Mary Robinson.

1972 – Seven people were killed in separate incidents across Northern Ireland.

1979 – A civilian, Eamon Ryan (32), was shot dead by the IRA during a bank robbery in Strand Street, Tramore, Co Waterford.

1991 – World Wide Web debuts as a publicly available service on the Internet.

1985 – British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and Independent Television News (ITN) journalists went on strike over the decision by the British government and the BBC in Northern Ireland to ban the documentary ‘Real Lives: At The Edge Of The Union’. The strike led to the BBC World Service going off the air for the first time. What Happened Next – At The Edge Of The Union (Part 1): https://youtu.be/vEH8bppr5eM

1986 – Peter Robinson, Deputy leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), marched with 500 Loyalists into the village of Clontibret, Co Monaghan. The Loyalists entered the Garda Síochána station in the village and physically assaulted two Garda officers. Robinson was later arrested and fined £17,500 in a Drogheda court because of the incident.

1986 – The Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF), a covername used by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), announced that it was extending its list of ‘legitimate targets’. This was in response to IRA statements on 28 July 1986 and 5 August 1986.

1994 – A Catholic civilian, Kathleen O’Hagan (38), who was pregnant at the time, was shot dead by the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) at her home, Barony Road, Greencastle, near Omagh, Co Tyrone. A husband talks about the murder of his pregnant wife by loyalist paramilitaries: https://youtu.be/ZFr3OdJTZVA

1996 – Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Patrick Mayhew, ordered that the contentious part of the Derry walls, a section overlooking the Bogside area, be closed off for a month. This effectively banned the proposed march on 10 August 1996. Immediately after the decision the British Army moved to seal off the section of walls.

1996 – Gardí discover a rocket launcher and ammunition in the Fane River near Dundalk, Co Louth.

1998 – Unemployment falls for the 16th month in a row to reach its lowest level in almost eight years.

2001 – British Airways begin a training programme for the crew of the Concorde aircraft at Shannon Airport amid speculation the supersonic plane could be back in the air within the next number of weeks.

2001 – Family and close friends gather in the Spanish resort of Alicante for the cremation of one of Ireland’s best loved actors, Joe Lynch.

2001 – Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) and Members of Parliament (MPs) met for two hours to discuss the British and Irish government’s Implementation Plan (1 August 2001) and also the statement by the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD) (6 August 2001). Following the meeting the UUP rejected both the Implementation Plan and the latest moves on the decommissioning of weapons held by the IRA. David Trimble, leader of the UUP, stated that: “We have seen a step by republicans but of course it falls far short of what we need, which is to see decommissioning actually begin. We’re now heading towards a difficulty at the end of the week”. The Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) responded positively to the Implementation Plan. John Hume, leader of the SDLP, addressed a press conference in Belfast and said the party had made a detailed study of the proposals: “We are responding with a very strong ‘Yes’, … We have some concerns, but that is totally natural,” He also said: “We are fully committed to the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement.

2002 – The government announces that American Special Forces will not be allowed to use Irish airspace or airports during any attack on Iraq.

Image | Kilclooney Dolmen, Portnoo, Co Donegal | Gareth Wray Photography

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