#OTD in Irish History | 11 August:

In the Liturgical Calendar it is the Feast Day of Saint Attracta (also called Araght, and Naomh Adhracht in Irish), the patron saint of the parish of Tourlestrane, Co Sligo. Her legend states that she fled from home and took her vows as a nun under St Patrick at Coolavin. She then moved to Lough Gara, where she founded a hostel for travellers at a place now called Killaraght in her honour. The hostel survived until 1539. She is reputed to have defeated a dragon that was killing farmers’ livestock.

1691 – A Jacobite force under Patrick Sarsfield, guided by Galloping Hogan, destroys a Williamite siege train at Ballyneety, hampering the siege of Limerick.

1817 – Birth of first Catholic Archbishop of Adelaide Australia, Christopher Augustine Reynolds, in Dublin.

1835 – Birth of Protestant Christian preacher, evangelist and author, Henry Grattan Guinness, in Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin.

1894 – Birth of nationalist revolutionary and politician, Dan Breen, in Grange, Donohill, Co Tipperary.

1922 – Liam Lynch, the Anti-Treaty IRA’s Chief of Staff, abandons Fermoy, the last major republican held town. Lynch issues orders that Republican forces are to abandon the policy of holding towns, and orders them to form flying columns and pursue guerrilla warfare. End of the war’s conventional phase.

1922 – A Free State Naval landing takes place at Kenmare. Commandant Tom “Scarteen” O’Connor (formerly local IRA commander) lands unopposed with 200 pro-treaty men and occupies Rathmore and Millstreet. Kerry operations in August have cost the National Army a total of 11 killed and 114 wounded.

1927 – In the General Election, Éamon de Valera’s Fianna Fail party wins 44 seats. Despite originally stating they would not enter Dáil Éireann and take the Oath of Allegiance to the King, Dev reversed policy, declared the oath was an empty formula and proceeded to take their seats in the Irish parliament.

1927 – The Electricity Supply Board (ESB) is established to control the Shannon hydro-electric scheme and take over all existing projects for the electrification of Ireland.

1971 – Ballymurphy Massacre: Two days after the introduction of internment without trial in Northern Ireland, 11 people have been killed by British paratroopers in the Nationalist Ballymurphy area of Belfast. Community activists who are still trying to get a neutral inquiry into those terrible two days claim all 11 killed were innocent civilians. Those killed include a Catholic priest Father Hugh Mullan who was helping a wounded parishioner and a mother of eight who was involved in a similar exercise.

1977 – Birth of musician, singer-songwriter and composer, Gemma Hayes, in Ballyporeen, Co Tipperary. Primarily known as a vocalist and guitarist, she is also proficient with a wide range of instruments, including the piano and the harmonica. She is also a member of The Cake Sale and Printer Clips.

1979 – Disaster overtakes the Fastnet Challenge yacht race when the biggest-ever fleet of 303 vessels is caught in a vicious storm. Seventeen people lose their lives.

1989 – Birth of triathlete and cyclist, Junior Heffernan, in Ireland. At the end of his sporting career, he was competing mostly in Great Britain. He attended Kelly College on the outskirts of Tavistock, Devon, where he competed under coach Rich Brady. Heffernan represented Ireland in international competitions both at the World and European championship levels in triathlon from 2007 until 2009 when a hip injury sent him in the direction of cycling. Prior to his setback he was widely considered to have been Ireland’s most promising triathlete. As a cyclist Heffernan competed for the Herbalife Leisure Lakes Team. Heffernan was killed in a head-on collision with a vehicle while apparently trying to pass to the front of the race at the Severn Bridge Road race near Olveston in Gloucestershire, England. He was 23.

1998 – Fine Gael warns that many farmers who are at the mercy of the worst harvesting weather for 20 years will have no incomes by Christmas unless the Government adopts a strategy to help them out.

1999 – Last almost-total solar eclipse of the century takes place in Western Europe. Cloud cover in many parts of Ireland spoils the view, but hundreds in Croke Park, Dublin watch the phenomenon under cloudless, blue skies.

2000 – Hugh O’Flaherty’s nomination to the European Investment Bank may be in jeopardy after the bank confirms it has the power to recommend someone else for the job.

2000 – The Royal Ulster Constabulary welcomes deal which will allow a low-key policing operation for a loyalist march at the weekend in Derry.

2003 – Model plane goes transatlantic after “The Spirit of Butts Farm” – named after its testing site – lands safely in County Galway, 38 hours after it took off from Canada. The balsa wood and mylar plane flies 3,039 kilometres (1,888 miles). US, Canadian and Irish engineers work together using satellite navigation and an autopilot system overseen by engineers and radio operators using laptop computers.

Image | Doolin, Co Clare | George Karbus Photography

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