#OTD in Irish History | 29 September:

Old Michaelmas Day – Celtic holiday. According to an old legend, blackberries should not be picked after this date. This is because, so folklore goes, Satan was banished from Heaven on this day, fell into a blackberry bush and cursed the brambles as he fell into them. Michaelmas, the Feast of St Michael the Archangel (also the Feast of SS Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael or the Feast of Michael and All Angels) is a day in the Christian calendar which occurs on 29 September. Because it falls near the equinox, it is associated with the beginning of autumn and the shortening of days.

One of the four quarter days in the Irish calendar.

1155 – A proposal for the invasion of Ireland by Henry II is discussed at the Council of Winchester and rejected, though soon after, Henry obtains a papal privilege approving the invasion.

1603 – Rory O’Donnell kisses the king’s hand and is created Earl of Tyrconnell.

1678 – Count Peter Lacy, soldier, governor of Livonia (Latvia) and field-marshal in the Russian army, is born in Killeedy, Co Limerick.

1732 – Birth of Sir Henry Cavendish, politician and master of shorthand, who recorded parliamentary debates.

1778 – Birth in Dublin of Catherine McAuley, founder of the Sisters of Mercy.

1798 – Tandy and other Irish political prisoners in Hamburg are handed over to British authorities.

1798 – Matthew Tone, brother of Wolfe Tone is executed in Dublin following his capture at the Battle of Ballinamuck. Tone was a captain in the French Army under General Humbert. While as many as six hundred French soldiers were repatriated, the Irish were not so lucky.

1826 – Charles Cornwallis Chesney, professor of military history, is born in Kilkeel, Co Down.

1836 – Michael Mulhall, publisher and statistician, is born in Dublin.

1854 – Birth in Kinvara, Co Galway of Francis Arthur Fahy who wrote the song, Galway Bay.

1898 – Fenian Thomas Clarke is released from Portland Prison.

1905 – Francis Llewellyn Harrison, musicologist, is born in Dublin.

1908 – Birth of film star Greer Garson in Co Down.

1928 – The last active Fenian, John Devoy, dies in Atlantic, New Jersey.

1930 – George Bernard Shaw refuses a peerage.

1971 – Two Protestant civilians, Alexander Andrews (60) and Ernest Bates (38), were killed in an explosion at the Four Step Inn on the Shankill Road in Belfast, no group claimed responsibility but it was believed to be the responsibility of the PIRA.

1972 – Kathleen Daly Clarke, Irish patriot, dies.

1975 – Seven people were injured in an IRA bomb attack in Oxford Street, London.

1979 – Pope John Paul II became the first pontiff to set foot on Irish soil with his pastoral visit to the Republic of Ireland. The Pope spoke to an estimated crowd of 250,000 people and appealed for an end to violence in Northern Ireland, “On my knees I beg of you to turn away from the paths of violence and to return to the ways of peace”.

1981 – At the British Labour party’s annual conference a motion was passed committing the party to ‘campaign actively’ for a United Ireland by consent.

1986 – Amnesty International called for a full judicial inquiry into disputed killings in Northern Ireland.

1993 – In a speech, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Patrick Mayhew, asserted the right of “self-determination of the people living in Northern Ireland”. Mayhew also stated that Sinn Féin could only join political talks when IRA violence had ended “for real”.

1996 – A 250 lb car bomb made of home-made explosives was abandoned in Belfast. Security forces used a controlled explosion to make the bomb safe. The CIRA later claimed responsibility for the bomb.

1997 – Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), Ian Paisley, and Leader of the United Kingdom Unionist Party (UKUP), Robert McCartney, addressed a rally in the Ulster Hall, Belfast, which was in protest at the multi-party talks at Stormont. Approximately 1,000 people attended the rally called “Ulster’s Crisis – Where Leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), David Trimble, later attacked the “relentless negativity of a minority of Unionists”.

1999 – Smyth’s bar on Haddington Road in Dublin, is sold ‘virtually’ and otherwise in Ireland’s first Internet broadcast property auction.

1999 – Both David Trimble, leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), and Vice-President of Sinn Féin (SF), Martin McGuinness, held separate meetings with British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, during the Labour Party annual conference. Trimble was reported as having said that he would be prepared to share power with Sinn Féin if the IRA undertook to decommission its weapons within days of the establishment of the proposed Executive.

2001 – Sinn Féin held its Ard Fheis at the RDS in Dublin. United States Ambassador to Ireland, Richard Egan, attended part of the proceedings to listen to the presidential address by Gerry Adams. Adams warned that the political institutions established by the Good Friday Agreement would collapse unless Unionists lifted their threats to exclude Sinn Féin from the Northern Ireland Assembly. Adams also said, in response to the attacks in America on 11 September 2001, that “terrorism is ethically indefensible”. However he drew a distinction between terrorists and freedom-fighters: “We will not be part of any effort to criminalise or to deem as terrorists those men and women who fought when they considered they had no other choice …”.

2001 – Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, John Reid, announced the names of the nine independent members who will join the new Northern Ireland Policing Board. The ten political members had already been nominated by the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). Sinn Féin (SF) had refused to nominate members to the board. The nine independent members were named as: Desmond Rea (Prof.) chairman, Denis Bradley vice-chairman, Viscount Brookeborough, Brian Dougherty, Barry Gilligan, Tom Kelly, Pauline McCabe, Rosaleen Moore, and Suneil Sharma.

2002 – In Co Wicklow, five paintings, including two by the renowned artist, Rubens, are stolen in another raid on Russborough House which has a history of art thefts.

Image | Delphi, Co Mayo | Geoff McGrath Photography

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