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Happy First Day of the Celtic Summer!
May 1 Beltaine
1169 - A small party of Normans arrives at Baginbun and establishes a bridgehead for further invasions
1170 - Arrival of Normans in Co. Wexford. Arrival of Richard de Clare, Earl of Pembroke, subsequently known as 'Strongbow'.
1171 - Diarmaid MacMurrough, king of Leinster, dies in Ferns, Co. Wexford; Strongbow is his (disputed) successor (MacMurrough's remaining legitimate son, Connor, has been executed while a hostage of Rory O'Connor)
1316 - Records indicate that around this date, Robert Bruce has himself crowned king of Ireland near Dundalk
1654 - Transplantable landowners are ordered to move to Connacht by this date; this deadline is then put back to 1 March 1655
1650 - William King, archbishop, theologian and Williamite, is born in Antrim
1672 - Birth of Joseph Addison, poet and dramatist; Chief Secretary to Lord Lieutenant Wharton 1708-10; MP for Cavan Borough 1709-13
1697 - The Bishops' Banishment Act passed on 25 September,1696, requires most Catholic clergy to leave the kingdom by this date, and bans Catholic clergy from entering it - the Act will never be efficently enforced
1780 - Amhlaoibh Ó Súilleabháin, teacher and diarist, is born in Killarney, Co. Kerry
1794 - Catholics are enabled by law to attend Trinity College
1786 - The Belfast Academy is opened; it becomes the Belfast Royal Academy in 1887
1803 - James Clarence Mangan, poet, is born in Dublin
1823 - Oliver Harty, Baron de Pierrebourg, of Co. Limerick, Lieutenant-General in Napoleon's army, retires
1854 - Songwriter, entertainer and painter, Percy French, is born in Cloonyquin, Co. Roscommon. One of his many famous songs is "The Mountains of Mourne"
1919 -Birth of Dan O'Herlihy, actor; film credits include Fail Safe, Last Starfighter, Robocop
1975 - General election is held to a constitutional convention on Northern Ireland
1984 - Séan nos singer, Joe Heaney, dies
1998 - Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, urges Gerry Adams, to get the IRA to accept that there would have to be arms decommissioning if progress in implementing the Good Friday agreement was to be made
2000 - Nobel Laureate and SDLP leader John Hume is awarded the freedom of Derry at a reception in the citys Guildhall
2001 - Limerick is tops for pub grub after one of the city's trendiest bars picks up the coveted Club Orange/Licensing World Pub Lunch award. In a business worth an estimated £1million a day, the Thomas Street premises, Auburs, beat off stiff competition from 11 monthly winners to become Ireland's leading purveyor of pub lunches
2003 - The month of April goes into the record books as one of the warmest for the last 100 years. At Valentia Observatory and Malin Head the temperatures recorded for the month were the highest since 1893.
1332 - Sir Anthony Lucy's campaign in Munster ends on this date
1656 - Birth of Sir Richard Levinge, Tory politician and Speaker of the House of Commons
1788 - An Act on this date repeals tests imposed on Protestant Dissenters
1794 - United Irishman Archibald Rowan escapes from custody and eventually makes his way to America
1806 - John Jones, sculptor, is born in Dublin
1858 - Birth of Edith Oenonne Somerville, novelist most famous for Some Experiences Of An Irish R.M written in collaboration with her cousin Violet Martin (also known as Martin Ross); in 1903, she becomes the first female Master of Foxhounds in Corfu
1884 - Birth of William Casey, dramatist and Times editor
1882 - Charles Stewart Parnell is released under the terms of the "Kilmainham Treaty"; writing off the debts of tenants in arrears. A landmark in the land agitation movement (and Parnell's career).
1921 - Lord FitzAlan of Derwent becomes the first Catholic lord lieutenant since the 17th century; he will be the last lord lieutenant
1923 - Birth in Milltown Malbay, Co. Clare of Patrick Hillery, surgeon, politician and former president from 1976 to 1990. He negotiates Ireland's entry into the European Community in 1973 and is later E.C. vice president for three years
1929 - The Fianna Fáil proposes a motion to retain the Land Annuities. It is defeated in the Dail
1945 - Eamon de Valera offers his condolences to the German Ambassador, Edouard Hempel, on the death of Adolf Hitler
1954 - Soccer great, Sammy McIlroy, is born
1957 - Death of Fr. Aloysius Roche, Irish patriot. During the 1916 Easter Rebellion, he and Frs. Albert, Augustine and Dominic bring spiritual aid to the Volunteers in the numerous garrisons and outposts throughout Dublin. Following Padraig Pearse's surrender on 29 April, Fr. Aloysius spends the next day carrying the surrender order to the main garrisons on the south side of the city. In the early hours of the morning of 3 May, Fr. Aloysius administers the last sacraments to Pearse, MacDonagh and Thomas, the first three leaders of the Rising to be executed; on May 7, Fr Aloysius accompanies James Connolly by ambulance from Dublin Castle to Kilmainham Jail for execution and stands behind the firing squad as they fire the final volley
1958 - Birth of David O'Leary, footballer for Arsenal, Leeds United and the Republic of Ireland footballer; Leeds United manager
1970 - Birth of soccer star, Steve Morrow
1982 -T he Irish government affirms its neutrality in the Falklands conflict between the UK and Argentina, and opposes EEC sanctions against Argentina
2000 - Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, arrives at Number 10 Downing St, London where he and Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair are hosting talks aimed at trying to breathe fresh life into the flagging Northern Ireland peace process. The two premiers will have separate meetings with the Ulster Unionists, Sinn Fein and the SDLP to see if they can find a way to overcome the deadlock over devolution and decommissioning
2001 - Sinn Féin's Martin McGuinness confirms publicly for the first time that he was the IRA's second-in-command in Derry on Bloody Sunday. The admission prompts a swift call from the Ulster Unionists for Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams to come clean about his IRA past
2003 - The Rolling Stones set a new Irish box office record when more than 16,000 tickets for their Dublin concerts sell within two minutes.
1714 - Sir Wentworth Harman, MP for Lanesborough, dies from the wounds he receives in a carriage accident on April 28
1785 - The Irish Academy, later to become the Royal Irish Academy, meets for the first time
1903 - Bing Crosby, descendant of Irish immigrants, is born in Tacoma, Washington, as Harry Lillis Crosby
1915 - Birth in Galway of novelist Walter Macken
1916 - Patrick Pearse, Thomas Clarke and Thomas MacDonagh executed by firing squad in Kilmainham jail
1921 - IRA troops under Tom Maguire fight off 600 English troops in Tourmakeady, Co. Mayo
1924 - The world premiere of Sean OCaseys Juno And The Paycock took place at the Abbey Theatre
1928 - Fianna Fáil petition with 96,000 signatures, calling for referendum to abolish the Oath of Allegiance rejected by Government which instead abolishes the plebiscite clause in the Constitution
1933 - Dáil passes an act removing the Oath of Allegiance from the constitution
1938 - Birth of Robert O'Driscoll, writer and professor of English
1999 - Swimmer Michelle de Bruin's hopes of salvaging her reputation and career nosedive with new allegations that a urine sample contains traces of a banned stimulant
1999 - RTÉ launches their 24-hour classical music station Lyric FM.
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', is killed by soldiers near Millstreet, Co. Cork
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, in 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/Londonderry
1916 - Edward Daly, Michael O'Hanrahan, William Pearse (brother of Padraic Pearse) and Joseph Mary Plunkett are executed by firing squad in Kilmainham jail
1928 - Poet, Thomas Kinsella, is born
1946 - Birth in Belfast of John Watson, former Formula 1 racing driver
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
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
2000 - Ciaran Nugent, the first person to start the blanket protest against the British Governments treatment of republican prisoners, is found dead at his home
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.
1795 - House of Commons rejects Grattan's Catholic relief bill
1864 - Birth in Edgeworthstown, Co. Longford of Sir Henry Wilson, soldier; chief of the Imperial General Staff from 1918 to 1922; establishes British Intelligence 'Cairo Gang' in Dublin
1881 - Richard Downey (youngest ever Catholic archbishop in 1928, who reduces his weight from 18 stone to 9 stone in the 1930s) is born in Kilkenny
1916 - Irish patriot and a leader of the 1916 Easter Uprising, John MacBride, is executed by firing squad in Kilmainham Gaol
1939 - Death of Mick the Miller, the greatest greyhound in the history of the sport
1941 - Kate O'Brien's novel The Land of Spices is banned by the Free State Board of Censors; protests will eventually lead to the setting up of an appeals procedure
1965 - Birth on Belfast of Norman Whiteside, Manchester United, Everton and Northern Ireland footballer
1981 - Bobby Sands dies at Long Kesh prison on the 66th day of his hunger strike
1999 - The remains of celebrated British actor Oliver Reed arrive in Ireland and are taken by hearse to a funeral home in the North Cork town of Buttevant, not far from his Castle McCarthy home in nearby Churchtown
1999 - Prince Charles visits Omagh and meets with relatives of those killed in the 1998 bombing and some of the young people who were injured
1999 - A team of security personnel from the White House arrive in Galway to prepare the city's National University for the visit of First Lady Hillary Clinton
1999 - Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams suggests that full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement could mean the end of the IRA
2000 - Hopes for a breakthrough in the peace process grow as high level talks at Hillsborough Castle overrun their expected timeframe by several hours
2003 - It is announced that almost a year after his death, two unpublished plays by John B, Keane have been discovered in his study and will be staged when his widow, Mary, decides the time is right.
1074 - Donatus (or Dunan), the first Bishop of Dublin, dies on this date and is buried in Christ Church Cathedral. Patrick, his successor, is sent to Canterbury for consecration (records are unreliable - the date of his death is also recorded as November 23)
1384 - Philip de Courtenay lands at Dalkey and campaigns in the midlands and the Leinster mountains
1728 - Act of Parliament removes the right to vote from Catholics
1763 - Mary Molesworth, widow of Richard Molesworth (3rd Viscount Molesworth, MP for Swords 1715-26), and her daughters Melosina and Mary die in a fire at their London house
1820 - Birth in St. Clerans, Co. Galway of Robert OHara Burke, explorer
1830 - Birth of Irish naturalist and librarian, William Archer in Magherahamlet, Co. Down. Archer did work on protozoa and was the first librarian of the National Library of Ireland
1882 - 'Phoenix Park murders' - The assassination of the British chief secretary of Ireland, Lord Frederick Cavendish, and his under secretary, T.H. Burke. Both are stabbed to death as they walk in Dublin's Phoenix Park by members of a nationalist secret society, the Invincibles. The attack is attributed to the Fenians. It is not actually connected with land agitation
1884 - Birth of painter William Conor in Belfast
1916 -The U-20, a German U-boat commanded by Captain Schweiger, sinks the Centurion off the south-east Irish coast; the next day, the U-20 sinks the Lusitania
1925 - Máire de Paor (née McDermott) archaeologist and arts activist, is born in Buncrana, Co. Donegal
1937 - Birth of Shay Brennan, Irish international footballer
1947 - Singer Paul Brady is born
1964 - Birth of actress Roma Downey in Co. Derry
1967 - Seven Drunken Nights by the Dubliners enters the British Top Ten
1970 - Charles Haughey (Minister for Finance) and Neil Blaney (Minister for Agriculture) are dismissed by Taoiseach Jack Lynch; later, the are arrested and charged with importing arms for the IRA. Blaney is discharged on 2 July; Haughey is acquitted on 23 October
1998 - The High Court hears that an advance of £175,000 has been negotiated by convicted IRA killer-turned-informer Seán O'Callaghan for his autobiography
2000 - Large crowds turn out in bright summer sunshine in Fenit, Co. Kerry, where President Mary McAleese officially christens the three-masted, famine ship replica, the Jeanie Johnston
2000 - Peace and prosperity are within Northern Irelands grasp, according to European Commissioner Chris Patten
2001 - A bomb explodes at a north London postal sorting office. It is the second such attack in three weeks and is linked to the Real IRA
2003 - The Taoiseach and the British Prime Minister pledge to move the Northern peace process forward following their talks at Farmleigh in Dublin.
2008 - Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and Northern Ireland First Minister Ian Paisley officially open the Battle of the Boyne site in Co Meath. It is the last official engagement of Bertie Ahern as Taoiseach.
1689 - James II arrives from exile in France and addresses the Irish Parliament. Thanking them for support, applauding their courage and vowing to "venture my life...in defence of your liberties". Thus begins the events leading up to the Battle of the Boyne
1689 - James II's predominantly Catholic Irish parliament which is in session from this date until 18 July, implements various measures redressing Catholic grievances
1716 - John Medcalf, previously dismissed as Church of Ireland curate of Powerscourt for conducting clandestine marriages, is excommunicated for refusing to appear in the Consistory Court when cited by a woman for conjugal rights
1720 - James Cotter is executed for high treason in supporting the Jacobite cause: his son, Sir James Cotter, will later be MP for Askeaton
1741 - Anthony Tanner, perpetual curate for Holmpatrick, who has been married for less than six months, is murdered near Rush, Co. Dublin
1838 - Charles Owen O'Conor, politician, is born in Dublin
1865 - John MacBride, revolutionary, is born in Westport, Co. Mayo
1915 - The Lusitania is sunk by a German U-boat off the Old Head of Kinsale, Co. Cork with the loss of more than 1,100 lives
1931 - An Oige, Irish Youth Hostel Association is established. At the end of that year, it has just 215 members and 2 hostels. Today, An Óige has well over 30 youth hostels located throughout Ireland
1938 - Johnny Caldwell, flyweight boxer and winner of a bronze medal in the 1956 Olympics, is born in Belfast
1966 - The UVF carry out a petrol bomb attack on a Catholic-owned bar and off-licence in Upper Charleville Street in the Shankill Road area of Belfast. The attackers miss their intended target and set fire to the home of Matilda Gould (77), a Protestant civilian, who lived next door to the public house. Gould is severely injured in the attack and dies on 27 June 1984
1992 - Bishop of Galway, Dr. Eamonn Casey, resigns
1996 - Henry Diamond, Irish Nationalist MP, dies at 87
1999 - James le Moyne, a UN negotiator, has agreed to help break the decommissioning deadlock in the Northern peace process before the marching season begins
2001 - The Broadway play Stones in His Pockets by Belfast playwright Marie Jones receives three nominations for the theatre world's top honour, the Tony awards, in New York. Conleth Hill and Sean Campion are nominated in the Leading Actor category and Ian McElhinney is nominated for Best Director
2001 - Islanders off the coast of Cork rescue a 20ft pilot whale who became stranded at Hare Island with another dead whale.
The Celtic League
This organization publishes the annual Celtic Calendar. To order your own copy, visit: The Celtic League.
Somewhat sporadic, but they often highlight an important date in Irish history. To visit, please click: Irish Abroad.
The Wild geese
They update Irish history weekly. To visit their keydates page, please click: The Wild Geese.
We also refer to an assortment of references. Among them are the Books of Days - see right margin on this page.
Thu, Dec 7, 2017
Holly and Ivy hanging up and
something wet in every cup*
Not so long ago, Irish Christmas decorations were much simpler than they are now. The children gathered holly and ivy for adorning, windows, doorways, mantles and pictures, and the father would carve out a turnip in which would be placed a large red candle. This would go in the window to light the way for the Holy Family on Christmas Eve. Only in relatively recent times did an Irish family have a Nativity scene and a decorated tree in the house. As for Mistletoe, it's quite rare in ireland and is generally associated with ancient Celtic and Druidic fertility celebrations; this is most likely where the custom of kissing under the mistletoe comes from.
*Old Irish Christmas toast
Image: Pashley Manor Gardens.
Click for More Culture Corner.
How The Irish Saved Civilization
by Thomas cahill
Cahill's lovely prose breathes life into a 1,600-year old history. The L.A. Times
This is our most popular book. We understand why; the truth is fascinating.
Click here for Saved Civilization.
Irish Book of Days
Not tied to a particular year, this colorful and entertaining journal can be used year after year and features a significant Irish fact for every day of the year. 32 full-color photos.
Click here for Irish Book of Days.
Illuminated Celtic Book of Days
by Louis De Paor
It helped me a great deal in finding out about Celtic traditions, folklore, and many other things! Amazon Reviewer.
Click here for Celtic Book of Days
An Irish Woman's Book of Days
While it's out of print, new and used copies of the 112-page hardcover edition are readily available.
Click here for Irish Woman's Book of days
The Course of Irish History
by Moody & Martin
Concise but comprehensive, highly selective but balanced and fair-minded, critical but constructive and sympathetic. A distinctive feature is its wealth of illustrations.
Click here for Irish History.
Ireland Since The Famine
A full-scale study of the political and social history of Ireland since 1850. The political evolution of the Irish Nation forms the basis of the book. "Will remain for many years an essential standby for every student of the subject" Robert Blake, The Sunday Times.
Click here for Since the Famine.
by Tim Pat Coogan
Eamon De Valera is still a major influence on Ireland - a towering presence whose shadow yet falls over Irish life. He played a major part in the 1916 Rising, the troubled Treaty negotiations and the Civil War; some of today's problems are his legacy. But De Valera, or "Dev", was a political mastermind who also achieved some incredible feats which ensured his place in history, including the Irish Constitution, formation of Ireland's largest political party - Fianna Fáil, and the formation of the Irish Press Group.
Click here for DeValera