December 5

John Atherton was hanged at St Stephen’s Green

1782 The Francis and Eliza sailing ship set sail from Cork harbour on this day in 1782. It had on board 123 convicts who were being transported to Australia. A month into its voyage, the ship was intercepted by the American gunship The Warrior.
The captain of the Warrior, Guy Chapman, allowed the Francis and Eliza to continue its journey once he had taken all of its weapons and many members of its crew. It completed its journey in August. Six of the convict prisoners had died during the journey.

* * *

1640 John Atherton was hanged at St Stephen’s Green, Dublin on this day in 1640 after being found guilty of immorality, the term for taking part in homosexual activities.

Atherton was the Bishop of Waterford. He was accused of having an intimate relationship with his steward John Childe. Both men were sentenced to death. Atherton reportedly admitted the charge just moments before his execution was carried out, although he had vehemently denied it up until that point.
Historians have since put forward a theory that the whole event was part of a conspiracy against Atherton. He had made enemies of many powerful landowners with a campaign to recover certain territories for the Church of Ireland.
It has been suggested that the allegations were made against Atherton to remove him from his position of power and so end his campaign. Further rumours about Atherton’s sexuality began to circulate in the months after his death with some horrific crimes being linked with him.
John Atherton and John Childe hanged

* * *

1841 Marcus Daly was born in County Cavan on this day in 1841. He moved to America when he was 15 and made a fortune in the copper mining industry in Montana. Daly was one of the three ‘Copper Kings’ along with William Clark and Augustus Heinze.
The three men fought for dominance of the lucrative rights to the copper and silver mines in Butte, Montana. Daly saw off his rivals by buying the Anaconda Copper Mine and building a smelter and a railway line to optimise profit levels.
The company was the largest copper mine in the world. This position was briefly under threat when European company Rothschilds bought 25% of Anaconda for $7.5m. Daly reacted by gaining the support of the most famous miner there has ever been, John Rockefeller. With his new financial backing, Daly re-instated his control of Anaconda.
Shortly before his death in 1900, he became the president of the holding company that owned Anaconda and its profits.
Marcus Daly One of the three ‘Copper Kings’

* * *

1904 Lucy Everest Boole died on this day in 1904. She was an Irish scientist and was the first woman to be made a fellow of the British Royal Institute of Chemistry.

Boole was born in Cork and sent to London to be educated at Queen’s College. She studied pharmacy and became a tutor and researcher at the London School of Medicine for Women.
Her health began to deteriorate in the late 19th century and she passed away at her mother’s house in 1904 aged just 42.
Click here to read about more great Irish scientists

* * *

Arthur Griffith and Michael Collins1921 After several weeks of discussions and negotiations with the British government, Michael Collins and Arthur Griffiths privately agree that they will sign the Anglo-Irish Treaty being proposed by the British.

They signed the following day, signalling the end of the Irish War of Independence. They returned to Ireland with the news, and were met with hostility from their comrades in the IRA. The treaty led to the Irish Civil War, with the anti-treaty IRA uprising against the newly formed Irish Free State government.
Michael Collins was reportedly have said when he returned to Ireland “I have signed my own death warrant.”
He was executed a few months later by anti-treaty rebels. The other man that represented Ireland in the negotiations, Arthur Griffiths, died of heart failure ten days before Collins was killed. Neither man lived a year after they had signed the treaty.
Click here to read more about Irish history
Click here to read the love story of Michael Collins and Kitty Kiernan 
Click here to read more Michael Collins quotes 
Click here to read some of the best quotes from other key figures from Irish history

* * *

1989 Happy birthday to Paddy Mullins, born in County Carlow on this day in 1989. He is a professional horse racing jockey, and rides for his trainer father Patrick Mullins. The family have a tradition of horse racing, Patrick’s grandfather was the legendary Irish trainer Paddy Mullins.
Click here to read about more top Irish sports stars


Leave a comment