19 June-First Female Astronaut

Valentina Tereshkova was a Russian cosmonaut. In 1963 she became the first woman in history to go into space. She spent almost three days in space piloting the Vostok 6 spacecraft. She orbited the Earth 48 times. Following her mission Tereshkova was honoured with the title Hero of the Soviet Union.

Valentina Tereshkova was born on March 6, 1937 in Bolshoye Maslennikovo, a village about 275km north of Moscow. She was chosen for the women-in-space programme from over 400 applicants because of her expertise as a parachutist. Following training Tereshkova was launched into space from Baikonur Cosmodrome in southern Kazakhstan on June 16th 1963.

Together with operating the spacecraft Tereshkova maintained a flight log and took photographs. During the mission she spoke with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev. She spent 2 days, 22 hours and 50 minutes in space.

Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman to have flown in space, returned safely to earth in the year 1963 On This Day.

Valentina Tereshkova

Valentina Tereshkova and Sergei Krikalev

19 June-Aung San Suu Kyi

Aung San Suu Kyi is State Counsellor (de facto Prime Minister) of Myanmar. She is the leader of the National League for Democracy which won a landslide victory in the Myanmar General Election of 2015. She has served in the role of State Counsellor since April 6th 2016. Aung San Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991. She was under house arrest at the time.

Aung San Suu Kyi was born in Rangoon, Burma in 1945. Rangoon is now Yangon. Her father, Aung San, who brought about Burma’s independence from British rule, is regarded as the Father of the Nation of Myanmar. He was assassinated during the transition period, six months before independence. At the time Aung San Suu Kyi was two years old.

Suu Kyi’s mother was appointed ambassador to Delhi in 1960. Suu Kyi was educated there and later studied at Oxford University in England. She graduated from Oxford in 1967 and lived and worked in the United States, Japan and Bhutan before settling in the England. In 1988 she returned to Burma to care for her mother who was critically ill.

When Suu Kyi returned to her homeland there was major political upheaval in the country. Myanmar had been ruled by a military junta since 1962. She was one of the founders of the National League for Democracy. The aim was to establish a democracy and bring about the integration of the various ethnic groups. She led a programme of non-violent opposition to the military junta.

Suu Kyi was placed under house arrest in 1989. Her party won the 1990 election but the military refused to allow parliament to convene. She spent most of the following 21 years under house arrest. Suu Kyi was finally released in November 2010. Since then Myanmar has undergone a rapid programme of democratisation, culminating in the election of Suu Kyi as State Counsellor in 2016.

However since her election she has failed to bring about the integration of the various ethnic groups in Burma. There has been international criticism of her failure to stop the persecution of the Rohingya people in the west of Myanmar and the Kachin people in the east.

Aung San Suu Kyi, State Counsellor of Myanmar, was born in the year 1945 On This Day.

Aung San Suu Kyi i Oslo Rådhus

Aung San Suu Kyi – Visits Dublin

18 June-First American Woman Astronaut

Sally Ride was an astronaut and physicist. In 1983 she became the first American woman in space. Having made her first space flight at the age of 32 Ride became the youngest ever American astronaut. She flew into space for a second time aboard the Space Shuttle in 1984.

Sally Kristen Ride was born in Los Angeles, California on May 26th 1951. She graduated with a Ph.D. in physics from Stanford University in 1978. In 1977 NASA began looking for women astronauts. Ride decided to apply and was one of six women chosen. Following a rigorous training programme she became the first American woman to travel into space in 1983. The first woman in space was Valentina Tereshkova of the Soviet Union in 1963.

The mission on the Space Shuttle Challenger travelled over two million miles. Two communication satellites were launched and several science experiments carried out. Ride helped to deploy the satellites. The mission lasted just over six days before landing safely at Edwards Air Force Base, California on June 24th 1983.

Sally Ride became the first American woman in space as a crew member on space shuttle Challenger in the year 1983 On This Day.

Sally Ride


17 June-John Wesley

John Wesley was a cleric and theologian who was a native of England. He founded the Methodist movement in the 18th century. It was founded to bring about a reformation within the Church of England. However the movement became a separate church and today it has millions of adherents worldwide.

John Wesley was born in Epworth, Lincolnshire, England in 1703. He was ordained a priest of the Church of England in 1725. He went with his brother Charles to Savannah, Georgia in America on missionary work. However their mission was not a success and they returned to England.

Shortly after his return Wesley had what he called a ’conversion experience’ on May 24th 1738. At the time he was attending a Moravian service at Aldersgate Street in London. Shortly thereafter, with his brother Charles, he established a Methodist society in London and later in the city of Bristol.

Wesley began preaching to colliers in the city of Bristol and the Methodist movement had begun. They were called Methodists because of their methodical approach to religious observance and their strong commitment to charitable works.

Wesley first visited Ireland in 1747. He became a regular visitor in the following years. He visited Carlow where he preached and held services on six occasions. His first visit to Carlow was in 1765. He paid his final visit to Carlow in 1789 when he was 66 years old.

John Wesley, founder of the Methodist movement, was born in the year 1703 On This Day.

John Wesley

14 June-Rory Gallagher

Rory Gallagher was musician, singer and songwriter who was a native of Ireland. His musical genres included rock, blues, folk and jazz. During his career Gallagher formed his own band. He recorded several solo albums, which sold in their millions.

William Rory Gallagher was born in Ballyshannon, Co Donegal on March 2nd 1948. When he was an infant his family moved to Derry before settling later in Cork where he grew up. Interested in music from a young age Gallagher was given his first guitar by his parents. He went on to learn to play several instruments and performed with Irish Showbands before forming his own bad, ‘The Taste’ in 1966.

‘The Taste’ performed at venues in Ireland and Britain before breaking up in 1970. Rory Gallagher then pursued a solo career. He recorded several albums which sold over 30 million copies. During the 1970’s and 1980’s he toured successfully in Europe and the United States.

Rory Gallagher, Irish rock musician, singer and songwriter, died from complications following a liver transplant in the year 1995 On This Day.

Rory Gallagher