18 November-Jonah Lomu

Jonah Lomu was rugby union player who was a native of New Zealand. He was a remarkable player who became the first rugby player to achieve worldwide fame. In 1994 Lomu became the youngest person to play for the All Blacks, the New Zealand national team.

Jonah Tali Lomu was born in Greenlane, Auckland, New Zealand on May 12th 1975. He made his debut for the All Blacks against France at Lancaster Park, Christchurch on June 26th 1994. Playing on the wing, Lomu was capped 63 times for the All Blacks. During his career he scored 37 tries.

In 1995 Lomu was diagnosed with nephrotic syndrome which had a major impact on his career. He played his last test game in 2002 and underwent a kidney transplant in 2004. He returned to playing rugby for a time but retired from the professional game in 2007.

Jonah Lomu, a native of New Zealand who became the first rugby player to achieve worldwide fame, died aged 40 in the year 2015 On This Day.

Jonah Lomu



17 November-Irish Hospitals Sweepstake

The Irish Government established a lottery called the Irish Hospitals’ Sweepstake in 1930. The aim was to provide funds for investment in hospitals and medical services. The lottery was established under the 1930 Public Charitable Hospitals (Temporary Provisions) Act.

The lottery, which became commonly known as The Irish Sweeps, was organised by Richard Duggan, Joe McGrath and Captain Spencer Freeman. Richard Duggan was a Dublin bookmaker who had previously organised lotteries. Joe McGrath was a former government minister and Captain Spencer Freeman was an engineer from Wales who had served in the British army. Together they established a private trust to run the lottery and market tickets in Ireland and around the world. Ticket stubs were returned to Dublin where the draw was held. At first the draw was held in the Mansion House but it was moved to a location in Ballsbridge in 1940. The Sweepstake ran for 56 years, raised millions for Ireland’s health infrastructure and made the three organisers very wealthy.

When the Irish Hospitals’ Sweepstake was established it was the only legal sweepstake in the world. Ticket sales were initially confined to Ireland but it was soon realised that a lot of profits could be generated by selling tickets abroad. Though it was illegal to sell sweepstake tickets in Britain, the number of tickets sold there increased rapidly. The amount of money being invested in the Irish Sweepstake by British citizens led to the passing of the Betting and Lotteries Act in 1934. The act together with the later introduction of football pools led to a decline in sales in Britain.

As ticket sales declined in Britain the number of tickets being sold in North America increased dramatically. They were smuggled in and sold illegally in both the Unites States and Canada. By the late 1950’s almost eighty percent of all sweepstake tickets were being sold there. By the 1960’s lotteries had begun to be legalised in the United States. This led to a decline in the sale of tickets for the Irish Sweepstake. The final Sweepstake prize draw was held in 1986, the same year the Irish National Lottery was established. The first Sweepstake prize of £208,792 was won by three people from Belfast. Mr. J. G. Prescott, a civil servant, shared his winning ticket with Belfast barmen Mr. J Torney and F. Ward.

The first Irish Hospitals Sweepstake draw was held in the year 1930 On This Day.

Irish Hospital’s Sweepstake on the 1963 Grand National Booklet

1960 Irish Sweepstakes Horse Race – Irish Hospitals’ Sweepstake Derby Acknowledgement Form For Sales of Irish Sweepstakes Tickets

17 November-Rodin

Auguste Rodin was a French Sculptor who became world famous in his lifetime. Oscar Wilde held Rodin’s work in great esteem. A bust which he cast of his friend George Bernard Shaw can be seen in the Musée Rodin in Paris. After the World Fair in Paris in 1900 his work was in great demand by wealthy clients. His sculptures include such famous pieces as ‘The Age of Bronze’, ‘The Kiss’ and ‘The Thinker’.

François-Auguste-René Rodin was born Paris in 1840. He entered a drawing school at the age of 13 but four years later failed to gain entry to École des Beaux-Arts. He worked for a time in the decorative arts. By the mid 1860’s he had completed his first major work, ‘Mask of the Man With the Broken Nose’. During the following years Rodin became a world-renowned artist.

Auguste Rodin, world renowned French sculptor, died in Meudon at the age of 77 in the year 1917 On This Day.

Museé Rodi

14 November-The Chieftains

Martin Fay was a musician who was a native of Dublin. A fiddle player, he was one of the founders of the traditional Irish band, the Chieftains. The Chieftains helped popularise Irish music across the world. Their genres include Traditional Irish, Irish folk and Celtic.

Martin Joseph Fay was born in Cabra, Dublin on September 19th 1936. He trained as a classical musician and played the violin the orchestra of the Abbey Theatre. In 1963, with Paddy Moloney, Sean Potts and Michael Tubridy Martin Fay founded the Chieftains. He remained a member of the band until his retirement in 2002.

Martin Fay, musician and founding member of the Irish band, the Chieftains, died in Dublin in the year 2012 On This Day.

The Chieftains photo

The Chieftains 13 Nov 2005 UCH 1

Photo by gabig58





13 November-Defibrillator

Paul Zoll was a cardiologist and medical researcher who was a native of the USA. He is referred to as the Father of Cardiac Electrotherapy for his pioneering work in the development of the cardiac defibrillator. His research also led the improvement of pacemakers, and other cardiac devices.

Paul Maurice Zoll was born in Boston, Massachusetts on July 15th 1911. Having graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1936 he worked in hospitals in New York and Boston. Whilst working as a cardiologist during World War II he became interested in how the heart responded to the slightest touch.

When the war was over Zoll returned to Boston. He began to develop methods to treat heart attacks without opening the chest. At Beth Israel Hospital in 1952 he restated the hearts of two patients via electrodes on the chest. His discovery led to the development of the defibrillator. The use of the defibrillator became common in ambulances and emergency rooms.

Paul Zoll, cardiologist and medical researcher, became the first person to use electric shock to treat cardiac arrest at Beth Israel Hospital, Boston, in the year 1952 On This Day.