28 November-Leighlinbridge Meteorite

Leighlinbridge is a picturesque and historic village located on the river Barrow about 10km south of Carlow town Ireland. It is the location where the last meteorite to fall in Ireland was recovered. It is thought that it is the last known meteorite of the last millennium to have landed on earth and to have been recovered. The rock which is billions of years old was recovered by an elderly lady on December 12th 1999, a fortnight after it had fallen. The International Meteorite Nomenclature Committee has officially named the meteorite ‘Leighlinbridge’

Apart from the ‘Leighlinbridge’ at least eight other meteorites have been recovered in Ireland. Each one is named after the area in which it was found. The ‘Pettiswood’ landed in 1779 near Mullingar Co Westmeath. In 1810 the ‘Mooresoft’ landed near Lattin, Co Tipperary. The ‘Limerick’ fell to earth near Adare, Co Limerick in 1813. The ‘Killeter’ landed near the town of Castlederg Co Tyrone in 1844. In 1865 the ‘Dundrum’ fell near the village of Dundrum in Co Tipperary. The ‘Crumlin’ fell near Crumlin in Co Antrim in 1902 and in 1969 the ‘Bovedy’ fell near the town of Limavady in Co Derry. Parts of the meteorites are stored in the National Museum in Dublin and the Natural History Museum in London and the Smithsonian Institute in the US.

On the night the ‘Leighlinbridge’ fell to earth an exploding fireball lasting several seconds was observed over Carlow town. This was followed by a loud noise from the following sound waves, which were travelling more slowly and which caused houses to shake. Following the initial discovery on December 14th two more pieces of the meteorite were found later. A Scottish meteor dealer purchased the Leighlinbridge Meteor for £20,000. It was analysed at the National History Museum in London and a piece of the meteorite weighing about a gram was offered for sale in 2009 for £250.

The Leighlinbridge Meteorite lit up the night sky over Carlow as it fell to earth just after 10pm in the year 1999 On This Day.

Philae photo

Philae drill / Philae Eisschrauben by DLR_de on 2014-10-07 15:22:19

 

Photo by DLR_de

Philae photo

Egypt-6A-053 – Philae Temple by archer10 (Dennis) (60M Views) on 2004-10-01 03:06:59

Photo by archer10 (Dennis) (60M Views)

17 November-Irish Hospital Sweepstakes

The Irish Government established a lottery called the Irish Hospital 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 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 Hospital Sweepstake draw was held in the year 1930 On This Day.

Irish Hospital Sweepstakes photo

Irish Hospital’s Sweepstake on the 1963 Grand National Booklet by France1978 on 2013-03-03 01:06:06

Photo by France1978

Irish Hospital Sweepstakes photo

1960 Irish Sweepstakes Horse Race – Irish Hospitals’ Sweepstake Derby Acknowledgement Form For Sales of Irish Sweepstakes Tickets by France1978 on 2013-10-25 15:13:02

Photo by France1978

13 November-Captain Pat Reid

Captain Patrick Reid whose family were from Carlow, Ireland was one of the few people to escape from Colditz Castle during World War II. Colditz Castle, which is located in the state of Saxony in Germany, was used as prisoner-of-war camp by the Nazi’s during the war.

Patrick Reid, whose father John Reid was from Grange near Tullow, Co Carlow was born in Ranchi the capital of the state of Jharkhand in north eastern India. He was educated Clongowes Wood College Co Kildare, Ireland and graduated from King’s College London in 1932. He later trained as a civil engineer.

In 1935 Patrick Reid joined the British Army and was mobilised for active duty on August 24th 1939. Whilst serving as a member of the British Expeditionary Force he was captured by the Germans on May 27th 1940 near Cassel about 30km south of Dunkirk in France. He was sent as a prisoner of war to Laufen Castle in Bavaria close to the Austrian border. Three months later having dug a tunnel Reid and five other prisoners escaped and tried to reach Yugoslavia. They were captured within days and returned to prison.

In November 1940 they were sent to ‘escape proof’ Colditz Castle, which is located in the town of Colditz, between Leipzig and Dresden. Following several escape attempts Reid and three others escaped from Colditz. Reid crossed the border into Switzerland in October 1942 and remained there for the remainder of the war.

After the war Reid served for a time as a diplomat in Turkey. He was later appointed as an administrator of the Organisation for European Economic Cooperation (now the OECD) based in Paris. He also became a writer detailing his experiences as a prisoner of war and his escape attempts. Some of his writings about Colditz formed the basis for a film in 1955 and later for a series on television. He was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 1945. Captain Reid died in Bristol in 1990 at the age of 79.

Patrick Robert Reid was born in the year 1910 On This Day.

Colditz photo

Colditz Castle

Photo by Spicygreenginger

 

04 November-Milford Mills, Carlow

Milford Mills are located at Ballygowan on the banks of the River Barrow about 8km south of Carlow town, Ireland. The Mills, which were established by the Alexander family in 1790, contained flourmills, kilns and malt houses.

From the time of establishment he business of the Mills grew rapidly and by 1840, Mr. & Mrs Hall’s “Ireland” described the Milford Mills as ‘one of the most extensive and celebrated in Ireland’. The huge buildings were reported to house two of the largest mill wheels in Ireland. In 1862 disaster struck when the Mills were destroyed by fire.

The local Milford Constabulary were the first to notice the fire at around 11.30pm. The alarm was raised and the fire brigade from Carlow was called to the scene. Police from Carlow town and the nearby stations at Leighlinbridge and Bagenalstown also rushed to help. Despite the best efforts of the fire brigade, people who worked at the mills and the police, the mill, machinery and large amounts of corn were destroyed. A local newspaper, The Carlow Sentinel reported ‘a sad scene of havoc and desolation’.

Almost thirty years after the fire, Milford Mills was used to generate an electricity supply for Carlow town. The electricity was used for approximately 7.5km of street lighting and the supply of electric lights to 1,500 private users. When the electricity supply was switched on, on June 24th 1891, it made Carlow the first inland town in Ireland to have electric lighting. Today Milford Mills continues to supply electricity to the national grid.

The flour mills section of Milford Mills near Carlow town destroyed by fire in the year 1862 On This Day.

Milford Carlow photo

Photo by hugh.carlow