09 March-Barbie

Barbie is a fashion doll created by business woman, Ruth Handler. It is manufactured by the American multinational toy manufacturing company, Mattel. Mattel was founded by Ruth Handler and her husband Harold “Matt” Matson in 1942. Mattel has its headquarters in El Segundo, California, U.S.A.

Ruth Handler had observed her daughter playing with paper dolls. She was inspired to create Barbie which she based on the German doll, Bild Lilli. Barbie is 30cm (11.5 in) tall. She has been described as a Teen-Age Fashion Model for children to play with. She has a boyfriend called Ken and several friends. She also has a wide range of accessories, clothes and over 40 pets.

Barbie, a Teen-Age Fashion Model for children to play with, made its debut at the American International Toy Fair in New York in the year 1959 On This Day.


Barbie canopy bed



15 June-Tullow Railway

Tullow is a town with a population of around 3,000 on the River Slaney in Co Carlow, Ireland. Located in the east of the county it is a market town with a growing population. The town was at one time connected to the Irish railway network on a branch line through Baltinglass in Co Wicklow from Sallins in Co Kildare. The railway station at Tullow was closed in 1959.

The first train from Dublin arrived at Carlow town railway station on August 4th 1846. Over the following decades the rail network in County Carlow was gradually expanded. The railway was extended southwards and stations were opened in Bagenalstown in 1848 and Borris in 1858.

Over the following years various routes for a railway line to Tullow were considered. The town was eventually connected to the rail network when the railway line was extended from Baltinglass to Tullow. The line ran along the valley of the River Slaney. Tullow railway station opened on June 1st 1886. There was an intermediate stop at Rathvilly.

By the late 1800’s there were seven railway stations in County Carlow. However, as road transport developed, passenger numbers and goods using the railways began to decline and railway stations were closed down. The railway station at Tullow was shut down in June 1959 and some of the other railway stations in Carlow were subsequently closed. Today there are just two railway stations in County Carlow, Carlow town and Muine Bheag.

Tullow railway station was shut down in the year 1959 On This Day.

Image from page 240 of “A pictorial and descriptive guide to Dublin and the Wicklow tours ..” (1919)



16 February-John McEnroe

John McEnroe is a former professional tennis player. He was World No. 1 between 1980 and 1985 on 14 occasions. McEnroe was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1999.

John Patrick McEnroe was born in Wiesbaden, Hessen, West Germany in 1959. His father was at the time serving in Germany with the United States Air Force. The McEnroe family moved to New York when John was a year old. Interested in sports from a young age McEnroe began playing tennis when he was eight years old.

At age 18 McEnroe reached the Wimbledon semi-finals in 1977. He went on to win several Grand Slam singles and doubles. He became famous for his sometimes volatile court behaviour. McEnroe retired in 1992 and began his career as a television commentator.

John McEnroe was born in the year 1959 On This Day.

John McEnroe



03 February-Buddy Holly

Buddy Holly was a musician, singer and songwriter who was a native of the USA. In his short lifetime he made a major and lasting impact on popular music. Holly was a member of a musical family and he wrote his own material. His music was influenced by country and rhythm and blues music.

Buddy Holly was born Charles Hardin Holley, on September 7th 1936 in the city of Lubbock, north-western Texas. He learned to play musical instruments at an early age. By the age of 16 he and a friend had formed a group called Buddy and Bob. They regularly performed country and western music on a radio station in their home town and became an act in demand locally.

When Elvis Presley performed in Lubbock in 1955 Buddy and Bob were the opening act. Witnessing Elvis Presley perform was the beginning of the transition of Buddy Holly from ‘Country and Western’ music to ‘Rock and Roll’ music. He formed a band which eventually came to be called the Crickets and had his first hit with ‘That’ll Be the Day’ in 1957. By august 1958 Holly and The Crickets had had seven recordings in the Top 40 Charts.

Holly married Maria Elena Santiago in Lubbock on August 15, 1958. He split up with the Crickets and his manager in late 1958 and moved with Maria to live in Greenwich Village, New York. Due to legal problems over his split with his manager he was short of money. He agreed to go on a tour of 24 cities in the American Midwest beginning in January 1959.

Following a performance at Clear Lake, Iowa, Holly, accompanied by Richie Valens and J. P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson, hired a small plane to take them to their next venue, over 500km away in Moorhead, Minnesota. The plane crashed shortly after take-off killing all on board. Buddy Holly was only 22 years old but the 32 songs he recorded made a major impact on popular music. The phrase ‘The Day the Music Died’ in the Don McLean song ‘American Pie’, refers to the death of Buddy Holly.

Buddy Holly died at the age of 22 in the year 1959 On This Day.


Buddy Holly

Buddy Holly’s gravestone

04 December-Female Gardaí

Ms Nóirín O’Sullivan assumed office as Commissioner of An Garda Síochána on November 25th 2014. She became the first woman to hold the most senior police position in Ireland since women were first recruited into the Gardaí in 1959. She is the 20th Garda Commissioner to be appointed since the force was established in 1922.

Following independence in 1922 the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) was replaced by a new police force called the Civic Guard, which was later renamed An Garda Síochána. Dublin was policed by the Dublin Metropolitan Police. That body employed four women who patrolled the streets of Dublin but were not allowed to be members of the police force. The women continued to be employed when the Dublin Metropolitan Police merged with An Garda Síochána in 1925. In 1910 the first female police officer Alice Wells was appointed in Los Angeles in the United States and Edith Smith was the first woman police constable appointed in England in August 1915.

The campaign for the introduction of women police officers in Ireland was led by The Joint Committee of Women’s Societies and Social Workers. The Committee made several representations to the Government. However in 1939 the then Minister for Justice P J Ruttledge dismissed the representations by the Joint Committee. The reason given was the extra financial costs and the perception that ‘he is advised that the agitation for women police is an artificial business without any real roots in the country’. The Committee continued to seek the appointment of female police officers and it was not until 1952 the first breakthrough occurred. That year a recommendation to recruit policewomen was made by a Committee of Inquiry into An Garda Síochána.

It would take another seven years before the recommendation was implemented. The first twelve female recruits were selected and began training on 9th July 1959 at the Garda training school which was then located in the Phoenix Park. The training which lasted for twenty two weeks, was under the direction a female police officer form England. Following training the new female Gardaí were at first stationed in Dublin but were later assigned to various locations around the country. Known as Ban Gardaí they were required to be on duty during daylight hours only unless a woman was arrested at night time.

At the time of their appointment the new female police officers, in common with all public servants, had to resign if they married. This rule, which remained in force until 1973, meant the number of women police remained at a low level. During the following decades the number of female police officers in An Garda Síochána gradually increased and today women members account for almost 25% of the force.

The first female Gardaí passed out of the training school at Garda headquarters in the Phoenix Park in Dublin in the year 1959 On This Day.

Garda Síochána photo

Garda Horse by leppre on 2014-03-17 12:11:31

Photo by leppre