10 December-Desmond Tutu

South African cleric, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, played a leading role in drawing attention to the iniquities of apartheid at home and abroad. Born on October 7th 1931 he was the first black Archbishop of Cape Town and Bishop of the Anglican Church of South Africa. A strong advocate of the nonviolent path to liberation, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984.

In 1978 Desmond Tutu was selected as the General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches. The appointment put him in a powerful position to advocate for an end to apartheid. Apartheid finally came to an end in 1993 and Archbishop Tutu was given the honour of introducing the newly elected Nelson Mandela as President to the nation in 1994. President Mandela appointed Archbishop Tutu as head Truth and Reconciliation Commission investigating and reporting on the human rights violations of the previous 34 years in South Africa.

The Most Revd Desmond Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in the year 1984 On This Day.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu



05 August-Richard Burton

Richard Burton was an acclaimed stage and screen actor who was a native of Wales. He was nominated for an Oscar on seven occasions and was the winner of Golden Globe and Tony Awards for best actor. Burton was married on five occasions, twice to the actress Elizabeth Taylor.

Richard Burton was born Richard Walter Jenkins in Pontrhydfen, Wales on November 10th 1925. His mother died when he was two years and Burton was raised by his older sister. He was awarded a scholarship to attend Oxford University and served in the British Airforce during World War II.

On stage Burton gained acclaim as a Shakespearean actor. He made his film debut in 1949 and became famous for his roles in films such as ‘The Spy who Came in From the Cold’ (1965) and ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf’ (1966).

Richard Burton, acclaimed stage and screen actor, who was a native of Wales died in Switzerland in the year 1984 On This Day.

Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor



07 June-Dublin East Link Toll Bridge

The East-Link Bridge is the last bridge on the River Liffey before it enters Dublin Bay. The bridge was fabricated by Thompson of Carlow at its manufacturing plant in Carlow town Ireland. It is one of twenty four road, rail and passenger bridges which span the Liffey in the greater Dublin area.

The East-Link Bridge is officially known as the Tom Clarke Bridge. It replaced a ferry which had operated in the area between north and south banks of the Liffey since 1665. Having carried out studies of traffic over a period of years, beginning in 1960, it was decided that a new bridge was required in the area. Permission to build the bridge was given by the government in 1982. The permission contained the proviso that access could continue to be provided for shipping.

Construction began in April 1983 and took over eighteen months to complete. Apart from approach roads, roundabouts, a 6-lane Toll Plaza and other enabling works the bridge itself is 150m long. It has four 26 metre fixed spans and one 45 metre opening span. The opening span is a bascule (drawbridge) type which can open quickly and requires relatively little energy to operate. While the fixed spans are of precast concrete, high tensile steel was used in the manufacture of the opening span.

The centre span was delivered from Carlow to the site in June 1984. It had undergone rigorous mechanical testing during its manufacture in Carlow. X-ray tests were carried out on all welds. The centre span was lifted into place in June 1984 by a crane which was brought from Rotterdam. It is claimed that up to then the central span was probably the heaviest weight ever lifted by a crane, which was operating off water, in Ireland.

The East-Link Bridge was officially opened by An Taoiseach Dr Garrett Fitzgerald on October 22nd 1984. The bridge quickly reached its target traffic of 11,000 vehicles per day. Today it is used by over 14,000 vehicles per day. The lifting system for the centre span is housed in a central pier. The centre span can be lifted in one minute. It is generally lifted three times per day to allow for shipping traffic.

The central span of the East Link Toll Bridge over the Liffey in Dublin, which was manufactured by Thompson Engineering Carlow, was lifted into place in the year 1984 On This Day.





23 July-DART

Dublin Area Rapid Transport is an electrified railway network in Dublin, Ireland. Known as the DART it began operating in 1984. The DART runs from Greystones in Co Wicklow on the south-side of Dublin city, along the coastline and through the city centre, to Howth and Malahide to the north of the city. Travelling over 50km of track the DART serves 31 stations and carries around 16 million passengers annually.

Ten kilometres of the DART track runs on the track bed of Ireland’s first railway, which began operations in 1834. The service ran from Westland Row station (now Dublin Pearse) in Dublin city to Kingstown (now Dún Laoghaire). It was the first suburban and commuter railway line in the world. In later years the railway was extended south to Wexford and north to Belfast.

The DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transport) began operating in the year 1984 On This Day.

DART [Dublin Area Rapid Transit] – Tara Street Station



30 April-Fire at Hadden’s of Carlow

Hadden’s Shopping Centre is located on Tullow Street in Carlow town, Ireland. The Centre is home to Hadden’s Department Store and several other businesses. Hadden’s, one of the oldest businesses in Carlow has been in operation for over one hundred years.

The Hadden family business was established in Wexford town in 1848 by George and Francis Hadden. The family opened a shop on Tullow Street in Carlow town in 1909. In April 1984 the shop, which traded under the name of W G Hadden Ltd, was destroyed by fire. Smoke from the fire could be seen from a long distance and thousands of people came to Carlow town centre to watch as the business was destroyed.

The fire was fought by Carlow Fire Service. Assistance was sought from Kilkenny Fire Service. Kilkenny sent its snorkel and a water tender from Thomastown. It took almost two days to completely extinguish the fire. Nobody was hurt but the damage was estimated at the time to be well over one million pounds.

Haddens Department Store in Tullow St, Carlow was engulfed by flames and subsequently burned to the ground in 1984 On This Day.