03 October-Roddy McDowall

Roddy McDowall was an award winning actor and film director who became famous for portraying ‘Cornelius’ in the film ‘Planet of the Apes’. He starred in numerous films, television and radio show and as ‘Caesar’ in the later series of the ‘Planet of the Apes’ films.

Roddy McDowall was born Roderick Andrew Anthony Jude McDowall in London, England on September 17th 1928. His mother was Irish and his father Scottish. Having appeared in several films as a child he moved with his family to the USA in 1940. He continued his acting career appearing in films such as the Academy Award winning film ‘How Green was My Valley’ in 1941.

McDowall went on to have a successful film career in the US, appearing in films such as ‘Bedknobs and Broomsticks’, ‘The Poseidon Adventure’ and ‘A Bug’s Life’. He also had a successful career on the stage and as a voice artist. For several year McDowall served on the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (Oscars).

Roddy McDowall, award winning actor and film director who became famous for portraying ‘Cornelius’ in the film ‘Planet of the Apes’, died at his home in California in the year 1998 On This Day.

Roddy McDowall

 

 

 

 

21 March-Sonia O’Sullivan

Sonia O’Sullivan, who is a native of Co Cork, is one of Ireland’s most successful athletes. She represented Ireland at four Olympic Games, winning an Olympic Silver Medal in 2000. O’Sullivan also won European Gold and World Gold Medals. She was Chef De Mission for the Irish team at the 2012 Olympics in London.

Sonia “Fran” O’Sullivan was born in Cobh, Co Cork on November 28th 1969. She was educated at Cobh Vocational School and began her athletic career with Ballymore Running Club in the town of Cobh. In 1988 O’Sullivan was awarded a scholarship to Villanova University in Philadelphia, USA. She graduated from there with a degree in Accounting in 1992.

Prior to winning her Olympic Medal, Sonia O’Sullivan had a long list of successes to her credit. These included:

•Three World Championship Gold Medals

•Three European Championship Gold Medals

•Four World Records

Sonia O’Sullivan won the Gold Medal in the World Cross Country Championships in Marrakech, Morocco in the year 1998 On This Day.

 

 

 

 

27 February-British Throne Succession

The line of succession to the throne of England was through the male line for 1,000 years. Known as primogeniture it meant that the first born son was automatically the heir to the throne. The current monarch, Elizabeth II succeeded her father to the throne because she had no brothers and she was the elder of two girls.

In 1998 Britain’s House of Lords agreed to give a monarch’s first-born daughter the same claim to the throne as a first-born son. The change is unlikely to have any immediate impact. Prince Charles has no older sister. His heir, Prince William has no sisters and the eldest child of William is a boy. In 2013, laws which banned anyone in the line of succession to the British throne, from marrying a Roman Catholic were scrapped.

Britain’s House of Lords agreed to end 1000 years of male preference, by giving a first-born daughter of the monarch the same claim to the throne as a first-born son, in the year 1998 On This Day.

Queen Elizabeth II in Ireland 2011

 

 

06 August-Michelle de Bruin

Michelle de Bruin (née Smith) is, to date the most successful Olympian in Ireland. She won three Gold Medals and one Bronze Medal in swimming competitions at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia. She also won four Gold and three Silver European Championship Medals. She won her last medal at the European Championships in 1997.

Michelle de Bruin was born Michelle Smith in Rathcoole Co Dublin on December 16th 1969. She began her swimming training in 1998 at the age of nine. In that year she won the All-Ireland Community Games competition. She won her first Gold Medals at a novice competition, and at the age of 14, she became National Junior and Senior Irish Champion.

Smith moved to the United States to study Communications (film and television) at the University of Houston. At the university she was able to avail of advanced training techniques. Her times improved and she qualified for the Irish team to compete in the Seoul Olympics in 1988. She was eliminated in the qualifying rounds.

Having graduated with a degree in Communications from the University of Houston, Smith again qualified for the Irish team to compete in the Barcelona Olympics in 1992. Despite injury she competed but again was eliminated in the qualifying rounds. After the 1992 Olympics Smith moved to Holland where she trained with Erik de Bruin whom she had met in Barcelona.

At the European Championships in Vienna in 1995 Michelle Smith won Gold Medals in both the 200m butterfly and 200m individual medley. She qualified for the Olympic Games in Atlanta in 1996. She won three Gold Medals (400m freestyle, 200m individual medley and 400m individual medley). She also won a Bronze Medal in the 200m butterfly. Her success caused controversy and a disappointed American swimmer, Janet Evans, highlighted accusations that Smith had been accused of doping. The accusations however were never proven and Evans later apologised to Smith. Smith competed in the European Championships in Seville in 1997 where she won two Gold and one Silver medal.

In 1998 Michelle who was now married to Erik de Bruin was accused by FINA (Fédération Internationale de Natation) of tampering with a urine sample and was banned from competition for four years. She denies any wrongdoing and retains her Olympic Medals. She retired from swimming in 1999 and began studying law at University College Dublin. She was conferred with the degree of Barrister at Law of King’s Inns in 2005. She now lives in Kells, Co Kilkenny with her family and practises as a barrister.

Michelle de Bruin (née Smith), who denies any wrongdoing and retains her Olympic Medals, was given a four year ban from swimming by FINA in the year 1998 On This Day.

Olympic Park, Atlanta

 

 

 

 

26 April-Catriona McKiernan

Catriona McKiernan is a native of Co Cavan, Ireland. She is the winner of numerous long distance and marathon races and is widely regarded as one of the best ever cross country runners. In 1998 McKiernan became the first Irish person to win the London Marathon.

Catriona McKiernan was born in Cornafean, about 13km west of Cavan town on November 30th 1969. Interested in sport from a young age she played Gaelic games before concentrating on athletics. She represented Ireland at the Olympics in 1992 and in 1996. In 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1995 she was the winner of the silver medal at the World Cross Country Championships.

In 1997 McKiernan began competing in the Marathon, winning her first race in Berlin that year. In 1998 she was the winner of the marathon in both London and Amsterdam. Due to injury she was unable to compete in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney and the 2004 Olympics in Athens. She announced her retirement in 2004.

Catriona McKiernan became the first Irish person to win the London Marathon in the year 1998 On This Day.

London Marathon