30 May-John B Keane

John B Keane was a playwright and novelist who was a native of Co Kerry, Ireland. He was also the author of ‘Letters of a Successful TD’ and ‘Letters of a Love-Hungry Farmer’. Keane was a member of Aosdána and an Honorary Life Member of the Royal Dublin Society.

John Brendan Keane was born in Listowel Co Kerry in 1928. He was educated locally and in 1946 began working as a chemist’s assistant. He later said that his chief task there was preparing ointment for the Earl of Doneraile’s piles. In 1951 Keane moved to England where he worked at various jobs. He returned to Ireland in 1955 and bought a pub in his native Listowel. The pub gave him the opportunity to observe the changes in rural Ireland during his lifetime.

Keane’s first play ‘Sive’ was rejected by the Abbey Theatre in Dublin. However it won first prize in the All-Ireland Drama Festival in Athlone in 1955. The play was a great success but was not staged by the Abbey Theatre until 1985. By then Keane was a popular playwright, novelist and essayist. He went on to write 26 publications including, The Field (1965), Big Maggie (1969) and Moll (1991).

John B Keane, playwright and novelist died at his home in Listowel, Co Kerry in the year 2002 On This Day.

John B Keane

16 May-First Female Train Driver

Teresa Carey became Ireland’s first female train driver in 2002. She began her driving career with Iarnrod Eireann (Irish Rail) at the age of 26 on the Cork to Dublin route. The Cork to Dublin route is one of the busiest in Ireland.

Teresa Carey was born in Radford, Coventry, England in 1976. She moved to Tralee, Co Kerry, Ireland when she was three years old. In 1994 she began working on the railways. She worked as a caterer, gatekeeper and train guard before beginning her locomotive training in 2001. Having successfully completed her training she drove the 9.05am train from Kent Station in Cork to Heuston Station in Dublin the following year.

Teresa Carey became Ireland’s first female train driver in the year 2002 On This Day.

Cork Kent Railway Station

Kent Station in Cork

 

29 June-Rosemary Clooney

Rosemary Clooney was a singer, and actress who was a native of Kentucky, USA. She was the aunt of actor George Clooney. Her ancestors lived in the village of Windgap, Co Kilkenny Ireland. Clooney’s great-grandfather, Nicholas Clooney, emigrated to America in 1852. The family settled in Kentucky.

Rosemary Clooney was born in Maysville, Kentucky on May 23rd 1928. She made her singing debut at the age of 13 and toured with a big band during the 1940’s. She had her first big hit with ‘Come On-a My House’ in 1951. She starred with Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye in ‘White Christmas’ in 1954.

Following a period during the 1960’s, when her career ran into difficulties, Rosemary Clooney returned to performing in 1977. She made her comeback when she appeared with Bing Crosby to mark his 50 years in show business. She continued to perform for the rest of her life and was awarded the Society of Singers Lifetime Achievement Award in 1998.

Rosemary Clooney died at the age of 74 in the year 2002 On This Day.

Rosemary Clooney

 

 

 

20 May-East Timor

The Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste also known as East Timor occupies the Eastern section of the island of Timor in Southeast Asia. It was recognised as an independent state by the United Nations in May 2002. East Timor occupies an area of 14,609 km2 and has a population of 1.2 million.

The Portuguese began to colonise the island of Timor during the 1600’s. The island was split between the Portuguese and the Dutch in 1749. However it was not until 1914 that a definitive border was established between the two sections of the island by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague.

Following the 1974 coup, Portugal began to withdraw from its colonies. East Timor declared itself independent on November 28th 1975. This led to the country being invaded by Indonesia nine days later. The invasion was resisted by the people of East Timor and over the following two decades over 100,000 people died.

A referendum on independence supervised by the UN was held in 1999. The people of East Timor voted overwhelmingly for independence. Timor-Leste became an internationally recognized independent state in 2002.

East Timor was internationally recognised as an independent state in the year 2002 On This Day.

Bisikleta iha Dili, East Timor

Maubisse in the early morning, about 70km south of Dili

 

 

21 March-Carlow Courthouse

Carlow Courthouse is located at the junction of the Athy and Dublin roads in Carlow town, Ireland. The courthouse, which is an impressive public building, was constructed between 1828 and 1834. It is one of Ireland’s finest examples of ancient Greek revivalist architecture. The building is based on the Temple of Llissus in Athens, Greece.

Completed in 1834, Carlow Courthouse was designed by architect William Vitruvius Morrison. It is built of bricks hewn from Carlow granite (ashlar granite). A flight of steps leads from street level to the portico which is supported by eight columns. Inside there are two D-shaped courtrooms, to the rear of which are the offices of the court. The building was designed to make maximum use of natural light. Prisoner cells are located in the plinth beneath the building.

The courthouse is surrounded by iron railings which stand on a limestone base. The piers at the gates consist of clusters of fasces topped by a Roman axe, known as a halberd. In Roman times these symbolised a magistrate’s power and jurisdiction.

The cannon on the steps of Carlow Courthouse was captured from the Russian Army during the Crimean War (1853-1856). It commemorates all the Irish soldiers who lost their lives during the Crimean War. It was donated to the town of Carlow by the British Minister of War Lord Panmure in 1858.

After being in use for over 160 years the Carlow Courthouse building was in need of major refurbishment. A survey identified a number of serious defects. Plans for the restoration of the building were drawn up in consultation with the Heritage Council. The refurbishment work was carried out and the building was carefully restored. Restoration work on the railings has yet to be undertaken.

Carlow Courthouse was officially re-opened following major refurbishment in the year 2002 On This Day.

Carlow Courthouse