30 July-Volkswagen Beetle

Volkswagen Beetle, the iconic car from Volkswagen is one of the most popular cars of all time. It was manufactured by Volkswagen from 1938 until 2003. During that time more than 21 million of them were made. In 1972 the Volkswagen Beetle replaced the Ford Model T as the top selling car in the world.

Ferdinand Porsche, automotive engineer, submitted a design for a people’s car, a ‘Volkswagen’ to the new German Reich government in 1934. He was awarded a contract to produce the car by Adolf Hitler. Production was interrupted by World War II but in 1954 one million Beetles were produced.

The Volkswagen Beetle ceased to be manufactured at its main factory in Wolfsburg, Germany in 1974. However the car continued to be manufactured at smaller plants in Germany and in countries around the world, including Ireland. Large manufacturing plants in Brazil and Mexico continued mainstream production of the Beetle until 2003.

The last of the ‘old style’ Volkswagen Beetles rolled off the assembly line in Puebla, Mexico in the year 2003 On This Day.

Volkswagen Beetle



27 July-Bob Hope

Bob Hope was an award winning comedian, actor and entertainer who was a native of England. In a career which spanned almost 80 years he was successful in a wide range of entertainment media. Hope made over 50 tours to entertain American Military personnel on active duty.

Bob Hope was born Leslie Townes Hope in London, England on May 29th 1903. When he was four years old he emigrated with his family to the United States. He grew up in Cleveland, Ohio where in the early 1920’s he began his career in show business. He performed on Broadway in ‘Sidewalks of New York’ in 1927.

During his career Bob Hope appeared in over 70 films. He also performed in a large number of television programmes and stage productions. He was the host of the Academy Awards on nineteen occasions. He was the recipient of several awards including five Academy Awards. He was conferred with over 50 honorary degrees and in 1998 he received an honorary knighthood.

Bob Hope died in Los Angeles, California at the age of 100 in the year 2003 On This Day.

1964 American Tourister Luggage Advertisement with Bob Hope Newsweek November 30 1964




12 June-Gregory Peck

Gregory Peck was an actor and Hollywood star who was a native of the United States. The recipient of several awards, he appeared in over 50 films during his career. He is best known for his roles in films such as ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, ‘How the West Was Won’, ‘The Omen’ and ‘The Boys from Brazil’.

Eldred Gregory Peck was born on April 5, 1916, in San Diego, California on April 5th 1916. Of Irish ancestry, he was related to Thomas Ashe who played a major part in the 1916 Easter Rising. Peck, who once considered entering the priesthood, enrolled at the University of California, Berkeley as a medical student in 1934. At Berkeley he appeared in several plays in the university’s Little Theatre. He became interested in acting and left University to study acting in New York.

In 1944 Peck’s first film, ‘Days of Glory’ was released. During his career he went on to appear in over 50 films and was nominated on five occasions for an Academy Award. He was awarded the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1963 for his role in the film ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’. Peck was the recipient of many other awards including several Golden Globe awards. He was a founding patron of the University College Dublin School of Film and was made a Doctor of Letters by the National University of Ireland in 2000.

Gregory Peck, award winning actor who is best known for his role as Atticus Finch in ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, died aged 87 in the year 2003 On This Day.

Gregory Peck

Gregory Peck

20 January-Tony O’Malley

Tony O’Malley was an artist who was a native of Co Kilkenny, Ireland. His father was from Clare Island off the Mayo coast. O’Malley was born in Callan Co Kilkenny in 1913. After completing education he began working with the Munster and Leinster Bank now part of Allied Irish Bank (AIB). Whilst working at the bank he began drawing and painting as a hobby.

In the 1940’s O’Malley contracted TB which gave rise to long periods of hospitalisation. He began painting in earnest while in convalescence. When he returned to bank work, he continued to paint and in 1951 he held the first exhibition of his work.

In 1958 O’Malley, who was by then an entirely self-taught artist, retired from the bank to paint full time. He had visited St Ives in Cornwall, then an important centre for abstract artists, on a number of occasions during the 1950’s. He settled in St Ives in 1960 in the company of many leading artists of the day. The Arts Council of Great Britain provided subsidised studios and accommodation in St Ives for artists allowing them to concentrate on their work. Tony O’Malley was a beneficiary of the scheme. Now O’Malley’s former home and the shop his parents owned in Callan has been transformed by his wife into a residence where artists can work and live.

Whilst living in St Ives, O’Malley met Canadian artist Jane Harris. They married in 1973 and began to live both in the Bahamas and Callan. In 1990 they made Ireland their home and by then O’Malley was one of the major figures in Irish contemporary art. President Mary Robinson conferred on him the title of Saoí of Aosdana in 1993. In 1994, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by Trinity College, Dublin.

Tony O’Malley, who is regarded as one of Ireland’s leading painters, died at the age of 89 in the year 2003 On This Day.


Tony O Malley photo

O’Malley’s Visual Journals by topgold




12 January-Maurice Gibb

Maurice Gibb CBE together with his brothers Robin and Barry formed the pop group The Bee Gees. The group, which was formed in 1958, became one of the world’s best-selling and most successful music groups of all time.

Maurice Ernest Gibb and his twin brother Robin Hugh Gibb were born on December 22nd 1949 in Douglas Isle of Man. When Maurice was four years old the Gibb family moved to Manchester in 1955. Always interested in music and singing, the Gibb brothers began performing in public from an early age. Following the formation of the Bee Gees, Maurice, a singer and songwriter, played both guitar and keyboard.

The Bee Gees had their first international hit in 1967. During the 1970’s they enjoyed success with songs such as ‘Staying Alive’ and ‘How Deep Is Your Love’. The three brothers continued to record and perform until Maurice died in Miami Beach, Florida in 2003.

Maurice Gibb CBE died at the age of 53 in the year 2003 On This Day.