18 February-Queen Mary I

Mary I was the first Queen of England and Ireland. She reigned from 1553 until her death in 1558. During her reign, Co Laois in the Irish midlands was planted with English settlers and was called Queen’s County. Though the county was renamed Laois following Irish independence in 1922, property deeds are still updated as being in Queen’s County. The adjacent county of Offaly was called King’s County after the husband of Mary I, King Phillip II of Spain.

Queen Mary I was born in Greenwich London in 1516. She was the only surviving daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon. She became Queen of England and Ireland following the death of Edward VI. During her reign Mary reversed the Protestant reforms which had been introduced by Edward. Over 280 Protestants were executed and many more went into exile. She died in London on November 17th 1558 and was buried in Westminster Abbey. She was succeeded by Elizabeth I who, when she died in 1603 was buried in the same tomb as Mary.

Mary I, who was the first Queen of England and Ireland, was born in the year 1516 On This Day.

Mary in an ornate dress

Mary I of England by Hans Eworth

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17 February-Derrynaflan Chalice

The Derrynaflan Chalice was discovered near Killenaule, Co Tipperary, Ireland. It dates from the 8th or 9th century and was part of what is known as the Derrynaflan Hoard which was discovered in 1980. The Hoard consists of five liturgical vessels which are now on display in the National Museum of Ireland.

Derrynaflan is an area of pastureland surrounded by bogland. It was the site of an abbey. The Hoard was probably hidden when the abbey came under attack from the Vikings. In 1980 a Mr Webb and his son discovered the Derrynaflan Hoard using a metal detector. A follow-up excavation by the National Museum discovered other objects.

The Derrynaflan Chalice was discovered near Killenaule, Co Tipperary, Ireland in the year 1980 On This Day.

National Museum of Ireland

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16 February-Jehovah’s Witnesses

Charles Russell was a native of America. He founded the International Bible Students Association from which developed Jehovah’s Witnesses. Jehovah’s Witnesses is a Christian denomination which does not believe in the Trinity. With a worldwide membership of over 8 million it has its headquarters in Warwick, New York.

Charles Taze Russell was born in Allegheny, Pennsylvania in 1852. He was influenced by the Adventist movement begun by the Baptist preacher, William Miller. Miller had predicted that the world would end with the second coming of Christ on October 22nd 1844. Russell preached that the ‘invisible return’ of Christ had occurred in 1877. He predicted that what he called the Gentile times would end in 1914 after which Christ would rule the earth. Russell travelled widely preaching to his many congregations. He died on October 31st 1916.

Charles Taze Russell founder of the International Bible Students Association from which developed Jehovah’s Witnesses was born in Pennsylvania, USA in the year 1852 On This Day.

Jehovah Witness