24 December-Silent Night

Silent Night is one of the most popular of all Christmas carols. The carol dates back to the early 1800’s and has been translated into over 150 languages. It has been recorded by numerous singers including Bing Crosby, Elvis Presley, Mariah Carey and Justin Bieber. The recording of Silent Night by Bing Crosby is one of the best-selling records of all time.

The lyrics of Silent Night were written by Father Joseph Mohr in 1816 when he was serving as a priest in Mariapfarr in the state of Salzburg in Austria. The carol was written at a time of great upheaval in Europe following the Napoleonic Wars. In 1817 Fr Mohr was transferred as curate, over 130km away to the parish of St Nicholas in the town of Oberndorf. It is said that preparations for Christmas were disrupted due to flooding in the town in December 1818. During the flooding the church organ had been damaged.

On December 24th 1818 Fr Mohr brought the poem he had written to the home of the church organist Franz Gruber. Franz Gruber lived in the nearby village of Arnsdorf where he was the local schoolmaster. Since the church organ was not working, Fr Mohr asked Gruber to compose a melody which could be accompanied by a guitar in order that it could be sung later at midnight mass. Gruber composed the melody and later that evening Franz Gruber and Fr Mohr, backed by the church choir, sang silent night while Fr Mohr played the guitar.

Silent Night (Stille Nacht) was performed for the first time at midnight mass on Christmas Eve in St. Nicholas Church in Oberndorf, Austria in the year 1818 On This Day.

Silent-Night-Chapel in Oberndorf

by schun.oi on 2014-12-25 10:21:27

Fr Josef Mohr by didier.bier on 2009-08-12 11:36:08




13 December-Aer Lingus

Aer Lingus, the Irish airline, was founded on April 15th 1936. The name ‘Aer Lingus Éireann’ was proposed by Richard F O’Connor of Clydaville, Mallow, Co. Cork. He was an aviation enthusiast and Cork County Engineer (Surveyor). He promoted the idea of establishing a national airline as had already happened in all other European Countries with the exception at the time, it is said, of Ireland and Bulgaria. This was despite the fact that the first non-stop transatlantic flight from America by Alcock and Browne had landed near Clifden in 1919 and the first non-stop flight to America had taken off from Baldonnel near Dublin in 1928.

The new airline was registered on May 22nd 1936 and five days later made its first flight from Dublin to Bristol. Over the following years Aer Lingus expanded its services with flights to London, Liverpool and the Isle of Man. The outbreak of World War II interrupted the development of the airline. However after the war and with the advent of better aircraft the airline resumed flights to destinations in England. As time went on Aer Lingus began flying to continental Europe with flights to Brussels and Amsterdam. The Aer Lingus transatlantic service was inaugurated with a flight to New York in April 1958. Two years later the first Aer Lingus jet propelled aircraft entered service on the Dublin to New York route.

Today, Aer Lingus with a fleet of modern aircraft carries millions of passengers annually to Ireland, the United Kingdom, Continental Europe and the USA. The airline has made a huge contribution to Irish life. Throughout its history it has provided access to destinations abroad for the people of Ireland. It has played a large part in the development of tourism and trade in Ireland.

The first aircraft used by Aer Lingus was a six-seater De Havilland Dragon which was named ‘Iolar’ (Irish for Eagle). Aer Lingus made its maiden flight across the Irish Sea when it carried five passengers from Baldonnel Aerodrome in Dublin to Bristol (Whitchurch airfield) in England in the ‘Iolar’ on May 27th 1936.

The first Aer Lingus jet aircraft, the Boeing 707 ‘St. Patrick’ makes its inaugural flight from Dublin to New York in the year 1960 On This Day.

Iolar photo

Photo by Hawkeye UK

Iolar photo

Photo by Aero Icarus