31 August-Frederick Douglass

A plaque was unveiled in Imperial Hotel, Cork in 2012 to commemorate visit of Frederick Douglas to Cork City, Ireland in 1845. Frederick Douglass was an African-American who escaped from slavery in the state of Maryland. Following his escape Douglass became a leader of the abolitionist movement in America.

Frederick Douglass escaped from slavery on September 3rd 1838. He travelled first to New York and later settled in Massachusetts. In the years following his escape he travelled the northern states to speak at rallies demanding the abolition of slavery.

In 1845 Douglass visited Ireland, where he met Daniel O Connell. He gave lectures, which were very popular, in several locations across Ireland. In a letter to the abolitionist William Garrison, Douglass wrote: I have travelled almost from the hill of Howth to the Giant’s Causeway and from the Giant’s Causeway to Cape Clear.

During his travels Douglass spoke at meetings in Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Belfast, Wexford and Waterford. He described the great sense of freedom which he felt while visiting Ireland. “I am covered with the soft, grey fog of the Emerald Isle. I breathe, and lo! The chattel becomes a man. I gaze around in vain for one who will question my equal humanity, claim me as his slave, or offer me an insult”.

When he visited Cork City Frederick Douglas stayed at the Imperial Hotel. A plaque commemorating his stay was unveiled at the Imperial Hotel in the year 2012 On This Day.

[Statue of Frederick Douglass.] by New York Public Library on 2009-10-07 09:57:05

Waterford City Hall photo

Frederick Douglass

Photo by Marion Doss


31 August-Violet Gibson Mussolini Assassin

Violet Gibson from Dublin, shot and injured the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, when she tried to assassinate him in Rome on April 7th 1926. Benito Mussolini was journalist and socialist politician who founded the Fascist party in Italy in 1919. By 1922 Italy was in political chaos and Mussolini was invited by King Victor Emmanuel to form a government. Mussolini took the title of ‘Il Duce’. He gradually dismantled the institutions of democratic government and appointed himself dictator.

The Honourable Violet Albina Gibson was born in Dublin in August 1876. She was the daughter of Edward Gibson (Lord Ashbourne) who was the Lord Chancellor of Ireland for lengthy periods from 1885 to 1906. She had four brothers and three sisters and grew up in privileged circumstances. Her eldest brother Willie who succeeded his father as Lord Ashbourne was a member of the Gaelic League (Conradh na Gaeilge) and insisted on speaking in Irish even in the House of Lords.

Violet was described as frail and had suffered several serious illnesses, including pleurisy, by the time she reached the age of 20. When she was 26, like her brother Willie, she converted to catholicism. A few years later moved to London. Following the death of several members of her family, and her fiancé, Gibson moved to Paris at the age of 33. There she became involved in the pacifist movement. She continued to suffer from ill-health and was hospitalised with a nervous breakdown in 1922 at the age of 46. During her recovery she moved with a nurse to Rome where they lived in a convent.

Mussolini at this time was at the height of his power. On the day Gibson attempted to assassinate him, he had delivered a speech to the International Congress of Surgeons at their meeting in Rome. He was walking from the building when Gibson fired at him from a few feet. However, at the moment Gibson pulled the trigger, Mussolini moved his head to acknowledge the cheering crowds and the bullet grazed his nose. He staggered backwards with blood streaming down his face. The crowd attacked Gibson but she was rescued by the police. She was deported to England where she spent the remainder of her life in St Andrew’s Hospital in Northampton.

Violet Gibson from Dublin, who wounded Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, when she attempted to assassinate him, was born in the year 1876 On This Day.

Mussolini by Oldmaison on 2008-02-12 22:56:32

30 August-Dana Rosemary Scallon

Dana Rosemary Scallon is an Irish singer and politician. She rose to fame by winning the 1970 Eurovision Song contest, singing the ballad ‘All Kinds of Everything’. A recording of the song which was written by Derry Lindsay and Jackie Smith became an international hit.

Dana Rosemary Scallon was born Rosemary Brown in London in 1951. Her father was a native of Derry, Northern Ireland. When Dana was five, the Brown family moved back to Derry where she grew up. She was runner-up in the Irish National Song Contest in 1969. She won the contest in 1970. Following her win Dana represented Ireland in the 1970 Eurovision Song Contest in Amsterdam, which she won. It was Ireland’s first time to win the contest.

Dana went on to make several successful recordings. She also hosted shows on television. In the 1980’s she had a successful career as a catholic music vocalist. In 1997 she was requested to run for the office of President of Ireland by the Christian Community Centre. She failed to get elected, but in 1999 she was elected MEP (Member of the European Parliament) for Connaught-Ulster. She failed to get re-elected in 2004. In the 2011 Irish Presidential election she ran as an independent but was eliminated on the first count. She now lives in Galway in the west of Ireland.

Dana Rosemary Scallon was born in the year 1951 On This Day.

Derry by aebaker417 on 2016-05-23 14:13:10

30 August-Irish Examiner

The Irish Examiner is one of Ireland’s national daily newspapers. It has its headquarters at Lapp’s Quay in Cork City and circulates chiefly in the south of the country, especially in the Munster region. It is one of the longest surviving national daily newspapers in Ireland. The Irish Examiner is published in broadsheet format and has a circulation of around 70,000.

When first published in 1841 the paper was known as the Cork Examiner. It was an evening paper published three times weekly. It was later published six times weekly as a morning paper. The paper was known as the Cork Examiner until 1996, when the name was changed to the Examiner. In 2000 the name was changed to the Irish Examiner.

The Irish Examiner was first published in the year 1841 On This Day.



30 August-Michael and John Banim

Michael and John Banim were writers who were natives of Kilkenny City, Ireland. During their lifetimes the brothers collaborated in many published works including ‘Tales of The O Hara Family’. For Michael writing was a part time occupation but John became a fulltime author.

Michael Banim was born on August 5th 1796 and his brother John was born April 3rd 1798. They were both educated at the English Academy in Kilkenny and later at Kilkenny College. Michael then began training in law but left at the age of sixteen to work in his father’s business. John showed a talent for art and went to Dublin to study the subject at the Royal Dublin Society Metropolitan College of Art.

Having completed his studies John returned to Kilkenny where he became a teacher of drawing and art. He fell in love with a seventeen year old girl called Anne who was one of his pupils. However the girl’s parents objected and removed the girl from Kilkenny. Her death a few months later had a strong mental and physical effect on Banim. He stopped teaching art and began writing for the Leinster Gazette of which he eventually became editor.

In 1820 John Banim moved to Dublin where he worked as a writer contributing to several Dublin newspapers. In 1821 he published a play called Damon and Pythias. The play became a success and was produced the Theatre Royal in Dublin and the Covent Garden in London. He returned to Kilkenny where he married Ellen Ruth and made plans with his brother Michael to write books which would be illustrative of Irish life.

John Banim then moved to London where he wrote for magazines and the stage. The Banim brothers began writing the material on which they had agreed and sent each other their completed works for correction and criticism. They published the first series of ‘Tales, by the O’Hara Family’ in April 1825. The publication was a success. John Banim later published other works but his health was deteriorating and in 1829 he moved to France on the advice of his doctors.

He continued to write but his health did not improve and he got into financial difficulties. A campaign, which was led by The Times newspaper, was conducted to help him financially. The campaign raised enough money in England and Ireland to ensure his financial security. He returned to Ireland and was granted a pension. He lived for the remainder of his life in Windgap near Kilkenny city where died at the age of forty-four.

Michael Banim stayed in Kilkenny most of his life where he served as Postmaster. He was also elected as Mayor of Kilkenny and continued writing following the death of his brother. He retired and in 1873 moved to Booterstown in Dublin where he died a year later at the age of 78.

John Banim died in the year 1842 and his brother Michael died in the year 1874 On This Day.

Image from page 9 of “The life of John Banim, the Irish novelist, author of “Damon and Pythias”, &c. and one of the writers of “Tales by the O’Hara family”. With extracts from his correspondence, general and literary” (1857) by Internet Archive Book Images on 1857-01-01 00:00:00