27 December-Abbey Theatre

Máire Nic Shiubhlaigh, whose father Mathew Walker ran a printing business in Carlow town, Ireland for some time, played the lead role in Cathleen Ní Houlihan when the Abbey Theatre opened in Dublin in December 1904. The plays ‘Cathleen Ní Houlihan’ and ‘On Baile’s Strand’, both written by W B Yeats, were the first plays staged at the Abbey on opening night.

The theatre was located at 26 Lower Abbey Street in the Hibernian Theatre of Varieties which was also known as the Mechanics Hall. The building had been purchased by Ms Annie Horniman a theatre patron and manager from Forest Hill, London. She had helped stage plays by Yeats and George Bernard Shaw in London. Yeats persuaded her to help stage productions in Dublin.

The theatre was popular and successful in the early years but as time went on began to suffer from poor box office returns. It was offered as a free gift to the nation in 1924. In 1925 The Abbey became the first state subsidised theatre in the English speaking world and it still continues to receive an annual grant from the state.

Often referred to as the National Theatre of Ireland The Abbey Theatre building was destroyed by fire on July 17th 1951. Following the fire the theatre moved to the Queen’s Theatre on Pearse Street where it remained until 1966.

The old Abbey Theatre was demolished. The Architect Michael Scott who had completed the nearby Busáras (Bus station in Dublin for Intercity and regional bus services) in 1953 designed a new building for the theatre. The foundation stone for the new building was laid by President Éamon de Valera on September 3rd 1963. The Abbey Theatre was officially re-opened on July 18th 1966.

The Abbey Theatre in Dublin first opened its doors to the public in the year 1904 On This Day.

Abbey Theatre @ Dublin


26 December-Indian Ocean Earthquake 2004

The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake was of magnitude 9.2 on the Richter Scale. It was the third largest earthquake ever recorded on a seismograph. The epicentre of the earthquake was located in the Indian Ocean at a depth of 30km, near the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia.

Because of the earthquake, a tsunami radiated across the Indian Ocean. It is reported that at least 230,000 people in fourteen countries, including Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Thailand and India, lost their lives in the tsunami. Waves up to 30m high travelled at speeds of up to 800km/h across the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal. In some areas the waves travelled up to 2km inland. The tsunami caused the greatest amount of destruction in Indonesia, most particularly in the province of Aceh.

The impact of the tsunami occurred several hours after the earthquake. Despite this people in almost all the areas affected were taken completely by surprise. This was because there was no adequate warning system in place. The Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System was established following the disaster. Many of the coastal areas which were destroyed in the tsunami have been rebuilt.

The Indian Ocean Earthquake and resultant tsunami occurred in the year 2004 On This Day.

Tsunami photo

Tsunami 2004: Aceh, Indonesia by RNW.org

Photo by RNW.org



26 December-Joe Dolan

Joe Dolan was a musician and singer who was a native of Co Westmeath, Ireland. He is regarded as one of the elite of the Irish showband era. With his brother Ben, Joe Dolan was a founder of, and lead singer with the Drifters Showband.

Joseph Francis Robert Dolan was born in Mullingar, Co Westmeath on October 16th 1939. He was educated locally and later qualified as a newspaper compositor. Interested in music from a young age Dolan bought his first guitar at the age of 17. He went on to have a successful national and international career.

Joe Dolan died in Dublin at the age of 68 in the year 2007 On This Day.

Joe Dola


25 December-Santa Claus

St Nicholas of Myra who inspired the legend of Santa Claus is said to be buried near Jerpoint Abbey close to the town of Thomastown, Co Kilkenny, Ireland. It is thought that St Nicholas came from a wealthy family and left gifts anonymously for the poor.

St Nicholas inspired the legend of Santa Claus who, of course, brings gifts every year to children all over the world On This Day.

A very happy Christmas to everyone from all at OTD.IE

Santa Claus

Santa Claus photo

 Clker-Free-Vector-Images (Pixabay)

25 December-Shane MacGowan

Shane MacGowan is a musician, singer and songwriter. He is best known as lead singer and songwriter of the Celtic punk band The Pogues. With Jem Finer, MacGowan co-wrote his best known song, ‘Fairytale of New York’. The song was first released in 1987. Often referred to as the best Christmas song of all time, Fairytale of New York achieved one million sales in 2013.

Shane Patrick Lysaght MacGowan was born in England to Irish parents in 1957. Shortly after his birth his family moved to Puckaun, Co Tipperary. When Shane was about six years old the family moved to London. In 1971 at the age of 13 MacGowan was awarded a literature scholarship and was accepted into Westminster School. A year later he was found in possession of drugs and was expelled from school.

The first band formed by MacGowan was The Nipple Erectors. Formed in 1976 it was a punk rock band, which was later renamed ‘The Nips’. MacGowan became the lead singer with the Pogues when it was formed in 1982. The band achieved international success in the 1980’s and 90’s. MacGowan and The Pogues parted company in 1991. They reformed in 2001 and continued to perform in Europe and the United States.

Shane MacGowan was born in Pembury, Kent, England, in the year 1957 On This Day.

Shane MacGowan