29 January-Garda Patrick O’Halloran

Garda Patrick O Halloran was shot and mortally wounded whilst trying to arrest two bank raiders in Baltinglass Co Wicklow, Ireland in January 1924. He died twenty four hours after being shot. Garda O’Halloran was the third Garda Officer to be killed in the line of duty since the foundation of An Garda Síochána (The Civic Guard) in 1922.

Patrick O’Halloran was born at George’s Street, Gort Co Galway on May 15th 1896. He worked as a signalman with Great Southern and Western Railway before joining what then known as the Civic Guard on March 31st 1922. Following training he was initially stationed in Swords Co Dublin. He was later stationed in Skerries before being transferred to Baltinglass in October 1922. The Garda station in Baltinglass was attacked by a group of about fifty men on January 13th 1923. The mob was armed with crowbars and sledgehammers. Garda O’Halloran was one of just four Gardaí in the station at the time, who successfully defied the attackers.

While on duty on January 28th 1924 Garda O’Halloran was passing the National Bank (now Bank of Ireland) at about 2.00pm. He heard a gunshot and the sounds of a struggle from inside the bank. Realising that a bank robbery was in progress, he tried to gain entry but found the door locked. Garda O’Halloran blew his whistle and the two raiders, Peter Jordan and Felix McMullen, left the bank by the back door. They were pursued by O’Halloran. One of the raiders turned, shot and seriously wounded Garda O’Halloran. Though the raiders were pursued by others they managed to get away.

Garda O’Halloran was attended by local doctors. He was transferred the Curragh Military Hospital where he died twenty four hours later. Peter Jordan was later arrested in Monaghan and Felix McMullen was arrested in Liverpool. They were tried for murder in July 1924. McMullen was found guilty and sentenced to death. He was hanged in Mountjoy Gaol on August 1st 1924. Jordan was sentenced to ten years penal servitude and twenty lashes.

Garda Patrick O’Halloran, having been shot whilst trying to arrest two bank raiders in Baltinglass, Co Wicklow, died of his wounds at the age of 27 in the year 1924 On This Day.

Garda memorial photo

An Garda Síochána Memorial Garden [Dublin Castle] REF-1085805 by infomatique


29 January-Presentation Order Carlow

The Presentation Order of nuns was invited to establish a convent in Carlow town, Ireland in the early 1800’s. Kilkenny born priest Andrew Fitzgerald knew about the work the presentation sisters were doing in Kilkenny City. He was a professor in Carlow College at the time and decided to invite the sisters to establish a community in Carlow town.

The Presentation Sisters (Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary) were founded in the city of Cork by Nano (Honora) Nagle in 1775. Nano Nagle, who was educated in France, was born into a wealthy family in Ballygriffin, Cork, Ireland in 1718. The Presentation Order established schools with the aim of educating mainly the poor and the needy. Today schools established by the Order are found in 24 countries around the world.

The three founding sisters who came to Carlow from the Kilkenny Presentation Community were: Sr. Frances de Sales Meighan, Sr. Magdalen Breen and Sr. Catherine Madden. They opened their first school in the basement of a house on Tullow Street in Carlow town. Enrolment grew quickly and in 1819 a school to cater for 130 pupils was opened on College Street. The number of pupils continued to grow and by 1837 more classrooms were added to cater for an enrolment of over 300. Schools at the time, including so called hedge schools, charged around 20 pence weekly for tuition in English, Arithmetic and Writing. However the Presentation School provided free tuition.

The school continued to grow eventually becoming part of the Irish National School system and a new building was opened on Tullow Street in 1899. The school catered for primary school girls only until 1947, when it became a ‘secondary top’. This meant it provided education for girls to Intermediate level. It eventually became a Secondary School for girls in 1971. In 1960 the primary school moved to a new building on the Green Lane. The secondary school became co-educational and moved a new purpose built secondary school in 1982.

The Presentation Order arrived to establish their school in Carlow town in the year 1811 On This Day.

Presentation College Carlow photo

Veils by National Library of Ireland on the Commons

Photo by National Library of Ireland on The Commons




29 January-Val Vousden

Val Vousden was the stage name used by the actor William Francis Maher MacNevin, who was a native of Carlow town Ireland. Having made his stage debut at the age of six, he became one of Ireland’s leading character actors in the first half of the twentieth century. During his career he became best known for his portrayal of priests.

Val Vousden was born at 2 College Street, Carlow in January 1886. At the age of 6, he began his career as an actor playing the part of Tiny Tim in ‘A Christmas Carol’ in the Town Hall Theatre in Carlow in 1891. He received his primary education locally before going on to Mungret College, a Jesuit school near Limerick City. He continued to take part in drama productions as a student.

McNevin joined the East Lancashire Regiment of the British Army in Dublin, as a clerk, on August 26th 1904. He left after a year and returned to Carlow. He began touring with theatre companies in Ireland and England and by about 1910 started to use the stage name Val Vousden. He appears to have chosen his stage name after the Dublin born entertainer Valentine Vousden who was born in Moore Street, Dublin in 1821. Valentine Vousden had become famous not just in Ireland but also in England, New Zealand and the United States. He died in Bexhill-on-Sea in 1906.

The outbreak of World War 1 occurred while Bill McNevin, now known as Val Vousden, was touring with the Carrickford Repertory Company in Cardiff, Wales. Vousden rejoined the army and served in France with the Welsh Regiment rising to the rank of Regimental Sergeant Major. After the war he returned to Dublin and resumed his career as an actor. He performed at various theatres in Dublin and toured widely both in Ireland and Great Britain.

Val Vousden also became a well-known performer on national radio between 1930 and 1950. He presented the first light entertainment show on Radio Éireann. He appeared in a number of films including ‘Irish Destiny’, ‘Captain Boycott’ and ‘The Odd Man Out’. Val Vousden died at the age of 66 at Clonskeagh Hospital, Dublin on June 6th 1951

Val Vousden, actor and entertainer was born in the year 1886 On This Day.

Plaque to Val Vousden on house in College Street, Carlow town.




28 January-David Tidmarsh

David Tidmarsh, who was a decorated flying ace during World War I, was a native of Limerick, Ireland. He was awarded the Military Cross by King George V in 1916. Tidmarsh also served as a temporary squadron leader in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve during World War II.

David Mary Tidmarsh was born in Lota, Limerick in 1892. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Royal Irish Regiment in April 1915 at the age of 23. He transferred to the Royal Flying Corps and was appointed a Flying Officer in January 1916.

Tidmarsh was credited with seven aerial victories while flying with the Royal Flying Corps (Royal Airforce from 1917) during World War I. He was awarded the Military Cross for ‘conspicuous gallantry’ on the 31st of May 1916. He was shot down in aerial combat on the 11th April 1917 and spent the remainder of the war in a prisoner of war camp.

After the War Tidmarsh was repatriated and discharged from the RAF. He re-joined the RAF at the beginning of World War II and was promoted to squadron leader in September 1942. He resigned his commission due to ill-health in January 1944 and returned to Ireland. He died aged 52 at a nursing home in Dublin on the 27th of November 1944.

David Tidmarsh was born in Limerick in the year 1892 On This Day.

Second Lieutenant David M. Tidmarsh

By South Dublin County Council

Limerick city photo

Photo by National Library of Ireland on The Commons





28 January-W B Yeats

William Butler Yeats was an Irish poet who is regarded as one of the greatest poets of the 20th century. Often referred to as Ireland’s ‘national poet’ Yeats was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1923.

William Butler Yeats was born at Sandymount Avenue, Dublin, Ireland on June 13th 1865. The Yeats Family moved to Sligo to live with his mother’s family shortly after William was born. When he was aged two the family moved to England to facilitate their father’s career in art. However Yeats continued to spend his summers in Sligo.

Yeats attended school in England until the family returned to Dublin in 1880. In 1884 he entered the Metropolitan School of Art and his first poems were published in the Dublin University Review in 1885.

Yeats became one of the most important people of the Irish Literary Revival. He founded The Abbey Theatre in 1904 with Lady Gregory, Galway playwright Edward Martyn, Mayo author George Moore and others. Two of the first plays ever staged at the Abbey, ‘On Baile’s Strand’ and ‘Cathleen Ní Houlihan’, were both written by Yeats.

Though he was involved in the Nationalist movement Yeats did not involve himself in events surrounding the Easter Rising of 1916. He was appointed to the Seanad (Senate) in 1922 and served for two terms where he frequently spoke out against hatred, discrimination and bigotry. In a speech in the Seanad on June 11th 1925 he stated, ‘If you show that this country, southern Ireland, is going to be governed by Roman Catholic ideas and by Catholic ideas alone, you will never get the North. You will put a wedge in the midst of this nation’. He also served as Chair of a coinage committee which was established to select designs for the currency of the Irish Free State.

Yeats was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1923 “for his always inspired poetry, which in a highly artistic form gives expression to the spirit of a whole nation.” He continued to be a prolific writer throughout his lifetime and in 1936 was appointed editor of the Oxford Book of Modern Verse, 1892–1935. Yeats died in Menton, France in 1939 and was buried at Roquebrune-Cap-Martin. In fulfilment of his wishes his body was moved to Drumcliffe Churchyard in Sligo in 1948 where his epitaph which comes from his poem, “Under Ben Bulben”, reads:

Cast a cold Eye

On Life, on Death.

Horseman, pass by!

William Butler Yeats died at the age of 73 in the year 1939 On This Day.

W.B. Yeats by National Library of Ireland on The Commons on 1923-01-01 00:00:00

W.B. Yeats by Erin Costa on 2011-09-22 10:30:25