27 January-Kaiser Wilhelm II

Kaiser Wilhelm II was the last Emperor of Germany and King of Prussia. He reigned for thirty years until his abdication on November 9th 1918. Wilhelm was a grandson of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

Wilhelm was born in Berlin in January 1859. He became Kaiser in 1888 at the age of 29 on the death of his father Frederick III. He began a programme of naval expansion with the aim of having a naval force equal to Britain’s Royal Navy. He expanded German colonial territory and supported the Boers of South Africa against the British.

When Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary was assassinated in June 1914, Wilhelm supported the Austrians. World War I followed and Russia and her allies, Britain and France entered the war against Germany and Austria. During the war Wilhelm was an ineffective leader. He was forced to abdicate in 1918 following Germany’s military collapse. He went into exile in the Netherlands. He died there during World War II on June 4th 1941.

Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany was born in the year 1859 On This Day.

Kaiser Wilhelm II, 1905. By Eric Bieber



27 January-Mozart

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was an Austrian composer who is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most influential composers of all time. He created several operas, concertos, symphonies and sonatas. Mozart became well known during his lifetime and today, is among the most popular of classical composers

Mozart was born in Salzburg, Austria in 1756. He and his sister Nannerl (Maria Anna) were introduced to music from an early age by their father, a composer and conductor who worked for the Bishop of Salzburg. The children learned rapidly and by the age of five Wolfgang was showing an outstanding ability at playing instruments. He had also composed some simple minuets. In 1762 at the age of six he began playing in public. He travelled with his family on tours to cities such as Munich, Paris and London.

In 1769 at the age of 13 Mozart made the first of three tours of Italy. In 1777 he travelled to Paris with his mother. His mother died in 1779 and Mozart returned to Salzburg where he was engaged as court musician. He did not like his new post and moved to Vienna in 1781 in search of a better position.

While travelling Mozart continued to compose. Though he travelled widely in Europe he never visited Ireland. However, one of his friends was the tenor and composer Michael Kelly from Dublin. They met in Vienna where Kelly had given a performance for the Emperor. Kelly met Mozart and his wife Constance for dinner and later was a regular visitor to the Mozart’s home. Michael Kelly performed the part of Don Curzio in the premiere of Mozart’s ‘The Marriage of Figaro’.

During his lifetime Mozart composed more than 625 works including symphonies, concertos, and operas. His last composition, Requiem, was largely unfinished at the time of his death. He died at the age of 35 on December 5th 1791.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born at 9 Getreidegasse in Salzburg, Austria in the year 1756 On This Day.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart photo

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–91) by Barbara Krafft (1764–1825), 1819 by Royal Opera House Covent Garden




26 January-John Logie Baird

John Logie Baird was one of the inventors of the earliest television system known as mechanical television. His invention was a development of a system of image transmission which had been invented by German physicist Arthur Korn in 1907. Baird completed the first transmission of pictures of objects in motion on October 22nd 1925. He gave the first public demonstration of his invention in January 1926.

John Logie Baird was born in Helensburgh, Dunbartonshire, Scotland on August 14th 1888. His engineering studies at Glasgow University were interrupted by the First World War. Unable to enlist in the British Army due to ill-health he worked in a munitions factory during the war. After the war he moved to England and began to experiment on the transmission of moving images along with sound.

Baird succeeded in transmitting a televised image of a ventriloquists dummy in 1925. In January 1926 he gave the first public demonstration of his invention at his laboratory in London. Baird demonstrated the first television colour transmission in July 1928. By 1937 the system which Baird had invented was surpassed by electronic television. Baird died aged 47 on June 14th 1946.

John Logie Baird gave the first public demonstration of the first Television in 1926 On This Day.

John Logie Baird

The inventor of the television


26 January-Paul Newman Hole in the Wall Gang

Paul Newman, actor and superstar, opened the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp at Barretstown Castle in Ballymore Eustace, County Kildare, Ireland in August 1994. The camp is specially-designed to provide Therapeutic Recreation programmes for children with serious illnesses from Ireland, Britain and Europe.

Paul Leonard Newman was born in Ohio, USA in 1925. He was the winner of numerous awards including an Academy Award. The first Hole in the Wall Gang Camp was co-founded by Paul Newman in 1988. It is located in Ashford, Connecticut. Today there are several Hole in the Wall Camps located in the USA. They are also located in Ireland, France and Israel.

The Hole in the Wall Gang Camps cater for over 13,000 children, free of charge annually. Barretstown is no exception and all the children and their families are provided with accommodation, food, medical assistance and transport costs. The project is supported by donations and fundraising.

Barretstown Castle, which dates back to the 12th century was once the home of Elizabeth Arden, the owner of a cosmetics empire in the United States. The castle was purchased by the Weston Family in 1967. The Weston family presented the castle and grounds to the Government in 1977. The Government has leased the estate to the Barretstown Gang Camp Fund on a long term basis for a nominal annual rent.

Paul Newman was born in the year 1925 On This Day.

Paul Newman 1925-2008


26 January-Tyndall College Carlow

Tyndall College will open in Carlow town, Ireland in 2018. The College is a new post-primary school which will cater for 1000 pupils. It is being built on the Kilkenny and Carlow Education and Training Board (ETB) campus in Carlow where, also under construction, is a new 1000 place facility for Carlow Institute of Further Education and Training. Tyndall College is being named in honour of world famous scientist John Tyndall who was born about 12km south of Carlow town in Leighlinbridge on August 2nd 1820. Tyndall was educated locally and went on to become one of the greatest scientists of his generation.

The new post-primary school for Carlow gives a unique opportunity for Kilkenny and Carlow Education and Training Board to build on the 90-year legacy of Carlow Vocational School and to create a state of the art school for the 21st century. Carlow Vocational School was originally located in the Assembly Rooms on Dublin Street in Carlow town.

The Assembly Rooms were owned by the playwright George Bernard Shaw. Shaw visited Carlow in 1918 and gave the Assembly Rooms as a gift to the local Technical Instruction Committee. He stipulated that the building should be used for educational purposes. The Committee converted the building into a school which opened in 1923. The school is reputed to have been the first co-educational second level school in Ireland.

By the late 1920’s, a wide range of courses were being advertised each year by the Principal Dr John Ryan. To cater for the growing enrolments the building was upgraded and expanded in 1936 and was officially opened by the then Minister for Education, Tom Derrig who was a native of Mayo. The school population continued to expand and moved to a new building on the Kilkenny Road in 1972. Today the school caters for over 1,100 students. Because of increasing enrolments and the population growth in the Carlow area the Department of Education determined that there would be a need for an extra 800 places at post-primary level by 2018-20. It was decided to build Tyndall College, a new ETB School, to cater for the increase in student numbers.

The upgraded and expanded Technical School in Carlow town, Ireland was officially opened in the year 1936 On This Day.

John Tyndall (1820-1893)