31 August-Van Morrison

Van Morrison is a singer songwriter and musician who is a native of Belfast, Northern Ireland. Known as ‘Van the Man’ his musical genres include rock, rhythm and blues, folk, celtic, country and gospel. He is the recipient of several awards and received an OBE in 1996 for his services to music.

Van Morrison was born George Ivan Morrison in Belfast in 1945. He was educated at Orangefield School in east Belfast where people such as Gerald Dawe Poet & Professor in English at TCD, David Ervine Politician and leader of the Progressive Unionist Party and Brian Keenan writer and former Beirut captive, were also educated. Interested in music from a young age, Morrison performed with several bands as a youth.

During the showband era in Ireland Morrison performed with bands such as the ‘Monarchs’ and ‘Them’. In 1967 he began his solo career with the hit single ‘Brown Eyed Girl’. A string of hits followed including, ‘Jackie Wilson Said’, ‘Domino’, ‘Wild Night’ and ‘Days Like This’. He has received two Grammy Awards and in 1993 was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He has also been conferred with honorary doctorates by the University of Ulster and Queen’s University Belfast.

Van Morrison, singer, songwriter and musician was born in Belfast in the year 1945 On This Day.

Van Morrison – Moondance





31 August-Francis McNamara

Francis McNamara was a native of Co Tipperary, Ireland. In Australia he is known as ‘Frank the Poet’. In 1832 he was found guilty of larceny and was deported to Australia. He was about 22 years old at the time. Frank McNamara lived in Australia for the remainder of his life dying in 1861.

Francis McNamara was born in Cashel Co Tipperary in 1810. Some accounts of his life say he was born in Co Clare. From his writings it is clear that he had a good education in English literature. His writings also show that he was familiar with the various Irish poetic forms.

In 1832 McNamara was working as a miner in the Castlecomer Mines in County Kilkenny. He was arrested for breaking a shop window and stealing some cloth. Having been found guilty of larceny McNamara was sentenced to seven years transportation. He sailed from Cork with 197 other prisoners aboard the Eliza on May 10th 1832. The prisoners were disembarked in Sydney on September 15th 1832.

McNamara had his sentence extended on several occasions for absconding and various other infringements. He eventually received his freedom in 1849. McNamara became well known in Australia for such poems as ‘A Convict’s Tour of Hell’ and ‘A Dialogue between Two Hibernians in Botany Bay’ which was published in the Sydney Gazette in 1840.

Francis McNamara from Tipperary, who is known as ‘Frank the Poet’ in Australia, died of ‘cold and inanition’ near Mudgee, NSW in the year 1861 On This Day.






30 August-Feargus O’Connor

Feargus O’Connor who was a native of Co Cork, Ireland, was one of the leaders of Chartism in England. Chartism, which took its name from the People’s Charter of 1838, was a working class movement which sought political reform in Great Britain. Other people from Ireland who became involved in Chartism at the time included James O’Brien, a lawyer from Longford and John Tyndall, a scientist from Carlow.

Feargus Edward O’Connor was born was born at Connerville, his family’s estate in west Cork on July 18th 1796. His father, Roderick O’Connor was an Irish Nationalist politician who traced his descent from the 11th century high king of Ireland, Roderick O’Connor. Feargus O’Connor was educated at Portarlington Grammar School and Trinity College Dublin. He was called to the Irish bar but became involved in politics. He was elected MP for Cork in 1832 as one of Daniel O’Connell’s supporters.

In 1835 O’Connor lost his seat and turned to agitation in England. He became the most popular and the most feared of the Chartist leaders. The reforms sought by the Chartists included, the secret ballot, a vote for every man over twenty-one years old and payment for members of parliament. Chartism, which existed from 1838 to 1868 did not immediately bring about reforms. However most of the reforms it sought were eventually implemented. Secret voting was introduced in 1872, payment for members of parliament was introduced in 1911 and every man over 21 and every woman over 30 was given the vote in the 1918 General Election.

Feargus O’Connor advocate for Irish rights, supporter of the Repeal movement and leader of the Chartist movement in England died in the year 1855 On This Day.

Heronsgate Chartist Settlement 1847

Heronsgate Chartist Settlement 1847




29 August-Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson was a best-selling singer, songwriter and dancer who was a native of the USA. He was a global figure in the entertainment industry and was known as the ‘King of Pop’. He achieved success both as a member of his family group the ‘Jackson 5’ and as a solo artist.

Michael Joseph Jackson was born in Gary, Indiana in 1958. He began performing with his family group, the Jackson 5 at the age of six. He quickly became the dominant performer of the group. He began his solo career in 1971. Jackson achieved worldwide success producing albums such as ‘Thriller’ which became the best-selling album of all time.

Michael Jackson was born in the year 1958 On This Day.


28 August-Jack Kirby

Jack Kirby was a comic book artist who was a native of the USA. He was one of the creators of superheroes such as The Avengers and Captain America. He was inducted into the Comic Book Hall of Fame in 1987. The ‘Jack Kirby Awards’ are named in his honour.

Jack Kirby was born Jacob Kurtzberg in New York City in 1917. A self-taught artist he began working in the comic book industry in 1936. During his career he worked with artists Joe Simon and Stan Lee. With Joe Simon Kirby created the superhero character Captain America. With Stan Lee he created characters such as the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, and the Hulk.

Jack Kirby, comic book artist and creator of several superheroes, was born in the year 1917 On This Day.

Jack Kirby

Exposition Jack Kirby