22 February-John Daly, Olympian

John Daly was a native of Galway, Ireland. He was a medal winning athlete at the 1904 Olympic Games, which were held in St Louis, United States. As a member of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) Daly represented Ireland at four International Cross Country Championships. He won three Silver team medals and a Bronze medal.

John Daly was born at Ballglunin near Tuam, Co Galway, Ireland in 1880. The 1903 International Cross Country Championships were held at Hamilton Park, South Lanarkshire, Scotland. Daly, competing for Ireland won an individual Bronze medal and a team Silver medal. At the 1904 Olympics Daly won a Silver medal in the steeplechase.

John Daly, winner of a Silver medal in the 1904 Olympics was born in Galway, Ireland in the year 1880 On This Day.

John Daly athlete.jpg

John Daly 1904

Courtesy of the Chicago Historical Society

21 February-Communist Manifesto

The Communist Manifesto was written by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. It is a political pamphlet which was published in 1848. Recognised as one of the most influential documents ever published it states, ‘The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles’.

Karl Marx was a native of Germany. He was a journalist, philosopher, economist and revolutionary socialist. His writings have had a major impact on the world politics. He is regarded as one of the architects of modern sociology.

Friedrich Engels was also a native of Germany. He was a journalist, philosopher, social scientist and businessman. Apart from the Communist Manifesto he was the co-author of several other works with Marx.

The Communist Manifesto, which was written by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, was published in London in the year 1848 On This Day.


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21 February-Ernie O’Malley

Ernie O’Malley, who was a native of Castelbar, Co Mayo, Ireland took part in the 1916 Easter Rising in Dublin. He later served as an Irish officer during the War of Independence and the ensuing Civil War. O’Malley travelled to many parts of Ireland during the wars including Carlow and Kilkenny. He was wounded on several occasions.

Ernie O’Malley was born Ernest Bernard Malley at Ellison Street, Castlebar on May 26th 1897. O’Malley’s family moved to Dublin when he was nine years old. He was educated at O’Connell’s CBS before entering University College Dublin to study medicine. While his brother Frank joined the Royal Dublin Fusiliers to fight in World War 1, Ernie took the side of the rebels during the 1916 Easter Rising in Dublin.

After the Rising O’Malley left UCD and went on to play a leading role in the War of Independence. When captured in Kilkenny in 1920 he was taken to Dublin Castle and interrogated. He was later sent to Kilmainham Jail from where he escaped in February 1921 with the assistance of a sympathetic British soldier.

In the civil war that followed the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty, O’Malley supported the anti-treaty side. He was one of the officers who occupied the Four Courts in Dublin. In the ensuing battle to take the building the Four Courts were very badly damaged and records, including census, dating back to the 13th century were destroyed.

O’Malley surrendered the Four Courts and escaped, eventually making his way to Carlow. He was captured on November 4th 1922 and imprisoned in Mountjoy Jail. Following the end of the Civil War and his eventual release from prison, O’Malley went on an extended holiday in Europe before returning to UCD in 1926. He left before graduation and went to the USA where he helped raise funds to establish the Irish Press newspaper.

O’Malley spent much of the rest of his life involved in travelling, journalism and the compilation of the O’Malley Notebooks. The notebooks were his record of interviews with former colleagues of their experiences during the conflict. He wrote three books which were acclaimed by the critics and contemporary writers. His first book, ‘On Another man’s Wound’, which was published in 1936 was a commercial success. His two other books, The Singing Flame and Raids and Rallies were published posthumously. Ernie O’Malley died at the age of 59 on March 25th 1957 and was given a state funeral. On the Mall in Castlebar he is commemorated by a sculpture of Manannán mac Lir, a mythical figure of Mayo.

Ernie O’Malley, who was an Irish officer during the Irish War of Independence and the ensuing Civil War escaped from Kilmainham Jail in the year 1921 On This Day.

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Ernie O’Malley


21 February-Washington Monument

The Washington Monument in Washington DC was built to commemorate George Washington the first President of the United States of America. At 170m it is the tallest obelisk in the world. The Monument attracts over half a million visitors each year.

The Washington National Monument Society was formed in 1832 on the anniversary of the birth of George Washington. Following a period of fundraising a competition was held in 1836 to design a memorial. The cornerstone of the Monument was laid on July 4th 1848. Donations ran out and construction stopped in 1854. By then the monument had reached a height of 46m.

Requests were made for donations in either money or memorial stones to help in the building and the decoration of the monument. Almost 200 memorial stones were donated from all over the United States and from countries around the world. Pope Pius IX donated a marble stone one metre long by half metre high. It came from the ruins of the Temple of Concord in Rome which had been built in 366 BC. The stone was engraved with the words ‘FROM ROME’ and arrived in Washington DC in October 1853.

The anti-immigrant, anti-Catholic ‘Know-Nothing Party’ objected to the stone being used in the Monument. On the night of March 6th 1854 nine members of the party broke into the grounds of the Washington Monument. They stole the stone and dumped it in the Potomac River. Following the American Civil War building recommenced in 1877 on the Washington Monument. It was finally completed and was opened to the public on October 9th 1888.

The memorial stones, other than the ‘Popes Stone’, were built into the east and west interior walls so that they can be easily viewed by people ascending the monument. One hundred and twenty eight years after the first stone had disappeared, the Vatican during the reign of Pope John Paul II, donated another stone to replace the first. It was placed in the interior of the west wall of the Washington Monument 103m above ground level in 1982. The inscription on the stone reads ‘A ROMA AMERICAE’ (Rome to America).

The Washington Monument in Washington DC was dedicated in the year 1885 On This Day.

Washington Monument





20 February-Austria

Austria is a central European country with a population of almost 9 million. It has a high standard of living and is regarded as one of the richest countries in the world. Austria declared itself bankrupt in 1811.

Austria was part of the Holy Roman Empire until 1806 when it became the Austrian Empire. In the following years the establishment of the Austrian Empire the country became involved in fighting expensive wars. One of the most expensive was the war with Napoleon, the Emperor of France.

To finance its wars Austria raised taxes and borrowed from its allies. Paper money was issued in 1762. The costly wars led Austria to increase the money supply. This led to inflation which gave rise to a dramatic fall in the value of paper money by 1811.

Austria, having fought expensive wars for many years, declared itself bankrupt in the year 1811 On This Day.

Austrian Flag

Austrian double eagle