26 March-Martin McDonagh

Martin McDonagh is an award-winning author who is considered one of the most influential Irish playwrights. He is also a screenwriter and director. He was born in England to Irish parents. He holds dual citizenship for both Ireland and Britain.

Martin Faranan McDonagh was born in Camberwell, London in 1970. His father was from Connemara, Co Galway and his mother was from Easky Co Sligo. The family spent their summer holidays in Ireland. Having left school at the age of 16, McDonagh worked for time in a supermarket in London. He later worked in an administrative role for the British Department of Trade and Industry.

McDonagh’s first play ‘The Beauty Queen of Leenane’ was staged to critical acclaim in the Druid Theatre in Galway in 1996. It was produced on Broadway in 1998 where it was nominated for a Tony Award. McDonagh has written several other successful plays including ‘The Cripple of Inishmaan’ and ‘The Lieutenant of Inishmore’.

‘Six Shooter’ was the first film written and directed by McDonagh. It won him an Academy Award for Best Live-Action Short Film of 2005. Since then other successful films have followed including ‘In Bruges’ and ‘Seven Psychopaths’. He was executive producer of the film ‘The Guard’ which was written and directed by his brother John Michael McDonagh.

In 2017 McDonagh wrote, directed and produced the film ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’. It received seven Academy Nominations and was the winner of the Award for Best Actress. The film also won three BAFTA Awards and two Golden Globe Awards.

Martin McDonagh playwright, screenwriter and director of films such as ‘In Bruges’ and ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ was born in the year 1970 On This Day.

Martin McDonagh

24 March-Dawson Stelfox

Dawson Stelfox is the first person from Ireland to reach the summit of Mount Everest. He completed the climb on May 27th 1993, almost fifty years after New Zealander Edmund Hillary and Nepali Tenzing Norgay, reached the summit on May 29th 1953. At 8,848 metres (29,029 feet) above sea level, Mount Everest is the highest mountain peak in the world.

James Dawson Stelfox was born in Belfast in 1958. He was educated at the Royal Belfast Academical Institution before entering the Queen’s University, Belfast. He qualified as an Architect and has worked on several major projects. These include restoration works on the Parliament Buildings at Stormont following a fire there in 1995 and the Odyssey Arena in Belfast.

The 1993 climb was the first Irish attempt on Everest. It was supported by Mountaineering Ireland and the Sports Councils in both Dublin and Belfast. Irish companies also helped to finance the project. The climbing party was led by Dawson Stelfox. The seven other members were, Frank Nugent, Dermot Somers, Robbie Fenlon, Mike Barry, Richard O’Neill Dean, Mick Murphy and Tony Burke.

Dawson Stelfox, who in 1993, became the first Irish person to stand on the summit of Mount Everest was born in Belfast in the year 1958 On This Day.

Mount Everest



23 March-Fianna Fáil

Fianna Fáil is a political party in Ireland. It was founded by Éamon de Valera in 1926. de Valera and his supporters split form Sinn Féin in 1926 over the issue of abstaining from taking their seats in parliament. Fianna Fáil contested the General Election of 1927 and subsequently entered Dáil Eireann. The party has played a major role in Irish politics since its foundation.

The Anglo-Irish Treaty established Ireland as a self-governing Free State. The Treaty was ratified by Dáil Eireann by 64 votes to 57 by in January 1922. When those opposed to the Treaty lost the vote, they walked out of parliament led by Éamon de Valera. They began a campaign of violent opposition to the Treaty and Civil War ensued. The civil war ended in victory for the supporters of the Treaty on May 24th 1923.

From 1923 Éamon de Valera continued to serve as President of Sinn Féin. When a motion to end abstention from parliament in 1926 failed, he decided to form a new political party. The new party was given the name Fianna Fáil on April 2nd 1926. Fianna Fáil contested the General Election in June 1927 and gained 26% of the vote. On March 9th 1932, Fianna Fáil entered government for the first time. Since then it has been in government more than any other party.

Fianna Fáil, a political party in Ireland, was founded by Éamon de Valera in the year 1926 On This Day.

President Éamon de Valera with his ADC and Donie Nolan of Carlow

Courtesy Donie Nolan Facebook

A fascinating gallery of names





23 March-Equal Pay For Women

Women did not receive the same rate of pay as men prior to Ireland joining the European Union in 1973. Unmarried men also received less pay than their married counterparts. In the Public Service at that time, there was a salary scale for married men and separate lower salary scale for women and single men.

The Treaty of Rome established the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1957. The EEC became the European Community (EC) in 1993 and the European Union (EU) in 2009. When Ireland joined the EU on January 1st 1973 it became bound by the Treaty of Rome. Article 119 of the Treaty stipulated that each member state should ensure that men and women receive equal pay for equal work.

In 1974 Ireland passed the Anti-discrimination (Pay) Act. However the world energy crisis, which began in 1974 caused great economic difficulties in Ireland. As a result the Government decided to postpone the implementation of the Act, giving equal pay for equal work to men and women until 1977. The EU however, compelled the Irish Government to implement the Anti-discrimination (Pay) Act in 1976.

The EU rejected an application by the Government of Ireland for derogation from its directive for equal pay for equal work to men and women in the year 1976 On This Day.

EU photo

by pixel2013 (Pixabay)

22 March-William Shatner

William Shatner is an award winning actor who is a native of Canada. He is also an author and director who is best known for his role as Captain Kirk in the television and film series Star Trek. He also appeared in other series including ‘3rd Rock from the Sun’ and Boston Legal. Shatner has written several novels including TekWar and Tek Net.

William Shatner was born in Montreal in 1931. Following graduation from McGill University he trained as a classical Shakespearean actor. He completed his training in 1954. Having acted in several films he was cast as Captain James T. Kirk in the Star Trek series in 1966. He played the role as captain of the USS Enterprise from 1966 until it was cancelled in 1969. He is the recipient of several awards including, People’s Choice Award, two Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe Award.

William Shatner, who is best known for his role as Captain Kirk in the television and film series Star Trek, was born in the year 1931 On This Day.

William Shatner