15 September-Brunel

Brunel’s Folly on the railway line near Bray, County Wicklow, Ireland and Brunel University based in Uxbridge, London, England are named after 19th century engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Brunel University describes as its mission ‘to combine academic rigour with the practical, entrepreneurial and imaginative approach pioneered by our namesake Isambard Kingdom Brunel’. It was awarded a Royal Charter in 1966 allowing it to become Brunel University.

Brunel, whose father was French and whose mother was English was born in Portsmouth, England on April 9th 1806. During his lifetime he was responsible for the design of many tunnels, bridges, railway lines and ships. One of his most famous undertakings was the construction of the railway line from London to Bristol which he began in 1833.

Brunel attended the opening of the Dalkey railway line in in Dublin in 1844. He announced that he intended to extend the London to Bristol railway into South Wales. His ambition was to start a new sea route from Fishguard to Rosslare, to link with a railway line from Dublin to the Wexford port.

The Dublin and Kingstown railway which had been built by Carlow man William Dargan was opened in December 1834. It was decided to extend this railway southwards. Brunel was appointed as consulting engineer for the line to Greystones.

The construction of the single line was very expensive. The route runs along the cliff edge east of Bray Head. It has four tunnels and is one of the most spectacular train journeys in Ireland. It was in its day a major feat of engineering but its upkeep was so expensive that it became known as Brunel’s Folly.

The railway line eventually reached Wexford in 1872. Rosslare railway station opened in 1906, the same year as the Fishguard to Rosslare service was officially opened. During his lifetime Brunel became a celebrated engineer. He was known as a hard worker and a heavy smoker. He remains a popular figure to this day.

Isambard Kingdom Brunel who was the consulting engineer for the railway line from Dún Laoghaire to Greystones, died aged 53 in the year 1859 On This Day.

Bray Head railway line photo

Bray Station Co Wicklow: Murals and Mosaics

Photo by infomatique

Brunel University in the Snow




15 September-Rinuccini

Ristorante Rinuccini is located on the Parade in Kilkenny City, Ireland. The award winning Italian restaurant has been in operation in Kilkenny for over twenty five years. It takes its name from Archbishop Giovanni Battista Rinuccini. He was Papal Nuncio to Ireland during the Confederation of Kilkenny which lasted from 1642 to 1649. During his time in Ireland Rinuccini lived mainly in Kilkenny.

Giovanni Battista Rinuccini was born in Rome in 1592. Having had a Jesuit education in Rome he went on to study at the Universities of Bologna, Perugia and Pisa. He was appointed Archbishop of Fermo on Italy’s Adriatic coast in 1625. In March 1645 he was sent as Papal Nuncio to the Irish Confederation by Pope Innocent X. The main objective of his mission was to ensure that Catholicism could be practised freely in Ireland while maintaining the supremacy of the monarchy.

Rinuccini left Rome in 1645. He travelled to La Rochelle in France where he purchased a frigate called the San Pietro. He loaded the San Pietro with military equipment. He then set sail for Ireland with a large retinue which included Irish officers. Rinuccini landed at Kenmare County Kerry on October 22nd 1645. He was escorted by Confederate troops to Kilkenny, which was then the Confederate capital of Ireland.

On November 13th 1645 Rinuccini arrived in Kilkenny, where he was received with great pomp and ceremony. During his time in Ireland he made several attempts to fulfil his mission but was frustrated by division and factionalism. On February 23rd 1649, Rinuccini left Ireland in despair where he said ‘the sun had never shone on him’. He returned to his diocese in Fermo where he died in 1653 at the age of 61.

Rinuccini, Papal Nuncio to Ireland during the Confederation of Kilkenny which lasted from 1642 to 1649, was born in Rome in the year 1592 On This Day.

Rinuccini chapel, Sacristy, Basilica di Santa Croce, Florence

14 September-Amy Winehouse

Amy Winehouse was an award winning singer-songwriter who was a native of England. Her genres included soul, blue-eyed soul, jazz and rhythm and blues. In her short lifetime she made a major and lasting impact on the music industry. She died in 2011 aged 27.

Amy Jade Winehouse was born in Southgate, London in 1983. Born into a musical family she began her music career at the age of sixteen. In 2003 her debut album ‘Frank’ was nominated for the Mercury Prize. She won five Grammy Awards for her 2006 album ‘Back to Back’. Winehouse won the Brit Award for Best British Female Artist in 2007.

Amy Winehouse, award winning singer-songwriter, was born in the year 1983 On This Day.

Amy Winehouse


13 September-Programmers’ Day

Programmers’ Day, also referred to as The Day of the Programmer, is celebrated on the 256th day of each year. The day celebrates the work of computer programmers and the effect their work has on our everyday lives. It was proposed by Valentin Balt and Michael Cherviakov and a decree recognising the day was signed by Russian President, Dmitry Medvedev in 2009.

The 256th day of the year was chosen as Programmers’ Day because this is the number of distinct values that can be represented with an eight-bit byte. It is also the highest power of two which is less than 365.

Programmers’ Day is celebrated every year (except Leap Years, when it is celebrated the previous day), On This Day.

International Programmers Day

12 September-Ian Paisley

Ian Paisley was a pastor and politician who was a native of Northern Ireland. He was renowned for his strong Protestant and Unionist views. For most of his political career he espoused hard-line unionism. He opposed all attempts to resolve the conflict in Northern Ireland through power-sharing between Unionists and Irish Nationalists. However he eventually became First Minister of Northern Ireland when he agreed to a power sharing government with Nationalists.

Ian Richard Kyle Paisley was born in Armagh on April 6th 1926. He was ordained a minister by his father in 1946. Paisley founded the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster in 1951 and served as its leader until 2008. The Free Presbyterian Church is a fundamentalist, evangelical church which has its headquarters, and most of its members, in Northern Ireland.

On June 18th 1970 Paisley was elected by the people of North Antrim to serve as a member of the UK Parliament. He retained his seat until 2010. Following his election to Parliament he founded the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). Paisley was also a member of the European Parliament from 1979 to 2004.

Ian Paisley was opposed to the Northern Ireland peace process and Good Friday Agreement. However when the DUP became the largest unionist party in Northern Ireland he agreed to a power sharing government with Nationalists. He was elected first minister of Northern Ireland in 2007.

Ian Paisley, pastor and politician who was a native of Northern Ireland, died at the age of 88 in the year 2014 On This Day.

Ian Paisley