25 January-Flying Housewife

Fanny Blankers-Koen was a native of the Netherlands. She was an athlete who won four Gold Medals at the 1948 Olympics in London. At the time she was a mother of two young children. Her success as an athlete led her being given the nickname ‘the Flying Housewife’.

Fanny Blankers-Koen was born Francina Elsje Koen in the village of Lage Vuursche in the municipality of Baarn in the Netherlands on April 27th 1918. Described as a natural athlete she competed in several sports form a young age. At the age of seventeen she set a Dutch national record in the 800m. Coached by her husband Jan Blankers she was selected for the Dutch team for the 1936 Olympics. She did not win any medals at the event but met her hero Jesse Owens.

At the European Championships in 1938 Blankers-Coen won her first international medals. She also set her first world record in the 800m. The Olympic Games of 1940 and 1944 were cancelled due to World War II. In 1948 the Olympic Games were held in London. At the games Blankers-Coen won four gold medals. She became a national hero in the Netherlands and went on to win three Gold Medals in the European Championships in 1950. In 1999 she was named Female Athlete of the Century by the International Association of Athletics Federation.

Fanny Blankers-Koen, Dutch athlete who won four Gold Medals at the 1948 Olympics and was known as ‘the Flying Housewife’, died aged 85 in the year 2004 On This Day.

05-09-1948_04572 Fanny Blankers-Koen by IISG on 1948-05-09 22:32:18

Fanny Blankers-Koen

24 January-Apple Mac

The Macintosh is a personal computer which was designed and manufactured by Apple. It went on sale in 1984 and was the first personal computer with a graphical user interface, built-in screen and mouse. In 1998 Apple branded the Macintosh as The Mac.

Apple Computer Inc. which was founded on April 1st 1976 is now known as Apple Inc. Apple is now one of the largest information technology companies in the world. It employs over 80,000 people in 15 countries around the world. The company manufactures hardware products such as the Mac and the iPhone and software products such as the iOS operating systems and the iTunes media browser.

The Macintosh personal computer, which was designed and manufactured by Apple, went on sale in the year 1984 On This Day.





23 January-Pioneer 10 Final Signal From Deep Space

Pioneer 10 is an American interplanetary space probe. It was launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida on March 2nd 1972. It is the first space probe in history to travel further than Neptune, the most distant planet from the sun. Pioneer 10 has led the way in the exploration of deep space. The project is conducted by NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration).

When launched Pioneer 10 was carrying camera equipment and various scientific instruments. It also carried a plaque measuring 15.2cm x 22.8cm. The plaque has diagrams of our solar system and the sun’s position in space. It also depicts two nude figures of a man and woman.

Initially flying at a speed of 51,800kph, Pioneer 10 was the first to fly beyond the planet Mars and the first pass Jupiter. On June 13th 1983 Pioneer 10 crossed the orbit of Neptune and became the first space craft to leave our solar system and enter deep space. For almost thirty years the spacecraft continued to send data back to earth. The last usable data was returned on April 27th 2002. As far as we know, Pioneer 10 still travels on in deep space.

Pioneer 10, an American interplanetary space probe, having travelled 12 billion km from earth into deep space, sent its last signal back to earth in the year 2003 On This Day.

Pioneer 10 spacecraft

Pioneer 10 photo

Pioneer 10 Trajectory by NASA on The Commons on 1972-03-07 00:00:00



22 January-Walter Raleigh

Walter Raleigh introduced tobacco from Virginia to Ireland and England. He is also said to have introduced the potato to Ireland following his expeditions to South America. During his time as a landlord in Ireland from 1585 to 1602 Raleigh lived at Killua Castle, Clonmellon, Co Westmeath and occasionally at Youghal Co Cork.

Walter Raleigh was born in 1552 and grew up on a farm near the village of East Budleigh in Devon. During the Wars of Religion in France he fought, at the age of 17, on the side of the Huguenots. He returned to England in 1572 and entered Oxford but left without a degree. He later studied law at the Middle Temple.

During the Second Desmond Rebellion in Ireland Raleigh gained distinction as a soldier in the army of Queen Elizabeth 1. He played a leading and ruthless role in the suppression of the Rebellion in Munster. He was present at the siege of Smerwick in September 1580. 600 papal troops had landed at Smerwick in Kerry in support of the Desmond Rebellion. They were surrounded by forces loyal to Elizabeth 1. They surrendered after two days and were massacred.

Following the suppression of the Rebellion Raleigh was granted large estates in Munster including the towns of Youghal and Lismore by Queen Elizabeth I. He did not manage the estates very well. After 17 years in Ireland he sold the estates to Richard Boyle 1st Earl of Cork.

Raleigh began to explore North America during his time in Ireland. He helped prepare for settlements to be established in what is now North Carolina. He named it Virginia in honour of Queen Elizabeth 1 who was often referred to as the virgin queen. It was during these trips to America that tobacco was brought to Ireland and England.

In 1592 Raleigh married Bessy Throckmorton who was a maid-of-honour to Queen Elizabeth 1. The marriage enraged the Queen and she imprisoned both Raleigh and his wife in the Tower of London. He was later released and in 1594 led an expedition to South America in search of gold. Little gold was found but his later successes against the Spanish restored him to the Queens favour.

When Elizabeth 1 died in 1603, Raleigh was imprisoned, accused of plotting against her successor James 1. He was found guilty of treason but King James spared his life. He was imprisoned and not released until 1616. He set out in search of gold again in South America. He antagonised King James by invading Spanish territory. On his return to England, Raleigh’s sentence for treason was re-instated. He was beheaded at the Palace of Westminster on October 29th 1618.

Walter Raleigh, English poet, soldier, courtier, and explorer who introduced tobacco from Virginia to Ireland and England was born in the year 1552 On This Day.

Walter Raleigh Greenwich

Sir Walter Raleigh, cottage at Youghal



21 January-DeLorean

DeLorean is a sports car which was manufactured by the DeLorean Motor Company at Dunmurry, near Belfast in Northern Ireland in the early 1980’s. The iconic car which was officially known as the DeLorean DMC-12 had a fibreglass chassis and a stainless steel body. The stainless panels for the DeLorean, were all produced at the Läpple Factory in Carlow, Ireland.

In 1981 John DeLorean began manufacturing the DeLorean DMC-12 sports car at the Dunmurry plant. The iconic sports car with gull-winged doors became famous as a modified time machine in the film ‘Back to the Future’. The car had a fibreglass chassis, a stainless steel body.

The stainless steel panels for the DeLorean, were all produced at the Läpple factory in Carlow. The panels were transferred by truck to Belfast. On at least one occasion the DMC (DeLorean Motor Corporation) needed panels urgently and sent a helicopter to Carlow to pick them up. Production began in 1981. However production was halted and the firm went into liquidation in early 1983. Over 9,000 DMC-12’s were produced.

The Delorean, the iconic sports car with gull-winged doors, began production at Dunmurry near Belfast in the year 1981 On This Day.

DeLorean at Google