28 October-Gulliver’s Travels

Gulliver’s Travels was written by the Irish author and clergyman, Jonathan Swift. A classic of English literature, it is a satirical novel divided into four parts. Published in 1726, Gulliver’s Travels is Swift’s best known work.

Jonathan Swift was Dean of St Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin from 1713 to 1745. He was the author of several works including ‘A Tale of a Tub’, ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ and ‘A Modest Proposal’. His publications were written under pseudonyms or anonymously.

Gulliver’s Travels relates, in four parts, the travels of Lemuel Gulliver. He is a surgeon and sea captain who visits remote areas of the world. In the first part Gulliver is shipwrecked on the Island of Lilliput. The inhabitants of the island are six inches tall. He then goes on to visit Brobdingnag, the flying island of Laputa and finally the land of the Houyhnhnms.

Gulliver’s Travels, which was written by the Irish author and clergyman Dean Jonathan Swift, was published in the year 1726 On This Day.

Gullivers Travels





19 October-Luther

Martin Luther was a Roman Catholic theologian and Augustinian Friar who began the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century. The publication of his 95 theses on October 31st 1517 called into question some of practices then in vogue in the Catholic Church. The Theses and other writings gained numerous followers who split from the Catholic Church.

Martin Luther was born in Eisleben in present day Germany on November 10th 1483. Having joined the Augustinian Order he was ordained a priest in 1507. He began teaching at the University of Wittenberg and was made a Doctor of Theology in 1512. He visited Rome in 1510 where some of the corrupt practices he witnessed there, led him to publish his Theses.

He was excommunicated by Pope Leo X in 1521 and declared a heretic and outlaw by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. His writings however became popular across northern and eastern Europe. Luther made the bible accessible to the laity by translating it into the German language. He made strong written attacks on people of the Jewish faith saying their homes should be destroyed and their liberty curtailed. Luther married a former nun with whom he had six children. He died on February 18th 1546 at the age of 62.

Martin Luther, a Roman Catholic priest who began the Protestant Reformation in 16th-century Europe, was made a Doctor of Theology (Doctor in Biblia) in the year 1512 On This Day.




17 October-Marconi

Guglielmo Marconi was a Nobel Prize-winning physicist who was a native of Italy. His father Giuseppe was from Bologna, Italy. His mother was Annie Jameson from Daphne Castle, Co Wexford, Ireland. Marconi’s great grandfather was John Jameson, founder of Irish whiskey distillers Jameson & Sons. Through his own research and using research carried out by others Marconi developed the first effective system of radio communication.

On December 12th 1901 Marconi succeeded in sending the first wireless signal across the Atlantic to America. He routed the signal through Marconi House, Rosslare, Co Wexford and Clifden in Co Galway. The signal was received 3,500km (2,200 Miles) in Newfoundland.

Marconi founded the Marconi Telephone Company and became a successful businessman. He continued to experiment with radio technology. In 1907, having built high-powered radio transmission stations on both sides of the Atlantic, he established regular transatlantic transmissions. Marconi died in Rome on July 20th 1937.

Guglielmo Marconi began offering limited commercial wireless telegraph service between Ireland and Nova Scotia in the year 1907 On This Day.

Marconi Wireless Telegraph Station, Malin Head, Co. Donegal

Guglielmo Marconi.jpg


Library of Congress 




16 October-Michael Collins

Michael Collins was an Irish revolutionary leader who, in his short lifetime, became a hero of Ireland’s struggle for independence. He played a central role in directing a daring campaign of guerrilla warfare throughout the Anglo-Irish war from 1919 to 1921. Collins was Chairman of the Irish government and Commander-in-chief of the National Army when he was assassinated in 1922 during the Irish Civil War.

Michael James Collins was born at Woodfield, Clonakilty, Co. Cork in October 1890. He was educated at his local national school and at Clonakilty Secondary School. In 1906 he sat the British Civil Service examination in Cork city and moved to London to work at the Post Office. In London he lived with his sister. He left the Post Office in 1910 to work in an accountancy firm and later in an American bank. He also studied law at King’s College London. During his time in London he joined the IRB and was elected secretary of the Gaelic League.

After nine years in London Collins returned to Dublin in order to avoid conscription. He worked at the accountancy firm Craig Gardiner but spent much of his time drilling troops at volunteer training camps. During the Rising of 1916 he served as aide-de-camp to Joseph Plunkett in the GPO in Dublin. After the rising he was interned at Frongoch in Wales but was released in December 1916. In the General Election of 1918 Collins was elected MP for Cork South and for Tyrone. He played a leading role in the War of Independence which lasted until a truce was declared on July 11th 1921.

Collins strenuously resisted his appointment as one of the Irish delegates to negotiate an Anglo-Irish Treaty. He eventually agreed to travel to London for the negotiations. The delegates were designated as “plenipotentiaries”, meaning they had the full authority to sign a treaty which would then have to be ratified by Dáil Éireann. The treaty was signed on December 6th 1921 and ratified by Dáil Éireann on January 7th 1922. Those who lost the vote in parliament and were opposed to the treaty were led by Éamon de Valera. They walked out of parliament, took arms in opposition to the treaty and civil war ensued.

Towards the end of the civil war Collins went on an inspection tour of the South. On August 22nd 1922 his convoy was ambushed about 16km east of the town of Macroom at Béal na mBláth in County Cork. During the ambush Collins was shot and died almost immediately. He was just thirty-two years old. His funeral in Dublin was attended by an estimated half a million people. He is buried in Glasnevin cemetery.

Michael Collins was born near Clonakilty, Co Cork in the year 1890 On This Day.

Michael Collins photo

Michael Collins (centre) August 16th 1922

Photo by National Library of Ireland on The Commons


Good Times by National Library of Ireland on The Commons on 1921-09-11 08:48:34

Michael Collins Grave by IrishFireside on 2010-07-22 18:52:03