15 November-Kilkenny Design

Kilkenny Design Workshops were founded in Kilkenny city, Ireland in 1963. Established as a semi-state agency, the aim was to improve the design of Irish products. It was a time when Ireland was beginning to industrialise in a large way. The economy was beginning to expand, foreign direct investment was being encouraged and earnings from exports were increasing.

The Irish Export Board (An Córas Tráchtála) was tasked with promoting Irish goods abroad. The Chief Executive of the Board, William H Walsh, recognised the importance of design in industry in order to encourage commerce, trade and export. Scandinavian designers were commissioned to carry out an audit of the standards of design in Ireland. Their report was officially called ‘Design in Ireland’ but was generally known as the Scandinavian Report. The report was used as a basis for the establishment of Kilkenny Design Workshops.

Employing designers from across Europe William Walsh established the Design Workshops in the converted stables at Kilkenny Castle. Five workshops in the areas of textile weaving, textile printing, silver and metalwork, ceramics, and woodworking were established. As time went on industrial design was incorporated into the work of Kilkenny Design. Kilkenny became a centre for design excellence and the name Kilkenny became synonymous with excellent design.

The team of international designers undertook design projects for both indigenous industry and as time went on for international companies which had been established in Ireland. Retail operations were developed in Ireland, London and North America. Kilkenny Design Workshop operated at its base in Kilkenny city until its closure in 1988. Today the Castle Yard is home to the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland and a number of thriving craft and design businesses.

Kilkenny Design Workshops were officially opened in Kilkenny city, Ireland in the year 1965 On This Day.

Kilkenny Design Centre by Kieran Lynam on 2008-01-15 17:17:13

Kilkenny design by Bernie Goldbach on 2005-03-02 13:50:33



14 November-Kilkenny City Railway Station

Kilkenny City Railway Station, which serves the city of Kilkenny, Ireland, is a station on the Dublin to Waterford intercity route. On April 10th 1966 it was given the name Macdonagh Station in commemoration of Thomas MacDonagh one of the leaders of the Easter Rising of 1916. MacDonagh from Cloughjordan in County Tipperary had been a teacher at St Kieran’s College in Kilkenny City in 1902.
The station was designed in the 1840’s by Captain William Scarth Moorsom. He was an engineer working on the railway line which was being extended south from Carlow to Waterford. He had extensive experience working on railway buildings in England, Ireland and Europe. He also designed the viaduct over the River Nore near Thomastown. His design of Kilkenny station was later modified by the architect Sancton Wood who also designed Heuston station in Dublin.
Kilkenny station, which is on a spur line off the main Dublin to Waterford railway line, opened in 1848. However the building was modified in 1868 when a railway line was built from Kilkenny to Portlaoise. In common with many lines in rural Ireland that line was closed in 1962. A railway line from Castlecomer to Kilkenny city was opened in 1919. The line was of great significance in the development of the Castlecomer coal mines. During the 1950’s three trains carrying 90 metric tonnes of coal left Castlecomer for Kilkenny City each day. The line also provided a passenger service from 1921 to 1931.
In recent years the station has undergone a major transformation. The modern station building is now in the old cargo shed and an extensive shopping mall has been developed close by. Today a train journey from McDonagh Station, Kilkenny to Dublin Heuston takes an hour and a half. When the station first opened the same journey took almost three hours.
The first train arrived at Kilkenny City Railway Station in the year 1850 On This Day.

Arriving McDonagh by Bernie Goldbach on 2004-08-03 16:53:55


14 November-Charles Carroll

Charles Carroll was one of the signatories of the United States Declaration of Independence in 1776. His father, Daniel Carroll was born in the Townland of Aghagurty near Kinnitty Co Offaly, Ireland in 1696. Known as Charles Carroll of Carrollton he was the only Catholic signatory of the Declaration of Independence.

Daniel Carroll emigrated to America in 1689. He settled in St. Mary’s City, capital of the colony of Maryland, where he married Eleanor Darnall. She was the owner of a large plantation near Upper Marlboro in the state of Maryland. The couple had 7 children. Their son Charles Carroll, one of the signatories of the US Declaration of Independence was born September 19th 1737.

Charles Carroll’s brother John, with whom he studied at the College of St. Omer in French Flanders joined the Jesuit Order. He served as the first bishop and Archbishop in the United States. Bishop John Carroll was also the founder of Georgetown University, the oldest Catholic and Jesuit institution in the USA.

Charles Carroll, whose father was County Offaly, Ireland and who was one of the signatories of the United States Declaration of Independence, died aged 95 in the year 1832 On This Day.

Charles Carroll



13 November-First Helicopter Flight

Paul Cornu was an engineer who was a native of France. He made first successful manned helicopter flight in 1907. Though the flight lasted just 20 seconds it began the development of an aircraft which can take off and land vertically. The helicopter can also hover, fly forward, backward, and laterally.

The idea of vertical flight dates back over 2500 years to the spinning top with which Chinese children played. During the following centuries various attempts were made to develop flying machines based on the toy. Leonardo da Vinci designed a flying machine in the 1480’s.

By the early 1900’s several unmanned flights were made. Manned flights were attempted but the machine was tethered to the ground. Following Cornu’s flight, development of the helicopter continued. In 1942 a helicopter designed by Igor Sikorsky went into production in the United States. Cornu failed to get support for his development and devoted his time to manufacturing bicycles. He was killed in 1944 during the Allied World War II landings in Normandy.

The first successful manned helicopter flight in history was made by French engineer Paul Cornu in the year 1907 On This Day.

AW139 landing in Baldonnel at sundown by Irish Air Corps on 2011-01-17 16:30:41


13 November-Pat Reid

Captain Patrick Reid whose family were from Carlow, Ireland was one of the few people to escape from Colditz Castle during World War II. Colditz Castle is located in the state of Saxony in Germany. It was used as prisoner-of-war camp by the Nazi’s during the war.

Patrick Robert Reid was born in November 1910 in Ranchi the capital of the state of Jharkhand in north eastern India. His father John Reid was from Grange near Tullow, Co Carlow. He was educated at Clongowes Wood College Co Kildare, Ireland and graduated from King’s College London in 1932. He later trained as a civil engineer.

In 1935 Patrick Reid joined the British Army. He was mobilised for active duty on August 24th 1939. Whilst serving as a member of the British Expeditionary Force he was captured by the Germans on May 27th 1940 near Cassel about 30km south of Dunkirk in France. He was sent as a prisoner of war to Laufen Castle in Bavaria close to the Austrian border. Three months later having dug a tunnel Reid and five other prisoners escaped and tried to reach Yugoslavia. They were captured within days and returned to prison.

In November 1940 they were sent to ‘escape proof’ Colditz Castle, which is located in the town of Colditz, between Leipzig and Dresden. Following several escape attempts Reid and three others escaped from Colditz. Reid crossed the border into Switzerland in October 1942 and remained there for the remainder of the war.

After the war Reid served for a time as a diplomat in Turkey. He was later appointed as an administrator of the Organisation for European Economic Cooperation (now the OECD) based in Paris. He also became a writer detailing his experiences as a prisoner of war and his escape attempts. Some of his writings about Colditz formed the basis for a film in 1955 and later for a series on television. He was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 1945. Captain Reid died in Bristol in 1990 at the age of 79.

Patrick Reid, whose family were from Carlow, Ireland was one of the few people to escape from Colditz Castle during World War II. He was born in the year 1910 On This Day.

Colditz Castle by NH53 on 2014-10-21 11:14:39

Escape tunnel… by lostajy on 2009-08-31 13:27:23