14 January-Berkeley

Berkeley, California is named after Bishop George Berkeley who was a native of Thomastown Co Kilkenny, Ireland. Bishop Berkeley made great contributions to the fields of philosophy, mathematics, physics and economics. He developed the argument that, reality exists exclusively as it is perceived by the senses. His writings continue to be the subject of an increasing number of annual publications.

George Berkeley was born at Dysart Castle near Thomastown about 18km south of Kilkenny City on march 12th 1685. He was educated at Kilkenny College and entered Trinity College Dublin (TCD) in 1704. He was awarded a Master’s Degree in 1707 and remained at TCD as a tutor and lecturer in Greek until 1724. In 1724 he was awarded a Doctor of Divinity and appointed Dean of Derry. During his time in TCD he visited Britain and made a tour of Europe.

Following his marriage to Anne Foster in August 1728 George Berkeley and his wife moved to America. They settled near Newport, Rhode Island, purchased land and built a house called Whitehall. In 1970 Whitehall was added to the National Register of Historic Places in America. Berkeley intended to establish a seminary in Bermuda for the education of young American Indians. However, having failed to raise enough money for his project, he donated his property and library to Yale and Harvard. He returned to Europe in 1731 and settled London.

In London Berkeley helped establish a home (The Foundling Hospital) for abandoned children. He was consecrated Bishop Cloyne in Ireland in 1734 a post he retained for the rest of his life. In 1753, shortly before he died, Berkeley moved to Oxford in England where his son was a student. Several institutions such as The University of California Berkeley and Berkeley Library at Trinity College, Dublin are named in his honour.

Bishop George Berkeley, in whose honour University of California Berkeley and Berkeley Library at Trinity College are named, died at the age of 67 in the year 1753 On This Day.

 Berkeley, California (1959)

Bishop George Berkeley photo

Bishop George Berkeley by cliff1066™

Thomastown photo

Thomastown Main street by Bernie Goldbach


09 September-William Bligh

William Bligh, British naval officer, marine surveyor and explorer was commander of HMS Bounty when mutiny occurred on that ship in 1789. Despite being set adrift in a small boat in the Pacific Ocean with those loyal to him he succeeded in returning to England in 1790. In 1800, Bligh carried out the survey that led to the building of the Bull Wall on the north side of Dublin Bay. The building of the wall caused the Bull Island to be formed. In 1814 Bligh rose to the rank of Vice Admiral in the British Royal Navy.

William Bligh was born in Plymouth, England in 1754. He entered the Royal Navy in 1770 and by 1780 he was commanding merchant ships. On December 23rd 1787 Bligh as commander of HMS Bounty set sail from Spithead in England bound for Tahiti. Michael Byrne a partially blind fiddler, who was born in Kilkenny in 1761, was chosen by Captain Bligh as the musician on board HMS Bounty. Bligh wrote: ‘I had great difficulty before I left England to get a man to play the violin and I preferred at last to take one two-thirds blind than come without one’. He went on to describe Byrne as being ‘5 feet 6 inches high. Fair complexion and is almost blind. Plays the fiddle’.

HMS Bounty was due to collect a cargo of breadfruit in Tahiti. The breadfruit was to be transported to the West Indies. The ship arrived in Tahiti on October 24th 1788. Having harvested and loaded the cargo the Bounty left Tahiti just over five months later on April 5th 1789. Three weeks into the voyage several members of the crew, led by Fletcher Christian revolted. They seized command of the ship and took Bligh and the other Officers prisoner. Bligh and those loyal to him were put aboard a launch with some supplies. The Bounty returned to Tahiti. The mutineers having taken on several Tahitian women set sail for Pitcairn Island where their descendants still live today.

Bligh and his crew survived and made the return journey to England. Bligh returned to his naval duties and in 1801 was involved in the Battle of Copenhagen. In 1805 he was appointed Governor of New South Wales. However he was deposed in mutiny and returned to England in 1810. He died in London on December 7th 1817.

William Bligh was born in the year 1754 On This Day.

p1150279 by generalising on 2008-04-03 14:38:47

Dublin Port: Boats And Ships by infomatique on 2012-09-04 12:51:53