11 December-de Kilmaine County Mayo

Kilmaine is a village in south County Mayo, Ireland. Lands around the village had once been the property of the family of Charles Edward Jennings de Kilmaine. de Kilmaine was born in Ireland but moved to France at the age of eleven. He became a celebrated general in the French army. He served with distinction in the American War of Independence and the French Revolutionary Wars. de KIlmaine was a friend of Wolfe Tone and played an active role in sending troops and ammunition to Ireland during 1798.

Dr Theobald Jennings, father of de Kilmaine, moved to South West France in 1738. He practised as a physician in Tonnay-Charente in southwestern France. When his wife Eleanor Saul became pregnant she returned to Ireland. Her son Charles was born on October 19th 1751 at her family home, Saul’s Court, near the Ha’penny Bridge in Dublin. Charles was raised in Dublin. He returned to France at the age of 11 where he attended school in Tonnay-Charente.

At the age of 14 de Kilmaine joined the French Army as a cadet. He served with distinction in Senegal, West Africa. He later as part of the expeditionary force to assist the Americans during their War of Independence (1780-1783) against the British. He became known during his career as ‘Brave Kilmaine’ and became a gallant and celebrated general. He played an important role in Napoleon’s Italian campaign and was appointed commander of Northern Italy in 1796.

de Kilmaine was committed to both the French Revolution and Irish Independence. He played an active part in the preparations for landings in Ireland such as of the one of General Humbert at Killala in 1798. In 1799 de Kilmaine was appointed general-in-chief in Switzerland. He resigned due to ill-health a short time later. He returned to Paris where he died at the age of 48. de Kilmaine’s name can be seen on the Arc de Triomphe in Paris and his portrait hangs in city hall in Tonnay-Charente.

Charles Edward Jennings de Kilmaine, native of Ireland and celebrated general in the army of Napoleon, died in Paris in the year 1799 On This Day.



09 January-Income Tax

Income Tax is one of a range of taxes in existence through which the government raises revenue to pay for state services. It was first introduced in Ireland in 1853 as a temporary measure. However income tax continued to be levied despite strong opposition. The opposition played a part in the evolution of nationalism in Ireland during the latter part of the 19th century. However following independence in 1922 income tax continued to be levied.

Income tax was first levied in Britain by Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger in 1799. It was introduced as a temporary measure to pay for the Napoleonic wars. It was repealed following the Battle of Waterloo but was re-introduced in 1842. The tax was not extended to Ireland despite the fact that Ireland had been united with Britain under the Act of Union in 1801. Just over 50 years after the Act of Union income tax was extended to Ireland by the then Prime Minister Gladstone.

Income tax, which was introduced in Ireland for the first time in 1853 was first introduced in Britain in the year 1799 On This Day.

Income Tax Return





26 January-Thomas Charles Wright

Thomas Charles Wright was a native of Drogheda, Co Louth, Ireland. He was the founder of the Ecuadorian naval school and was an officer in Simón Bolívar’s South American army. Wright was also the founder and first commander-in-chief of the Ecuadorian navy. It is reported that a monument to Wright will be unveiled in Drogheda in 2018.

Thomas Charles Wright was born in Queensboro, Drogheda, Co Louth in 1799. At the age of eleven he began training at the naval college in Portsmouth, England. He later served in the British navy during the 1812 war with the United States. He returned to Drogheda in 1817 and decided to join the army of Simon Bolivar who at the time was fighting to free South America from Spanish rule.

Wright served with distinction in Bolivar’s army and was appointed Commodore of the Pacific squadron. Spanish rule ended in 1826 and Wright played a major role in establishing the Republic of Ecuador. He settled in the port city of Guayaquil in 1826 where he founded the Ecuadorian naval school. Wright died in Guayaquil on December 10th 1835. The naval school which he founded continues to function to this day.

Thomas Charles Wright, founder of the Ecuadorian naval school and an officer in Simón Bolívar’s South American army, was born Drogheda, Co Louth in the year 1799 On This Day.



22 December-Nicholas Callan

Nicholas Callan was a priest and physicist who was a native of Co Louth, Ireland. In 1836 he invented the first induction coil. At the time he was professor of Natural Philosophy (Physics) in Maynooth College, Co Kildare. In 1838 he developed an electric motor which Siemens in Germany used as a basis for the production of a generator in 1886. Callan also built new batteries which later went into commercial production in London.

Nicholas Joseph Callan was born Darver near Ardee, Co Louth in 1799. He was educated locally and began training for the priesthood at Navan Seminary. He later trained at Maynooth College (Royal College of St. Patrick) and was ordained in 1823. Callan then moved to Rome where he learned of the work of Alessandro Volta. He studied at Sapienza University where he was awarded a doctorate in divinity. In 1826 Callan returned to Ireland and was appointed Professor of Natural Philosophy at Maynooth.

Father Nicholas Joseph Callan, one of the pioneers in the development of electricity during the 19th century was born in the year 1799 On This Day.


Rev Nicholas Callan



19 July-Rosetta Stone

The Rosetta Stone was carved in Egypt in 196 BC during the reign of King Ptolemy V. The text carved on the stone is in three languages, Hieroglyphic script, Demotic script and Ancient Greek. The Rosetta Stone is one of the keys to unlocking the secrets of ancient Egyptian writing. The carving is a decree by the King Ptolemy, which was issued by a congress of priests.

The Rosetta Stone was found by a French soldier in 1799 during the Napoleonic campaign in Egypt. It was found near the town of Rashid (Rosetta) in the Nile Delta. Following the defeat of Napoleon in 1801 the stone was taken by the British. It was brought to London and put on display at the British Museum. It continues to be on display there and is the most-visited object in the museum.

The Rosetta Stone was discovered in the year 1799 On This Day.

Rosetta Stone