21 December-Samuel Haughton

In August 2005 a plaque was unveiled in Carlow town, Ireland outside the house where polymath Samuel Haughton was born. Sponsored by An Bord Fáilte the plaque, which was unveiled by Professor David Spearman of the Royal Irish Academy. It records that Haughton was a mathematician, geologist and physiologist.

Samuel Haughton was born at Burrin Street, Carlow, Ireland in December 1821. He was educated locally. The school master had a special interest in nature and brought Haughton and other students on trips exploring nature along the valley of the river Barrow. Samuel Haughton entered Trinity College Dublin at the age of seventeen. He obtained a Foundation Scholarship called the Lloyd Exhibition in mathematics at the end of second year in 1843. The Foundation Scholarships are described as ‘the most prestigious and valuable awards’ at Trinity College. He won first place in mathematics in the following year and was successful in the fellowship examination in 1884.

During the following years Haughton worked in the mathematics department in Trinity College and was ordained a priest in 1847. In 1851 he was appointed Professor of Geology at the College. He held the post for 30 years and published up to fifty papers on geological subjects. He also carried out extensive studies on tides around the coast of Ireland. During his time as Professor of Geology Haughton studied medicine He was awarded the degree of MD in 1862 and was later appointed to the General Medical Council. He also served as President of the Royal Irish Academy and secretary and President of the Royal Zoological Society of Ireland. Haughton House at Dublin zoo was built in 1898 in memory of Samuel Haughton.

Haughton published a paper on hanging in 1866. At the time the person being hanged, died by slow strangulation which, we are told, could take several minutes. Haughton’s more humane method allowed the condemned person to drop far enough to snap the neck and cause instantaneous death. For example he determined that a person weighing 72.5kg needed a ‘drop’ of 4.5m. The method, which became known as ‘Haughton’s Drop’, became the accepted procedure for hanging. Samuel Haughton died in Dublin at the age of 77 on October 31st 1897. His body was returned to Carlow and he is buried in the family plot in Killeshin graveyard near Carlow town.

Samuel Haughton, mathematician, geologist and physiologist  was born Carlow town, Ireland in the year 1821 On This Day.

1898 The Hauchton House – Dublin Zoo by infomatique on 2012-08-29 13:11:18


18 July-John Glenn

John Glenn was an Astronaut who in 1962 became the first American to orbit the earth. On that occasion he made three orbits around Earth aboard Friendship 7. Glenn became the oldest astronaut in history when he made a return to space on the space shuttle Discovery in 1998.

John Herschel Glenn was born in Cambridge, Ohio in 1921. Having served as a military pilot he was chosen to train as an astronaut in 1959. In February 1962 he was the astronaut aboard Friendship 7 spacecraft when it was launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida. His flight lasted 4 hours and 55 minutes. Glenn resigned from NASA in January 1964.

In 1974 Glenn was elected to the United States Senate. He served for four terms as Senator for Ohio. On October 29th 1998, at the age of 77 and while still serving as a senator, Glenn returned to space aboard the space shuttle Discovery. In 2012 he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama. He died at the age of 95 on December 8th 2016.

John Glenn was born in the year 1921 On This Day.

Astronaut U.S. Senator John Glenn




15 November-John (Jacky) Barrett

John (Jacky) Barrett was a native of Co Laois, Ireland. Recognised as an eccentric, he was Professor of oriental languages at Trinity College Dublin. He was elected Vice Provost of the College in 1807. Barrett served as Vice Provost of TCD until he died in 1821.

John (Jacky) Barrett was born at Ballyroan Co Laois in 1753. He entered Trinity College Dublin in 1770 and graduated with a BA degree in 1775. He served as College librarian from 1791 to 1808. Barrett also served as professor of Greek and Hebrew before being appointed Vice Provost.

Barrett seldom left the college, preferring to read in his room without heat even in the coldest weather. Though he was described as kind and good-natured, he was never known to donate to charity. When he died he left £80,000 to various charities ‘to feed the hungry and clothe the naked’ and little or nothing to his relatives.

John Barrett died in the year 1821 On This Day.

Trinity College Dublin – Dublin, Ireland by Dougtone on 2014-09-14 11:50:28

Ballyroan photo

Ballyroan Library opening locals by The Labour Party on 2013-08-19 14:52:53