18 January-Francis McNamara ‘Frank the Poet’

Francis McNamara was a native of Co Tipperary, Ireland. In Australia he is known as ‘Frank the Poet’. In 1832 he was found guilty of larceny and was deported to Australia. He was about 22 years old at the time. Frank McNamara lived in Australia for the remainder of his life dying in 1861.

Francis McNamara was born in Cashel Co Tipperary in 1810. Some accounts of his life say he was born in Co Clare. From his writings it is clear that he had a good education in English literature. His writings also show that he was familiar with the various Irish poetic forms.

In 1832 McNamara was working as a miner in the Castlecomer Mines in County Kilkenny. He was arrested for breaking a shop window and stealing some cloth. Having been found guilty of larceny McNamara was sentenced to seven years transportation. He sailed from Cork with 197 other prisoners aboard the Eliza on May 10th 1832. The prisoners were disembarked in Sydney on September 15th 1832.

McNamara had his sentence extended on several occasions for absconding and various other infringements. He eventually received his freedom in 1849. McNamara became well known in Australia for such poems as ‘A Convict’s Tour of Hell’ and ‘A Dialogue between Two Hibernians in Botany Bay’ which was published in the Sydney Gazette in 1840. He died of ‘cold and inanition’ near Mudgee NSW on August 31st 1861.

The trial of Francis McNamara began in Kilkenny in the year 1832 On This Day.

Mudgee Farmers Market


15 December-Eiffel

The Eiffel Tower is the most visited paid monument in the world. It was built by Gustave Eiffel (1832-1923). Eiffel was a French engineer, whose early work focussed chiefly on bridges. Eiffel also built the metallic skeleton which supports the copper exterior of the Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island in New York Harbour. The statue was delivered to New York as a gift to the United States from the people of France. It was officially received in 1885 by the Mayor of New York William Russell Grace, who was a native of Ballylinan Co Laois.

Alexandre Gustave Eiffel was born in Dijon, France in 1832. He was educated locally and later at the École Centrale des Arts et Manufactures, in Paris. Following graduation in 1855 he specialised in building bridges in France and abroad. Eiffel built the Maria Pia Bridge over the river Douro in Portugal. The bridge was completed in 1877.

Eiffel began building the Eiffel Tower in 1887 on the Champ-de-Mars in central Paris. It was the entrance arch for the 1889 Exposition Universelle (World’s Fair). The Exposition was held to mark the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution. The tower which is 324 metres tall was the tallest building in the world when it was completed.

Many people initially criticised the Eiffel Tower and felt it was an eyesore. Some people would dine in the restaurant at the base in order to avoid seeing the tower. It is today one of the best known structures in the world and attracts an estimated seven million visitors every year. Eiffel died in Paris at the age of 92 on December 27th 1923.

Alexandre Eiffel was born in Dijon, France in the year 1832 On This Day.

Gustave Eiffel by Marine Corps Archives & Special Collections on 2009-08-24 09:02:33

Eiffel by vl8189 on 2013-07-07 00:12:06

Gustave Eiffel photo

Photo by ThePixelman (Pixabay)


01 September-Dunmore Cave

The Dunmore Cave is located about 11 Km North of Kilkenny City, Ireland close to the road linking the city to Castlecomer town. The cave contains many passages and is 150 feet below the surface at its deepest. It is open to the public and has been a national monument since 1940.

Reference to the cave, which is a 300 million years old limestone formation, can be found in documents dating back centuries. The Annals, for instance, tell of a Viking massacre which occurred at the cave in 928 AD. Later investigations showed that the remains discovered were the bodies of nineteen female adults and twenty five children. Excavations at various times have uncovered bodies, coins, weapons and various artefacts dating back to Viking times. The cave is referred to in many publications including the Dublin Penny Journal. Kilkenny native Bishop George Berkeley wrote an account of a visit he made to the cave in 1706.

At the end of the 1999 tourist season, a tourist guide who was tidying up discovered a hoard of silver and bronze items which dated back to 970 AD. Among the items found were some coins from the North East of England and others from Baghdad. Officials described the find as “very exciting and of major significance”. The cave was closed to the public so that further archaeological works could be carried out. The announcement of the discovery of the hoard of coins and jewellery which was over 1,000 years old, and its transfer to the National Museum in Dublin was made on January 13th 2000. Following the archaeological works extensive redevelopment at the cave was undertaken before it was reopened to the public in 2003.

The Dunmore Cave in Co Kilkenny was the subject of an article in the Dublin Penny Journal in the year 1832 On This Day.

Dunmore Cave by Olivier Bruchez on 2011-08-01 17:09:44

Dunmore Cave by Olivier Bruchez on 2011-08-01 17:15:27

Dunmore Cave by Olivier Bruchez on 2011-08-01 17:23:32