21 June-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 William Pitt 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 It was repealed following the Battle of Waterloo but was re-introduced in 1842.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 was introduced in Ireland for the first time in the year 1853 On This Day.

Income Tax

Income Tax photo

Photo by Photo-Mix



30 March-Frank O’Meara Artist

Frank O’Meara, an artist known for his plein air (open air) painting, was a native of Carlow town, Ireland. For many years he was better known abroad for his work than he was in Ireland. However the sale of his painting ‘Reverie’ for £496,500 in 1999 at auction in London brought his work to the attention of a wider audience.

Francis Joseph O’Meara was born at 37 Dublin Street Carlow in 1853. He was the youngest of seven children whose father was a medical doctor. O’Meara was educated locally in Carlow town. He moved to Dublin at the age of 18, it is thought, to study medicine. However, he had been interested in art from a young age and began to attend art classes shortly after he moved to Dublin. He moved to Paris at the age of 20 to study art at the invitation of his relative the novelist Kathleen O’Meara. She wrote under the pen name Grace Ramsay. Her grandfather Dr Barry O’Meara (1786-1836) was Napoleon’s personal physician when he was exiled to St Helena.

Frank O’Meara studied at the Atelier of the French painter Carolus-Duran. He visited the artist colonies of Barbizon and Grez-sur-Loing in the forest of Fontainebleau. He was a contemporary of Irish artist John Lavery and the American artist John Singer Sargent. O Meara lived at Grez-sur-Loing for over twelve years. Many of the scenes he painted reflect the landscape in which he was living. However, some say that his work does contain images which could be related to the river Barrow in his native Carlow.

During his lifetime O Meara was better known in France, England and Scotland, where his paintings were included in exhibitions, than he was in Ireland. However he did exhibit once in Dublin at the Royal Hibernian Academy in 1879. Today paintings by O’Meara hang in places like the Ulster Museum in Belfast and the Hugh Lane Gallery of Modern Art in Dublin. His masterpiece ‘Towards the Night and Winter’, can be seen at the Hugh Lane Gallery.

In 1888 O’Meara returned to Carlow. He was suffering from malaria fever. He died in the family home on Dublin Street on October 15th 1888. He was just 35 years old. His death notice which was published in the Carlow Sentinel stated that ‘he died of malarial fever, contracted whilst living in France’. He is buried in the family grave in Bennekerry, 5km outside Carlow town.

Frank O’Meara was born in Carlow in the year 1853 On This Day.


Reverie, Frank O’Meara


Dublin Street, Carlow






30 March-Vincent van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh was a post-impressionist painter who was a native of The Netherlands. He worked for an international art dealer in The Hague. As part of his job he travelled to cities such as London and Paris. In 1880, at the age of 27 he decided to become an artist. His work included paintings of portraits, landscapes, wheat fields and sunflowers.

Vincent Willem van Gogh was born in Groot-Zundert, Netherlands in 1853. Virtually unknown during his lifetime his work had a big influence on 20th century art. Paul Gauguin, also a post-impressionist painter, was born in Paris, France in 1848. His work was influential on such artists as Matisse and Picasso but he was not well appreciated until after his death.

In 1888 van Gogh and Gauguin spent over two months painting together in van Gogh’s house in Arles. However they quarrelled frequently, mostly about art. Following one such quarrel van Gogh cut off part of his own ear on December 23rd 1888. He died at the age of 37 on July 29th 1890.

Vincent van Gogh was born in the year 1853 On This Day.

Vincent van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh, Houses at Auvers, 1890