09 February-Sir Edward Carson

Edward Carson, who was a native of Dublin, was a barrister and unionist politician who campaigned against Home Rule for Ireland. He served as a Liberal Unionist MP for Trinity College Dublin from 1892 to 1918 and held several government positions. Carson is regarded by many as the creator of Northern Ireland

Edward Henry Carson was born in Dublin in 1854. He was educated at Arlington House, Portarlington, Co Laois and at Wesley College Dublin. He studied law at Trinity College Dublin where he was a member of the college hurley team. He was also a leading member of the College Historical Society. Carson graduated from Trinity College in 1878 and went on to study law at the King’s Inns in Dublin. After graduation he was called to the bar and became one of Ireland’s leading barristers.

Though he disliked ‘the culture of Orangeism’ Carson was opposed to Home Rule for Ireland. He became leader of the Ulster Unionist Party in 1910 and was the first signatory of the Ulster Covenant on September 28th 1912. Carson opposed the Anglo Irish Treaty but refused to stay as leader of the Ulster Unionist Party and become the first Prime Minister of Northern Ireland.

In a speech opposing the Treaty in 1921 he said: “What a fool I was! I was only a puppet, and so was Ulster, and so was Ireland, in the political game that was to get the Conservative Party into Power.” In later life Carson is reported to have expressed his disillusionment with Belfast politics. He was created a life peer in 1921 and retired in 1929. He died at his home at Isle of Thanet, Kent at the age of 81 on October 22nd 1935.

Edward Carson was born at 4 Harcourt Street, Dublin in the year 1854 On This Day.

Sir Edw. Carson


22 January-Patrick O’ Donoghue

Patrick O’ Donoghue from Clonegal, Co Carlow, Ireland was a member of the Young Ireland Movement. The Young Ireland Movement was an Irish nationalist, political and social movement which was active in the mid nineteenth century. The Movement had grown out a split with Daniel O’Connell over the methods being used by O’Connell to achieve the repeal of the Act of Union. The Young Irelanders were especially opposed to O’Connell’s attempts to form an alliance with the Whig Party in England.

Patrick O’Donoghue was born in 1810. He attended Trinity College Dublin and was working as law clerk in Dublin when he joined the Young Ireland Movement. Following the failure of the Young Ireland uprising at Ballingarry in Co Tipperary in 1848 O’Donoghue was found guilty of treason by a special commission in Clonmel Co Tipperary. He was sentenced to death but this was later commuted to transportation for life to Van Diemen’s Land, now the island of Tasmania.

Shortly after arriving in Hobart, O’Donoghue established a weekly newspaper which he called the Irish Exile. The first edition was published on January 26th 1850. The paper was suppressed by the Governor and O’Donoghue was arrested. He was sentenced to hard labour for one year. On release he began publishing the Irish Exile again. He was arrested once more and sentenced again for a year to hard labour. He was released after a few months and sent to Launcetown in northern Tasmania in 1852. He escaped and in December 1852 boarded a ship bound for Melbourne.

From Melbourne O’Donoghue travelled via Sydney and Tahiti to San Francisco and from there to New York. By 1854 he was described as being often depressed, in poor health and estranged from many members of the Young Ireland movement who were also living in America. Following his arrival in America his wife and daughter and his brother sailed from Dublin to join him in New York. On arrival at New York however, they were unable to disembark immediately due to adverse weather conditions.

Patrick O’Donoghue died in New York shortly before his family, who had travelled from Ireland were able to disembark in New York Harbour, in the year 1854 On This Day.

Plaque on the House in Clonegal, Carlow where Patrick O’Donoghue was born

03 November-University College Dublin

With an enrolment of over 32,300 students University College Dublin (UCD) is the largest university in Ireland. It is located on a 133 hectare campus on the south side of Dublin city. University College Dublin is ranked within top 1% of higher education institutions world-wide.

Trinity College Dublin was founded in 1592. Just over two hundred years later other third level institutions such as Carlow College (1793) and the Royal College of Saint Patrick, Maynooth (1795) were established. The Queen’s Colleges were established in Ireland in 1845. The intention was that they would provide university education for those of the Roman Catholic faith who would not attend Trinity College Dublin. The Queen’s colleges were based in Belfast, Galway and Cork. The mayor of Limerick sought to have a college established in the city but did not succeed.

The Queens Colleges were denounced by the Catholic Hierarchy as ‘Godless Colleges’. Cardinal Cullen led a movement to have a university for Roman Catholics established in Ireland. The movement led to the establishment of the Catholic University of Ireland in 1854. John Henry Cardinal Newman as the first rector.

The new University was based at 86 St Stephen’s Green and had two other premises on nearby Harcourt Street. The Catholic medical school was opened in 1855 on Cecilia Street and the University Chapel was opened beside 86 St Stephen’s green in 1856. The new University did not receive any state funding and its degrees were not recognised by the state. This changed with the establishment of the new degree awarding Royal University of Ireland in 1880. The catholic University was reformed and became University College Dublin with degrees being conferred by the Royal University of Ireland.

The University expanded rapidly and became a constituent college of the National University of Ireland in 1908. The college consisted of a number of premises most of which were brought together on a site at Earlsfort Terrace which was donated by Lord Iveagh in 1911. In 1947 the University having become the largest educational institution in Ireland, made a decision to move to a new green-field-site. Land was purchased at Belfield and the Science department moved to the new campus in 1964. Other departments moved to Belfield during the following decades. The last department, Health Sciences, moved from Earlsfort Terrace to Belfield in 2007.

The Catholic University of Ireland, now UCD, opened its doors with an enrolment of seventeen students in the year 1854 On This Day.

University College Dublin by Leandro’s World Tour on 2014-05-21 05:46:49

UCD photo

Graduation class UCD 1902 with James Joyce

Photo by s_bonner2

25 October-Charge of the Light Brigade

The cannon gun on the steps of the courthouse in Carlow town, Ireland was captured from the Russian Army during the Crimean War (1853-1856). It commemorates all the Irish soldiers who lost their lives during the Crimean War. The gun was donated to the town of Carlow by the British Minister of War, Lord Panmure in 1858.

The Crimean War broke out in 1853. England, France and Turkey formed an alliance to drive Russia out of the Baltic and the Crimea. In Ireland there was great public interest in the war. It had its roots in a dispute between Orthodox and Roman Catholic monks over the control of the church of Nativity in Bethlehem. The dispute occurred during the summer of 1850. Britain and France were also alarmed at Russia extending its influence southwards towards the Mediterranean Sea.

It is estimated that around 30,000 Irish soldiers served in the Crimean War. Civilians from Ireland also served in the Crimean War. A team of 38 nurses organised by Florence Nightingale, sailed to the Crimea. The team was made up of nurses from various backgrounds including Anglican and Catholic religious sisters. Included in the Catholic group were 15 Mercy nuns some of whom were from convents in Ireland. Two of the mercy nuns, Sister Aloysius Doyle and Sister Stanislaus Heyfron, were from Carlow.

One of the most infamous events of the Crimean war occurred during the Battle of Balaklava. Known as The Charge of the Light Brigade it resulted in heavy losses being sustained by the British Army. 141 of the 673 soldiers of the Light Brigade were Irish including Daniel Dowling who was born in Carlow in 1832.

Lord Raglan was the commander-in-Chief of the British Forces in the Crimea. When the Russian Army were preparing to attack the town of Balaklava, Raglan sent Captain Louis Nolan with a message to Lord Lucan (Co Mayo), directing him to advance his cavalry. It has been suggested that the message was vague and the instruction was interpreted as an order to charge directly at Russian guns stationed about 2km away at the end of a valley. The Russians also held the high ground on both sides of the valley.

The Light Brigade charged up the valley and were fired on from the Russian positions at the top of the valley and from both sides. The charge resulted in 278 casualties of whom 156 were killed. Daniel Dowling survived and later served with British Army in Africa, India and Australia. He resigned from the British Army in 1865 and moved to America. He died on July 15th 1913 at the age of 81 in Utica, New York.

The Charge of the Light Brigade took place in the year 1854 On This Day.

Charge of the Light Brigade photo

Charge of the Light Cavalry Brigade. 25th Oct. 1854

Photo by SMU Central University Libraries

Carlow photo

Carlow Courthouse

Photo by Nico Kaiser


21 June-Charles Lucas VC

Charles Lucas, whose actions were the first to result in the award of the Victoria Cross, was a native of Poyntzpass, Co Armagh. He was given the award for his gallantry during the Crimean War in 1854. Lucas was 20 years old at the time at the time of the award. The Victoria Cross is awarded for ‘most conspicuous bravery, or some daring or pre-eminent act of valour or self-sacrifice, or extreme devotion to duty in the presence of the enemy’.

Charles David Lucas was born near Poyntzpass, County Armagh on February 19th 1834. He joined the Royal Navy at the age of thirteen. Lucas was serving on board HMS Hecla in the Baltic Sea. The ship was part of the allied force attacking Russia during the Crimean War. A fort on the Áland Islands of the coast of Finland was being bombarded by the allies when a live shell landed on the deck of the Hecla. An order was given that everyone lie flat on deck. Lucas however picked up the live shell while the fuse was still burning and threw it overboard saving crew members from injury or death.

Charles Lucas was immediately promoted to the rank of lieutenant and was invested with the Victoria Cross on June 26th 1857 in Hyde Park, London by Queen Victoria. He continued to serve in the British Navy eventually rising to the rank of rear admiral. Following his retirement from the navy Lucas served for time as a justice of the peace. He died on August 7th 1914 and is buried at St Lawrence Church, Mereworth, Maidstone, Kent, England

The Victoria Cross which was awarded to Charles Lucas was given on loan to the National Museum of Ireland by the National Maritime Museum of Greenwich, England in 2007. The award was included in an exhibition called ‘Soldiers and Chiefs – The Irish at War at Home and Abroad from 1550’.

The act of bravery by Charles Lucas, which led to the Victoria Cross being awarded for the first time in history, took place in the year 1854 On This Day.

Aland Map by meiburgin on 2003-09-21 04:16:19

Bomarsund, Aland Island by dobroide on 2010-08-22 11:00:48