27 June-Charles Joly

Charles Joly was a native of Co Offaly, Ireland. He was a mathematician and astronomer. He served as Professor of Astronomy at Trinity College Dublin until his appointment as Royal Astronomer of Ireland 1897.

Charles Jasper Joly was born in Tullamore Co Offaly in 1864. He was educated at the Erasmus Smith Grammar School on College Road in Galway City before entering Trinity College Dublin. He served as Andrews Professor of Astronomy at Trinity College until 1897. He was then appointed Royal Astronomer of Ireland at Dunsink Observatory.

The Dunsink Observatory is located about 8km northwest of Dublin city centre. It was established in 1785. In 1900 Joly was a leading member of the major expedition to Spain for the Total Eclipse of that year. The purpose of the visit was to photograph the sun’s corona. Joly died of typhoid on January 4th at the age of 42.

Charles Joly was born in the year 1864 On This Day.

The South Dome, Dunsink Observatory, Dublin



15 April-Dublin Horse Show

The Dublin Horse Show is held over five days each year during the summer at the Royal Dublin Society (RDS) arena in Ballsbridge, Dublin, Ireland. The show which is the leading equestrian event in Ireland attracts the best show-jumpers from Ireland and abroad. It is also one of the biggest annual events in Ireland and attracts tens of thousands of visitors from Ireland and from all over the world.

The arena at the RDS has been home to the Dublin Horse Show since 1881. The show, which was first held in 1864, is one of the oldest horse shows in the world. It also has one of the largest prize funds of any equestrian event in the world. The first RDS show was organised by the Royal Agricultural Society of Ireland. In 1868, four years after the first event, the RDS took over the organisation the show. That year it was held on the 28th 29th and 30 of July on the lawns of Leinster House which today is the home of Dáil Eireann.

Among the events at the first Dublin Horse Show, there was a show of led horses and, for the first time in history, ‘leaping’ demonstrations in the arena. In the following year in 1869, the first horse leaping competitions in an arena, were held at the Dublin Horse Show. The rule was that ‘the obstacles had to be cleared to the satisfaction of the judges’. Known then as Lepping, it was not brought to Britain until 15 years later. The Dublin Horse show became a popular event. It moved to its present site in 1881 where a stand had been built which could accommodate 800 people.

Though it would be 1954 before international competitions allowed women to compete, women riding side-saddle always competed at the Dublin Horse Show. From 1920 onwards women competed freely. The competitions for women were usually held on Thursday and as result Thursday has become known as Ladies’ Day.

The show has continued to thrive down through the generations and today continues to celebrate the Irish bred horse on the international stage. The Nations Cup Competition which is sponsored by His Highness the Aga Khan became the first international event of the show in 1926. Since 2013 it is part of the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup Series. Together with the Aga Khan Challenge Trophy, the show includes the Land Rover Puissance and the Longines International Grand Prix. Visitors can also attend a diverse range of exhibitions and entertainment.

The Dublin Horse Show was held for the first time, on the lawns of Leinster House at Merrion Square in the year 1864 On This Day.

Dublin Horse Show

Dublin Horse Show on 1910-01-01 00:00:00

Dublin Horse Show photo

Bands Remember Deceased Members before Horse Show by Irish Defence Forces on 2010-08-06 11:25:19



30 January-National Gallery of Ireland

The National Gallery of Ireland is located in Dublin city centre. There is a bronze statue of Carlow engineer William Dargan in the forecourt of the Gallery. The statue was erected in recognition of the role Dargan played in the establishment of the Gallery. It was temporarily moved from its plinth on April 30th 2014 to allow for refurbishment of the building. The statue, which has been in its location for 150 years was returned to its plinth when works were completed in 2016.

William Dargan was born near Carlow town, Ireland on February 28th 1779. The Irish rail network and the National Gallery of Ireland are just two of the areas where Dargan made a major impact on Ireland. Often referred to as the father of the Irish rail network Dargan was offered a baronetcy by Queen Victoria when she visited him at his home in Mount Annville in Dublin in 1853. He declined the offer.

A great exhibition had taken place at Crystal Palace in London in 1851. Dargan offered to fund a similar exhibition in Dublin. What became known as The Great Industrial Exhibition opened on Leinster Lawn in Dublin on May 12th 1853. The Dublin exhibition was the first World Fair to have an exhibition of art. It was given an enthusiastic response by the visitors. The number of visitors exceeded one million, many of whom came on the railways built by Dargan. Among the visitors on August the 29th was Queen Victoria, the Prince Consort and the Prince of Wales.

Following the exhibition two committees were founded to promote the establishment of the National Gallery of Ireland, as a mark of gratitude to Dargan. The campaign was successful and the Gallery was built on Leinster Lawn, ten years after the Great Industrial Exhibition. The Gallery has been extended on several occasions to accommodate its large collection of Irish and European art.

The National Gallery of Ireland was officially opened to the public by the Earl of Carlisle in the year 1864 On This Day.

National Gallery of Ireland

National Gallery of Ireland photo

Dargan Statue Outside The National Gallery of Ireland by dahon

National Gallery of Ireland

23 December-James O’Brien

James O’Brien from Granard Co Longford was one of the leaders of Chartism in England. Chartism, which took its name from the People’s Charter of 1838, was a working class movement which sought political reform in Great Britain. Other people from Ireland who became involved in Chartism at the time included Feargus O’Connor, a lawyer from Cork and John Tyndall, a scientist from Carlow.

The reforms sought by the Chartists included, the secret ballot, a vote for every man over twenty-one years old and payment for members of parliament. Chartism, which existed from 1838 to 1868 did not immediately bring about reforms. However most of the reforms it sought were eventually implemented. Secret voting was introduced in 1872, payment for members of parliament was introduced in 1911 and every man over 21 and every woman over 30 was given the vote in the 1918 General Election.

James O’Brien was born in February 1805. He was educated locally in Granard and later at Edgeworthstown School about 15km away. He entered Trinity College Dublin in 1822 and having graduated with an honours BA degree in 1825 he studied law at the King’s Inns in Dublin. At Trinity he was the winner of several academic prizes.

In 1829 O’Brien moved to London where he enrolled as a law student at Gray’s Inn in March 1830, intending to practice at the English Bar. However he became involved in political journalism and joined the London Workingman’s Association in 1836. He wrote articles for the Poor Man’s Guardian which he signed ‘Bronterre’. He later adopted Bornterre as his middle name. He became one of the most important and influential of the Chartist leaders.

Some of the leaders of Chartism advocated physical force to gain their objectives. O’Brien was one of those considered by the government to be an advocate of physical force. There were several outbreaks of violence during 1839. An uprising took place in Newport south Wales where a confrontation between Chartists and soldiers led to over twenty deaths. Many of the leaders were arrested and transported to Van Diemen’s Land, now Tasmania. O’Brien was arrested in 1840 and found guilty of sedition and imprisoned for eighteen months.

Following his release he continued his involvement in politics. He was one of the founders of the National Reform League in 1850. The League was a strong advocate of socialist objectives. He continued to write for various publications and founded a school in London in 1851. The school provided classes for adults in subjects such as English, Mathematics and French.

James Brontere O’Brien from Granard, Co Longford died at his home in Pentonville, London in the year 1864 On This Day.

James “Bronterre” O’Brien by anterotesis on 2009-06-14 06:57:23

Granard photo

Photo by National Library of Ireland on The Commons

Neddies, ghosts, shawlies and corner boys galore! by National Library of Ireland on The Commons on 1905-01-01 00:00:00