28 March-Br Joseph Ignatius Doorley

Joseph Doorley was a native of Carlow, Ireland. He was a member of the Congregation of Christian Brothers. He established schools in New York City; New Rochelle, New York; Chicago, Illinois and Buenos Aires, Argentina. Past pupils of the schools which he founded include American singer, songwriter and musician Don McClean and Argentinian and Leinster Rugby Union footballer Felipe Contepomi.

Joseph Doorley was born at Cloneen, Nurney, Co Carlow in 1878. He was the fourth of five children of John Doorley and his wife Maria Whitty. Maria Whitty was a native of Milltown House Co. Kilkenny. James was baptised at the nearby St. Patrick’s Church, Newtown by Fr Edward Kavanagh on March 31st 1878.

When Joseph was five years old his father died. The five children were raised by their mother. Joseph was educated at Newtown National School where Mr O’Mahoney was the Principal. He excelled at school and having completed his primary education was retained in Newtown School as a monitor.

It was intended that Joseph would proceed to teacher training. However Newtown School was visited by Br Joseph McCormack, a Christian Brother who was on his postulating rounds. Following the visit, Joseph Doorley decided to join the Christian Brothers. At the age of 17 he entered the Christian Brothers training school in Baldoyle, Co Dublin in July 1895. He was given the name Brother Ignatius.

Having completed his training Br Ignatius taught for a time at O’Connell’s Schools in Dublin. He was transferred to the Christian Brothers’ College (CBC) in Cork City in 1904. He worked in the commercial department and was appointed sports master in charge of the school rugby team. CBC had remarkable achievements in University College Cork and the rugby team produced two international players, Harry Jack and Vincent McNamara who played for the Ireland national Rugby team.

In 1909 Br Doorley was chosen to be the Superior of the first Christian Brothers’ High School established in New York City. He remained in charge until the school was well established before being transferred to New Rochelle, New York where he established Iona College on October 16th 1919. In 1927 he established St Leo’s High School in Chicago.

At the age sixty-nine Br Doorley set out for Argentina to establish the first Christian Brothers’ school in South America. Colegio Cardenal Newman (Cardinal Newman College) was established in Buenos Aires in 1948. Today it is a bilingual, day, co-educational primary and secondary school. It is an important centre for Rugby union in Argentina. Br Doorley died aged 68 in 1963. He is buried in Recoleta cemetery in Buenos Aires.

Br Joseph Ignatius Doorely, Christian Brother and native of Carlow, Ireland, who founded schools in New York City; New Rochelle, New York; Chicago, Illinois and Buenos Aires, Argentina was born in the year 1878 On This Day.

Iona College of New Rochelle

Iona Gaelic Society at St. Patricks Day Parade

05 February-Citroën

Citroën is a major automobile manufacturer. It was founded in 1919 by engineer and industrialist André-Gustave Citroën. Citroën has its headquarters at Saint-Ouen near Paris, France. The company which has a reputation for innovation has been the winner of several major awards.

André-Gustave Citroën was born in Paris in 1878. Having graduated from the École Polytechnique in 1898 he began working in the automobile industry. During World War I Citroen he mass produced munitions for the French Army. In 1919 he founded the Citroën automobile company. He converted his munitions factories to mass produce small automobiles. By 1932 Citroën had become one of the largest manufacturers of automobiles in the world.

André Citroën, founder of the Citroën automobile company was born in Paris, France in the year 1878 On This Day.


André Citroën

Citroen C5

Citroën DS





24 October-Cardinal Paul Cullen

Paul Cullen, who was a student at Carlow College Ireland from 1816 to 1820, was Ireland’s first Roman Catholic Cardinal. A native of Co Kildare he had a major influence on the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland during the nineteenth century. He lived in Rome for thirty years. Cardinal Cullen is said to have drafted the dogma on papal infallibility during the first Vatican Council

Paul Cullen was born at Narraghmore, Athy, Co Kildare on April 29th 1803. He grew up on his parents’ 700 acre farm and attended the Shackleton Quaker School in Ballitore close to his home. At the age of 17, having completed his studies at Carlow College, he moved to Rome to study at the Pontifical Urban College. He was an excellent student, graduated with a Doctor of Divinity in 1828 and was ordained in 1829.

Bishop James Doyle of Kildare and Leighlin (JKL) wanted him to return to Ireland. However Cullen was appointed to teach Sacred Scripture and Hebrew at the Pontifical Urban College in Rome. Three years later in 1832 he was appointed Rector of the Irish College in Rome. In 1850 Cullen returned to Ireland having been appointed Archbishop of Armagh. He remained in Armagh until he was appointed to the Dublin Diocese just over two years later.

There was division among the Catholic bishops of Ireland over the National School system but Cullen was a supporter of the system and used his influence to implement reforms for the education of Catholic children. He was however opposed to the Queens Colleges which had been established at Belfast, Galway and Cork. He set about establishing a Catholic University the corner stone for which was laid in Dublin in 1862.

Cullen convened the Synod of Thurles for the purpose of unifying the Hierarchy in Ireland and bringing the church into line with Rome. The ‘Romanisation’ of the church, as it was called, included rules relating all aspects of church life, from the administration of the sacraments to the maintenance of church archives. He also began the practice of priests being called ‘Father’ instead of ‘Mister’ and the wearing of the Roman Collar by priests. Cullen was responsible for the introduction of denominational training for teachers. In 1854 he founded Holy Cross College at Clonliffe, the Dublin diocesan seminary.

Cullen raised large sums of money to support the temporal power of the Pope and helped raise the Irish Brigade to defend the Papal States against Garibaldi. This was the Brigade that Myles Keogh from Carlow joined. Cullen was appointed a Cardinal of the church in 1866. He was opposed to secret societies such as the Young Irelanders and the Fenians. He believed in constitutional means and saw the secret societies as enemies of Ireland. He strongly defended the rights of tenants and was an advocate for the relief of the poor. With the Lord Mayor of Dublin he established the Mansion House Relief Committee in 1862.

Cardinal Paul Cullen died in Dublin at the age of 75 in the year 1878 On This Day.



11 March-Lansdowne Road Aviva Stadium

The Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) were the owners of the Lansdowne Road Stadium. The stadium which was a sporting venue for 134 years was demolished in 2007. The demolition made way for the building of the Aviva Stadium which opened in 2010.

An athlete called Henry Dunlop was the founder of the Irish Champion Athletic club in 1871. Dunlop who was also an engineer took a 69 year lease on grounds adjacent to Lansdowne Road for his club. Using his skills as an engineer he laid down a cinder track and tennis court. He also laid out a rugby pitch for Lansdowne Rugby Football Club which he founded in 1872. Wanderers Football Club became a tenant later. The two clubs continue to use the new Aviva stadium.

The first rugby international was played at Lansdowne Road in 1878 making it the oldest rugby union ground in the world. The first international soccer match was played there when England beat Ireland 2-0 in 1900. Soccer was not played at Lansdowne road again until 1968 with the exception of an international between Ireland and Italy in 1926. The first covered stand was built at Lansdowne Road in 1908 and the stadium continued to be developed down through the following decades.

The first ‘colours’ match, an annual rugby union fixture between Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin, was played at Lansdowne Road in 1952. International rugby games were held alternatively in Dublin and at Ravenhill in Belfast but, in 1954 Lansdowne Road became the venue for all of Ireland’s International rugby games. In August 2010 a new rugby and soccer 50,000 all-seater stadium was opened.

Lansdowne Road Stadium hosted its first international rugby game when Ireland played England in the year 1878 On This Day.

Lansdowne Road, New Year’s Eve 2006

Aviva Stadium (Lansdowne Road)



01 February-Thomas MacDonagh

Thomas McDonagh, who was executed for his part in the Easter Rising 1916, taught at St Kieran’s College in Kilkenny. He was a founder of the ASTI (Association of Secondary Teachers of Ireland). MacDonagh was a teacher, poet, playwright and founding member of the Irish Volunteers.

Thomas McDonagh was born in Cloughjordan County Tipperary 1n 1878. Both his parents were teachers and music and learning played a major role in his home life. From a young age both he and his seven siblings were instilled with a love of both English and Irish culture. At the age of fourteen in 1892 he was sent to Rockwell College near Cashel in County Tipperary and two years later decided to train for the priesthood. In 1901 he abandoned the idea of becoming a priest and moved briefly to France.

On his return to Ireland, in 1902, McDonagh was appointed as a teacher in St Kieran’s College in Kilkenny. In the same year he published ‘Through the Ivory Gate’, his first book of poems. A year later he was employed as a teacher of French, English and Latin at St Colman’s College, Fermoy County Cork. He formed a branch of the Gaelic League there. He was also one of the founding members of the ASTI. A meeting was held in St Colman’s college on St Patricks Day in 1909 to establish the Association.

He moved to Dublin to teach at St Enda’s school in Rathfarnham where Patrick Pearse was the headmaster. While teaching at St Enda’s, MacDonagh was also studying part-time at UCD (University College Dublin). In 1911, he was awarded an MA for his thesis ‘Thomas Campion and the Art of Poetry’. He 1912 he married Muriel Gifford and was appointed as lecturer in English at UCD. He continued with his literary activities, writing poetry and had a play ‘When the Dawn is Come’ produced at the Abbey Theatre.

Thomas Mac Donagh developed a close friendship with Patrick Pearse, Eoin MacNeill and others. This friendship, and other events, appears to have influenced his views to change from pure constitutionalism to militarism. In 1913 he joined the Irish Volunteers and played an active part in their activities. In 1916 he was one of the signatories of the Proclamation and was commander of the garrison at the Jacob’s biscuit factory in Bishop Street, Dublin. The garrison saw little fighting. His most senior officers were John MacBride and also Michael O’Hanrahan who had lived in Carlow town. When the rising ended the garrison at Jacob’s was ordered to surrender on April 30th. Following the surrender Thomas MacDonagh was found guilty at his court martial and sentenced to death. He was executed by firing squad on May 3rd 1916. He was 38 years old.

Thomas MacDonagh was born in Cloughjordan, County Tipperary in the year 1878 On This Day.

Thomas MacDonagh in uniform, half-length portrait on 1915-01-01