25 November-Pope John XXIII

Pope John XXIII was elected to the Papacy on October 28th 1958. He was the 261st Pope of the Catholic Church. At the time of his election he was widely regarded as a transitional pope. However less than three months after the start of his Papacy he announced the Second Vatican Council and ushered in a new era for the Roman Catholic Church. He became one of the most popular popes of all time.

Pope John XXIII was born Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli in Sotto il Monte, Bergamo, Italy in 1881. He was ordained a priest in 1904. He served in several different roles, including as papal delegate to Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey. He also served as papal nuncio in France. In 1953 he was raised to the rank of Cardinal and appointed Patriarch of Venice. He was elected to the papacy in 1958 and served as Pope for just over four years. He was canonised by Pope Francis in 2014

Pope John XXIII, who is known as the ‘Good Pope’ was born in the year 1881 On This Day.

Pope John XXIII

05 May-Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral

Construction of Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral sometimes known locally as ‘Paddy’s Wigwam’ was begun when Kilkenny native Richard Downey was Archbishop of Liverpool. When Richard Downey was 13 years old he moved with his family in 1894 from Kilkenny to Liverpool. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1907 and was appointed Archbishop of Liverpool at the age of 47 in 1928.

During his time as Archbishop he set about integrating the predominantly Irish catholic population of Liverpool into the mainstream of English life. He withdrew support for a specifically catholic party and though St Patricks Day continued to be celebrated, St George’s Day was also celebrated.

The initial design for Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral was by Sir Edward Lutyens. However, only the crypt was completed at the outbreak of World War II. When work resumed after the war the original design was abandoned but the crypt which had been dedicated by Archbishop Downey was incorporated into the new design. Archbishop Downey died on June 17th 1953 having served the archdiocese of Liverpool for 25 years. The cathedral was redesigned in 1959 and construction of the unique building, which can accommodate a congregation of 2,000, was completed in May 1967.

Richard Downey who served as archbishop of Liverpool from 1928 to 1953 was born in Kilkenny in the year 1881 On This Day.

Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral



28 March-Martin Sheridan

Martin Sheridan was a native of Bohola, County Mayo, Ireland. When he died in 1918 at the age of 36 his obituary in the New York Times described him as ‘one of the greatest athletes the United States has ever known’. Sheridan, who was a brother-in-law of General Michael Collins, was educated locally in Mayo. He excelled at various athletic events and played Gaelic Football.

At the age of 18 in 1899 Sheridan emigrated, along with two of his brothers, to the United States. He worked at various jobs including as an athletic instructor in New York. He was selected to represent the US at the 1904 Olympic Games. At the games, which were held in St Louis, Missouri, Sheridan won his first Olympic Gold Medal in the discus.

Martin Sheridan joined the New York Police Department in 1906. In that year he won two Gold Medals (Discus and Shot Put) and three silver medals in other events at the Olympic Games in Athens. The King of Greece, Giorgis I, presented Sheridan with a gold goblet and vaulting pole in recognition of his achievements. The vaulting pole is now on display in Bohola, together with some of his medals and trophies. Medals awarded at the 1906 Games are however not recognised today by the International Olympic Committee.

In the 1908 Olympic Games in London Sheridan won two Gold Medals (Discus) and one Bronze Medal (Long Jump). He came back to Ireland following his success at the 1908 Olympics and visited Bohola. During his time in Ireland he gave exhibitions at Dundalk, Dungarvan, Dublin, and Ballina. Sheridan was inducted into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Martin Sheridan became a highly regarded police officer in New York. He was awarded for his bravery when he risked his life to save a family from a house fire. In his honour the Martin J. Sheridan Award is given annually for bravery to a member of the New York Police Department.

The day before his 37th birthday Martin Sheridan died of pneumonia in St. Vincent’s Hospital in Manhattan, New York during the outbreak of Spanish Flu in 1918. . He is buried in Calvary Cemetery, Queens, New York. On the Celtic cross on his grave is inscribed: ‘Devoted to the Institutions of his Country, and the Ideals and Aspirations of his Race. Athlete. Patriot’.

Martin John Sheridan winner of nine Olympic medals was born Bohola, County Mayo, Ireland, in the year 1881 On This Day.

Martin Sheridan 1910 Mecca card front.jpg

By Mecca cigarette company – www.wingedfist.org, PD-US, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20889159

Image from page 46 of “New York State fair and agricultural and industrial exposition. Syracuse, September 9 to 14, 1912.” (1912)




07 November-John MacHale Archbishop of Tuam

John MacHale, who was a native of County Mayo Ireland, served as Roman Catholic Archbishop of Tuam from 1834 to 1881. Often referred to as ‘The Lion of the West’, Dr McHale worked to secure Catholic Emancipation. He also became involved in national events of the day and strongly supported use of the Irish language.

John MacHale was born in the townland of Tobbernavine on the shores of Lough Conn between Crosmolina and Castlebar on March 6th 1791. He was educated locally and also at the school of Patrick Staunton in Castlebar where he was taught Latin, Greek and English. At the age of sixteen MacHale was awarded a bursary by the Bishop of Killala and he entered St Patricks College Maynooth.

Following his ordination to the priesthood in 1814 MacHale was appointed lecturer in Dogmatic Theology at Maynooth. He worked at Maynooth until his appointment as Coadjutor Bishop of Killala in 1825. Dr. MacHale was appointed Archbishop of Tuam in August 1834.

The British authorities vigorously opposed his appointment because of his many challenges to the policy of the Government. He was a strong supporter and friend of Daniel O’Connell. He resisted the Education Act and supported denominational education. Machale supported the Repeal Association and objected to the Queen’s Colleges. Some of his policies put MacHale at odds with many of his fellow bishops in Ireland. He served as Archbishop of Tuam for forty seven years.

John MacHale, Archbishop of Tuam died at the age of 91 in the year 1881 On This Day.

Lahardane photo

Monument to Archbishop John Machale

Elaborate 20th century Celtic Cross Lahardane, Co Mayo March 1991

Photo by sludgegulper

Turlough Round Tower, Co Mayo, Ireland by jaqian on 2005-06-06 20:00:25

25 October-Pablo Picasso

‘Still Life with a Mandolin’ is a painting by Pablo Picasso. It can be viewed in the National Gallery of Ireland. The painting was bequeathed to the National Gallery by Máire MacNeill Sweeney in 1987.

Pablo Ruiz y Picasso was born in Málaga, Spain in 1881. He was a painter and sculptor and is one of the most famous artists of the 20th century. From a young age Picasso displayed outstanding artistic ability. He attended Art College in Barcelona and Madrid before moving to Paris in 1901.

Picasso settled in Paris in 1904 and opened his own studio in the Montmartre area. During the following years he constantly altered and updated his style. The changing style is divided into periods frequently referred to as: Blue Period (1901-1904), Rose Period (1904-1906), African-influenced Period (1907-1909) and Cubism (1909-1919).

A co-founder of the Cubist movement Picasso was an exceptionally prolific artist. He has thousands of pieces to his name and his work has been seen by millions around the world. Among his most famous works are Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907), and Guernica (1937). Les Demoiselles d’Avignon is in the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Guernica depicts the destruction of the city of Guernica in Northern Spain during the Spanish Civil War. At the request of Franco, the city was bombed by the German and Italian air-forces

During his 78 year career Picasso produced thousands of pieces of art and his work is better known and has sold more pieces than any other artist of his time. His paintings have set record prices for art sold at auction. In 2004 ‘Garson a la Pipe’, was sold for $104.1 million. In 2010 ‘Nude, Green Leaves and Bust’, a painting which was created in one day in 1932, was sold at auction in eight minutes for $106.5 million. Picasso died at the age of 91 on April 8th 1973 in Mougins near the city of Cannes in the Southeast of France.

Pablo Picasso was born in Málaga, Spain in the year 1881 On This Day.

Pablo Picasso photo

Pablo Picasso pintando el Guernica (París, 1937)

Photo by Recuerdos de Pandora

Pablo Picasso tourism by ainudil on 2009-07-18 12:42:15

Pablo Picasso – Modernist painter surrounded by curious people (1889) Detail by Cea. on 2011-03-06 23:00:03