20 June-John A Costello

John A Costello was a politician who served two terms as Taoiseach (Prime Minister) of Ireland between 1948 and 1957. During his time as Taoiseach Ireland was declared a republic and the economy improved. Bodies such as the Industrial Development Authority and the Board of Trade were established. Projects such as rural electrification was accelerated.

John Aloysius Costello was born in Dublin in 1891. Having qualified as a barrister he was appointed Attorney General in 1926. He was first elected to Dáil Éireann in 1932. He was elected at each subsequent election until his retirement from politics in 1969. Following his retirement he resumed his career as a barrister.

John A Costello, who served two terms as Taoiseach (Prime Minister) of Ireland between 1948 and 1957, was born in the year 1891 On This Day.

US visit of Taoiseach Costello in 1956 (cropped).jpg

John A Costello

14 November-Frederick Banting

Frederick Banting was a Canadian physician who was the first person to use insulin to treat diabetes in humans. For his work Banting, with his colleague John Macleod, was the co-recipient of the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1923. Though insulin was like a miracle drug it did not cure diabetes. However it assists people with diabetes to lead an almost normal life and is one of the biggest discoveries in medicine.

Frederick Grant Banting was born in Alliston, Ontario, Canada in November 1891. He studied medicine at the University of Toronto and graduated with and MB degree in 1916. He served with the Canadian Army Medical Corps during World War I. He was wounded at Cambrai, France in 1918 and was later awarded the Military Cross.

Banting returned to Canada after the War. He worked in various medical posts and continued his medical studies. He was awarded an MD in 1922. He became interested in diabetes and was given facilities to carry out research at the University of Toronto.

Following successful experiments on animals, the first person to receive insulin was a 14-year old boy named Leonard Thompson in January 1922. Thompson was at the time extremely ill but he recovered rapidly. The testing was quickly expanded to other people suffering from diabetes. The results were positive. The discovery by Banting has led to millions of people suffering from diabetes to lead almost normal lives.

Frederick Banting was born in the year 1891 On This Day.

Dr. Frederick Banting Made Insulin Free by Speaker resources on 2015-11-25 21:42:14

Banting House, Birthplace of Insulin, London, Ontario by Ken Lund on 2015-09-28 06:21:01

06 october-Ivy Day

Ivy Day (Lá an Eidhneáin) is held each year in Dublin in memory of Charles Stewart Parnell. It commenced on the first anniversary of his death. It has continued to this day when on the Sunday nearest the date of his death a brief oration is delivered at midday by his graveside in Glasnevin Cemetery.

Parnell was an Irish nationalist politician who was described during the 1880’s as the ‘un-crowned King of Ireland’. He was a member of the British Parliament from 1875 to 1891. Parnell was a land reform agitator and the leader of the struggle for Irish Home Rule in the late 19th century.

Parnell died at the age of 45. His funeral was attended by over 200,000 people. A lady from Cork sent a wreath of ivy for his funeral. The wreath prompted people attending the funeral to put ivy leaves on their lapels which were in abundance on the cemetery walls.

Charles Stewart Parnell died in the year 1891 On This Day.

Image from page 7 of “Charles Stewart Parnell; his love story and political life” (1914) by Internet Archive Book Images on 1914-01-01 00:00:00

New Living Pictures by National Library of Ireland on The Commons on 1913-01-01 00:00:00

13 July-Electricity in Carlow Town


Plaque on Milford Mills, erected by The Old Carlow Society

In 1891 Carlow town, Ireland became the first provincial town in the country to have lighting powered by electricity in streets and houses in the town. During the installation of the electricity a by-election in Carlow was in full swing. Charles Stewart Parnell, while campaigning for his candidate in Carlow, was guest of honour for the switch-on of a generator in the town. At a speech to a large crowd on the occasion he described the light as a symbol of a new and free Ireland.

During the 19th century dramatic advances had taken place in the development of electricity in Ireland and abroad. In Ireland Father Nicholas Joseph Callan, who was professor of Natural Philosophy (Physics) in Maynooth College, developed the world’s first transformer. In 1838 he developed an electric motor which Siemens in Germany used as a basis for the production of a generator in 1886. Callan also built new batteries which later went into commercial production in London. In 1884 Charles Parsons, whose family were from Birr County Offaly and who was educated at Trinity College Dublin invented the first steam turbine. His invention made cheap and plentiful electricity possible for the first time.

Research on the light bulb (incandescent lamp) by several people had been ongoing for many years. Thomas Edison began research on the light bulb and in 1879 perfected a bulb which was capable of giving light for long period of time.

On November 18th 1890 Carlow Town Commission was addressed by a Mr Tomlinson chief engineer representing Gordon & Co. His company, as a demonstration, offered to install a temporary generator which would supply electricity to power electric lighting on Dublin Street in the town. The experiment convinced the Town Commission of the value of the new lighting system. They unanimously agreed to award a contract to Gordon & Co to light Carlow town by electricity. The contract involved street lighting for approximately 7.5km of streets and the supply of electric lights to 1,500 private users. Power for the lighting was to be supplied from Milford Mills, which are owned by the Alexander family and which lie about 8km south of Carlow. Cables carrying the electricity to Carlow were laid along the canal bank. (Milford Mills continues to supply electricity to the national grid). The electricity supply to Carlow was started on June 24th 1891.

Almost three weeks later an inspection of the works was carried out. Following the inspection a banquet was held in the Town Hall in Carlow. During the banquet Mr J. H. Gordon whose company had installed the new lighting gave a toast to the ‘Prosperity of Carlow…the first inland town in the whole of Great Britain and Ireland to be lighted throughout with electricity’. However, in 1881, the town of Godalming, Surrey, England was the first town to have public electricity supply but it had closed down after a few years.

A banquet to celebrate the official switching on of the electricity in Carlow town was held in the Town Hall in the year 1891 On This Day.

A Hazy Day at Milford Carlow 3 by hugh.carlow on 2009-03-18 13:53:29


07 July-Carlow By-election 1891

Charles Stewart Parnell founder and leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party fought his last by-election in County Carlow in 1891. It was his third time to fight a by-election since the Irish Parliamentary Party had split over his affair with Katherine O’Shea, wife of the Party’s MP for Galway. The split had occurred following a meeting on Dec 6th 1890. It followed the revelation that he and Mrs O’Shea had been living in a relationship and had three children together. The majority (44) of the party’s MP’s left to establish the anti-Parnell Irish National Federation.

The first by-election to give the two sides the opportunity to gauge their support among the electorate was held in North Kilkenny in December 1890. The campaign was marred by violence and Parnell had quick lime thrown in his face during an election rally in Castlecomer. The anti-Parnell candidate was victorious by a margin of two to one. The second by-election took place in North Sligo on April 2nd 1891. Again the anti-Parnell candidate was successful but by a much smaller margin.

Katherine O’Shea was granted a divorce on November 17th 1890. Parnell and O’Shea were married on June 25th 1891, less than two weeks before the by-election in Carlow. During the election the Catholic Hierarchy, at a meeting in Maynooth, issued a condemnation of his conduct saying, ‘by his public misconduct, has utterly disqualified himself to be a leader’.

Andrew Kettle was nominated to stand in the Carlow by-election by Parnell’s party. The chairman of Carlow Town Commissioners, John Hammond, was nominated by the anti-Parnellite group. Parnell felt his candidate stood a good chance of being elected. The election campaign got underway on June 28th with the arrival of Parnell at Carlow railway station after which he addressed a large group of supporters at the town hall. The following day he spoke at Bagenalstown where the parish priest Cannon Bernard O’Neill was urging his parishioners to vote for Andrew Kettle. However the three curates in Bagenalstown supported the anti-Parnell candidate. According to a United press Association report in the Evening Post in New Zealand the police had to intervene to prevent violence in Bagenalstown on the day of the election.

During the election Parnell campaigned in other towns and villages in County Carlow. He was well received places such as Fenagh, Myshall and Hackettstown. However he was jeered and taunted in places such as Rathvilly and Ballon.

The result of the by-election was an emphatic victory for the anti-Parnell candidate. Speaking after the election Parnell claimed not to be disheartened and vowed to continue with his political activities. He died just three months later on October 6th 1891 at the age of 45.

The Parnell candidate was defeated in the by-election in Carlow in the year 1891 On This Day.

Carlow by IrishFireside on 2010-06-25 16:56:35


Parnell by janetmck on 2007-09-24 16:42:50

Image from page 160 of “Charles Stewart Parnell; his love story and political life” (1914) by Internet Archive Book Images on 1914-01-01 00:00:00