23 March-Cedric Gibbons

Cedric Gibbons, who was a native of Dublin, Ireland, was the designer of the Oscar statuette. Officially called the Academy Award of Merit, the Oscar is awarded in recognition of excellence in cinematic achievements. Gibbons was also a founding member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Austin Cedric Gibbons was born in Dublin in March 1893. His father Austin Gibbons was an architect. Austin Gibbons and his wife Veronica moved with their family to New York when Cedric was young. Cedric studied at the Art Students League of New York where Walter Lantz the creator of Wood Woodpecker was also a student. Cedric worked for a time as a draughtsman in his father’s architectural business. By 1915 he had started working as a set designer with Edison Studios in New York. In 1924 he became head director for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), a position he held for 32 years until he retired in 1956.

During his career with MGM Cedric Gibbons was credited with creating the sets for around 1,500 films. However the bulk of this work may have been in a supervisory role, as his contract stated that he be named head of design for all MGM films. He was ‘hands-on’ art director for 150 films. Gibbons was responsible for fundamentally changing the manner in which studio production was done and is regarded as having had a major influence on film design.

Cedric Gibbons was one of a group of thirty six people who founded the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on May 11th 1927. He was given the task of designing a special award. His design of a knight holding a sword standing on a reel of film was accepted. The gold plated statuette, called an Oscar, has remained essentially the same to this day.

The first ever Oscars award ceremony was held at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, Los Angeles, California on May 16th 1929. During his career Cedric Gibbons was nominated for an Oscar 39 times, winning on 11 occasions. He was married on two occasions, in 1930 to Dolores del Río and to Hazel Brooks in 1944. His nephew Billy Gibbons plays the guitar and is a vocalist with the band ZZ Top.

Cedric Gibbons was born in Dublin, Ireland in the year 1893 On This Day.

Image from page 27 of “Bank rate and the money market in England, France, Germany, Holland, and Belgium, 1844-1900;” (1903)


04 December-John Tyndall

John Tyndall was a 19th century experimental physicist who was a native of Co Carlow, Ireland. He was responsible for several significant scientific discoveries and inventions. Tyndall was professor of Professor of Natural Philosophy (Physics) at the Royal Institution in London from 1853 to 1887. He later served as Superintendent of the Royal Institution. He was also a mountaineer who carried out extensive studies of glaciers.

John Tyndall was born in Leighlinbridge, Co Carlow on August 2nd 1820. His father was a local policeman. He attended school in Ballinabranna near Carlow town. There, as a student in his late teens, he had the opportunity to study subjects such as technical drawing and mathematics and their application to land surveying. He joined the Ordnance Survey in 1839 and did some survey work in Carlow and later in Cork in the areas around Youghal and Kinsale.

Tyndall was transferred by the Ordnance Survey to Preston in England in 1842. While he was working in Preston he felt that workers on the survey were being exploited. He wrote articles in local newspapers and letters to politicians highlighting the plight of workers. Much to the disapproval of his father, he joined the Chartist movement of which Feargus Edward O’Connor was at the time a leading figure.

Dismissed by the Ordinance Survey for his actions, Tyndall returned to Ireland where he lived for a time with his parents in Leighlinbridge. Within a short period of time, however, he secured employment as railway surveyor in England. While working there he attended classes at the Mechanics Institute in Preston. He was later appointed to the teaching staff of Queenswood College, Hampshire, England.

Tyndall left Queenswood in 1848 to study at the Marburg University, Germany where he was awarded a Ph.D. in 1850. During his time studying at Marburg, Tyndall regularly sent papers on scientific topics for publication in the Carlow Sentinel. Following his time studying in Germany he applied for lectureship posts at the Universities in both Cork and Galway but failed to get appointed.

Tyndall returned to England and after a period lecturing he was appointed Professor of Natural Philosophy at the Royal Institution in 1853. There he began working with the scientist Michael Faraday who was then President of the Royal Institution. When Faraday died in 1862 Tyndall was appointed as his successor. Tyndall carried out research in many areas and made many discoveries and observations. These include the Tyndall Effect (the reason the sky looks blue) and the reasons for what is known today as the Greenhouse Effect. He also developed what he called the light-pipe, which was the forerunner of the modern day optical fibre.

Tyndall was a keen mountaineer. He climbed several of the highest peaks on the Alps and carried out extensive studies of glaciers. Items he invented include the infra-red spectrometer and the first respirator for a fireman. He died in 1893 from an accidental overdose of mediation for insomnia. The Tyndall National Institute in University College Cork was named in his honour. A new Vocational School which is under construction in Carlow town is due to open in January 2018. Located about 12km from where Tyndall was born, the school will be called Tyndall College.

John Tyndall died at the age of 73 at Haslemere, Surrey in England in the year 1893 On This Day.

Portrait of John Tyndall (1820-1893), Physicist by Smithsonian Institution on 2008-05-20 19:11:18


Leighlinbridge, Carlow

26 April-Poor Clare Convent Carlow

The convent of the Poor Clare nuns in Carlow town, Ireland is located in Graiguecullen. The convent was established over 100 years ago. There are six other Poor Clare convents in Ireland and the order has convents in over 75 other countries throughout the world.

The Poor Clares, officially the Order of Saint Clare, is a Roman Catholic contemplative order of nuns. The order was founded by Chiara Offreduccio, St Clare of Assisi, on Palm Sunday 1212. She was eighteen years old at the time and had been inspired by the preaching of St Francis of Assisi. The Order spread rapidly and today, over 800 years later, there are over 20,000 Poor Clare nuns

A convent had been established in Levenshulme, Manchester, England in 1871 by a group of eight Belgian Poor Clare Sisters. In 1893 a group of five Poor Clare sisters led by Mother Mary Seraphine Bowe, who was a native of Kilkenny, came to Carlow from the convent in Levenshulme. They established a convent in a rented house. The house was located on the bridge over the river Barrow in Carlow town.

The present Poor Clare convent was built on a nearby site donated by the Governey family in 1900. The convent is located beside St Clare’s Church, the parish church of Graigueullen. St Clare’s church was originally St Anne’s Church of Ireland. St Annes, which was located on the Athy road in Carlow town, was sold to the parish of Graiguecullen for a nominal sum in 1926. The church was then dismantled and re-erected in Graiguecullen on the West bank of the river Barrow.

The Poor Clare order of nuns established a convent in Graiguecullen, Carlow, Ireland in the year 1893 On This Day.


Plaque on house on Graiguecullen Bridge, Carlow


monastery of the poor clares by Pilgrim Fatima on 2010-06-16 12:14:10