30 April-Kilkenny Royal Visit 1904

Edward VII, King of the United Kingdom, and his wife Queen Alexandra visited Kilkenny City, Ireland in 1904. The royal couple and their daughter Princess Victoria had arrived at Dún Laoghaire (then Kingstown) on April 26th 1904. They travelled by rail to Naas and attended the Punchestown Races for the day. As Prince of Wales Edward VII had previously attended the Punchestown Races in 1868. The Royal party later continued their journey, again by rail, through Carlow to Kilkenny City.

King Edward VII was no stranger to Ireland. As Prince of Wales he was stationed at the Curragh in County Kildare when his mother Queen Victoria, her husband prince Albert and three of their nine children came to visit Ireland in 1861. At the time he was undergoing military training with the Grenadier Guards. Queen Victoria and her family spent eight days visiting several part of Ireland including Killarney and the Curragh Camp where she watched he son marching on parade.

Whilst stationed at the Curragh the future Edward VII began a relationship with Nellie Clifton who was described as an actress. His parents were horrified when they heard of the relationship. Queen Victoria blamed the relationship for the early death of her husband. When he became king following the death of Queen Victoria, Edward VII visited Ireland in 1903. However he curtailed his visit due to the death of Pope Leo XIII who died on the day of the king’s arrival in Ireland.

In 1904 The Royal party arrived by train to a bright, colourful Kilkenny city which was festooned with flags and bunting. The route from the railway station to Kilkenny Castle was decorated with tiny fairy lights of every colour together with bunting and streamers. Among all the colour and excitement at the visit however, flags protesting at the visit were hung from some windows along the route. The Royal party was welcomed at the railway station by Kilkenny city authorities and the Marquis of Ormonde.

As the King and his family made their way through the thronged city streets there was chanting and cheering from the crowds. On the first night of the visit a fireworks display was held that lit up the night sky of the entire city. During their two day stay in Kilkenny the Royal family visited the Kilkenny Agricultural Show. The show was being held in St James Park on Saturday, the first day of their visit. On Sunday the family attended service in St Canices Cathedral and attended other events. Princess Victoria planted three trees in the grounds of Kilkenny Castle. Having spent two nights and three days in Kilkenny the Royal family left by train for Waterford. They sailed form Waterford on May 4th. The King and his wife visited Ireland again in 1907.

King Edward VII began his visit Kilkenny city in the year 1904 On This Day.


Photo by National Library of Ireland on The Commons Royal Group, crowds

Royal group in Kilkenny Castle

01 March-Glenn Miller

Glenn Miller was a bandleader and musician who was a native of the USA. He was also an arranger and composer who inspired the World War II generation. Miller’s most famous recordings include ‘In the Mood’, ‘Moonlight Serenade and ‘Tuxedo Junction’. During his career he had 23 number 1 hits and millions of his recordings still continue to sell.

Glenn Miller was born Alton Glenn Miller in Clarinda, Iowa in 1904. Interested in music from a young age he formed his fist band while still in high school. He entered the University of Colorado in 1923 but dropped out to pursue a career as a professional musician. He performed with several bands before forming his own successful band in 1938.

Miller enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1942 during World War II. He formed the Army Air Force Band which travelled to England in 1944. The band entertained and helped boost the morale of the troops. In December 1944 Miller’s plane disappeared over the English Channel. At the time he was flying to France to make arrangements to move the band there.

Glenn Miller, who became famous for recordings such as include ‘In the Mood’, ‘Moonlight Serenade and ‘Tuxedo Junction’ was born in the year 1904 On This Day.

Glenn Miller




11 May-Dali

Salvador Dali was a surrealist painter who was a native of Spain. Apart from being a prolific painter he was also well recognised for other art forms such as sculpture, photography and filmmaking. Dali’s eccentric manner and flamboyant personality attracted much attention during his lifetime.

Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech was born in Figueres, Spain in May 1904. He was interested in art from an early age and went on to study at an academy in Madrid. He lived in Paris for a time during the 1920’s where he interacted with other artists including Pablo Picasso.

One of Dali’s best known paintings is The Persistence of Memory. It was completed in 1931 and went on display in New York in1932. The painting, which is owned by the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, shows melting clocks in a landscape setting. Dali died in his hometown of Figueres near the city of Barcelona on January 23rd 1989.

Salvador Dali was born in the year 1904 On This Day.



22 April-Robert Oppenheimer

Robert Oppenheimer is often referred to as the ‘father of the atomic bomb’. He was a theoretical physicist who worked at institutions such as the University of California, Berkeley and Princeton University. Oppenheimer was also director of the Los Alamos Laboratory where the atomic bomb was developed.

Julius Robert Oppenheimer was born in New York City in 1904. Following graduation from Harvard University Oppenheimer moved to England in 1925 to Study at Cambridge University. A year later he moved to the University of Göttingen in Germany where he was awarded a PhD in 1927 at the age of 23. He was appointed Associate Professor at the University of California, Berkeley in 1929 where he taught until 1942.

The growth in popularity of the National Socialist Party (Nazi Party) in Germany and Hitler’s rise to power had a major influence on Oppenheimer. It led him to support resistance movements and he became associated with left wing politics. He supported the letter sent by Einstein and others to President Roosevelt at the beginning of World War II which indicated that the Nazi’s had the capability to develop a nuclear bomb. Roosevelt established the Manhattan Project in Los Alamos, New Mexico and Oppenheimer was appointed scientific director of the project in 1942.

On July 16th 1945 the first atomic bomb was successfully exploded in New Mexico. Within a month a further two atomic bombs were exploded, one in Nagasaki, Japan, and the other in Hiroshima, effectively ending World War II.

Oppenheimer refused to support the development of the hydrogen bomb in 1949 because of his regrets at the mass destruction caused by the atomic bomb. He was accused of having communist sympathies because of his previous association with left wing politics and he resigned from his post. He was appointed Director of the Institute of Advanced Study at Princeton University where he remained until 1966. He died in 1967 at the age of 62.

Robert Oppenheimer was born in New York City in the year 1904 On This Day.

Robert Oppenheimer

Oppenheimer, Flowers & Grove




27 December-Abbey Theatre

Máire Nic Shiubhlaigh, whose father Mathew Walker ran a printing business in Carlow town, Ireland for some time, played the lead role in Cathleen Ní Houlihan when the Abbey Theatre opened in Dublin in December 1904. The plays ‘Cathleen Ní Houlihan’ and ‘On Baile’s Strand’, both written by W B Yeats, were the first plays staged at the Abbey on opening night.

The theatre was located at 26 Lower Abbey Street in the Hibernian Theatre of Varieties which was also known as the Mechanics Hall. The building had been purchased by Ms Annie Horniman a theatre patron and manager from Forest Hill, London. She had helped stage plays by Yeats and George Bernard Shaw in London. Yeats persuaded her to help stage productions in Dublin.

The theatre was popular and successful in the early years but as time went on began to suffer from poor box office returns. It was offered as a free gift to the nation in 1924. In 1925 The Abbey became the first state subsidised theatre in the English speaking world and it still continues to receive an annual grant from the state.

Often referred to as the National Theatre of Ireland The Abbey Theatre building was destroyed by fire on July 17th 1951. Following the fire the theatre moved to the Queen’s Theatre on Pearse Street where it remained until 1966.

The old Abbey Theatre was demolished. The Architect Michael Scott who had completed the nearby Busáras (Bus station in Dublin for Intercity and regional bus services) in 1953 designed a new building for the theatre. The foundation stone for the new building was laid by President Éamon de Valera on September 3rd 1963. The Abbey Theatre was officially re-opened on July 18th 1966.

The Abbey Theatre in Dublin first opened its doors to the public in the year 1904 On This Day.

Abbey Theatre @ Dublin