21 February-Ernie O’Malley

Ernie O’Malley, who was a native of Castelbar, Co Mayo, Ireland took part in the 1916 Easter Rising in Dublin. He later served as an Irish officer during the War of Independence and the ensuing Civil War. O’Malley travelled to many parts of Ireland during the wars including Carlow and Kilkenny. He was wounded on several occasions.

Ernie O’Malley was born Ernest Bernard Malley at Ellison Street, Castlebar on May 26th 1897. O’Malley’s family moved to Dublin when he was nine years old. He was educated at O’Connell’s CBS before entering University College Dublin to study medicine. While his brother Frank joined the Royal Dublin Fusiliers to fight in World War 1, Ernie took the side of the rebels during the 1916 Easter Rising in Dublin.

After the Rising O’Malley left UCD and went on to play a leading role in the War of Independence. When captured in Kilkenny in 1920 he was taken to Dublin Castle and interrogated. He was later sent to Kilmainham Jail from where he escaped in February 1921 with the assistance of a sympathetic British soldier.

In the civil war that followed the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty, O’Malley supported the anti-treaty side. He was one of the officers who occupied the Four Courts in Dublin. In the ensuing battle to take the building the Four Courts were very badly damaged and records, including census, dating back to the 13th century were destroyed.

O’Malley surrendered the Four Courts and escaped, eventually making his way to Carlow. He was captured on November 4th 1922 and imprisoned in Mountjoy Jail. Following the end of the Civil War and his eventual release from prison, O’Malley went on an extended holiday in Europe before returning to UCD in 1926. He left before graduation and went to the USA where he helped raise funds to establish the Irish Press newspaper.

O’Malley spent much of the rest of his life involved in travelling, journalism and the compilation of the O’Malley Notebooks. The notebooks were his record of interviews with former colleagues of their experiences during the conflict. He wrote three books which were acclaimed by the critics and contemporary writers. His first book, ‘On Another man’s Wound’, which was published in 1936 was a commercial success. His two other books, The Singing Flame and Raids and Rallies were published posthumously. Ernie O’Malley died at the age of 59 on March 25th 1957 and was given a state funeral. On the Mall in Castlebar he is commemorated by a sculpture of Manannán mac Lir, a mythical figure of Mayo.

Ernie O’Malley, who was an Irish officer during the Irish War of Independence and the ensuing Civil War escaped from Kilmainham Jail in the year 1921 On This Day.

Related image

Ernie O’Malley

 

25 April-Thomas Traynor

On the Dublin Road in Tullow, Co Carlow, Ireland there is a monument to Thomas Traynor. Traynor was a member of the garrison at Boland’s Mills during the Easter rising of 1916. He was imprisoned following the Rising. Following his release from prison Traynor played an active part in the Irish War of Independence.

Thomas Traynor was born in in Cannon’s Quarter, Tullow on May 27th 1881. He was a boot maker by trade. He moved to Dublin from Carlow in 1916. Traynor was interned at Frongoch in Wales for his role in the Easter Rising of 1916. He was later imprisoned at the maximum security Wakefield Prison, West Yorkshire, England. In common with most of those interned and who had not received a prison sentence, Traynor was released in late December 1916 and returned to Dublin.

Following his return to Dublin, Traynor took part in the war of independence. He was captured during a shoot-out with police and auxiliaries while keeping watch outside 144 Brunswick Street (Pearse Street), Dublin, where a meeting of rebels was being held. Two members of the Dublin Metropolitan Police, Constable James O’Farrell and Cadet Bernard Beard together with rebel Leo Hogan died in the fighting.

Thomas Traynor was taken prisoner. He was put on trial, found guilty of murder and was sentenced to be hanged. At the time Traynor was the father of ten children ranging in age from 18 years down to five months. The day after Thomas Traynor was hanged a District Inspector in the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) in Tipperary, called Gilbert Potter, was shot in reprisal. In later years it emerged that a son of Thomas Traynor and a son of Gilbert Potter were commanders of destroyers in the same flotilla during World War II in the Far East. The monument to Thomas Traynor in Tullow was unveiled by his eldest son Frank Traynor on August 15th 1965.

Thomas Traynor was hanged in Mountjoy Jail at the age of 39 in the year 1921 On This Day.

24 January-Patrick Scott

Patrick Scott was an artist who was a native of Cork, Ireland. In 2014 the VISUAL Centre for Contemporary Art in Carlow and the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) in Dublin held simultaneous exhibitions of his work. Called ‘Image Space Light’, the exhibition at IMMA concentrated on Scott’s early works up to the early 70s while VISUAL displayed works from the 1960s onwards. Previous retrospectives of Scott’s works had been held in the Douglas Hyde gallery in 1981 and in the Hugh Lane Gallery in Dublin in 2002.

Patrick Scott was born in Kilbrittain Co Cork in January 1921. He was educated at St Columba’s, Rathfarnham, Co Dublin before entering University College Dublin to study architecture. Following graduation he worked for an architectural firm in Dublin whilst painting in his own time. He assisted in the design of Busáras, the central bus station in Dublin. He also designed the mosaics in Busáras which opened in 1953.

Scott held his first exhibition at the White Stagg Gallery in Dublin in 1944. In 1960, having won the Guggenheim Award and represented Ireland in the Venice Biennale, Scott gave up architecture to paint full time. His work is represented places such as: the New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, the IMMA and Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane. He died at the age of 93 on February 14th 2014.

Patrick Scott, artist and architect, was born in the year 1921 On This Day.

Busáras photo

Busáras

Photo by Paul C Reynolds

18 December-Con Leahy

Con Leahy was an Olympic medal winner who was a native of Co Limerick, Ireland. He won a Gold Medal in Athens in 1906 and a Silver Medal in London in 1908. There is a memorial to Con Leahy on Thomas Street in Limerick City. The memorial was unveiled in 2006 on the anniversary of his first medal success at the Olympic Games in Athens.

Cornelius (Con) Leahy was born in Cregane, Charleville, Co Limerick on April 27th 1876. He and his six brothers were all sportsmen. His brother Patrick Leahy won a Silver Medal in the high jump and a Bronze Medal in the long jump at the Olympic Games in Paris in 1900.

Together with other Irish born athletes Con Leahy was entered, to represent Ireland in the 1906 Olympic Games in Athens, by the Irish Amateur Athletic Association (IAAA) and Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA). However under the International Olympic Committee rules they were designated as representing Great Britain and Ireland.

Leahy won the Gold Medal in the high jump with 1.775 meters and the Silver Medal in the triple jump coming second to fellow Irishman Peter O’Connor. Con Leahy then went on to compete in the London Olympics of 1908 where he won a Silver Medal in the high jump with 1.88 meters. After his Olympic success Con Leahy returned to Ireland. A year later in 1909 he emigrated to the United States and settled in New York.

Con Leahy died in Manhattan at the age of 45 in the year 1921 On This Day.

1908 London Olympics photo

Medals Board of 1908 Olympics

Photo by R/DV/RS

 

19 August-Gene Roddenberry

Gene Roddenberry, writer and producer, is best known for the creation of the Star Trek television series. He took inspiration for the creation of the series from books such as Gulliver’s Travels. Star trek was highly influential and led to the production of other television series and several movies. The first episode of Star Trek was premiered on television on September 8th 1966.

Eugene Wesley Roddenberry was born in Texas, USA in 1921. Two year after he was born his family moved to Los Angeles, California. Roddenberry served as a pilot with the United States Army Air Forces during World War II. After the war he served as an airline pilot until 1949.

Roddenberry joined the Los Angeles Police in 1949 and began writing scripts for television. He left the police and became a freelance writer in 1953. He contributed to programmes such as Dr Kildare, and Have Gun—Will Travel. In 1964 he created Star Trek, which premiered in 1966 and ran for three seasons.

Roddenberry was subsequently involved in the Star Trek feature films and the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation. He died on October 24th 1991 at the age of 70. In 1992 some of his ashes were flown into space on the Space Shuttle Columbia. He was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 2010.

Gene Roddenberry, creator of Star Trek, was born in El, Paso, Texas in the year 1921 On This Day.

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