31 December-Big Ben Chimes

The Big Ben clock tower in the Palace of Westminster in London was designed by the architect Augustus Pugin. Pugin is reputed to have designed The Church of the Most Holy Rosary, Tullow, Co Carlow, Ireland. He designed many famous buildings in Ireland including the Co. Wexford churches at Gorey, Tagoat and Barntown and the Cathedrals at Enniscorthy and Killarney. He also designed the seminary at Maynooth in County Kildare. The Great Bell in the clock tower in the Palace of Westminster has the nickname Big Ben. However Big Ben is usually used to refer to the clock and clock tower.

On the night of October 16th 1834 the old Palace of Westminster in London was, for the most part, destroyed by fire. Architect Charles Barry won the competition to build the new palace and he commissioned Alexander Pugin to design the clock tower. The tower, which is 96m high was completed in 1858. It has four clocks the dials of which are each 7m in diameter. The numbers on the clock are approximately 60cm long. The chimes of Big Ben, the massive bell in the tower were first heard on May 31st 1859.

In 2012 the Clock Tower was renamed Elizabeth Tower in tribute to Queen Elizabeth II in her Diamond Jubilee year. It is one of London’s most iconic landmarks, a major tourist attraction and has become one of the most prominent symbols of the United Kingdom.

Big Ben Chimes were first broadcast on the BBC in the year 1923 On This Day.

Big Ben


19 December-Kilkenny Library

The Kilkenny City public library service began in Kilkenny City, Ireland in 1910. A committee to establish a service for the County of Kilkenny was formed in September 1923. The committee held its first meeting in the Carnegie Library on John’s Quay.

At the meeting, two sub-committees were established. One was a Finance Sub-Committee and the other a Book Selection Sub-Committee. The Book Selection Sub-Committee consisted of seven members, three of whom were clergy. Censorship of books was a constant feature. One outcome of this was that the works of George Bernard Shaw were removed from circulation.

Kilkenny County Library removed books by George Bernard Shaw from circulation in the year 1923 On This Day.

Kilkenny Library photo

Carnegie Free Library, Kilkenny

Photo by yellow book


05 December-Edward Martyn

Edward Martyn was a dramatist and political activist who was a native of Co Galway, Ireland. He was born in 1859 into a family of Catholic landed gentry. Following the foundation of Sinn Féin by Arthur Griffithin 1905, Martyn was elected as the first president. He served as president of the organisation from 1905 to 1908. Martyn was related to the Unionist politician, Edward Carson

Edward Martyn was born at Tulira Castle near Gort in Co Galwayon January 30th 1859. He was educated at Belvedere College Dublin, Beaumont College London and Christ Church, Oxford. Martyn played a leading role in Ireland’s cultural renaissance. With Yeats and Lady Gregory he formed the Irish Literary Theatre which eventually became the Abbey Theatre. He also helped establish the Palestrina Choir and the Feis Ceoil.

Edward Martyn died at the age of 64 in the year 1923 On This Day.

Image from page 110 of “Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland” (1849) by Internet Archive Book Images on 1849-01-01 00:00:00


15 September-Kilkenny County Library

From 1910 a public library service was available in Kilkenny City. In order to avail of funds from the Carnegie Trust to establish a public library service for County Kilkenny a committee of local representatives and officials was established. This committee held its inaugural meeting in the Carnegie Library, John’s Quay in the year 1923 On This Day

Carnegie Library Kilkenny  photo

Photo by yellow book