29 November-Giacomo Puccini

The 1990 Football World Cup, which was held in Italy, had as its theme tune ‘Nessun Dorma’. It was composed by Italian composer Giacomo Puccini and performed by Luciano Pavarotti . Nessun Dorma is an aria from Puccini’s final opera, Turandot which was left incomplete at the time of his death.

Giacomo Puccini was born in Lucca, Tuscany on December 22nd 1858. His father, who was the musical director of the Cathedral of San Martino in Lucca, died when Puccini was five years old. The city of Lucca paid for his education and kept the position of Musical Director open for him so that he could follow in the family tradition when he came of age. He studied locally and in 1880 went to the Milan Conservatory to continue his studies and graduated in 1883.

In 1876, while still at school, Puccini attended a production of Verdi’s Aida in Pisa just over 30 km from his home city of Lucca. The experience convinced him to pursue a career in opera. Following graduation from the Milan Conservatory, Puccini composed ‘Le Villi’ for a local competition. When it was successfully performed later at Teatro dal Verme in Milan it was purchased by music publisher Giulio Ricordi. A revised version of the opera was successfully staged at La Scala in Milan on January 24th 1885. Puccini and Ricordi became friends and cooperated on operatic productions throughout their lives.

During his career Puccini’s compositions included La Bohème, Tosca, Madama Butterfly, and Turandot which was completed by Franco Alfono. Puccini became famous and his operas were performed all over the world. His works are among the most frequently performed in the history of opera. In 1920 he began work on Turandot. In 1923 he was diagnosed with cancer of the throat and died the following year while undergoing radiation treatment in Brussels. He is buried in his villa at Torre del Lago about 25km east of Lucca on the coast of Tuscany.

Giacomo Antonio Puccini died in Brussels at the age of 65 in the year 1924 On This Day.

Giacomo Puccini photo

Giacomo Puccini @ Lucca by zipckr on 2010-04-19 12:11:46

Photo by zipckr

Giacomo Puccin

18 August-Garda Mulroy awarded Scott Medal for Valour

Garda James Mulroy from Straide, County Mayo, Ireland was the first member of An Garda Síochána to be awarded the Scott Medal. Known as ‘The Walter Scott Medal for Valour’ it is awarded annually for bravery in the Garda Síochána. The medal was endowed by New York philanthropist Colonel Walter Scott in January 1924.

Walter Scott was born in Montreal, Canada in 1861. His family moved to the United States when he was young and Scott spent most of his life working in New York City. Because of his charitable works he was frequently in contact with the New York City Police who made him an honorary Commissioner. He endowed medals for bravery by policemen in New York City and several other US cities. He also endowed medals for police in Argentina.

The newly appointed Commissioner of An Garda Síochána General Eoin O’Duffy met Colonel Scott in 1923 at an International Police Conference in New York. Scott offered to provide a medal which would be presented to an officer who ‘especially distinguished himself for valour in the performance of duty’. He specified that the medal, which was of solid gold should be called the ‘Walter Scott Medal for Valour’.

Garda James Mulroy was stationed in Broadford, Co Clare. While on duty about four miles from his station on May 23rd 1923 the unarmed Garda was held up by two armed men. One was armed with a hand gun and the other with a shotgun. He was ordered to give up his uniform and all his possessions. He refused and was threatened with being shot. In the ensuing struggle Mulroy was shot and wounded but succeeded in disarming his assailants. The assailants escaped and Mulroy returned to his station. He had his injuries attended to and then with another Garda went out and arrested one of the men who had attacked him.

For his actions Garda Mulroy was awarded the Scott Gold Medal. The medal was presented at a ceremony in the Garda Depot in the Phoenix Park, Dublin by Walter Scott. Mulroy served as a member of An Garda Síochána for forty years retiring on August 16th 1962.

Garda James Mulroy became the first recipient of the ‘Walter Scott Medal for Valour’ in the year 1924 On This Day.

Image from page 44 of “Annual report of the Police Commissioner for the City of Boston” (1906) by Internet Archive Book Images on 1906-01-01 00:00:00

An Garda Síochána by Tiocfaidh ár lá 1916 on 2015-02-28 20:54:27

badge – Ireland Eire – Garda Siochana LAPEL PIN by conner395 on 2013-07-19 23:03:50

03 August-Jim Gibbons

Jim Gibbons, who was a native of Co Kilkenny, Ireland served as a TD (Teachta Dála) for the Carlow-Kilkenny constituency for 25 years. He was first elected to Dáil Éireann in 1957. During his time as a TD Jim Gibbons, who was a member of the Fianna Fáil Party served as a Government Minister on two occasions.

James Gibbons was born in Kilkenny in 1924. He was educated at the at St Kieran’s College Kilkenny before entering University College Dublin to study medicine. He left after two years to take up farming in Kilkenny and became involved in politics as a member of the Fianna Fáil Party. Gibbons was elected to Kilkenny County Council in 1954.

In the 1957 General Election Jim Gibbons was first elected to Dáil Éireann for the Carlow-Kilkenny constituency. With the exception of a brief period in 1981, he served as TD for the constituency until he retired in 1982. During his time as a TD he was Minister of State at the Department of Finance. He was also appointed to the serve in Government as Minister for Defence and later as Minister for Agriculture. He died at the age of 73 on December 20th 1997.

Jim Gibbons who served as TD (Teachta Dála) for the Constituency of Carlow-Kilkenny was born in Bonnesrath near Kilkenny City in the year 1924 On This Day

1977 Victory Dinner for Fianna Fail by missfitzphotos on 2001-02-18 03:37:17

Kilkenny City by SowersPics on 2010-07-15 08:06:10

01 July- The Irish Air Corps

The Irish Air Corps has its primary airbase at Baldonnel, Co Dublin. It is the air component of the Irish Defence Forces, providing military support to the Army and Naval Service. Aside from the military support the Irish Air Corps also provides air services for An Garda Síochána, air ambulance, fishery protection and transport for government ministers.

General Michael Collins, Arthur Griffith, Robert Barton, Éamonn Duggan and George Gavin Duffy went to London in 1921 to negotiate the terms of the Anglo-Irish Treaty. If the negotiations failed there was a possibility that General Collins and other members of the Irish delegation could be detained by the British. With this in mind the Irish side secretly purchased a Martinsyde Type A Mark II bi-plane in September 1921. The plane was kept in readiness at Croydon airfield to take the Irish delegation out of England should the negotiations fail. However the Irish representatives, with plenipotentiary status, signed the Anglo-Irish Treaty on December 6th 1921.

In June 1922 the bi-plane was brought to Dublin. It was named ‘The Big Fella’ and became the first aircraft the National Army Air Service which was established in July 1922. The National Army Air Service was gradually expanded and by the end of 1922 had ten aircraft and 400 personnel. In 1924, after the civil war had ended, the army was re-organised and the Irish Army Air Corps was established. Today the Irish Air Corps has 27 aircraft and over 850 personnel.

The Irish Army Air Corps was established in the year 1924 On This Day.

Air Corps Agusta Westland AW139 by Miguel Mendez on 2014-07-20 17:24:58

Pilatus Pc-9M Irish Air Corps, Baldonnell by Jerry Gunner on 2008-06-11 10:12:23

Irish Air Corps 253 by Ken Witherow on 2014-08-09 13:19:42



29 January-Garda Patrick O’Halloran

Garda Patrick O’Halloran was shot and mortally wounded whilst trying to arrest two bank raiders in Baltinglass Co Wicklow, Ireland in January 1924. He died twenty four hours after being shot. Garda O’Halloran was the third Garda Officer to be killed in the line of duty since the foundation of An Garda Síochána (The Civic Guard) in 1922.

Patrick O’Halloran was born at George’s Street, Gort Co Galway on May 15th 1896. He worked as a signalman with Great Southern and Western Railway before joining what then known as the Civic Guard on March 31st 1922. Following training he was initially stationed in Swords Co Dublin. He was later stationed in Skerries before being transferred to Baltinglass in October 1922. The Garda station in Baltinglass was attacked by a group of about fifty men on January 13th 1923. The mob was armed with crowbars and sledgehammers. Garda O’Halloran was one of just four Gardaí in the station at the time, who successfully defied the attackers.

While on duty on January 28th 1924 Garda O’Halloran was passing the National Bank (now Bank of Ireland) at about 2.00pm. He heard a gunshot and the sounds of a struggle from inside the bank. Realising that a bank robbery was in progress, he tried to gain entry but found the door locked. Garda O’Halloran blew his whistle and the two raiders, Peter Jordan and Felix McMullen, left the bank by the back door. They were pursued by O’Halloran. One of the raiders turned, shot and seriously wounded Garda O’Halloran. Though the raiders were pursued by others they managed to get away.

Garda O’Halloran was attended by local doctors and was transferred the Curragh Military Hospital where he died twenty four hours later. Peter Jordan was later arrested in Monaghan and Felix McMullen was arrested in Liverpool. They were tried for murder in July 1924. McMullen was found guilty and sentenced to death. He was hanged in Mountjoy Gaol on August 1st 1924. Jordan was sentenced to ten years penal servitude and twenty lashes.

Garda Patrick O’Halloran, having been shot whilst trying to arrest two bank raiders in Baltinglass, Co Wicklow, died of his wounds at the age of 27 in the year 1924 On This Day.


An Garda Síochána Memorial Garden [Dublin Castle] REF-1085805 by infomatique on 2015-09-29 17:12:32