20 October-Anne Sullivan

Anne Sullivan was a teacher who educated the blind and deaf Helen Keller. She became Keller’s friend and lifelong companion. Sullivan herself had impaired eyesight, having contracted trachoma at the age of five. The story of Sullivan and Keller has been told in various dramas down the years including the in the film 1962 film ‘The Miracle Worker’.

Anne Sullivan was born Johanna Mansfield Sullivan in Feeding Hills, Massachusetts on April 14th 1866. Her parents had emigrated from County Limerick, Ireland to the United States during the 1840’s. Due to her impaired eyesight Sullivan was educated at Perkins School for the Blind in Boston. She underwent several operations which helped improve her vision. She graduated as the valedictorian of her class in 1886.

Following graduation Sullivan was employed by the parents of Helen Keller to teach their 7 year old daughter who was blind and deaf. Sullivan’s efforts were successful and Keller was admitted to Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1900. Sullivan accompanied Keller to college and assisted her with her studies. Keller became the first deaf blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1904.

Sullivan and Keller remained close companions. They travelled widely giving lectures and appearing in vaudeville performances. They were awarded honorary degrees from several universities. Anne Sullivan’s health began to decline and she died in New York in 1936. Helen Keller died aged 87 on June 1st 1968.

Anne Sullivan, the teacher who educated the blind and deaf Helen Keller, died aged 70 in the year 1936 On This Day.

Anne Sullivan photo

Anne Sullivan and Helen Keller

Photo by The Library of Congress





09 October-Hoover Dam

The Hoover Dam is located on the Colorado River about 50km (30 miles) southeast of Las Vegas Nevada. When it was completed in 1935 it became the largest hydroelectric station in the world. Until then the Shannon Hydroelectric Scheme in Ireland was the largest. The Hoover dam was called the Boulder Dam at first. The name was changed to the Hoover Dam in 1947.

Construction on the Hoover Dam began on September 17th 1930. It was completed more than two years ahead of schedule. Both the Shannon Hydroelectric Scheme and the Hoover dam continue to supply electricity in their respective countries. The Shannon Hydroelectric Scheme supplies 2% of Ireland’s power. The Hoover Dam supplies electricity to California, Nevada and Arizona.

The Hoover Dam generators began to generate electricity from the Colorado River and transmit it 266 miles to Los Angeles for the first time in the year 1936 On This Day.

Hoover Dam



19 September-Martin Fay of The Chieftains

Martin Fay was a musician who was a native of Dublin. A fiddle player, he was one of the founders of the traditional Irish band, the Chieftains. The Chieftains helped popularise Irish music across the world. Their genres include Traditional Irish, Irish folk and Celtic.

Martin Joseph Fay was born in Cabra, Dublin in 1936. He trained as a classical musician and played the violin the orchestra of the Abbey Theatre. In 1963, with Paddy Moloney, Sean Potts and Michael Tubridy Martin Fay founded the Chieftains. He remained a member of the band until his retirement in 2002.

Martin Fay, musician and founding member of the Irish band, the Chieftains, was born in Dublin in the year 1936 On This Day.

The Chieftains 13 Nov 2005 UCH 1




18 September-Big Tom

Big Tom was an award winning country singer, musician and songwriter who was a native of Co Monaghan, Ireland. He became famous as the frontman of the showband, Big Tom and The Mainliners. Big Tom’s career spanned over five decades and he was inducted into the Irish Country Music Hall of Fame in 2016.

Big Tom was born Thomas McBride near Castleblayney, Co Monaghan in 1936. Having worked in England for a time he returned to Ireland in 1965. With six other locals he established The Mainliners and began playing in venues around Ireland. He had his first hit with ‘Gentle Mother’ in 1966. It became one of the best-selling records in Ireland of all time. Big Tom had several other successful recordings including ‘Old Log Cabin For Sale’, ‘Broken Marriage Vows’, ‘The Sunset Years Of Life’ and ‘Back To Castleblayney’.

Big Tom, award winning Irish country singer, musician and songwriter was born in the year 1936 On This Day.

File:Portrait of Singer Big Tom (Nov 2004).jpg

Big Tom (Tom McBride)



07 September-Buddy Holly

Buddy Holly was a musician, singer and songwriter who was a native of the USA. In his short lifetime he made a major and lasting impact on popular music. Holly was a member of a musical family and he wrote his own material. His music was influenced by country and rhythm and blues music.

Buddy Holly was born Charles Hardin Holley in 1936 in the city of Lubbock, north-western Texas. He learned to play musical instruments at an early age. By the age of 16 he and a friend had formed a group called Buddy and Bob. They regularly performed country and western music on a radio station in their home town and became an act in demand locally.

When Elvis Presley performed in Lubbock in 1955 Buddy and Bob were the opening act. Witnessing Elvis Presley perform was the beginning of the transition of Buddy Holly from ‘Country and Western’ music to ‘Rock and Roll’ music. He formed a band which eventually came to be called the Crickets and had his first hit with ‘That’ll Be the Day’ in 1957. By august 1958 Holly and The Crickets had had seven recordings in the Top 40 Charts.

Holly married Maria Elena Santiago in Lubbock on August 15, 1958. He split up with the Crickets and his manager in late 1958 and moved with Maria to live in Greenwich Village, New York. Due to legal problems over his split with his manager he was short of money. He agreed to go on a tour of 24 cities in the American Midwest beginning in January 1959.

Following a performance at Clear Lake, Iowa, Holly, accompanied by Richie Valens and J. P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson, hired a small plane to take them to their next venue. The venue was over 500km away in Moorhead, Minnesota. On February 3rd 1959 the plane crashed shortly after take-off, killing all on board. Buddy Holly was only 22 years old but the 32 songs he recorded made a major impact on popular music. The phrase ‘The Day the Music Died’ in the Don McLean song ‘American Pie’, refers to the death of Buddy Holly.

Buddy Holly, musician, singer and songwriter, was born in the year 1936 On This Day

Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame Museum

Wedding Anniversary of Rita and Bernard