25 June-Douglas Hyde

Douglas Hyde was a native of Roscommon, Ireland. He served as first President of Ireland from 1938 to 1945. An academic, Irish language activist and politician he played a leading role in the Gaelic revival. Dr Hyde co-founded the Gaelic League (Conradh na Gaeilge). The Gaelic League was founded to promote the Irish language and to encourage the preservation of Irish culture, music and dance.

Douglas Ross Hyde was born in Castlerea, Co Roscommon on January 17th 1860. His family moved to Frenchpark when he was seven years old. Hyde was educated at home and learned to speak the Irish language through his association with local people. He entered Trinity College Dublin in 1880. In 1884 he graduated with a BA in languages. He became fluent in several languages including French and German.

In 1909 Dr Hyde was appointed the first Professor of Modern Irish in University College Dublin. He held the position until his retirement in 1932. Hyde served on two occasions in the Irish Senate. In 1937 he was he was unanimously appointed President of Ireland. He remained in that office until 1945. Dr Hyde died in Dublin on July 12th 1949 at the age of 89.

Douglas Hyde was appointed President of Ireland in the year 1938 On This Day.

First President of Ireland




28 February-Alice Taylor

Alice Taylor is a best-selling author who is a native of Co Cork, Ireland. She is best known for her book ‘To School Through the Fields’ which was first published in 1988. The publication of the book brought Taylor to national and international attention. She continues to write and to date is the author of several best-sellers.

Alice Taylor was born in Lisdangan, Newmarket, Co Cork in 1938. Born into a farming family she was educated by the Infant Jesus Sisters at Drishane Convent in Millstreet Co Cork. Having completed her education, Taylor worked as a telephonist in Killarney and Bandon. Following marriage she settled in the village of Innishannon, about 20km west of Cork city. She continues to live in Innishannon and is very involved in the local community.

Alice Taylor was born in the year 1938 On This Day.

Alice Taylo




17 February-Colour Television

The earliest television system was known as mechanical television. Scottish born engineer John Logie Baird was one of its inventors. His invention was a development of a system of image transmission which had been invented by German physicist Arthur Korn in 1907.

Baird completed the first transmission of pictures of objects in motion on October 22nd 1925. On that occasion he transmitted a televised image of a ventriloquist’s dummy. Baird gave the first public demonstration of his invention on 26th January 1926. He gave the demonstration for members of the Royal Institution at his laboratory in the Soho district of London.

In July 1928 Baird developed the first system for the transmission of colour television. He continued to develop and improve the quality of the transmitted images. In 1939 he gave the first colour television demonstration at the Dominion Theatre in London. In a short time however the system invented by Baird was surpassed by electronic television.

The first public demonstration of colour television system took place at the Dominion Theatre in London in the year 1938 On This Day.

1956 RCA Color Television Advertisement Readers Digest April 1956


13 February-Larry Cunningham

Larry Cunningham was an Irish country music singer who was a native of Co Longford, Ireland. He was one of the best-known figures of the showband era during the 1960’s and 1970’s. Cunningham was the first Irish-based artist to break into the British pop charts in 1964 with his song ‘Tribute to Jim Reeves’. He performed the song on the BBC programme, Top of the Pops.

Larry Cunningham was born at Clooneen, Granard, Co Longford in 1938. Having completed second level education he moved to Derby in England at the age of sixteen. He trained as a carpenter and played music in venues around Derby at the weekends. Cunningham moved back to Ireland in 1958 where he continued to work as a carpenter. He also played music at various venues during his spare time. He eventually gave up the day job to begin singing full time with a showband called The Mighty Avons.

Cunningham had his first major hit with ‘Lovely Leitrim’ in September 1965. During his fifty year career he performed at venues all over Ireland. Cunningham also performed at venues abroad such as Wembley Stadium in London and Carnegie hall in New York. He died at the age of 74 on September 28th 2012.

Larry Cunningham, Irish country music singer, was born in the year 1938 On This Day.

File:Larry Cunningham.png

source: http://larrycunningham.ie/photos.html



12 October-Brendan Bowyer

Brendan Bowyer, singer and star of the Showband era, is a native of Waterford City Ireland. As lead singer with the Royal Showband he became the first Irish artist to reach number one in the Irish singles chart with the song ‘Kiss Me Quick’ on September 6th 1963. During the 1960’s Bowyer and the Royal showband went on to have several number one hits In Ireland.

Brendan Bowyer was born at St Otteran’s Terrace in Waterford City. He is the only son of parents who were involved in music. His father was a church choir conductor and Brendan performed with the choir. After he completed his education he worked as a clerk in Waterford City. He also played the trombone with a band called the Rhythm Kings. Bowyer joined the Royal Showband in 1957, which was managed by T J Byrne from Upper Tullow Street, Carlow. During the following decade the band, with Brendan Bowyer as the lead singer, became the most popular band in Ireland.

On stage Bowyer became known for his energetic and acrobatic performances. He succeeded in adapting American rock and roll music to suit to the Irish music scene of the time. Dance music together with pop, rock and roll and country music of the time were performed by Bowyer and the band. As their popularity grew they played in large venues all over Ireland and toured with success in Britain, the United States and Canada.

By 1962 Brendan Bowyer and the Royal Showband were so successful that The Beatles were the supporting act for them at the Liverpool Empire Theatre. On the poster advertising the concert The Beatles were called ‘Liverpool’s own beat group’. With the Royal Showband, Bowyer had his most successful hit in 1965 with ‘The Hucklebuck’.

In 1966 the Royal Showband played at a venue in Las Vegas, Nevada for a four week period. This led to the band performing in Las Vegas for up to six months each year during the following years. In 1970 Brendan Bowyer and another band member Tom Dunphy left to form a new band called the ‘Big 8’. With the new band Bowyer spent six months each year performing in Las Vegas and toured Ireland during the summer months. After a few years however he moved permanently to Las Vegas. He has been based there ever since.

In more recent years Bowyer has returned to give performances in Ireland with his daughter Aisling Bowyer. Their performances consists of mixture of hits from his showband era together with contemporary songs and concert hits. During the Tall Ships Festival in Waterford in 2005 they performed at an open air concert for an estimated audience of 12,000 people. Brendan continues to perform and his latest album, ‘On Higher Ground’ is currently on release.

Brendan Bowyer was born in the year 1938 On This Day.

Brendan Bowyer by Colm Lambert