28 May-Maeve Binchy

Maeve Binchy was a novelist, playwright and short story writer who was a native of Dublin. She is widely regarded as Ireland’s best-loved writer. Her novels, about love and romance in Ireland made her an international bestseller. They have been translated into 37 languages and have sold over 40m copies worldwide.

Anne Maeve Binchy was born in Dalkey, Dublin in 1939. She was educated locally and at University College Dublin. Following graduation with a BA degree in history she taught at various schools in Dublin, before joining the Irish Times in 1968 as a columnist. She later worked as the first Women’s Page editor at the Irish Times and then the London editor before becoming a full time writer.

Binchy’s first published book is a compilation of her newspaper articles titled My First Book which was published in 1970. She went on to write 17 novels, four short-story collections, a play and a novella. Her most notable works include, Deeply Regretted By, Circle of Friends, Tara Road and Scarlet Feather. The winner of several awards Binchy died in Dublin on July 30th 2012 aged 73.

Maeve Binchy was born in the year 1939 On This Day.

Maeve Binchy



09 May-Pádraig Flynn

Pádraig Flynn is a former Fianna Fáil politician who is a native of Co Mayo, Ireland. He was cited as ‘corrupt’ in 2012 by a tribunal of investigation. Flynn was first elected to Dáil Éireann in 1977. He served as a TD (Teachta Dála) for the Mayo West constituency for 17 years.

Pádraig Flynn was born in Castlebar Co Mayo in May 1939. He was educated at St Gerald’s College in Castlebar and went on to train as a teacher at St Patrick’s College of Education in Dublin. He became involved in local politics and was elected as a member of Mayo County Council at the age of 28.

In 1977 Flynn was elected was first elected to Dáil Éireann for the Mayo West constituency. He served as TD for the constituency until he was appointed European Commissioner for Social Affairs in 1993. During his time as a TD, Flynn served as a Government Minister on five occasions. He remained a European Commissioner until 1999.

Pádraig Flynn was born in the year 1939 On This Day.




13 April-Seamus Heaney

Seamus Heaney was a renowned Irish poet, playwright and professor. He was the recipient of several prizes during his lifetime, including the Nobel Prize in Literature. When he died in 2013 he was described in the British newspaper, The Independent as ‘probably the best-known poet in the world’.

Seamus Justin Heaney was born in Mossbawn near Toomebridge Co Derry on the shores of Lough Neagh in Northern Ireland in 1939. He attended Anahorish Primary school and was awarded a scholarship to St Columb’s College in the city of Derry. When Heaney completed his secondary education he went on to study at Queen’s University in Belfast. He graduated with an Honours Degree in English Language and Literature in 1961.

Following graduation Seamus Heaney worked for time as a school teacher before becoming a college lecturer at St Joseph’s Teacher Training College in Belfast. In 1966 he was appointed lecturer in Modern English Literature at Queen’s University Belfast. Heaney published his first book ‘Eleven Poems’ in 1965. In 1966 the publication of ‘Death of a Naturalist’ won several awards and received immense acclamation. During his lifetime Seamus Heaney went on to publish several acclaimed books of poetry including ‘North’ (1974), ‘Station Island’ (1984), ‘The Spirit Level’ (1996) and ‘District and Circle’ (2006).

Heaney continued with his career as a university lecturer and in 1970 he was a guest lecturer at the Berkeley campus of the University of California. In 1972 he was appointed lecturer at Carysfort College, Blackrock, Co Dublin. He was appointed first as visiting Professor at Harvard in 1981 and from 1985 until 1997 as Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory. He later became ‘Poet in Residence’. He was also elected as professor of Poetry at Oxford between 1989 and 1994.

Seamus Heaney was elected a Saoi of Aosdána (the Irish academy of artists and writers), in 1997 and was the recipient of numerous awards. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1995. He died in Dublin at the age of 74 on August 30th 2013. His literary papers are held by the National Library of Ireland.

Whilst he was attending St Columb’s his brother was killed in a road accident and in Mid-Term Break in 1966 he wrote:

“Wearing a poppy bruise on the left temple,

He lay in the four foot box as in a cot.

No gaudy scars, the bumper knocked him clear.

A four foot box, a foot for every year.”

Seamus Heaney was born in the year 1939 On This Day.

Seamus Heaney




28 January-W B Yeats

William Butler Yeats was an Irish poet who is regarded as one of the greatest poets of the 20th century. Often referred to as Ireland’s ‘national poet’ Yeats was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1923.

William Butler Yeats was born at Sandymount Avenue, Dublin, Ireland on June 13th 1865. The Yeats Family moved to Sligo to live with his mother’s family shortly after William was born. When he was aged two the family moved to England to facilitate their father’s career in art. However Yeats continued to spend his summers in Sligo.

Yeats attended school in England until the family returned to Dublin in 1880. In 1884 he entered the Metropolitan School of Art and his first poems were published in the Dublin University Review in 1885.

Yeats became one of the most important people of the Irish Literary Revival. He founded The Abbey Theatre in 1904 with Lady Gregory, Galway playwright Edward Martyn, Mayo author George Moore and others. Two of the first plays ever staged at the Abbey, ‘On Baile’s Strand’ and ‘Cathleen Ní Houlihan’, were both written by Yeats.

Though he was involved in the Nationalist movement Yeats did not involve himself in events surrounding the Easter Rising of 1916. He was appointed to the Seanad (Senate) in 1922 and served for two terms where he frequently spoke out against hatred, discrimination and bigotry. In a speech in the Seanad on June 11th 1925 he stated, ‘If you show that this country, southern Ireland, is going to be governed by Roman Catholic ideas and by Catholic ideas alone, you will never get the North. You will put a wedge in the midst of this nation’. He also served as Chair of a coinage committee which was established to select designs for the currency of the Irish Free State.

Yeats was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1923 “for his always inspired poetry, which in a highly artistic form gives expression to the spirit of a whole nation.” He continued to be a prolific writer throughout his lifetime and in 1936 was appointed editor of the Oxford Book of Modern Verse, 1892–1935. Yeats died in Menton, France in 1939 and was buried at Roquebrune-Cap-Martin. In fulfilment of his wishes his body was moved to Drumcliffe Churchyard in Sligo in 1948 where his epitaph which comes from his poem, “Under Ben Bulben”, reads:

Cast a cold Eye

On Life, on Death.

Horseman, pass by!

William Butler Yeats died at the age of 73 in the year 1939 On This Day.

W.B. Yeats by National Library of Ireland on The Commons on 1923-01-01 00:00:00

W.B. Yeats by Erin Costa on 2011-09-22 10:30:25


27 October-John Cleese

Actor, comedian, film producer and writer John Cleese was co-founder of the famous comedy group Monty Python. The group produced films such as ‘The Life of Brian’ and ‘The Holy Grail’. He is famous for his work on the television series such as Fawlty Towers and films such as ‘A Fish Called Wanda.

John Marwood Cleese was born in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, England in 1939. He was educated locally and at Clifton College, Bristol. In 1960 he went to the University of Cambridge to study law and graduated with honours in 1963. Interested in comedy from an early age Cleese joined the Cambridge Footlights Dramatic Club and performed with them at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1962.

After college he decided to follow his interest in comedy and went on to perform in London and New York. He returned to England and was employed by the BBC as a writer of comedy sketches. He worked at first for radio and later began writing and performing on television. The outlandish comedy series Monty Python’s Flying Circus had its debut in October 1969. The successful show ran for four seasons.

Fawlty Towers was first aired on the BBC in 1975. Cleese working with his wife Connie Booth had created the series. He played the part of the highly-strung manager of the Fawlty Towers hotel. His wife played the part of a waitress named Polly. When the show first appeared it attracted poor reviews. However it gradually gained popularity and a second series was produced in 1979. Cleese continued to work with the Monty Python group and helped write and appear in films such as ‘The Holy Grail’ (1975), ‘The Life of Brian’ (1979) and ‘The Meaning of Life’ (1983). The films were very successful. Though some of the films were banned in some countries they are now ranked among the best comedies ever made.

Cleese appeared in films such as ‘The Secret Policeman’s Ball’ and ‘Clockwise’ during the 1980’s. In 1988 he co-wrote and starred in the film ‘A Fish Called Wanda’. The film was a massive success and earned Cleese an Academy Award nomination. He continued to appear in movies including Bond movies such as ‘The World Is Not Enough’ and ‘Die Another Day’. He has also appeared in Harry Potter and Shrek movies. John Cleese is a visiting professor at Cornell University. He continues to tour, appear in movies and in comedy shows. He is the author of several books.

John Cleese was born in Weston-super-Mare, England in the year 1939 On This Day.

John Cleese by Lord Biro on 2008-05-29 17:19:23

John Cleese photo

Fawlty Towers

Photo by twm1340