02 June-Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth II has reigned for longer than any other monarch in British history. In February 2017 she celebrated 65 years on the throne. Together with a full programme of engagements the Queen has also undertaken many historic overseas visits. In 2011 Queen Elizabeth II became the first British Monarch to visit Ireland in 100 years.

Queen Elizabeth II was born Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor in London on April 21st 1926. She became Queen, on the death of her father George VI, on February 6th 1952. Her coronation took place in June 1953. She has reigned through a time of great change. Her personal popularity and public support for the monarchy remains high.

The coronation of Queen Elizabeth II took place in the year 1953 On This Day.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II



05 March-Joseph Stalin

Joseph Stalin was the dictator of the Soviet Union for more than two decades. He was one of the most powerful and murderous dictators in history and millions of his own citizens died during his reign. Stalin modernised the Soviet Union and helped to defeat the Nazi’s during World War II.

Joseph Stalin (Iosif Vissarionovich Stalin) was born in Gori, Georgia on December 18th 1879. He was awarded a scholarship to study for the priesthood at the Tiflis Theological Seminary in Tblisi in 1894. Having been introduced to the writings of Karl Marx, Stalin left the seminary in 1899. He became involved in revolutionary and criminal activities. Following the Russian Revolution Stalin was appointed General Secretary of the Communist Party. When Lenin died in 1924 Stalin successfully outmanoeuvred other leading members to take control of the Communist Party.

Stalin ruled the Soviet Union from 1929 to 1953. He instituted a reign of terror which caused the death and suffering of tens of millions. During his reign the Soviet Union became an industrial and military superpower. In 1939 Stalin signed a non-aggression treaty with Nazi Germany. This allowed the two dictators, Hitler and Stalin, to invade Poland in September 1939 and divide it between them. Hitler, however, later broke the agreement. He began Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of Russia, on June 22nd 1941. Stalin aligned the Soviet Union with the Allies to defeat the Nazis.

After the war Stalin was convinced that the Allies were a threat to the Soviet Union. This led him to establish communist regimes in several eastern European countries between 1945 and 1948. His activities in Eastern Europe led to the start of what became known as the Cold War. In 1949 the Soviet Union entered the nuclear age when it successfully exploded its first atomic bomb. In 1950 Stalin assisted the communist North Korean leader Kim il Sung in the invasion of South Korea leading to the Korean War.

In the early 1950’s Stalin’s health began to deteriorate and he became increasingly paranoid. He ordered a new purge of the Communist Party. However he died of a stroke at the age of 74 before the purge could be carried out. He had been dictator of the Soviet Union for 24 years.

Joseph Stalin died in the year 1953 On This Day.



27 November-Eugene O’Neill

Eugene O Neill whose father was from Kilkenny, Ireland was an award winning American playwright. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature in 1936 and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama on four occasions. He was the first author to use American vernacular in his writings.

Eugene Gladstone O Neill was born in a Broadway Hotel on what is now Times Square on October 16th 1888. His father was an actor with a theatrical company. As a result Eugene spent his early years on tour with his family. At the age of seven he was sent to a catholic boarding school in the Bronx, New York. In 1906 O’Neill enrolled in Princeton University but left after ten months. He then spent several years at sea. Events during his time at sea, later became a theme of many of his plays.

In 1912 O’Neill contracted tuberculosis. He began writing plays whilst recuperating from his illness. His first full length play, Beyond the Horizon was produced in 1920. O’Neill’s most famous play is ‘Long Day’s Journey into Night’ (1956). Other plays include Mourning Becomes Electra (1931) and A Moon for the Misbegotten (1957). In 1936 O’Neill became the first US playwright to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1920, 1922, 1928, and 1957. His daughter Oona was the wife of Charlie Chaplin.

Eugene O’Neill died at the age of 65 in Boston, Massachusetts in the year 1953 On This Day.

Eugene O’Neill, New York City by OpenPlaques on 2012-09-05 21:09:34

Eugene O’Neill House, Danville, CA by pablo.sanchez on 2011-06-25 14:52:39

23 August-John Rocha

John Rocha is a famous fashion designer based in Ireland. Apart from his fashion designs, he has designed a range of crystal wear, jewellery and home-wear. He has also designed the interiors of building in Ireland and abroad. Rocha is known for his use of hand crafted material and crafts such as appliqué and beading.

John Rocha was born in Hong Kong in 1953. He moved to London in the 1970’s where he studied at the Croydon College of Art and Design. He used Irish hand-woven wool as a material in his designs for his graduate collection. This together with his interest in traditional handcrafts led him to visit Ireland following graduation.

Rocha eventually moved to Dublin where he established his own label. He also became the designer of clothes and household goods for several well-known stores. Rocha has been the recipient of several awards and was made a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in 2002. He featured on a postage stamp issued by An Post in 2010. In 2014 Rocha announced his retirement from fashion design.

John Rocha was born in Hong Kong in the year 1953 On This Day.

John Rocha. Celtic and Chinese? More like native American. by KaiChanVong on 2009-05-31 14:22:22