29 August-Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson was a best-selling singer, songwriter and dancer who was a native of the USA. He was a global figure in the entertainment industry and was known as the ‘King of Pop’. He achieved success both as a member of his family group the ‘Jackson 5’ and as a solo artist.

Michael Joseph Jackson was born in Gary, Indiana in 1958. He began performing with his family group, the Jackson 5 at the age of six. He quickly became the dominant performer of the group. He began his solo career in 1971. Jackson achieved worldwide success producing albums such as ‘Thriller’ which became the best-selling album of all time.

Michael Jackson was born in the year 1958 On This Day.


08 August-Carlow Land War

Farmers from County Carlow, Ireland held protests in 1958 at the failure of government to purchase two large estates which were for sale in the county. They felt that the land, which was excellent farming, land should have been purchased and divided among farmers with small holdings. The farmers said that their own small farms were ‘not enough to provide a living for them’. The protest was held in Carlow town. Some of the farmers drove through Carlow town on tractors with posters on each tractor. It was called the ‘Carlow Land War’ by REUTERS and other news agencies.

One of the estates in question was Oak Park demesne. It is situated about 3km north of Carlow town. The estate was purchased by Brownes Hill Estates for £50,555. However due to the protests by farmers, the estate was purchased by the Land Commission in 1960. The Land Commission divided three hundred hectares of the estate among farmers. The remainder of the estate and Oak Park House became a research centre for the Agricultural Institute (Teagasc). Today Oak Park is the national headquarters of Teagasc.

A protest by Carlow farmers, which was called the ‘Carlow Land War’ by news agencies, was held in Carlow town in the year 1958 On This Day.

“Ireland yesterday and today” (1909)





02 May-David O’Leary

David O’Leary is a former Irish international footballer who played with distinction for his country. He began his professional career in 1975 with Arsenal Football Club in London. He spent most of his career with Arsenal making over 700 appearances for the club.

David Anthony O’Leary was born in Stoke Newington, London in May 1958. When he was four years old his family moved to live in Dublin. Having played at schoolboy level with Shelbourne in Dublin O’Leary signed for Arsenal as an apprentice in 1973. He made his first appearance for the club at senior level in 1975 and continued to play with the club until 1993. He joined Leeds United in 1993 and remained with Leeds until his retirement in 1995.

O’Leary played international football for Ireland for 17 years from 1976 to 1993. He played 68 times for Ireland. In the 1990 World Cup in Italy O’Leary scored the decisive penalty which took Ireland to the quarter finals of the World Cup. Since his retirement O’Leary has served as manager of Leeds United and Aston Villa in England. He has also been manager of the United Arab Emirates club Al-Ahli.

David O’Leary was born in the year 1958 On This Day.

David O’leary



06 February-Munich Air Diasaster

The Munich Air Disaster of 1958 led to the deaths of twenty three people, eight of whom were Manchester United footballers. One of those who died was Billy Whelan, Irish International and Manchester United footballer from Dublin. The plane carrying the team, crashed in a driving snowstorm on take-off at Munich Airport.

The Manchester United Football Team, nicknamed the ‘Busby Babes’, was returning from Belgrade on a British European Airways plane when the crash occurred. The team had drawn with Red Star Belgrade to qualify for the semi-finals of the European Cup. Enroute to Manchester the plane landed at Munich-Riem Airport for refuelling. Following refuelling the plane crashed on its third attempt to take off from a slush covered runway.

Of the 44 people on board the aircraft 20 died in the crash. Three more died later in Hospital. There were 21 survivors. Billy Whelan, who was also known as Liam was born William Augustine Whelan at St Attracta Road, Cabra, Dublin on April 1st 1935. He began his career with the Dublin club Home Farm before moving to Manchester United in 1953. He made 96 appearances and scored 52 goals during his career with the club.

When Whelan died he was just 22 years old. Following a campaign, initiated by St Finbarr’s GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association) club, a railway bridge in Cabra was named in his honour in 2006. The bridge is close to Dalymount Park and close to where Whelan was born. A plaque was unveiled by Sir Bobby Charlton, who paid tribute to his former team-mate. In 2008 on the 50th anniversary of the Munich Air Disaster, An Post issued a 55c stamp showing a photo of Liam Whelan.

Billy Whelan, Manchester United footballer from Dublin, died in the Munich Air Disaster in the year 1958 On This Day.

Liam Whelan Bridge



04 January-Sputnik 1

The first artificial Earth Satellite was the Sputnik 1 spacecraft. It was successfully launched into orbit around the Earth from Baikonur Cosmodrome at Tyuratam in 1957. The Cosmodrome is about 2,500km southeast of Moscow in Kazakhstan which at the time was part of the Soviet Union. The launch was the beginning of the space age and what, in the following decades, came to be known as the space race between the Soviet Union and the USA.

The International Council of Scientific Unions had decided that the period from July 1, 1957, to December 31, 1958 would be International Geophysical Year (IGY). In 1955 the USA announced that it intended to launch a satellite that would orbit the Earth during that time. Around the same time the Soviet Union made a similar decision. During the previous decade both countries had made big advances in rocket technology. Both countries had also seized rocket knowledge, technology and equipment from defeated Nazi Germany after World War II.

Sputnik was launched using a modified ICBM (Intercontinental Ballistic Missile) rocket. The satellite itself was a polished metal sphere with a diameter of 58 cm. It had four radio antennae attached which broadcast radio pulses during orbit. During its time in orbit Sputnik 1 was visible in the night sky. Travelling at a speed of 8km/s it took 96.2 minutes to orbit the Earth. Its orbit was elliptical being 940km from the Earth at its farthest point and 230km at its nearest.

The successful launch caught the attention of the world. Transmissions from Sputnik were monitored with intense interest. The transmitter batteries ran out after twenty one days and Sputnik burned up as it fell to Earth having spent three months in space. It had travelled about 70 million km and orbited the Earth 1,440 times.

Sputnik 1 burned up in the Earth’s atmosphere as it fell from orbit in the year 1958 On This Day.