15 November-Kilkenny Design

Kilkenny Design Workshops were founded in Kilkenny city, Ireland in 1963. Established as a semi-state agency, the aim was to improve the design of Irish products. It was a time when Ireland was beginning to industrialise in a large way. The economy was beginning to expand, foreign direct investment was being encouraged and earnings from exports were increasing.

The Irish Export Board (An Córas Tráchtála) was tasked with promoting Irish goods abroad. The Chief Executive of the Board, William H Walsh, recognised the importance of design in industry in order to encourage commerce, trade and export. Scandinavian designers were commissioned to carry out an audit of the standards of design in Ireland. Their report was officially called ‘Design in Ireland’ but was generally known as the Scandinavian Report. The report was used as a basis for the establishment of Kilkenny Design Workshops.

Employing designers from across Europe William Walsh established the Design Workshops in the converted stables at Kilkenny Castle. Five workshops in the areas of textile weaving, textile printing, silver and metalwork, ceramics, and woodworking were established. As time went on industrial design was incorporated into the work of Kilkenny Design. Kilkenny became a centre for design excellence and the name Kilkenny became synonymous with excellent design.

The team of international designers undertook design projects for both indigenous industry and as time went on for international companies which had been established in Ireland. Retail operations were developed in Ireland, London and North America. Kilkenny Design Workshop operated at its base in Kilkenny city until its closure in 1988. Today the Castle Yard is home to the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland and a number of thriving craft and design businesses.

Kilkenny Design Workshops were officially opened in Kilkenny city, Ireland in the year 1965 On This Day.

Kilkenny Design Centre by Kieran Lynam on 2008-01-15 17:17:13

Kilkenny design by Bernie Goldbach on 2005-03-02 13:50:33



10 July-Rolling Stones

Mick Jagger and Marianne Faithfull arrived at Kilkenny Castle, Kilkenny City, Ireland for a party to celebrate the hand-over of the castle in 1967. By that time both Jagger and Faithfull were already well known international performers. For the party Mick Jagger wore a long green cloak over a white shirt and orange pants. Marianne Faithfull wore a full length white lace dress. Their presence and manner of dress attracted a lot of attention. Jagger is reported to have told the press that, ’we just came to loon about’.

Arthur Butler, 6th Marquess and 24th Earl of Ormonde, had sold the castle in 1967 to the Castle Restoration Committee for £50. The castle has since been restored, is a major tourist attraction in Kilkenny and is home to Part of the National Art Gallery.

Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones made their first tour of Ireland in January 1965. They gave performances in Belfast at the ABC Theatre on January 6th, in Dublin at the Adelphi Theatre on January 7th and in Cork at the Savoy Theatre on January 8th. On that occasion the first documentary film was made about the Rolling Stones and was called Charlie Is My Darling. The Rolling stones did a second Irish tour on 3rd and 4th of September 1965. During the years Mick Jagger has been a frequent visitor to Ireland staying at venues such as Borris House in County Carlow, Rossenarra House in County Kilkenny and Russborough House in County Wicklow. In 1982 and 2007 the Rolling Stones was the headline act in concerts at Slane Castle in County Meath.

The Rolling Stones had their first international number 1 hit when ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’, reached the top of the charts in America in the year 1965 On This Day.

Mick Jagger, Statesboro, Georgia, May 4, 1965 by thinhippo on 1965-05-04 18:50:33

56800-The-Rolling-Stones-14-On-Fire by xiquinhosilva on 2014-03-09 22:29:27

Jagger Faithfull photo

Photo by Tobyotter


23 February-Stan Laurel

Stan Laurel was a comic actor, writer and film director who was a native of England. He is best known as a member of the comedy double-act Laurel and Hardy. Oliver Hardy was an American actor. The comedy duo became well known for their slapstick comedy films during the first half of the 20th century.

Stan Laurel was born Arthur Stanley Jefferson in Ulverston, Lancashire, England on June 16th 1890. He was born into a theatrical family and made his stage debut at the age of 16. With a theatrical company, he toured the United States on several occasions. He eventually decided to live in the US when he began his movie career.

Laurel made his first film with Oliver Hardy in 1921. Laurel and Hardy officially became a team in 1927. The duo went on to appear in 107 films, including The Music Box, Way Out West, Men O’ War, Another Fine Mess, Sons of the Desert, Block-Heads and Busy Bodies. Stan Laurel was given a Lifetime Achievement Academy Award in 1961.

Stan Laurel, a comic actor best known as a member of the comedy double-act Laurel and Hardy, died aged of 74 in Santa Monica, California in the year 1965 On This Day.


08 October-Ardal O’Hanlon

Ardal O’Hanlon is a comedian, actor and writer who is a native of Co Monaghan, Ireland. He is best known for his role as Fr Dougal McGuire in the sitcom, Father Ted. ‘Father Ted’ was the winner of several BAFTA awards.

Ardal O’Hanlon was born in Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan in 1965. He was educated at Blackrock College in Dublin. He graduated with a degree in Communications Studies from Dublin City University in 1987.

In 1988 O’Hanlon co-founded the International Comedy Cellar in Dublin. His big break came in 1995, when he starred in the show ‘Father Ted’ on Channel 4. ‘Father Ted’ ran for three series with a total of 25 episodes. O’Hanlon has appeared in several successful shows and is currently playing the lead role in the BBC crime drama Death in Paradise.

Ardal O’Hanlon, comedian, actor and writer, was born in Co Monaghan, Ireland in the year 1965 On This Day.




26 September-Captain Fitzmaurice

Captain James Fitzmaurice, one of Ireland’s greatest aviators, is commemorated with a monument in Portlaoise, Co Laois. He was the co-pilot on the first successful east-west flight across the North Atlantic Ocean in 1928. In Mountmellick town hall a bust of Fitzmaurice was unveiled by his daughter Patricia in 1998. In the same year An Post issued a stamp in his honour.

James Michael Christopher Fitzmaurice was born in Dublin on January 6th 1898. His family moved to Portlaoise in 1902 when he was four years old. Fitzmaurice was educated at Christian Brothers School Portlaoise and later joined the British Army. He was wounded in France during the First World War. Towards the end of the war Fitzmaurice was posted to the School of Military Aeronautics. He served with the Royal Air Force for a number of years, resigning in August 1921.

Fitzmaurice joined the Irish Air Corps in February 1922 shortly after Irish independence. By 1927 he had been promoted to the rank of Commandant. His first attempt to fly across the Atlantic to America ended in failure in 1927. His second attempt was in the German plane, The Bremen, which took off from the Air Corps Base at Baldonnel, Co Dublin on April 12th 1928. The pilot was Captain Kohl and Fitzmaurice was his co-pilot. The owner of the plane, Von Hunfeld was also on board.

Following the first successful transatlantic flight the Bremen landed on Greenly Island, Canada just over 36 hours after take-off from Baldonnel. The successful flight made heroes of the three aviators. They were conferred with the Distinguished Flying Cross by US President Coolidge and were celebrated with a parade in New York City. They were also awarded the Freedom of the City of Dublin.

Captain James Fitzmaurice, co-pilot on the first successful East-West flight across the North Atlantic, died aged 65 in the year 1965 On This Day.

James Fitzmaurice.jpg

Public Domain

Captain Fitzmaurice

Fitzmaurice Monument, Portlaoise. Photo: Joe rattigan

Fitzmaurice Monument, Portlaoise.
Photo: Joe Rattigan