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








10 June-Liz Hurley

Liz Hurley is a model and actress who is a native of England. As a model she represented the Estée Lauder cosmetics company for six years. She has appeared in films and in several television series. In 1994 Hurley famously appeared in a dress held together with safety pins at the premier of the film Four Weddings and Funeral.

Elizabeth Jane Hurley was born in Basingstoke, Hampshire, England in 1965. Interested in dancing and acting from a young age she studied dance and theatre at the London Studio Centre. She worked in theatre and in 1987 made her screen debut in the film Aria. Since then she has appeared in over 20 films including Passenger 57 and Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery. She has also appeared in television series such as Christabel.

Liz Hurley was born in the year 1965 On This Day.

Liz Hurley




20 March-Eurovision Song Contest

The Eurovision Song Contest is an annual television song competition run by the European Broadcasting Union. The contest has been held each year since 1956. It is generally hosted the next year by the winning country. The Contest has audience figures in the hundreds of millions. It is now one of the longest running television programmes in the world.

The Eurovision Song Contest was first held on May 24th 1956 in Lugano, Switzerland. Marcel Bezencon, a native of Switzerland and member of the European Broadcasting Union, conceived the idea of the Eurovision Song Contest. In the inaugural event seven countries (Netherlands, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Belgium and Switzerland) participated. The contest was won by Switzerland.

Nine years after the contest began Ireland participated for the first time. Since then the Ireland has made 48 appearances in total. With seven wins Ireland is the most successful country in the contest to date. Dana gave Ireland its first victory in 1970, performing “All Kinds of Everything”. Ireland came first with Johhny Logan, 1980 (What’s Another Year?); Johnny Logan, 1987 (Hold Me Now); Linda Martin, 1992 (Why Me?); Niamh Kavanagh 1993 (In Your Eyes); 1994 Paul Harrington & Charlie McGettigan (Rock ‘n’ Roll Kids) and 1996 Eimear Quinn (The Voice)

Winning the Eurovision Song Contest guarantees a boost in publicity for the performer and enhances their career prospects. Former winners such as ABBA, Céline Dion, Julio Iglesias and Bucks Fizz have gone on to have successful careers. The winner in 2016 was Jamala from Ukraine with the song ‘1944’. As a result the Eurovision Song Contest 2017 was held in Kiev, Ukraine.

Ireland participated in the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time when it was held in Naples, Italy in the year 1965 On This Day.

Eurovision song contest 2015