15 December-Walt Disney

Disney families lived for generations in Ireland in both counties Carlow and Kilkenny. Some of the families emigrated to America. Arundel Elias Disney was born in the townland of Clone near Freshford, Co Kilkenny in 1801. He emigrated to north America with members of his family in 1834. The family settled initially in Canada but later moved to the United States. The great-grandson of Arundel Elias Disney was Walt Disney. He was a cartoonist and filmmaker who also became a successful businessman.

Walter Elias Disney was born in Chicago, Illinois on December 5th 1901. He did not attend school until he was eight years old. He attended McKinley High School in Chicago but dropped out at the age of 16 to join the army during World War 1. He was rejected because he was underage. He joined the Red Cross and was sent to France where he drove an ambulance. He decorated the ambulance with his own cartoons.

In 1919 Disney returned to America and began working as a newspaper artist in Kansas City. He moved on to making animated commercials and from that to making short animated films. In October 1923 Disney moved with his brother Roy to Hollywood, California where they established Disney Brothers’ Studio. They produced animated films which were successful but lost the rights to the characters they had created to Universal studios.

At the age of 27 Disney created the first Mickey Mouse cartoon. The first two cartoons were not a success. However the third Mickey Mouse cartoon, Steamboat Willie, which had sound for the first time was an instant success. In 1937 he produced Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs which was the first full-length animated film. By 1939 he had opened Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California and with his staff created cartoon characters such as Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy and Pluto. During his lifetime Disney was the winner seven Emmy Awards and 22 Academy Awards. He gave his name to the Disneyland theme parks which are located in the USA, France, Japan and Hong Kong.

Walt Disney died aged 65 at his home in Burbank, California in the year 1966 On This Day.

Walt Disney and Friends, Disneyland 1964 by JoeInSouthernCA on 2010-09-05 15:28:27

Freshford Church by Dark Dwarf on 2015-08-09 15:22:43


08 September-Star Trek

Star Trek was created by writer and producer Gene Roddenberry. Roddenberry, who was a native of Texas, took inspiration for his creation from novels such as Gullivers Travels. Star Trek was highly influential and led to the production of other Star Trek television series and several movies.

Star Trek followed the galactic travels of the star ship Enterprise. The ship was on a five year mission which took place in the 23rd century. Its mission was one of discovery ‘to boldly go where no man has gone before’. The captain of the ship was James T. Kirk (William Shattner). Other characters included Spock (Leonard Nimoy), Dr Leonard ‘Bones’ (DeForest Kelley) and ‘Scotty’ (James Doohan).

The first episode of Star Trek was premiered on television in the year 1966 On This Day.

01 Star Trek The Motion Picture 1979 by dkalo on 2010-07-01 17:11:10

Star Trek sculpture by Devorah Sperber, Spock, Kirk and McCoy: Beaming-In (In-Between), Microsoft, Studio D, Redmond, Washington, USA by Wonderlane on 2010-04-15 02:37:45

18 July-The Abbey Theatre

Máire Nic Shiubhlaigh, whose father Mathew Walker ran a printing business in Carlow for some time, played the lead role in Cathleen Ní Houlihan when the Abbey Theatre opened in Dublin on December 27th 1904. The plays ‘Cathleen Ní Houlihan’ and ‘On Baile’s Strand’, both written by W B Yeats, were the first plays staged at the Abbey on opening night.

The theatre was located at 26 Lower Abbey Street in the Hibernian Theatre of Varieties which was also known as the Mechanics Hall. The building had been purchased by Ms Annie Horniman a theatre patron and manager, from Forest Hill, London. She had helped stage plays by Yeats and George Bernard Shaw in London. Yeats persuaded her to help stage productions in Dublin.

The theatre was popular and successful in the early years but as time went on began to suffer from poor box office returns. It was offered as a free gift to the nation in 1924. In 1925 The Abbey became the first state subsidised theatre in the English speaking world and it still continues to receive an annual grant from the state.

Often referred to as the National Theatre of Ireland The Abbey Theatre building was destroyed by fire on July 17th 1951. Following the fire the theatre moved to the Queen’s Theatre on Pearse Street where it remained until 1966.

The old Abbey Theatre was demolished. The Architect Michael Scott who had completed the nearby Busáras (Bus station in Dublin for Intercity and regional bus services) in 1953 designed a new building for the theatre. The foundation stone for the new building was laid by President Éamon de Valera on September 3rd 1963.

The Abbey Theatre was officially re-opened in the year 1966 On This Day.

Abbey Theatre @ Dublin by bjaglin on 2006-11-20 21:45:01