21 March-Ireland Wins Eurovision Song Contest

Ireland won the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time in 1970. Dana won the contest, singing the ballad ‘All Kinds of Everything’. A recording of the song which was written by Derry Lindsay and Jackie Smith became an international hit. Ireland made its debut in the Eurovision in 1965. In all Ireland has won the contest on seven occasions.

Dana Rosemary Scallon was born Rosemary Brown in London in 1951. When she was five, the Brown family moved to Derry, Northern Ireland where Dana grew up. She was runner-up in the Irish National Song Contest in 1969. She won the contest in 1970. Following her win Dana represented Ireland in the 1970 Eurovision Song Contest in Amsterdam.

Dana singing ‘All Kinds of Everything’ won the Eurovision Song Contest for Ireland in the year 1970 On This Day.

Dana Scallon in 1970

Dana in 1970

Nationaal Archief, Den Haag, Rijksfotoarchief: Fotocollectie Algemeen Nederlands Fotopersbureau (ANEFO), 1945-1989 – negatiefstroken zwart/wit, nummer toegang, bestanddeelnummer 923-3512Nationaal Archief



05 October-President Nixon’s Visit to Ireland

Richard Nixon, President of the United States visited his ancestral home at Hodgestown, Timahoe Co Kildare, Ireland in October 1970. He was on a three day state visit to Ireland. Nixon had taken up office in January 1969 as the 37th President of the United States of America. It is said that he immediately began to plan a visit to Ireland in order to secure the Irish vote for his re-election. He felt he had underestimated the Irish vote when he lost to John F Kennedy in 1960.

Richard Milhous Nixon was born on January 9th 1913 in Yorba Linda, California. He qualified as a lawyer and was elected to the US. House of Representatives in November 1946. In 1950, Nixon was elected to the United States Senate. He was chosen by Dwight Eisenhower as his running mate in the election for president in 1952. He served as Vice-President for eight years under Eisenhower.

Nixon was nominated to run for President by the Republican Party but was narrowly defeated by John F. Kennedy in 1960. He was eventually elected US President in 1968. During his time as President, Nixon ended American involvement the Vietnam War, opened diplomatic relations with China and introduced several reforms in the US. He was re-elected to serve for a second term in 1972. However in 1974, following the Watergate scandal, he became the only US President in history to resign from office.

Richard Nixon’s maternal ancestors, Thomas and Sarah Milhous, left Ireland and settled in Pennsylvania in 1729.The Nixon family had always been aware of the Timahoe connection and Nixon’s aunt, Rose, visited Timahoe in 1952. In Timahoe Nixon and his wife Pat were greeted by a crowd of about 1,000 people. They were entertained by the Artane Boys Band and the President unveiled a monument. Inscribed on the monument are the words, ‘In memory of the Irish Quakers of Timahoe. Dedicated October, 1970 by Richard Milhous Nixon, President of the United States of America, whose maternal ancestors are resting here’. President Nixon’s wife Pat Nixon (nee Ryan) had visited her relatives in Robeen near Ballinrobe in County Mayo on the previous day.

President Richard Milhous Nixon visited his ancestral home near Timahoe Co Kildare in the year 1970 On This Day.

Richard Nixon by History In An Hour on 2009-01-26 20:40:12

Photo by tonynetone

21 July-Benjamin Baker, Aswan Dam

Benjamin Baker, whose father was from Carlow, Ireland was the consulting engineer on the building of the Low Aswan Dam on the river Nile in Egypt. The dam which was completed on December 10th 1902, was 1950m long and 20m high. Located almost 1,000km south of Cairo it was at the time the largest masonry dam in the world. The Aswan high dam which was constructed between 1960 and 1970 is located just over 6km further south. Baker also designed the Barrow Bridge which carries the Rosslare to Waterford railway line across the river Barrow from Wexford to Kilkenny. The bridge which is 650m in length is the longest railway bridge in Ireland was completed in 1906.

The development of Egyptian civilisation could not have happened without the river Nile. For thousands of years before the construction of the dams, the Nile overflowed its banks from early June. The flooding deposited vast amounts of silt which created excellent topsoil for Egyptian farmers. However if the flood was too small it could mean famine and if it was too large it damaged crops and villages. Controlling the flooding was one of the main reasons for the construction of the first dam. After four years of construction the dam was completed in 1902. It was then 22m high and was constructed to allow the nutrient-rich silts to pass through for the fertilisation of the land. To improve efficiency and to generate electricity the height of the dam was raised on two occasions eventually reaching a height of 36m. Benjamin Baker was again employed to supervise the first raising (5m) of the level of the dam between 1907 and 1912.

The Low Aswan Dam, however, did not provide proper control of the river. Nor did the reservoir which resulted from its construction provide enough water for the dry season. As the population of Egypt continued to grow the need to control the river, provide water for irrigation and generate more electricity grew in importance. Construction on the Aswan High dam began in 1960 and took ten years to complete. The dam has had a major impact on the economy and lives of the Egyptian people. Lake Nasser which was created by the dam is the largest man-made lake in the world. By releasing water in the dry season farmers can grow an extra crop each year. The dam, unlike the one designed by Baker, does not allow the silt through which means artificial fertiliser has to be used on the land. Because flooding is controlled cruise ships can navigate the river for longer periods each year which benefits tourism. The dam also helps provide a significant amount of Egypt’s electricity needs.

The Aswan High Dam on the river Nile in Egypt was completed in the year 1970 On This Day.

Aswan dam – Lake Nasser by katiebutton on 2010-11-15 19:17:03

Low Aswan Dam photo

Aswan Dam across the River Nile

Photo by San Diego Air & Space Museum Archives


17 July-National Youth Orchestra of Ireland

The National Youth Orchestra of Ireland (NYOI) was established to enable talented young Irish musicians from all parts of Ireland to come together as a symphony orchestra. It aims to assist the young musicians to overcome geographical and financial barriers to enable them to give performances of the highest standard on national and international platforms. Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland is the patron of the Orchestra.

The Music Association of Ireland, which was set up in 1948, was instrumental in establishing the National Youth Orchestra of Ireland. Ógra Ceoil (“Musical Youth”) was set up in 1967 to encourage participation in music by young people. The programme was a success and resulted in 63 musicians from all areas of Ireland being brought together for a training programme in 1970. The group met for a summer residential course in Our Lady’s School, Rathnew, Co Wicklow. The programme led to the Irish Youth Orchestra being launched in January 1972.

Today talented young musicians are brought together each year by the National Youth Orchestra of Ireland. Under the direction of top conductors they engage in intense rehearsals. They form a symphony orchestra and perform great music. The National Youth orchestra of Ireland gave its first performance abroad in 1974 when it gave three concerts in Germany. Since then the orchestra has performed at venues across Europe and North America.

The national Youth Orchestra of Ireland brought young musicians from all parts of Ireland together for its first training programme in the year 1970 On This Day.

Dublin – National Concert Hall – Earlsfort Terrace by infomatique on 2009-12-19 15:50:03


31 May-Arkle

Famous Irish thoroughbred racehorse Arkle is generally regarded as the greatest National Hunt horse of all time. Arkle was foaled in 1957 at Ballymacoll Stud near Dunboyne County Meath. He was trained by Tom Dreaper in County Meath and during his steeplechasing career his jockey, in the main, was Pat Taffe.

During his career he would come to be regarded as the greatest National Hunt horse of all time. His wins included The Broadway Chase, Powers Gold Cup and Punchestown Gold Cup in 1963. The Irish Grand National in 1964 & 1965. The King George VI in 1965 and the Cheltenham Gold Cup (1964, 1965, 1966). The English trained Mill House and Arkle were rivals for many years.

Arkle has the highest ever timeform rating of 212 for a steeplechaser. Flyingbolt (1959-1983) with a rating of 210 is second and joint third on 191 are Timeform and Kauto Star.

During the King George VI race at Kempton Park in 1966 Arkle fractured a pedal bone when he struck a fence with a hoof. Though he recovered and came back to training he was officially retired in the year 1968. Within two years stiffness caused by the injury meant he could hardly stand.

Arkle was put down at the early age of 13 in the year 1970 On This Day.

Arkle 1957-1970 by Damork on 2012-05-27 12:08:10

Cheltenham by Carine06 on 2014-03-11 14:01:05