19 December-Contraception in Ireland

The Irish government led by Éamon de Valera of the Fianna Fáil party passed the Criminal Law Amendment Act in 1935. The Act translated the Catholic Church’s doctrine regarding contraception into the law of the land. The sale of contraceptives in Ireland was legal up until the passing of the Act. The law, with some alterations in 1979, remained in place for fifty years.

Pope Pius XI issued an encyclical (Casti connubii) in 1930. The encyclical prohibited people of the Roman Catholic faith from using any form of artificial birth control. The Irish Government made it illegal to import or sell contraceptives in Ireland when it passed the Criminal Law Amendment Act in 1935. Section 17 (I) of the act stated: ‘It shall not be lawful for any person to sell, or expose, offer, advertise, or keep for sale or to import or attempt to import into Saorstát Eireann for sale, any contraceptive’.

In later years attempts were made to liberalise the law on contraception but without success. There were several protests, the most famous of which occurred on May 22nd 1971. On that occasion a group of 49 women took the train to Belfast. They purchased contraceptives and when they returned to Dublin refused to hand them over to the authorities. The event generated a lot of controversy and publicity.

A decision was made by the Supreme Court in 1973 that married couples were entitled to privacy under the constitution and as such could import contraceptives for personal use. This meant a change in the legislation was necessary. After several failed attempts the law was eventually changed when The Health (Family Planning) Act of 1979 became law. Under the new legislation contraceptives were made available on prescription from a doctor for bona fide family planning purposes. Six years later the Health (Family Planning) (Amendment) Act 1985 allowed for the sale of contraceptives without a prescription to people aged 18 and over.

The Irish Supreme Court decided that a ban on contraceptives was unconstitutional in the year 1973 On This Day.

Contraception Day





26 September-Concorde

Concorde is a supersonic passenger airplane which operated from 1976 to 2003. It was capable of flying at over twice the speed of sound (over 2,100kph). Concorde had seating for 100 passengers and could cross the Atlantic in less than half the time of other aircraft.

Concorde was jointly developed and built by aircraft manufacturers in Great Britain and France. The two countries signed a treaty establishing the project on November 29th 1962. The first development Concorde was unveiled in Toulouse on December 11th 1967. The airliner made its ‘faultless’ maiden flight from Toulouse on March 2nd 1969. Nineteen other Concorde were built.

Air France, and British Airways purchased the Concorde aircraft. Because of the sonic boom supersonic flight was limited to ocean crossing. Commercial flights began from London and Paris in 1976 and continued for 27 years. The aircraft was retired in 2003.

Concorde, a supersonic passenger aircraft, made history flying from Washington to Paris in a record 3hrs 32 min in the year 1973 On This Day.



23 August-Stockholm Syndrome

Stockholm Syndrome is a condition that causes hostages to sympathise with their captors. The hostage feels grateful to the kidnapper for telling them they will not kill them. Also, as part of a survival strategy the hostages form an alliance with their captors.

The term ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ was coined following an unsuccessful bank robbery in Stockholm, Sweden in 1973. Following the robbery a six day siege ensued. After the siege ended the four hostages had formed a positive relationship with the bank robbers. The hostages refused to testify against their captors leading the term ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ being used.

Stockholm Syndrome, a condition that causes hostages to sympathise with their captors was coined following an unsuccessful bank robbery in Stockholm Sweden in the year 1973 On This Day.

Stockholm Syndrome


08 April-Picasso

Pablo Picasso painted ‘Still Life with a Mandolin’ while living in Juan-les-Pins in south-eastern France in 1924. It can be viewed in the National Gallery of Ireland. The painting was bequeathed to the National Gallery by Máire MacNeill Sweeney in 1987.

Pablo Ruiz y Picasso was born in Málaga, Spain on October 25th 1881. He was a painter and sculptor and is one of the most famous artists of the 20th century. From a young age Picasso displayed outstanding artistic ability. He attended Art College in Barcelona and Madrid before moving to Paris in 1901.

Picasso settled in Paris in 1904 and opened his own studio in the Montmartre area. During the following years he constantly altered and updated his style during periods which are frequently referred to as: Blue Period (1901-1904), Rose Period (1904-1906), African-influenced Period (1907-1909) and Cubism (1909-1919).

A co-founder of the Cubist movement Picasso was an exceptionally prolific artist. He has thousands of pieces to his name and his work has been seen by millions around the world. Among his most famous works are Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907), and Guernica (1937). Les Demoiselles d’Avignon is in the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Guernica depicts the destruction of the city of Guernica in Northern Spain during the Spanish Civil War. At the request of Franco, the city was bombed by the German and Italian air-forces

During his 78 year career Picasso produced thousands of pieces of art. His work is better known and has sold more pieces than any other artist of his time. His paintings have set record prices for art sold at auction. In 2004 ‘Garson a la Pipe’, was sold for $104.1 million. In 2010 ‘Nude, Green Leaves and Bust’, a painting which was created in one day in 1932, was sold at auction in eight minutes for $106.5 million.

Pablo Picasso died at the age of 91 in Mougins near the city of Cannes in the Southeast of France in the year 1973 On This Day.


National Gallery of Ireland


20 October-Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House, which is a wold famous centre for the performing arts, is located in the harbour district of the city of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. It is comprised of several performance venues which host over 1,500 performances annually. The performances are attended by over one million people. Sydney Opera House has become a symbol of both Sydney and modern Australia.

In 1955 the Premier of New South Wales, Joseph Cahill, launched an international competition to design an opera house which would have two performance halls. The competition, which attracted 233 entries from 32 countries, was won by Danish architect Jørn Utzon in 1957. Construction of Sydney Opera House began in March 1959 and took fourteen years to complete. It took almost ten years longer than expected and the eventual cost was $102 million.

Sydney Opera House has almost 1,000 rooms. The largest of these is the Concert Hall which has an audience capacity of up to 2679. Other rooms such as the Joan Sutherland Theatre, the Drama Theatre, the Playhouse and the Studio give the Opera House an overall seating capacity of 5,738. It is regarded as one of the most spectacular centres in the world for the performing arts. Apart from its function as an opera house it is also the number one tourist attraction in Australia. Over seven million people visit the Opera House each year and over a million of these attend a performance.

Sydney Opera House was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in June 2007. According to the expert evaluation report, ‘Sydney Opera House is a great architectural work of the 20th century. It represents multiple strands of creativity, both in architectural form and structural design, a great urban sculpture carefully set in a remarkable waterscape and a world famous iconic building’. Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 was the first performance given at the official opening of Sydney Opera House. The opening, which was televised, was accompanied by a fireworks display.

Sydney Opera House was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II of England in the year 1973 On This Day.

Sydney opera house by jimmyharris on 2006-01-21 22:49:38