18 December-Barry Lyndon Huntington Castle

Huntington Castle in Clonegal, County Carlow, Ireland was the setting for some of the scenes in the Stanley Kubrick film ‘Barry Lyndon’. The film which tells the story of an 18th century Irish adventurer was the winner of four Oscars at the Academy Awards in 1976. Based on the 1844 novel ‘The Luck of Barry Lyndon’ by William Makepeace Thackeray, the film stars Ryan O’Neal, Marisa Berenson, Patrick Magee, and Hardy Krüger

Huntington Castle, also known as Clonegal Castle, is located in the picturesque village of Clonegal in the south of County Carlow. Located in the foothills of the Blackstairs Mountains the area is often referred to as the Switzerland of Ireland. The castle which dates back to the 1400’s is now a private house. It is open to public for guided tours throughout the months of June, July, August and September.

Stanley Kubrick was born in New York City on July 26th 1928. Though interested in literature he did not do well at school and was later reported to have said that nothing about school interested him. He was taught to play chess by his father. He became a skilled player and chess played an important part in the making of his films. Apart from Barry Lyndon, Kubrick made 10 feature films. Many of his films were influential and he came to be highly regarded as a director.

Barry Lyndon, directed by Stanley Kubrick and filmed on location in Clonegal Castle, Carlow was released in the year 1975 On This Day.

Clonegal Castle photo

Huntington Castle, Clonegal, County Carlow.

Photo by IrishFireside



28 November-East Timor

The Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste also known as East Timor occupies the Eastern section of the island of Timor in Southeast Asia. It was recognised as an independent state by the United Nations on May 20th 2002. East Timor occupies an area of 14,609 km2 and has a population of 1.2 million.

The Portuguese began to colonise the island of Timor during the 1600’s. The island was split between the Portuguese and the Dutch in 1749. However it was not until 1914 that a definitive border was established between the two sections of the island by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague.

Following the 1974 coup, Portugal began to withdraw from its colonies. East Timor declared itself independent in 1975. This led to the country being invaded by Indonesia nine days later. The invasion was resisted by the people of East Timor and over the following two decades over 100,000 people died.

A referendum on independence supervised by the UN was held in 1999. The people of East Timor voted overwhelmingly for independence. Timor-Leste became an internationally recognized independent state in 2002.

East Timor declared itself independent in the year 1975 On This Day.

reading in East Timor_2 by J.P. Esperança on 2008-01-01 00:00:00



20 November-Francisco Franco

General Francisco Franco was the leader of the Nationalist forces during the Spanish Civil War. The war, which lasted from 1936 to 1939, led to the overthrow of the elected government by the Nationalist forces. After the civil war Franco took control of Spain. For the following thirty 35 years he ruled Spain until his death in 1975.

Francisco Franco was born in the city of Ferrol, Galicia in north western Spain on December 4th 1892. He graduated from the Infantry Academy at Toledo in 1910 and volunteered to serve in Spanish Morocco. He distinguished himself as an officer and rose quickly through the ranks. He gained a reputation as a dedicated soldier who paid careful attention the well-being of the soldiers under his command. He was appointed to command the Spanish Foreign Legion in 1923.

The Republican Popular Front were victorious in the 1936 Spanish general election. By then Franco was chief of staff of the Spanish army. The new government was unable to establish economic stability and Franco appealed to the government to declare a state of emergency. His appeal was refused and he was removed from his post and sent to a command in the Canary Islands. He refused to join groups who were rebelling against the government at first but eventually joined the rebels. On July 18th 1936 he issued a manifesto proclaiming a military rebellion and marched on Madrid.

The civil war which followed lasted for three years. Irish volunteers fought on both sides during the war. 320 Irish men fought with the International Brigade in support of government forces. Over 600 Irish men travelled to Spain in support of General Franco. Franco was victorious in a war that saw an estimated half a million people killed. Five months after the war ended in 1939, World War II began. Though Franco was inclined to support the Axis he declared that Spain would be neutral in the conflict.

Franco established an autocratic dictatorship. Following a referendum in 1947 to restore the monarchy he confirmed himself as lifetime regent. He remained in power until his death at the age of 82. He was succeeded by King Juan Carlos. The new king restored Spain to a system of democratic constitutional monarchy.

General Francisco Franco died in Madrid in the year 1975 On This Day.

2012_Urduña_ kontzentrazioa eremuko gatibuei omenaldia (I)_004 by aiaraldea.com on 2012-06-18 09:17:02

2012_Urduña_ kontzentrazioa eremuko gatibuei omenaldia (I)_005 by aiaraldea.com on 2012-06-18 09:16:57


03 October-Dr Tiede Herema

Dr Tiede Herema is a Dutch industrialist who, while working in Limerick in 1975, was abducted by members of the provisional IRA. He was abducted shortly after leaving his home near Limerick city while on his way to work. Dr Herema was held prisoner for 32 days. A huge Garda search followed his kidnapping. He was finally released following a nationwide search and a siege at house in Monasterevin, Co Kildare which lasted two weeks.

Tiede Herema was born in Zuilen near Utrecht, The Netherlands on April 21st 1921. At the time of his kidnapping he was managing director of the Ferenka Factory in Limerick. He was travelling from his home in Castleroy on the west side of Limerick city to the factory at nearby Annacotty. The factory manufactured brass-plated steel cord which was used in the manufacture of tyres. Ferenka, which was a subsidiary of AKZO (Now Akzo Nobel) a Dutch multinational, had opened the factory in Limerick in 1971. With a workforce of around 1,400 people, it was at that time the biggest employer in Limerick.

Eddie Gallagher and Marion Coyle, two members of the provisional IRA abducted Dr. Tiede Herrema. They then demanded the release of three IRA prisoners, including Dr Rose Dugdale. Dugdale was an English born heiress who had joined the provisional IRA in 1973. In June 1974 she had been sentenced to nine years in prison for her part in the bombing of a police station in Strabane, Co Tyrone. She was also sentenced for the theft of paintings valued at IR£8 million from Russborough House, Co Wicklow. In prison she gave birth to Eddie Gallagher’s child in December 1974.

It was immediately made clear by the Government that there would be no release of prisoners. In the following weeks over 4,000 Garda officers supported by the army carried out a massive search. The search began in Limerick but was expanded to cover the whole country. Eventually the kidnap gang were located at a house at St Evin’s Park, Monasterevin. There followed a two week siege after which Dr Herema was eventually released.

Tiede Herema left Ireland shortly after his ordeal. He now lives in the Netherlands. He is a regular visitor to Ireland and he and his wife Elizabeth were made honorary Irish citizens in 1975. The Ferenka Factory closed down in November 1977 after only six years in operation.   Eddie Gallagher was sentenced to twenty years in prison while Marion Coyle was sentenced to fifteen years.

Dr Tiede Herema was abducted and kidnapped by the provisional IRA in the year 1975 On This Day.


Monasterevin, Co Kildare


20 November-Franco

The Spanish Civil War which lasted from 1936 to 1939 led to the overthrow of the elected government by the fascist forces led by General Franco. Irish volunteers fought on both sides during the war. 320 Irish men fought with the International Brigade in support of government forces. Over 600 Irish men fought on the side of General Franco. Franco was victorious in a war that saw an estimated half a million people killed. He established an autocratic dictatorship and ruled Spain for the next 35 years. General Francisco died in the year 1975 On This Day

Guernica photo


Photo by ahisgett