20 February-Contraception in Ireland

The sale of contraceptives in Ireland was legal up until 1935. In that year a law was enacted which prohibited the sale of contraceptives in the country. The law, with some alterations in 1979, remained in place for fifty years.

In 1930 the Pope Pius XI issued an encyclical (Casti connubii). The encyclical prohibited people of the Roman Catholic faith from using any form of artificial birth control. In 1935 the Irish Government made it illegal to import or sell contraceptives in Ireland when it passed the Criminal Law Amendment Act. 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’.

Attempts by people such as Mary Robinson were made to liberalise the law on contraception but without success. There were also 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 law permitting the sale of contraceptives in Ireland to people aged 18 and over was passed in the year 1985 On This Day.

condom photo

Contraceptives. Condoms by robertelyov



15 November-Anglo-Irish Agreement

The Anglo-Irish Agreement was a treaty between Ireland and the United Kingdom. The aim of the treaty was to bring an end to the violent sectarian conflict in Northern Ireland. It was signed by the Irish Taoiseach, Garret FitzGerald and the British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher. The Agreement, which followed months of negotiations, was signed at Hillsborough Castle, Co Down in November 1985. It was the successor of the Sunningdale Agreement of 1973 and began the process which would eventually lead to the Good Friday Agreement of 1998.

Dáil Éireann and the House of Commons both voted to support the Anglo-Irish Agreement. However it was opposed in Ireland by Unionists and by the Fianna Fáil Party. The Agreement gave an advisory role in the affairs of Northern Ireland to the Irish Government and allowed for the establishment of a devolved administration Northern Ireland. It also confirmed that there would be no change in the status of Northern Ireland without the consent of the majority of its population. A body known as the Anglo-Irish Intergovernmental Conference was established under the Agreement. The Conference had a permanent secretariat made up of officials from the British and Irish Governments.

The Anglo-Irish Agreement was signed at Hillsborough castle in Co Down in the year 1985 On This Day.

Hillsborough Castle Flickr 4 by David in Lisburn on 2013-05-25 12:49:40


25 October-Knock Airport

Ireland West Airport Knock is located close to the town of Charlestown, Co Mayo, and about 20km (12 miles) north of Knock Shrine. Often referred to as Knock Airport it is the 6th busiest airport on the island of Ireland. The airport was built after a long and sometimes controversial campaign by Monsignor James Horan, Parish Priest of Knock. Ireland West Airport Knock, was officially opened on May 30th 1986.

The first commercial flight from Knock Airport took off in October 1985. Today the airport has scheduled flights with Aer Lingus, Ryanair and Flybe, to destinations in Great Britain and Europe. It is the main international air access gateway for the West, North West and Midland regions of Ireland. The airport caters for over 700,000 passengers annually. The busiest international route at Knock is to London Stansted.

The first transatlantic flight arrived from New York at Ireland West Airport Knock on August 16th 2015. The flight, carrying pilgrims from the diocese of New York was operated by Aer Lingus using a Boeing 757-200. Early on Sunday May 29th 2016 large crowds gathered at Ireland West Airport Knock to welcome home the victorious Connaught Rugby team. The team had been crowned Pro 12 Champions having defeated Leinster the previous day at Murrayfield in Edinburgh

The first commercial flights took off from Knock Airport in the year 1985 On This Day.

Ireland West Airport Knock photo

Ireland West Airport Knock

Photo by Sean MacEntee

Ireland West Airport Knock photo


Ireland West Airport Knock

by Sean MacEntee on 2013-05-30 13:25:41


20 September-Kilkenny Tholsel

The Tholsel in Kilkenny City, Ireland is a distinctive and famous landmark of the city. The word Tholsel may have come from the Norman words Toll which means tax and Sael which means hall. Located on High Street it houses the offices of Kilkenny Corporation and is known as the Town Hall. In former times the Tholsel served as a court house, a custom-house, a guildhall and a civic centre.

The ‘Big Ben’ chimes from the clock in the lantern tower of the Tholsel can be heard throughout the city every 15 minutes. Visitors can enjoy views of the city from the viewing platform in the tower. To the front of the building is the double five arch arcade covering the street pavement.

Since the 14th century there have been three Tholsels in Kilkenny. The present one was built by Alderman William Colles in 1761. Having been badly damaged by fire 1985 it was completely restored and reopened in February 1987.

The Tholsel in Kilkenny City was gutted by fire in 1985 On This Day.

The Tholsel, Kilkenny by National Library of Ireland on The Commons on 1870-01-01 00:00:00

Kilkenny Tholsel photo

The Tholsel Kilkenny

Photo by Xavier E Traité

The Tholsel, High St, Kilkenny (506863) by Bob Linsdell on 2015-06-11 10:29:00

10 September-First Human Heart Transplant in Ireland

The first human heart transplant operation in Ireland was performed at the Mater Hospital in Dublin in 1985. The recipient was Mr Eddie Kelly from Carlingford in Co Louth. The transplant took place when a donor became available at Wexford General Hospital. A team from the Mater Hospital flew to Wexford to collect the heart donation and a successful transplant was performed. By 2012 almost 300 heart transplants had been performed at the Mater Hospital. Research has shown that the average life expectancy of a heart transplant recipient is 14 years.

The first heart human transplant operation in Ireland was performed at the Mater Hospital in Dublin in the year 1985 On This Day.

Phibsboro – Dublin 7 by infomatique on 2011-08-03 13:07:38