25 January-Flying Housewife

Fanny Blankers-Koen was a native of the Netherlands. She was an athlete who won four Gold Medals at the 1948 Olympics in London. At the time she was a mother of two young children. Her success as an athlete led her being given the nickname ‘the Flying Housewife’.

Fanny Blankers-Koen was born Francina Elsje Koen in the village of Lage Vuursche in the municipality of Baarn in the Netherlands on April 27th 1918. Described as a natural athlete she competed in several sports form a young age. At the age of seventeen she set a Dutch national record in the 800m. Coached by her husband Jan Blankers she was selected for the Dutch team for the 1936 Olympics. She did not win any medals at the event but met her hero Jesse Owens.

At the European Championships in 1938 Blankers-Coen won her first international medals. She also set her first world record in the 800m. The Olympic Games of 1940 and 1944 were cancelled due to World War II. In 1948 the Olympic Games were held in London. At the games Blankers-Coen won four gold medals. She became a national hero in the Netherlands and went on to win three Gold Medals in the European Championships in 1950. In 1999 she was named Female Athlete of the Century by the International Association of Athletics Federation.

Fanny Blankers-Koen, Dutch athlete who won four Gold Medals at the 1948 Olympics and was known as ‘the Flying Housewife’, died aged 85 in the year 2004 On This Day.

05-09-1948_04572 Fanny Blankers-Koen by IISG on 1948-05-09 22:32:18

Fanny Blankers-Koen

30 June-Luas Green Line Dublin

The Dublin Light Rail System is known as the Luas. There are two main lines the Green Line and the Red Line. Both lines have been extended since they were first opened. It is reported that the lines carry over 37 million passengers annually. The Green Line initially linked Sandyford to Dublin city centre. The Red Line, which opened on September 26th 2004 linked Tallaght to Dublin city centre.

The Green Line of the Dublin Light Rail system opened in the year 2004 On This Day


William Dargan Bridge – Dundrum

06 May-KCLR

KCLR 96FM radio station broadcasts daily to listeners in counties Carlow and Kilkenny in Ireland. The station, which covers all local news, sport, entertainment and host of other features, has a weekly listenership of over 75,000 adults.

Using the slogan: ‘The Heart of Carlow Kilkenny’ KCLR has a varied schedule to cater for a wide variety of listeners and communities. The station also has a service called the Community Diary. This is a free-of-charge advertising service for local groups and communities.

KCLR 96FM began broadcasting to counties Carlow and Kilkenny in the year 2004 On This Day.


Digital Expressions Interview.


29 March-Smoking Ban

Ireland became the first country in the world to ban smoking in the workplace. The ban was introduced under the Public Health (Tobacco) Acts 2002 and 2004. Together with bars and restaurants the ban, which was introduced in 2004, is strictly enforced in all public buildings and offices.

Smoking bans were introduced at various times in history, including in Roman Catholic churches in Mexico in 1575, by King James I of England in 1604 and by Adolf Hitler in 1941. During the 20th century the adverse effects of smoking on health led to restrictions being introduced in public places such as restaurants. The restrictions have been gradually expanded in countries around the world.

Smoking in workplaces in Ireland was banned in the year 2004 On This Day.


Smoking Room




09 March-Smithwick’s

Smithwick’s is a red ale type beer which is made from malt, yeast, water and hops. The name Smithwick has been synonymous with the ancient city of Kilkenny, Ireland for centuries. The Smithwick’s brewery has been an integral part of the commercial and social life of that city since its foundation over 300 years ago.

Smithwicks brewery was founded by John Smithwick in the year 1710 on the site of a Franciscan Abbey. Franciscan monks had been brewing ale in Kilkenny since the 14th century and the ruins of the Franciscan Abbey can still be seen on the grounds of the brewery. For over a hundred years the brewery was a local supplier. Edmond Smithwick, great grandson of the founder, began to export beer to England, Scotland and Wales when he took over the brewery in 1827. Over the next century the brewery continued to survive many ups and downs until it taken over by Guinness in 1965.

Following the takeover, the brewery launched Smithwick’s draught beer in 1966. During the following decades new export markets were opened. By 1993 Smithwick’s Draught was the leading imported ale in Canada. It began being exported to the United States in 2004.

Production of Smithwick’s came to an end in Kilkenny in December 2013. It is now produced at the Guinness brewery in St James Gate in Dublin. A visitor’s centre called ‘The Smithwicks Experience Kilkenny’ now occupies part of the old brewery site.

It was announced in Stamford, Connecticut that Smithwick’s would be on sale in the USA in the year 2004 On This Day.


Ireland’s Oldest Brewery

Smithwicks Ale photo

Smithwick’s Brewery built around ruined Abbey

Photo by D&S McSpadden