07 December-Pearl Harbour

The Hawaiian port of Pearl Harbour is located on the island of Oahu. In December 1941 the Japanese Imperial Navy carried out a surprise attack against the United States naval base in Pearl Harbour. The following day the United States declared war on Japan.

Over 350 Japanese planes took part in the attack on Pearl Harbour. The attack caused widespread destruction and led to the deaths of over 2,400 people. The day of the devastating military strike on Pearl Harbour was described by US President Roosevelt as ‘a date that will live in infamy’.

The attack on Pearl Harbour took place in the year 1941 On This Day.

USS Arizona Memorial, Pearl Harbor by Justin Brockie on 2008-04-17 14:44:58

06 December-St Mary’s Church Carlow

St Mary’s Church is located close to the centre of Carlow town Ireland. It is the Church of Ireland Parish Church of Carlow. The church is located on a site which has been a centre of worship for centuries. It has been updated and refurbished several times during its long history. The last programme of refurbishment, which took seven months, was completed in March 2013.

An ancient church called St Mary’s Abbey was founded in Carlow in 634. The present church, which was erected in 1830’s, is the third church on the same site as St Mary’s Abbey. The first church was built around 1669. In 1724 Jonathan Swift, Dean of St Patricks Cathedral in Dublin, preached in St Mary’s Church. During his visit to Carlow he stayed in nearby Centaur Street and his observation of the town was: ‘a high church and low steeple, a poor town but proud people’.

The second church was opened in 1732 but fell into disrepair and had to be replaced in the early 1800’s. The present church which is based on the plans of the architect Thomas Cobden incorporates parts of the older church. Thomas Cobden also designed the Roman Catholic Carlow Cathedral. He designed many public buildings, private residences and churches in the Carlow/Wexford area and the midlands.

St Mary’s church was built and a new spire erected in the year 1832. The spire which is over 64m (210 feet) high is the tallest building in Carlow town. The ceremonious laying of the cross at the top of the spire was performed by Colonel Henry Bruen of nearby Oak Park.

The decision to make application to the Board of First Fruits for funding to build the present St Mary’s Church in Carlow town, Ireland was made at a Vestry Meeting in the year 1827 On This Day.


Map of Carlow by brookscl on 2015-10-04 10:41:02

Carlow photo

Photo by The British Library

05 December-Walt Disney

Disney families lived for generations in Ireland in both counties Carlow and Kilkenny. Some of the families emigrated to America. Arundel Elias Disney was born in the townland of Clone near Freshford, Co Kilkenny in 1801. He emigrated to north America with members of his family in 1834. The family settled initially in Canada but later moved to the United States. The great-grandson of Arundel Elias Disney was Walt Disney. He was a cartoonist and filmmaker who also became a successful businessman.

Walter Elias Disney was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1901. He did not attend school until he was eight years old. He attended McKinley High School in Chicago but dropped out at the age of 16 to join the army during World War 1. He was rejected because he was underage. He joined the Red Cross and was sent to France where he drove an ambulance. He decorated the ambulance with his own cartoons.

In 1919 Disney returned to America and began working as a newspaper artist in Kansas City. He moved on to making animated commercials and from that to making short animated films. In October 1923 Disney moved with his brother Roy to Hollywood, California where they established Disney Brothers’ Studio. They produced animated films which were successful but lost the rights to the characters they had created to Universal studios.

At the age of 27 Disney created the first Mickey Mouse cartoon. The first two cartoons were not a success. However the third Mickey Mouse cartoon, Steamboat Willie, which had sound for the first time was an instant success. In 1937 he produced Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs which was the first full-length animated film. By 1939 he had opened Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California and with his staff created cartoon characters such as Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy and Pluto.

During his lifetime Disney was the winner seven Emmy Awards and 22 Academy Awards. He gave his name to the Disneyland theme parks which are located in the USA, France, Japan and Hong Kong. He died at his home in Burbank, California on December 15th 1966 the age of 65.

Walt Disney, pioneer of cartoon films and creator of Disneyland, was born in Chicago, Illinois in the year 1901 On This Day.

Walt Disney by GaryRHess on 2012-05-22 10:02:33

Disney’s Magic Kingdom Entrance by Paul Beattie on 2008-10-19 12:50:48

04 December-Paul McGrath

Paul McGrath is widely regarded as one of the greatest footballers ever to play for the Republic of Ireland. He spent most of his career playing with clubs in the English Premier League and played 83 times for his country. A confident and decisive tackler McGrath is regarded as an outstanding football talent and a great athlete whose preferred playing position was centre back. During his career he continued to play despite having alcohol problems and serious knee injuries which required surgery on several occasions.

Paul McGrath was born in Ealing, London on December 4th 1959. He showed exceptional talent as a footballer from an early age and began his full-time football career with St Patrick’s Athletic in Dublin in 1981. He spent one season with St Patrick’s before moving to England where he joined the Manchester United Club. Over a period of seven seasons McGrath appeared 163 times for the club and scored 12 goals. He won an FA cup medal with Manchester United in 1985.

McGrath moved to the Birmingham club, Aston Villa, in 1989. Again over seven seasons he made 252 appearances and scored 9 goals. He was a member of the team in the club’s victory over Manchester United in the League Cup final in 1994. McGrath left Aston Villa in 1996 and went on to play briefly with Derby County and Sheffield United. He played the final game of his club career, just a month before his 39th birthday, with Ipswich Town on November 9th 1997.

Paul McGrath played his first game for Ireland in a 1985 friendly against Italy at Dalymount Park. He would go on to play for Ireland on 83 occasions and score 8 goals. His appearances included UEFA Euro 1998, FIFA World Cup 1990 in Italy and again in the FIFA World Cup 1994 in the USA. He played his final international for Ireland against Wales in 1997 after which he stated: ‘The thought of retirement is a bit scary, soccer has been my life’. A Testimonial match for Paul McGrath was held in Lansdowne Road in May 1998. Over 37,000 fans attended what was an emotional occasion, in which McGrath made an appearance.

Paul McGrath, Irish former professional footballer, was born in the year 1959 On This Day.

Villa Park Dressing room photo

Villa Park dressing room (1), September 1995 by Ben Sutherland on 1995-09-01 00:00:00

Photo by Ben Sutherland

Champions of England 1999 by seanog_72 on 2008-10-18 01:26:07

03 December-Louis Washkansky-First Heart Transplant

Louis Washkansky was the first person in history on whom a successful heart transplant was performed. The operation was carried out in December 1966 at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa. The heart transplant was performed by a team of surgeons led by Dr Christiaan Barnard.

At the time of the transplant Louis Washkansky was 54. He had served as a soldier during World War II and was a keen sportsman. In later years however, he suffered from ill-health and developed incurable heart disease. Washkansky agreed to undergo a heart transplant operation.

Dr Christiaan Barnard was the senior cardiothoracic surgeon at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town. For several years he had carried out extensive experimentation on heart transplantation in dogs. On December 2nd a heart became available from a young woman who had been fatally injured in a traffic accident. In a nine hour operation Barnard successfully transplanted the heart to Washkansky. Louis Washkansky survived for 18 days. He died of pneumonia as he was taking immunosuppressive drugs.

Louis Washkansky became the first human on whom a heart transplant was performed in Cape Town, South Africa in the year 1967 On This Day


Groote Schuur Hospital photo

Groote Schuur Hospital by andryn2006 on 2016-09-07 09:27:12