13 November-First Helicopter Flight

Paul Cornu was an engineer who was a native of France. He made first successful manned helicopter flight in 1907. Though the flight lasted just 20 seconds it began the development of an aircraft which can take off and land vertically. The helicopter can also hover, fly forward, backward, and laterally.

The idea of vertical flight dates back over 2500 years to the spinning top with which Chinese children played. During the following centuries various attempts were made to develop flying machines based on the toy. Leonardo da Vinci designed a flying machine in the 1480’s.

By the early 1900’s several unmanned flights were made. Manned flights were attempted but the machine was tethered to the ground. Following Cornu’s flight, development of the helicopter continued. In 1942 a helicopter designed by Igor Sikorsky went into production in the United States. Cornu failed to get support for his development and devoted his time to manufacturing bicycles. He was killed in 1944 during the Allied World War II landings in Normandy.

The first successful manned helicopter flight in history was made by French engineer Paul Cornu in the year 1907 On This Day.

AW139 landing in Baldonnel at sundown by Irish Air Corps on 2011-01-17 16:30:41


12 November-Governey’s Boot Factory

Governey’s Boot Factory in Carlow town, Ireland was one of several factories throughout Ireland involved in the manufacture of footwear in the early part of the 20th century. Up to the 1930’s almost every town in Ireland had its own boot and shoe makers. Most of these were small operations, hand-making their wares. Some, as in the case of Carlow, were large scale manufacturing plants. By 2012 most of the shoe manufacturing plants in Ireland had closed down or moved production to other countries.

The Boot Factory in Carlow was opened in 1903 by Mr Michael Governey who was the owner of a mineral water works in the Castle Hill area of the town. The business expanded rapidly and by the late 1930’s had over 300 employees. Between 3,000 and 4,000 pairs of various types of footwear were manufactured weekly. The products were distributed all over Ireland and were exported to Britain. The factory ceased production and was closed down in the 1970’s

Governey’s Boot Factory was opened in Carlow town in the year 1903 On This Day.

Image from page 661 of “Lasell leaves” (1916) by Internet Archive Book Images on 1916-01-01 00:00:00

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



11 November-Muintir na Tíre

Muintir na Tíre (National Association for the Promotion of Community Development) is an Irish national organisation. It was established in 1937 to promote community development in Ireland. Since its foundation Muintir na Tíre has continually evolved to meet the changing needs of Irish society.

Muintir na Tíre was founded by Canon Hayes the Parish priest of Bansha, Co Tipperary. A native of Limerick, Hayes was appointed Parish Priest of Bansha in 1946. His parish became a model for neighbourliness, self-help and self-sufficiency, the principles of Muintir na Tíre.

The organisation promoted initiatives such as rural electrification and building of Community Halls and Centres throughout the country. During the decades following its establishment Muintir na Tíre has been involved in the development of initiatives such as Tidy Towns’ competition, Citizens Information Centres, Rural Group Water Schemes and Community Alert.

The founder of Muintir na Tíre, John M Canon Hayes, was born in the year 1887 On This Day.

August 7, 1945 by National Library of Ireland on The Commons on 1945-08-07 12:03:13

Tidy Town Ireland photo


Photo by kthypryn

10 November-Oliver Goldsmith

Oliver Goldsmith is one of Ireland’s most famous writers. He wrote essays, poems, novels and plays. Some of the most famous of these include, The Deserted Village, The Vicar of Wakefield and She Stoops to Conquer. His friend, the English writer Samuel Johnson, wrote of him that he ‘left scarcely any kind of writing untouched and who touched nothing that he did not adorn’.

Oliver Goldsmith was born in November 1728. His place of birth is given as Pallas Ballymahon Co Longford but he may have been born near Elphin Co Roscommon. When he was two years old his father was appointed to the parish of Kilkenny West, Co Westmeath and the family moved to live at Lissoy between Ballymahon and Athlone. He contracted smallpox at the age of nine which caused facial disfigurement for the rest of his life. Goldsmith was educated at the diocesan school at Elphin, Co Roscommon and later in Edgeworthstown Co Longford. He entered Trinity College Dublin at age 16 in 1744 where he was a contemporary of Edmund Burke.

Goldsmith was not a diligent student. He liked to play cards, sing Irish songs and he learned to play the flute. He was involved in a riot in 1747 for which he was admonished and disciplined by the college authorities. He graduated with a BA degree in 1749. After college he lived with his mother until 1752. He then enrolled in the University of Edinburgh to study medicine. Goldsmith left Edinburgh in 1755 without qualifying as a doctor. He went on a walking tour of Europe. While in Europe he survived by teaching English and playing the flute.

In 1756 Goldsmith moved to London where his writings began to attract attention. During the next fourteen years, though he made a lucrative living from writing, he was frequently in debt because of his gambling and generosity. Some of his writings drew on his life experiences. One of his first works ‘The Traveller’, recalls some of his travels through Europe. His poem ‘The Deserted Village’ recalls the destruction a village and way of life, by wealthy landowners in Co Longford.

Goldsmith died after a short illness at the age of 45 on April 4th 1744. There is a statue of him in the grounds of Trinity College Dublin and also in Ballymahon Co Longford. Goldsmith Hall in Trinity College and the library in Athlone Institute of Technology have been named after him.

Oliver Goldsmith, one of Ireland’s most famous writers, was born in the year 1728 On This Day.

Oliver Goldsmith photo

OLIVER GOLDSMITH [TRINITY COLLEGE] REF-10858520 by infomatique on 2015-10-01 09:04:38

Oliver Goldsmith photo

Role Model by Celestine Chua on 2013-09-27 19:42:17

09 November-Sir Hugh Lane

The painting ‘Towards the Night and Winter’ by Carlow artist Frank O’Meara hangs in the Hugh Lane Gallery in Dublin. The gallery, which is officially known as Dublin City Gallery-The Hugh Lane, is located at Charelmont House, Parnell Square, Dublin. It is a public gallery of modern and contemporary art operated by Dublin City Council. The gallery was founded by Sir Hugh Lane in 1908 and was originally located on Harcourt Street, Dublin.

Hugh Percy Lane was born in Cork in 1875 but moved to Cornwall, England at a young age where he grew up. He regularly visited his aunt, Lady Augusta Gregory, at her home at Coole Park near Gort in County Galway. At Coole he met many of those involved in Ireland’s cultural and literary revival. Lane was interested in art. In 1893 Lady Gregory helped him to get an apprenticeship as a painting restorer with London art dealers Martin Colnaghi. He became an expert on impressionist painting. He eventually became a wealthy art dealer with his own premises at 2 Pall Mall Place in London. He also served as director of London’s National Gallery.

Lane continued to visit Ireland. He became one of the leaders of the Irish cultural revival and promoted Irish art abroad. He began a campaign to establish a gallery of modern art in Dublin in 1901. In 1904 he organised a very successful exhibition of contemporary Irish art at London’s Guildhall. It was the first such exhibition of Irish art ever to be held abroad. Lane persuaded Irish artists to donate work to form the nucleus of collection to open a gallery in Dublin. He personally financed the acquisition of other masterpieces to enhance the collection. The Municipal Gallery of Modern art opened in Dublin in January 1908 and Hugh Lane was awarded the freedom of the City of Dublin. In 1909 he was honoured with a knighthood by King Edward VII for his services to Irish Art. He became a director of the National Gallery of Ireland in 1914 and donated his salary for the purchase of paintings.

In April 1915 Sir Hugh Lane sailed from Liverpool to New York aboard the RMS Lusitania. In America he sold some paintings such as Titian’s Man in the Red Cap. He is reported to have bought several paintings by famous artists such as Monet. On the return journey from America the Lusitania was hit by a torpedo. It was fired by the German submarine U-20 on May 7th 1915. The ship sank off the Old Head of Kinsale not far from where Lane was born. His body and the paintings he is reported to have purchased in New York were never recovered. His personal collection of 39 paintings became the subject of a dispute between Dublin and London which was not resolved until 1959.

Sir Hugh Lane, founder of the Dublin City Gallery-The Hugh Lane, was born in Cork in the year 1875 On This Day.

Image from page 95 of “Herself–Ireland” (1918) by Internet Archive Book Images on 1918-01-01 00:00:00

Hugh Lane Gallery photo

Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane by infomatique on 2011-03-25 09:06:55

Photo by infomatique