13 November-Pat Reid

Captain Patrick Reid whose family were from Carlow, Ireland was one of the few people to escape from Colditz Castle during World War II. Colditz Castle is located in the state of Saxony in Germany. It was used as prisoner-of-war camp by the Nazi’s during the war.

Patrick Robert Reid was born in November 1910 in Ranchi the capital of the state of Jharkhand in north eastern India. His father John Reid was from Grange near Tullow, Co Carlow. He was educated at Clongowes Wood College Co Kildare, Ireland and graduated from King’s College London in 1932. He later trained as a civil engineer.

In 1935 Patrick Reid joined the British Army. He was mobilised for active duty on August 24th 1939. Whilst serving as a member of the British Expeditionary Force he was captured by the Germans on May 27th 1940 near Cassel about 30km south of Dunkirk in France. He was sent as a prisoner of war to Laufen Castle in Bavaria close to the Austrian border. Three months later having dug a tunnel Reid and five other prisoners escaped and tried to reach Yugoslavia. They were captured within days and returned to prison.

In November 1940 they were sent to ‘escape proof’ Colditz Castle, which is located in the town of Colditz, between Leipzig and Dresden. Following several escape attempts Reid and three others escaped from Colditz. Reid crossed the border into Switzerland in October 1942 and remained there for the remainder of the war.

After the war Reid served for a time as a diplomat in Turkey. He was later appointed as an administrator of the Organisation for European Economic Cooperation (now the OECD) based in Paris. He also became a writer detailing his experiences as a prisoner of war and his escape attempts. Some of his writings about Colditz formed the basis for a film in 1955 and later for a series on television. He was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 1945. Captain Reid died in Bristol in 1990 at the age of 79.

Patrick Reid, whose family were from Carlow, Ireland was one of the few people to escape from Colditz Castle during World War II. He was born in the year 1910 On This Day.

Colditz Castle by NH53 on 2014-10-21 11:14:39

Escape tunnel… by lostajy on 2009-08-31 13:27:23


12 November-Auguste Rodin

Auguste Rodin was a French Sculptor who became world famous in his lifetime. Oscar Wilde held Rodin’s work in great esteem. A bust which he cast of his friend George Bernard Shaw can be seen in the Musée Rodin in Paris. After the World Fair in Paris in 1900 his work was in great demand by wealthy clients. His sculptures include such famous pieces as The Age of Bronze, The Kiss and The Thinker.

François-Auguste-René Rodin was born Paris in November 1840. He entered a drawing school at the age of 13 but four years later failed to gain entry to École des Beaux-Arts. He worked for a time in the decorative arts. By the mid 1860’s he had completed his first major work, ‘Mask of the Man With the Broken Nose’. During the following years Rodin became a world-renowned artist. He died in Meudon at the age of 77 on November 17th 1917.

Auguste Rodin, French Sculptor who became world famous in his lifetime, was born in the year 1840 On This Day.

Auguste Rodin for PIFAL. by Arturo Espinosa on 2012-07-03 22:42:36

The Thinker by Japanexperterna.se on 2015-02-11 14:10:23

25 November-Barrow Canal

The River Barrow rises at Glenbarrow in the Slieve Bloom mountains in Co Laois, Ireland, flows south through Co Carlow and enters the sea at Waterford Harbour. At 192km long it is the second longest river in Ireland. The Barrow, which is fully navigable, links with the Grand Canal at Athy making it a major part of Ireland’s inland waterway network.

It was first proposed in 1703 to make the River Barrow navigable. However it was not until 1785 that the first boats were able to travel upstream to the Grand Canal. By then seven locks had been installed but, because it was too shallow, only relatively small boats could navigate the river. The project was not economically viable

A new report in 1789 indicated that the Barrow navigation project could become viable with the building of extra locks and the construction of lateral canals. Eventually twenty three locks were built and some of the existing ones were widened. Five lateral canals with a total length of almost 18km were constructed to bypass the shallow areas. The last lock and bypass canal were built at Clogrennan near Carlow town in 1836. Boats carrying up to thirty tons could now navigate the river.

The opening of the Barrow canal had for time a significant impact on the development of towns along its route. Trade increased from 16,000 tons in 1790 to almost 60,000 tons by 1830. However from 1850 onwards competition from the railways led to a decline in traffic and the Barrow Navigation was bought by the Grand Canal Company in 1894. The canal continued to be used for commercial traffic until 1959 when it was closed by Ireland’s Transport Company (Coras Iompar Eirann) in 1959. The Barrow Canal, which is open to navigation by pleasure craft, is now managed by Waterways Ireland. The towpath along the river is used by growing numbers of walkers and cyclists.

The letter announcing the closure of the Barrow Canal to commercial traffic was issued by CIE (Coras Iompar Eireann) in the year 1959 On This Day.

River Barrow by Real Alan Dalton on 2010-05-09 13:27:12


Cathole Waterfall near source of River Barrow….On This Day

Courtesy: Joe Rattigan

24 November-Divorce in Ireland

Divorce was prohibited in Ireland under the Constitution until 1995. In that year the people of Ireland voted in a referendum, by a narrow majority, to amend the Constitution and remove the ban on divorce. It was the 15th amendment to the Constitution. The passing of the amendment made Ireland the last country in Europe to permit divorce.

Divorce was available in Ireland under Brehon law. The Statutes of Kilkenny, enacted in 1366, were designed to replace Brehon law with English law. This was followed in 1494 by Poynings law which provided that all laws passed in England applied in Ireland. Despite this English law applied only to a small area of Ireland around Dublin, known as the Pale.

In 1603 a Proclamation of King James 1 brought an end to the Brehon laws. Ireland was divided into counties and English law began to be administered throughout Ireland. One such law was The Matrimonial Causes Act 1857 which allowed for divorce under civil law.

Following independence divorce in Ireland was regulated by law passed in 1925, but was not banned under the Constitution of 1922. This continued to be the situation up until 1937. In that year the Fianna Fáil government led by Éamon de Valera introduced a new constitution which was ratified by the people. Article 41.3.2 of the Constitution stated: ‘No law shall be enacted providing for the grant of a dissolution of marriage’. The ban remained in place until the Constitution was amended by the people almost sixty years later.

The first attempt to amend Article 41.3.2 of the Constitution was made in 1986. The people rejected the proposed amendment by a majority of almost two to one. In what was a divisive campaign the final vote saw 63.5% reject the amendment while just 36.5 were in support. Nine years later a new proposal to amend the Constitution was put to the people. This time the vote was narrowly in favour of ending the Constitutional ban on divorce. The final vote was 50.28% in favour and 49.72% against. The removal of the ban was followed fourteen months later by the passing of the Family Law (Divorce) Act. The first divorce following the amendment was granted in the High Court on January 17th 1997.

The people of Ireland voted to remove the Constitutional ban on divorce in the year 1995 On This Day.



21 November-Birmingham Pub Bombings

Bombs exploded in two public houses in Birmingham, England killing 19 people in November 1974. The bombs which were believed to have been planted by the Provisional IRA also injured over 180 people. The IRA denied responsibility.

The bombings led to the arrest of six men who were sentenced to life imprisonment. They became known as The Birmingham Six. They protested their innocence and had their convictions quashed after serving 16 years in prison. The real culprits were never brought to justice.

The Birmingham pub bombings occurred in the ‘Mulberry Bush’ and the ‘Tavern in the Town’ pubs in the year 1974 On This Day.

To the memory of the victims of the Birmingham pub bombings of 1974 by ell brown on 2011-06-23 11:28:21