19 October-Luther

Martin Luther was a Roman Catholic theologian and Augustinian Friar who began the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century. The publication of his 95 theses on October 31st 1517 called into question some of practices then in vogue in the Catholic Church. The Theses and other writings gained numerous followers who split from the Catholic Church.

Martin Luther was born in Eisleben in present day Germany on November 10th 1483. Having joined the Augustinian Order he was ordained a priest in 1507. He began teaching at the University of Wittenberg and was made a Doctor of Theology in 1512. He visited Rome in 1510 where some of the corrupt practices he witnessed there, led him to publish his Theses.

He was excommunicated by Pope Leo X in 1521 and declared a heretic and outlaw by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. His writings however became popular across northern and eastern Europe. Luther made the bible accessible to the laity by translating it into the German language. He made strong written attacks on people of the Jewish faith saying their homes should be destroyed and their liberty curtailed. Luther married a former nun with whom he had six children. He died on February 18th 1546 at the age of 62.

Martin Luther, a Roman Catholic priest who began the Protestant Reformation in 16th-century Europe, was made a Doctor of Theology (Doctor in Biblia) in the year 1512 On This Day.




17 October-Marconi

Guglielmo Marconi was a Nobel Prize-winning physicist who was a native of Italy. His father Giuseppe was from Bologna, Italy. His mother was Annie Jameson from Daphne Castle, Co Wexford, Ireland. Marconi’s great grandfather was John Jameson, founder of Irish whiskey distillers Jameson & Sons. Through his own research and using research carried out by others Marconi developed the first effective system of radio communication.

On December 12th 1901 Marconi succeeded in sending the first wireless signal across the Atlantic to America. He routed the signal through Marconi House, Rosslare, Co Wexford and Clifden in Co Galway. The signal was received 3,500km (2,200 Miles) in Newfoundland.

Marconi founded the Marconi Telephone Company and became a successful businessman. He continued to experiment with radio technology. In 1907, having built high-powered radio transmission stations on both sides of the Atlantic, he established regular transatlantic transmissions. Marconi died in Rome on July 20th 1937.

Guglielmo Marconi began offering limited commercial wireless telegraph service between Ireland and Nova Scotia in the year 1907 On This Day.

Marconi Wireless Telegraph Station, Malin Head, Co. Donegal

Guglielmo Marconi.jpg


Library of Congress 




16 October-Michael Collins

Michael Collins was an Irish revolutionary leader who, in his short lifetime, became a hero of Ireland’s struggle for independence. He played a central role in directing a daring campaign of guerrilla warfare throughout the Anglo-Irish war from 1919 to 1921. Collins was Chairman of the Irish government and Commander-in-chief of the National Army when he was assassinated in 1922 during the Irish Civil War.

Michael James Collins was born at Woodfield, Clonakilty, Co. Cork in October 1890. He was educated at his local national school and at Clonakilty Secondary School. In 1906 he sat the British Civil Service examination in Cork city and moved to London to work at the Post Office. In London he lived with his sister. He left the Post Office in 1910 to work in an accountancy firm and later in an American bank. He also studied law at King’s College London. During his time in London he joined the IRB and was elected secretary of the Gaelic League.

After nine years in London Collins returned to Dublin in order to avoid conscription. He worked at the accountancy firm Craig Gardiner but spent much of his time drilling troops at volunteer training camps. During the Rising of 1916 he served as aide-de-camp to Joseph Plunkett in the GPO in Dublin. After the rising he was interned at Frongoch in Wales but was released in December 1916. In the General Election of 1918 Collins was elected MP for Cork South and for Tyrone. He played a leading role in the War of Independence which lasted until a truce was declared on July 11th 1921.

Collins strenuously resisted his appointment as one of the Irish delegates to negotiate an Anglo-Irish Treaty. He eventually agreed to travel to London for the negotiations. The delegates were designated as “plenipotentiaries”, meaning they had the full authority to sign a treaty which would then have to be ratified by Dáil Éireann. The treaty was signed on December 6th 1921 and ratified by Dáil Éireann on January 7th 1922. Those who lost the vote in parliament and were opposed to the treaty were led by Éamon de Valera. They walked out of parliament, took arms in opposition to the treaty and civil war ensued.

Towards the end of the civil war Collins went on an inspection tour of the South. On August 22nd 1922 his convoy was ambushed about 16km east of the town of Macroom at Béal na mBláth in County Cork. During the ambush Collins was shot and died almost immediately. He was just thirty-two years old. His funeral in Dublin was attended by an estimated half a million people. He is buried in Glasnevin cemetery.

Michael Collins was born near Clonakilty, Co Cork in the year 1890 On This Day.

Michael Collins photo

Michael Collins (centre) August 16th 1922

Photo by National Library of Ireland on The Commons


Good Times by National Library of Ireland on The Commons on 1921-09-11 08:48:34

Michael Collins Grave by IrishFireside on 2010-07-22 18:52:03


31 October-Charles Taze Russell

Charles Russell was a native of America. He founded the International Bible Students Association from which developed Jehovah’s Witnesses. Jehovah’s Witnesses is a Christian denomination which does not believe in the Trinity. With a worldwide membership of over 8 million it has its headquarters in Warwick, New York.

Charles Taze Russell was born in Allegheny, Pennsylvania on February 16th 1852. He was influenced by the Adventist movement begun by the Baptist preacher, William Miller. Miller had predicted that the world would end with the second coming of Christ on October 22nd 1844. Russell preached that the ‘invisible return’ of Christ had occurred in 1877. He predicted that what he called the Gentile times would end in 1914 after which Christ would rule the earth. Russell travelled widely preaching to his many congregations.

Charles Taze Russell founder of the International Bible Students Association from which developed Jehovah’s Witnesses died aged 64 in the year 1916 On This Day.

Charles Taze Russell sharp.jpg

Charles Taze Russell 1911

Charles Taze Russell.jpg

Charles Taze Russell Pyramid, United Cemeteries



30 October-NUIG (University College Galway)

The National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG) is located on the banks of the river Corrib close to Galway City centre, Ireland. Originally called Queen’s College Galway it was known as University College Galway from 1908 to 1997. It has as its motto, Deo Favente

NUIG is located on an extensive campus, central to which is the oldest building, The Quadrangle (The Quad). In 2017 it was ranked 249th in the World University Rankings. The University caters for over 17,000 students in its five constituent colleges (Arts, Law and Business, Engineering, Medicine, Science).

Queens College Galway (now National University of Ireland Galway), with an enrolment of 63 students (all male), opened its doors for the first time in the year 1849 On This Day.