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1910 Wedding day of Sinéad and Éamon de Valera. They met while she was teaching Irish at the Leinster College in Parnell Square. Éamon de Valera was one of her students (he was a mathematics teacher at the time). They had five sons and two daughters. Sinéad played little part in Éamon de Valera’s public political life.
1945 Happy birthday to Kevin Conneff, born in County Louth on this day in 1945. Conneff is a member of Irish folk group, The Chieftains. He plays the bodhrán and sings in the band, and has been described as ’the voice and rhythm of the Chieftains’.
The Chieftains’ three originals – Matt Molloy on flute, Paddy Moloney on pipe and Kevin Conneff on bodhrán.
1979 On this day in 1979, 50 people were killed when an oil tanker exploded on Whiddy Island, just off the coast of Cork. The site was one of the key ports for importing oil from the Middle East into Europe.
The Betelgeuse ship was docked, and in the process of unloading its cargo of 114,000 tonnes of mixed Arabian crude oil when disaster struck and one of the tanks exploded. The temperatures reached in the explosion are estimated to be more than 1,000°C, after 12 hours the ship had sunk but was only partially submerged in the 40m deep water. Rescue workers were unable to board the ship for a further two weeks due to the cloud of toxic gas surrounding the wreckage.
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1998 The first licensed drug to treat Alzheimer’s disease was launched in Ireland on this day in 1998.
2001 All schools in Ireland received a CD ROM of the Book of Kells on this day in 2001.
The ancient manuscript is over 1200 years old and is one of Ireland’s most treasured pieces of history. It contains the four gospels of the New Testament and is decorated throughout with colourful illustrations. It is a spectacular piece of Insular Art – a beautiful, elaborate fusion of Celtic and Christian cultures.
Click here to read more about the Book of Kells and find out how it survived the Viking raids.
Book of Kells Documentary Part 1
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