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1815 The Battle of Waterloo was fought on this day in 1815. The allied forces of Britain, Prussia, the Netherlands and others took on the mighty French army led by Emperor Napoleon.
The Allied forces were led by Dublin-born Arthur Wesley, who is better known throughout history as the Duke of Wellington.
In the early 19th century when the battle took place, Ireland was still ruled by Britain, so despite being born in Ireland, the Duke was a British citizen. He his army to a comprehensive victory in the Battle of Waterloo, one of Napoleon’s worst defeats as a military leader.
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1866 Albert M. Bender was born in Dublin on this day in 1866. He moved to San Francisco with his uncle as a young man and gained work as an insurance broker. Bender had a great love for art, and acted as patron to several up and coming painters in the early 20th century.
He also loved literature and collected numerous rare books, as well as pieces of art from all around the world, particularly Asia. Bender was a generous man and enjoyed giving his collections away to worthy recipients as much as he enjoyed acquiring them in the first place.
He had become financially comfortable thanks to his success in the insurance industry. So he didn’t think twice about donating hundreds of rare and expensive pieces of literature and art to local museums and libraries so they could be shared with the world.
Bender was once described as “the most active buyer – and donor – of the work of California artists the state had ever known”. Bender donated books to local educational associations such as the University of California and the San Francisco Public Library. He also gave 260 pieces of rare Asian art to the National Museum of Ireland in 1932, when his mother died. Those pieces are still available to view for the public in A Dubliner’s Collection of Asian Art – The Albert Bender Exhibition.
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1915 Joan Trimble was born on this day in Enniskillen in 1915. She was a gifted pianist and composer, and the first woman to have an opera commissioned for television by the BBC. Much of her work was in collaboration with her sister Valerie, who was also a talented musician. The 1941 piece of music, Sonatina: for two pianos, four hands, was written by Trimble to be performed with her sister.
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1945 Sean T. O’Kelly was elected as President of Ireland on this day in 1945.
He was only the second man to hold the post, and the first to be elected by a public vote.
O’Kelly was an experienced politician and had held important positions in the cabinet before.
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1953 On this day in 1953, Neil O’Donoghue was born in Dublin. He was one of the few Irish born players to make it as a professional American footballer. O’Donoghue was a talented soccer player as a youngster, and hoped to become a professional like his father had been.
He moved to America with that dream but soon turned his attention to American Football. He made it into the NFL and was briefly a team-mate of OJ Simpson at Buffalo Bills. O’Donoghue also played for Tampa Bay Buccaneers before joining St Louis Cardinals.
Unfortunately, the defining moment of O’Donoghue’s career was not positive one. He was a placekicker and famously missed a game winning kick in the final game of the 1984 season. Had he made it, then the St Louis Cardinals would’ve progressed through to the end of season playoffs.
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1971 Happy birthday to Jason McAteer, born in Merseyside on this day in 1971. He is a former professional footballer, who through qualification of his parents, played for the Republic of Ireland. McAteer started his career at Bolton Wanderers before joining English giants Liverpool. He was part of the mid to late 1990s team known as the ‘Spice Boys’ for their playboy lifestyles and perceived lack of professionalism.
McAteer had a long and fruitful career with the Republic of Ireland. He played at the 1994 World Cup as a youngster, coming off the bench in Ireland’s famous 1-0 victory over Italy. Eight years later, McAteer was at another World Cup, this time in Japan and South Korea. In fact, he scored a crucial goal in the qualifying campaign to help Ireland get to the finals, when he netted the only goal in a 1-0 win over the mighty Holland.