February 29

Pope Paul III and grandsons1468 Pope Paul III was born on this day in Rome in 1468. He was made Pope in 1534 and held the position until his death in 1549.
He advanced the power and fortunes of his family. Before he became pope, he had four illegitimate offspring. He made members of his family dukes, and his grandsons (left with the Pope painted by Titan) – he made cardinals.
He supported the arts – the most important of his tenure was supporting the completion of of the Last Judgement by Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel of the Vatican Palace.
 Last Judgement by Michelangelo

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1840  John Philip Holland, the inventor of the first submarine ever used by the US navy, was born on 29th February 1840. Holland was always fascinated in science and spent his early career working as a teacher in his native Co Clare.
He was also a skilled engineer and spent his spare time working on designs for a submarine. Holland moved to Boston in 1873, and his submarine design caught the interest of Irish nationalists, who wanted to use it in an attack against the British.
John Philip Holland Irish scientist Image copyright Ireland Calling
Click here to read more on John Philip Holland and his submarine

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2000 On this day in 2000, Claudette Campbell proposed to her childhood sweetheart Richard Walsh from 170 feet above the ground live on radio station Today FM. The couple were two of the first people to admire the view from Dublin’s new observation tower, and Richard said yes to the proposal.

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In many countries, February 29th is the one and only occasion when a woman can propose to a man.  According to tradition, if the man refuses then he has to buy the woman 12 pairs of gloves, so she can hide the fact that she doesn’t have a ring on her finger.  This tradition supposedly originated from St Bridget and St Patrick, and the arrangement they came to on this day.

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