Today is Nollaig na mBhan – which means Women’s Christmas. It’s a time when men do the housework and the women party! Too good to be true. Discover more
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1839 On this day in 1839, a hurricane force wind swept across Ireland killing hundreds and destroying thousands of homes. It became known as The Night of the Big Wind, as gales reached speeds of 115mph.
At the time it was the worst storm to hit Ireland for more than 300 years. It was Ireland’s Greatest Natural Disaster. Nearly 300 people died, and thousands were left homeless. 25% of the houses in Dublin were destroyed and 42 ships were sunk off the coast.
The Dublin Evening Post reported on the hurricane: “About half past ten it rose into a high gale, which continued to increase in fury until after midnight, when it blew a most fearful and destructive tempest.”
Beatrice Coogan’s novel The Big Wind uses the events of January 1839 as the backdrop for her story.
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1880 Irish author Anna Maria Hall, was born on this day, 6 January, 1880 in Dublin. She wote novels and a series of articles called ‘Sketches of Irish Character’. She often used her pen-name Mrs. S. C. Hall.
She was known for her benevolence, and helped found various institutes for the poor and ill – the Hospital for Consumption at Brompton, the Home for Decayed Gentlewomen, and the Nightingale Fund. She also worked to help the homeless and street musicians and performers. She worked for women’s rights and temperance cause.
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1898 James Michael Christopher Fitzmaurice was born. On 12–13 April 1928, Fitzmaurice was co-pilot of the Bremen on the first transatlantic aircraft flight from East to West.
In 1914 he joined the Irish National Volunteers, and in the same year, he joined the Cadet Company of the 7th Battalion of the Leinsters. He was only 16 (minimum age was 19), and he was taken out by his father. In 1915, he joined the British Services – he fought in the Battle of the Somme in WWI.
He trained as a pilot and became a qualified fighter pilot, and was to be posted to France on 11 November 1918. This never happened as it was the day Armistice was announced. He remained with the RAF and adopted the accent used by English officers – he kept this distinctively non-Irish accent all his life.
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1940 Happy birthday to Johnny Giles, born on this day in 1940. Giles was one of the best footballers of his day, in the 1960s and 70s.
He won the FA Cup with Manchester United and won two league title at Leeds during a glittering career. In 2004, he was voted the greatest Republic of Ireland player of the last 50 years.
A Leeds United Player Profile: Johnny Giles
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2000 On this day in 2000, residents living in the west and midlands braced themselves for more rainfall, after the worst floods for 50 years swept across Ireland.