seamus dubhghaill

Promoting Irish Culture and History from Little Rock, Arkansas, USA


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Death of Charles Lever, Novelist & Raconteur

Charles James Lever, Irish novelist and raconteur, dies of heart failure on June 1, 1872, at Trieste, Italy. According to Anthony Trollope, his novels are just like his conversation.

Lever is born in Amiens Street, Dublin, on August 31, 1806. He is the second son of James Lever, an architect and builder, and is educated in private schools. His escapades at Trinity College, Dublin (1823–1828), where he earns a degree in medicine in 1831, are drawn on for the plots of some of his novels. The character Frank Webber in the novel Charles O’Malley is based on a college friend, Robert Boyle, who later becomes a clergyman. He and Boyle earn pocket-money singing ballads of their own composing in the streets of Dublin and play many other pranks which he embellishes in the novels Charles O’Malley, Con Cregan and Lord Kilgobbin.

Before seriously embarking upon his medical studies, Lever visits Canada as an unqualified surgeon on an emigrant ship. Arriving in Canada, he journeys into the backwoods, where he is affiliated to a tribe of Native Americans but has to flee because his life is in danger, as later his character Bagenal Daly does in his novel The Knight of Gwynne.

Back in Europe, Lever pretends he is a student from the University of Göttingen and travels to the University of Jena and then to Vienna. He loves German student life and several of his songs, such as “The Pope He Loved a Merry Life,” are based on student-song models. His medical degree earns him an appointment to the Board of Health in County Clare and then as a dispensary doctor in Portstewart, County Londonderry, but his conduct as a country doctor earns him the censure of the authorities.

In 1833 Lever marries his first love, Catherine Baker, and in February 1837, after varied experiences, he begins publishing The Confessions of Harry Lorrequer in the recently established Dublin University Magazine. Before Harry Lorrequer appears in volume form (1839), he has settled on the strength of a slight diplomatic connection as a fashionable physician in Brussels.

In 1842 Lever returns to Dublin to edit the Dublin University Magazine, and gathers round him a typical coterie of Irish wits. In June 1842 he welcomes William Makepeace Thackeray, the author of The Snob Papers, to Templeogue, four miles southwest of Dublin, on his Irish tour. The O’Donoghue and Arthur O’Leary (1845) make his native land an impossible place for Lever to continue in. Thackeray suggests London, but Lever requires a new field of literary observation and anecdote. His creative inspiration exhausted, he decides to renew it on the continent. In 1845 he resigns his editorship and goes back to Brussels, whence he starts upon an unlimited tour of central Europe in a family coach. Now and again, he halts for a few months, and entertains to the limit of his resources in some ducal castle or other which he hires for an off season.

Depressed in spirit as Lever is, his wit is unextinguished. He is still the delight of the salons with his stories, and in 1867, after a few years’ experience of a similar kind at La Spezia, he is cheered by a letter from Lord Derby offering him the more lucrative consulship of Trieste. The $600 annual salary does not atone to Lever for the lassitude of prolonged exile. Trieste, at first “all that I could desire,” became with characteristic abruptness “detestable and damnable.”

Lever’s depression, partly due to incipient heart disease, partly to the growing conviction that he is the victim of literary and critical conspiracy, is confirmed by the death of his wife on April 23, 1870, to whom he is tenderly attached. He visits Ireland in the following year and seems alternately in high and low spirits. Death had already given him one or two runaway knocks, and, after his return to Trieste, he fails gradually, dying suddenly, however, and almost painlessly, from heart failure on June 1, 1872 at his home, Villa Gasteiger. His daughters, one of whom, Sydney, is believed to have been the real author of A Rent in a Cloud (1869), are well provided for.


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Birth of Tana French, Writer & Theatrical Actress

Tana Elizabeth French, American-Irish writer and theatrical actress, is born in Burlington, Vermont, on May 10, 1973. She is a longtime resident of Dublin. Her debut novel, In the Woods (2007), a psychological mystery, wins the Edgar Award for Best First Novel, the Anthony Award for Best First Novel, the Macavity Award for Best First Mystery, and the Barry Award for Best First Novel. The Independent refers to her as “the First Lady of Irish Crime.”

French is born to Elena Hvostoff-Lombardi and David French. Her father is an economist who works on resource management for the developing world, and she lives in numerous countries as a child including Ireland, Italy, the United States and Malawi.

French attends Trinity College Dublin, and trains in acting. She settles in Ireland and has lived in Dublin since 1990. She and her husband have two daughters.

French is enthralled by both acting and writing since her childhood but eventually focuses more on acting. She grows up reading mystery and crime novels. She trains as a professional actor at Trinity, and she works in theatre, film, and voice-over.

In her later 30s, her passion for writing is rekindled. She begins writing her debut novel in the months-long lulls between castings. In the Woods is published in 2007 to international acclaim and receives rave reviews from many publications. Publishers Weekly praises her, saying she “expertly walks the line between police procedural and psychological thriller in her debut” and that “Ryan and Maddox are empathetic and flawed heroes, whose partnership and friendship elevate the narrative beyond a gory tale of murdered children and repressed childhood trauma.” It receives several literary prizes, is a bestseller in hardcover and paperback, and has been termed a “dream debut.” In 2014, Flavorwire includes it in their 50 of the Greatest Debut Novels Since 1950. As of 2015 more than one million copies of In the Woods have been sold.

French’s second novel, The Likeness (2008), presents the story of the first novel’s co-lead, Cassie Maddox. It quickly achieves high positions on bestseller lists in various countries and stays on The New York Times Best Seller list for several months. In its reviews of the novel, Kirkus Reviews praises its mix of “police procedures, psychological thrills and gothic romance beautifully woven into one stunning story.” In an interview with The Guardian, French states that Donna Tartt‘s The Secret History was an influence on The Likeness, opening up the “landscape of friendship as something worthy of exploration and something that could be powerful enough to trigger a murder.”

French’s first six novels are part of the Dublin Murder Squad series. After publishing The Trespasser in 2016, she publishes two standalone novels. Both The Witch Elm and The Searcher also take place in Ireland.

In 2015, Euston Films & Veritas acquire TV production rights. Sarah Phelps writes the screenplay, which she bases on both In the Woods and The Likeness, for the eight-episode series of Dublin Murders, commissioned by the BBC for BBC One and Starz, with RTÉ later joining the project. Filming commences in 2018 in Belfast and Dublin and continues in Dublin to late February 2019. Broadcast begins on BBC One on October 14, 2019, on RTÉ One on October 16, 2019, and on Starz on November 10, 2019.


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Death of Liam Lynch, Chief of Staff of the Irish Republican Army

Liam Lynch, Chief of Staff of the Irish Republican Army (IRA), is mortally wounded by Irish Free State troops in County Tipperary on April 10, 1923, as they try to avoid capture. He is transported to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Clonmel but dies there that night.

Lynch is born on November 9, 1893, in Barnagurraha, Anglesboro, County Limerick, the fifth child among six sons and a daughter of Jeremiah Lynch, farmer, and Mary Lynch (neé Kelly). The family is politically active. His father’s brother, John, had taken part in the Fenian Rising of 1867 and his mother had been joint secretary of the Ballylanders branch of the Ladies’ Land League.

Lynch attends Anglesboro national school (1898–1909). In 1910 he moves to Mitchelstown, County Cork, to take up a three-year apprenticeship in the hardware store of P. O’Neill on Baldwin Street. He remains there until the autumn of 1915. While in Mitchelstown he is a member of the Gaelic League and the Ancient Order of Hibernians. He also joins the Irish Volunteers. In 1914, when that organisation splits, he does not immediately join the militant rump. He then moves to Fermoy, County Cork, where he works in the store of Messrs J. Barry & Sons Ltd. His move coincides with a period of inactivity as neither Volunteer faction is very active nor is he known. Consequently, he does not take part in the 1916 Easter Rising, but it is a turning point for him. On May 2, 1916, he watches as the Kent family are led through Fermoy, having been captured by British soldiers. Richard Kent dies from a wound sustained that day and Thomas Kent is executed a week later. Lynch becomes a committed Volunteer at this point.

Once committed, Lynch’s enthusiasm and aptitude ensures that he quickly attains positions of responsibility. From early 1917 he is first lieutenant in the small Fermoy company. In September 1917, the Irish Volunteers in east Cork are reorganised. Nine local companies are formed into the Fermoy battalion and he is elected adjutant. In April 1918, at the height of the conscription crisis, he briefly quits his job to concentrate on organising the Volunteers. In May he is lucky to escape arrest during the sweep that accompanies the “German plot.” When the immediate danger ends he returns to Barry & Sons.

In January 1919, at the beginning of the Irish War of Independence, the Volunteer organisation in Cork undergoes a major restructuring. Three brigades are established, and Lynch becomes brigade commandant of Cork No. 2. In April he visits Irish Republican Army GHQ in Dublin to discuss plans and to seek arms. It is a frustrating experience as the GHQ has few guns and are cautious about action. Throughout the summer of 1919 he presses GHQ to authorise attacks on British targets as a method of acquiring arms and to prevent boredom and stagnation setting in among his men. Finally, GHQ sanctions attacks if the primary aim is the capture of arms. In response, on September 7, 1919, twenty-five men from the Fermoy company, led by Lynch, ambush fourteen British soldiers on their way to service in the Wesleyan church in Fermoy. Fifteen rifles are captured, one soldier killed, and three wounded. Lynch is shot in the shoulder, probably by one of his own men. As a result, he has to leave his job and hides out in Waterford for a time. A series of arrests follow, among those is Lynch’s close friend, Michael Fitzgerald, who dies on hunger strike in Cork County Gaol in 1920.

Lynch spends the early months of 1920 at GHQ in Dublin. During this time, he is offered the position of deputy chief of staff, but turns it down, preferring to return to Cork. Although not an articulate speaker, he impresses those he meets. His organisational talents, attention to detail, ability to inspire, and intolerance for those who waste meetings endlessly discussing side issues, are noted. He has a low tolerance for politicians and at all times considers the military wing of the movement to be of primary importance. He is engaged to Bridie Keyes, but marriage is postponed pending a final settlement of hostilities.

On June 26, 1920, Lynch, Seán Moylan, and two colleagues capture Major-General Cuthbert Lucas while he is fishing on the Munster Blackwater. He gives a false name when he is arrested on August 12, 1920, at City Hall, Cork, with Terence MacSwiney, Lord Mayor of Cork, and ten others. All but MacSwiney are released four days later. He then sets about organising a flying column within the brigade. Ernie O’Malley arrives from headquarters to train the men. This column achieves a major coup on September 28, 1920, when they briefly capture the British Army barracks at Mallow, leaving with a large booty of rifles, ammunition, and two machine guns. The British respond to this increase in activity and the war settles into a pattern of ambush and counter-ambush. The Mallow battalion suffers severe losses in February 1921 and Lynch himself narrowly escapes when four are killed during an encounter at Nadd in March 1921.

In early 1921 Lynch seeks to encourage greater cooperation between the various brigades in the south. Senior brigade officers meet on three occasions to discuss cooperation and a plan to import arms from Italy. The importation project fails, but the First Southern Division is formed on April 26, 1921, bringing eight brigades from Cork, Kerry, Waterford, and west Limerick together. He is elected divisional commandant, making him the most powerful officer outside GHQ. His influence is further increased by his appointment as Southern Divisional Centre and Supreme Council member of the clandestine Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) in March 1921.

Lynch is wary when the truce is called in July 1921. He works hard to maintain order in his division and to achieve a state of readiness in case the negotiations fail. For him the Anglo-Irish Treaty is a failure. When the Supreme Council of the IRB meets on December 10, 1921, he is the only voice against the agreement. He is among the officers who insist that an army convention should be called to discuss the treaty, effectively asserting that the army no longer accepts a position subordinate to the Dáil. The army, he believes, is the army of the Republic, and no civilian body can order it to abandon the Republic. The provisional government tries to ban this convention, but it goes ahead on March 26, 1922, and elects an army executive. Lynch is elected Chief of Staff. Between March and June, he works hard to prevent a civil war. He believes unity can be maintained, even under the Treaty, if a republican constitution can be enacted. He also cooperates with Michael Collins in promoting Irish Republican Army (IRA) activity in Ulster. In his adherence to the idea of a republic, the practicalities of politics have little impact on his consciousness and he is dismissive of the popular support for the Treaty. He is horrified at the thought of civil war but fails to see that his position is leading almost inexorably in that direction. Distrusted as too moderate by Liam Mellows and Rory O’Connor, he is locked out of the Four Courts for a time.

When the Four Courts are attacked, Lynch immediately leaves his headquarters at the Clarence Hotel to travel south. He is briefly detained, before reaching Kingsbridge Station, and has a meeting with Eoin O’Duffy. He is disgusted when Free State figures later claim that he was released, having promised not to take arms against the government. The most plausible explanation of the incident appears to be that O’Duffy interpreted Lynch’s comments, merely indicating disappointment that a war had started, as constituting a statement of intent not to involve himself.

Lynch’s initial actions seem designed to avoid full-scale conflict. He does not order an attack on Dublin, nor does he attempt to seize Limerick. He chooses a containment strategy, seeking to hold a line from Limerick to Waterford for the republican forces. This fails, as the government sends troops in from the rear by sea. The republicans have no urban base when Lynch abandons Fermoy on August 11, 1922. He continues to meet individuals who seek a way to end the war, but intransigence has set in and he insists that armed struggle will only end with a republic or absolute defeat. As early as August many republicans believe the war is lost and urge a reassessment of tactics, but Lynch rejects all such calls. Operating from secret headquarters in Santry, he orders the shooting of pro-Treaty politicians in retaliation for the execution of republican prisoners.

Under war conditions it is impossible for the army executive to meet regularly, and this leaves Lynch in almost complete control. As the pro-surrender lobby grows within the republican forces, he delays a meeting of the executive, claiming with some justification that it is too dangerous. He leaves Santry and attends a meeting of the Southern Division Council in the last days of February 1923. Sixteen of the eighteen officers there tell him that the military position is hopeless. This forces the calling of an executive meeting on March 6, 1923. No agreement is reached. He strongly favours fighting on, but a motion from Tom Barry, calling for an immediate end to hostilities, is barely rejected. Another meeting is arranged for April 10. On that morning a group, including Lynch and Frank Aiken, suddenly find themselves in danger of capture in a farmhouse on the slopes of the Knockmealdown Mountains in County Tipperary. They flee and are pursued. During the chase Lynch is shot in the abdomen. It seems clear that he is shot by the pursuing Free State soldiers, although Irish historian Meda Ryan has considered the theory that he may have been shot by one of his own in order to remove the major stumbling block to surrender. His colleagues are forced to abandon him, and he is captured. Initially the Free State troops believe they have caught Éamon de Valera. He is taken first to a public house in Newcastle, County Tipperary, and then to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Clonmel, but dies from his wound at 8:45 p.m. that evening. His last request is to be buried beside Michael Fitzgerald in Kilcrumper Cemetery, Fermoy, County Cork. On hearing of Lynch’s death, Ernie O’Malley writes, “You who were a living force are now a battle cry.” O’Malley is wrong, however, as the peace faction within republicanism is strengthened by his death and Aiken orders the suspension of activities on April 27.

In 1935, a massive memorial, consisting of a 60-foot-tall round tower, guarded by four bronze Irish Wolfhounds, is erected at Goatenbridge, County Tipperary, near the site of his capture. It is unveiled on April 7, 1935. Separate annual commemorations are held at Goatenbridge and Kilcrumper. Three biographies have been written and the Liam Lynch memorial pipe band is based in his native Anglesboro. The Lynch family possess a substantial collection of private correspondence.


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Birth of Pat Eddery, Flat Racing Jockey & Trainer

Patrick (Pat) James John Eddery, flat racing jockey and trainer, is born on March 18, 1952, in Newbridge, County Kildare, near the Curragh Racecourse. He is the fifth of twelve children of Jimmy Eddery, a jockey who is Irish Flat Champion in 1954 and 1955, and who rides Panaslipper to win the Irish Derby in 1955. His mother, Josephine, is the daughter of Jack Moylan, also a jockey. His brother Paul goes on to become a successful jockey also. He initially attends the Patrician Brothers’ Primary School in Newbridge, later enrolling in Oatlands Primary School in Stillorgan when the family moves to Blackrock, Dublin.

Devoted from his earliest years to riding horses, Eddery has little interest in school. He begins his career on his fourteenth birthday as an apprentice jockey in Ireland (1966–67) with the stable of Seamus McGrath. In 1967, he moves to England where he is apprenticed to Frenchie Nicholson until 1972. After riding for more than a season without success, he records his first win on April 24, 1969, at Epsom Downs Racecourse on a horse named Alvaro, trained by Major Michael Pope. Alvaro provides Eddery with six wins in succession during the 1969 season.

Eddery finishes the 1971 season as champion apprentice with seventy-one winners, and in 1972 has his first Derby ride, the 50–1 chance Pentland Firth, who finishes third behind Roberto and Rheingold. In 1972 he also has his first victory in a Group 1 race via Erimo Hawk, when awarded the Ascot Gold Cup following the disqualification of Rock Roi for interference.

Eddery rides for the Newmarket trainer Geoffrey Barling in 1972 before becoming the stable jockey for leading trainer, Peter Walwyn, later that year. For Walwyn, he wins his first two English classic races on Polygamy (Oaks) and Grundy (Derby) and is Champion Jockey in four consecutive seasons from 1974 to 1977. While under retainer with Walwyn, he clinches the first of these titles when just twenty-two years old, a record in the post-war era. In 1975, after winning the Irish Derby on Grundy, he rides the horse to a hard-fought victory over Bustino in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot in what is described by many at the time as “the race of the century.”

Eddery remains as stable jockey to Walwyn for eight years, before joining the Ballydoyle racehorse training facility of legendary Irish trainer Vincent O’Brien, for whom he rides a string of big-race winners, including the brilliant Golden Fleece, owned by Robert Sangster, in the 1982 Epsom Derby.

The O’Brien–Eddery combination experiences controversial defeat in the 1984 Epsom Derby when Eddery rides then unbeaten 2000 Guineas Stakes-winner El Gran Senor and seems to be cruising to victory in the final furlong, only to be caught on the line and beaten by a short head by Secreto, trained by O’Brien’s son David. He later admits that he should have won the race, but when the horses in front of him fell away early in the straight he was left in front too soon and was unable to repel Secreto’s late challenge. He later wins the Irish Derby on El Gran Senor, beating the subsequent Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe winner, Rainbow Quest. During 1984, he also partners the O’Brien-trained and subsequent outstanding stallion, Sadler’s Wells, to two of his three Group 1 successes.

The 1980s represent the pinnacle of Eddery’s career and include victories in the 1983 Arlington Million in Chicago on Tolomeo, the 1985 Breeders’ Cup Turf at Aqueduct Racetrack, New York, on Pebbles, and the 1986 Japan Cup on Jupiter Island, the latter two horses being trained by Clive Brittain. He also has four victories in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe: on Detroit in 1980, Rainbow Quest in 1985, the great Dancing Brave, on whom he also wins the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes in 1986, and Trempolino in 1987. The field for the 1986 ‘Arc’ is extremely strong and Dancing Brave’s late winning run a thrilling spectacle. The race is voted “the greatest ever horserace” in a poll conducted by the Racing Post in 2022.

Rainbow Quest and Dancing Brave are both owned by the Saudi Prince Khalid Abdullah, whose Juddmonte Farms is by then one of the world’s largest racing and breeding organisations. In 1987, Eddery becomes Abdullah’s retained jockey. Highlights of their association, which lasts until 1994, include Quest for Fame winning the 1990 Epsom Derby, and Zafonic, winner of the 1993 2000 Guineas Stakes.

Meanwhile, Eddery continues to win the jockeys’ championships, a task made easier by being retained by Juddmonte in England rather than commuting regularly to Ireland to ride for Vincent O’Brien. His highest seasonal total of wins is 209 in 1990, which is the first time a jockey has exceeded 200 since Sir Gordon Richards in 1952. His epic battle for the championship in 1987 with American Steve Cauthen is particularly intense, with Cauthen securing the title with 197 winners and Eddery coming close at 195. The title would have been shared at 196 winners apiece but for a successful objection by the rider of the third horse to the winner after the last definitive race between Eddery and Cauthen when they finished first and second, respectively. In 1988, Eddery regains the title with 183 winners from just over 480 rides, a remarkable strike rate of over thirty-eight per cent. He wins the championship for the eleventh and final time in 1996. His final classic win is on Silver Patriarch in the St. Leger Stakes of 1997.

Eddery rides major winners outside Europe and the United States, including Jupiter Island in the 1986 Japan Cup, and French Glory in the Canadian International Stakes. He teams up with Lester Piggott, Joe Mercer and French jockeys Freddie Head and Yves Saint-Martin to take part in a series of challenge races under the Ritz Club Challenge Trophy at Singapore and other Asian cities starting in 1983 for several years. His overall total of winners in the UK, Ireland, mainland Europe and overseas, exceeds 6,000. Although fiercely competitive on the racetrack, he is popular with fellow jockeys, trainers, owners and racegoers, who respond to his good-natured personality, courtesy and sense of humour.

Eddery has a distinctive riding style that is not classically elegant but undoubtedly effective and strong in a finish. He rides a number of truly outstanding racehorses including Dancing Brave, El Gran Senor and Pebbles, but maintains that the brilliant and undefeated Derby winner, Golden Fleece, is the greatest of all the horses he partnered throughout his career.

Eddery continues to ride into his fifties, finally retiring in 2003. He is appointed an honorary Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2005. He sets up an owners’ syndication business and takes out a training licence but has difficulty adjusting to life out of the saddle and becomes increasingly dependent upon alcohol. His training career meets with limited success, though he does train Hearts of Fire to win the Group 1 Gran Criterium of Italy in 2009.

Eddery marries Carolyn Mercer in November 1978. She is the daughter of flat jockey Manny Mercer, niece of jockey Joe Mercer, and granddaughter of jockey Harry Wragg. They have two daughters, Nichola and Natasha, and a son Harry. He has a son from an extramarital relationship, Toby Atkinson, who also becomes a jockey. The marriage with Carolyn breaks down in 2008 and the couple divorces in 2009.

Shortly after his marriage breaks down, Eddery begins living with Emma Owen, a former stable employee, at his 100-acre Musk Hill stud farm near Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire. He becomes progressively estranged from his children due to his continued alcoholism.

Eddery dies of a heart attack at the age of 63 on November 10, 2015. He leaves his £1.3 million estate to Emma Owen. His funeral takes place on December 8, 2015, and his remains are cremated at Oxford. Throughout his career, Eddery rode the winners of 4,632 British flat races, a figure exceeded only by Sir Gordon Richards and was UK Champion Jockey on eleven occasions and Irish Champion Jockey once. A plaque in his honour is unveiled by his children Nichola, Natasha and Harry at Ascot Racecourse in 2016, where he had been champion jockey at the Royal meeting on six occasions. He is inducted into the Qipco British Champions Series Hall of Fame in 2021, the second jockey after Lester Piggott to be so honoured.

(From: “Eddery, Patrick (Pat) James John” by P. Gerry McKenna, Dictionary of Irish Biography, http://www.dib.ie, September 2022)


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Birth of George Berkeley, Anglican Bishop of Cloyne

George Berkeley, Bishop of Cloyne of the Anglican Church of Ireland known as Bishop Berkeley, is born at his family home, Dysart Castle, near Thomastown, County Kilkenny, on March 12, 1685. He is an Anglo-Irish philosopher whose primary achievement is the advancement of a theory he calls “immaterialism” (later referred to as “subjective idealism” by others). This theory denies the existence of material substance and instead contends that familiar objects like tables and chairs are ideas perceived by the mind and, as a result, cannot exist without being perceived. He is also known for his critique of abstraction, an important premise in his argument for immaterialism.

Berkeley is the eldest son of William Berkeley, a cadet of the noble family of Berkeley whose ancestry can be traced back to the Anglo-Saxon period and who had served as feudal lords and landowners in Gloucester, England. Little is known of his mother. He is educated at Kilkenny College and attends Trinity College Dublin, where he is elected a Scholar in 1702, being awarded BA in 1704 and MA and a Fellowship in 1707. He remains at Trinity College after completion of his degree as a tutor and Greek lecturer.

Berkeley’s earliest publication is on mathematics, but the first that brings him notice is his An Essay Towards a New Theory of Vision, first published in 1709. In the essay, he examines visual distance, magnitude, position and problems of sight and touch. While this work raises much controversy at the time, its conclusions are now accepted as an established part of the theory of optics.

The next publication to appear is A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge in 1710, which has great success and gives him a lasting reputation, though few accept his theory that nothing exists outside the mind. This is followed in 1713 by Three Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous, in which he propounds his system of philosophy, the leading principle of which is that the world, as represented by our senses, depends for its existence on being perceived.

For this theory, the Principles gives the exposition and the Dialogues the defence. One of his main objectives is to combat the prevailing materialism of his time. The theory is largely received with ridicule, while even those such as Samuel Clarke and William Whiston, who do acknowledge his “extraordinary genius,” are nevertheless convinced that his first principles are false.

Shortly afterwards, Berkeley visits England and is received into the circle of Joseph Addison, Alexander Pope and Richard Steele. In the period between 1714 and 1720, he intersperses his academic endeavours with periods of extensive travel in Europe, including one of the most extensive Grand Tours of the length and breadth of Italy ever undertaken. In 1721, he takes holy orders in the Church of Ireland, earning his doctorate in divinity, and once again chooses to remain at Trinity College Dublin, lecturing this time in Divinity and in Hebrew. In 1721-22 he is made Dean of Dromore and, in 1724, Dean of Derry.

In 1723, following her violent quarrel with Jonathan Swift, who had been her intimate friend for many years, Esther Vanhomrigh names Berkeley her co-heir along with the barrister Robert Marshall. Her choice of legatees causes a good deal of surprise since she does not know either of them well, although Berkeley as a very young man had known her father. Swift says generously that he does not grudge Berkeley his inheritance, much of which vanishes in a lawsuit in any event. A story that Berkeley and Marshall disregarded a condition of the inheritance that they must publish the correspondence between Swift and Vanhomrigh is probably untrue.

In 1725, Berkeley begins the project of founding a college in Bermuda for training ministers and missionaries in the colony, in pursuit of which he gives up his deanery with its income of £1100.

In 1728, Berkeley marries Anne Forster, daughter of John Forster, Chief Justice of the Irish Common Pleas, and his first wife Rebecca Monck. He then goes to America on a salary of £100 per annum. He lands near Newport, Rhode Island, where he buys a plantation at Middletown – the famous “Whitehall.” He purchases several enslaved Africans to work on the plantation. He also brings John Smibert to New England, the Scottish artist he “discovered” in Italy, who is generally regarded as the founding father of American portrait painting. Meanwhile, he draws up plans for the ideal city he plans to build on Bermuda. He lives at the plantation while he waits for funds for his college to arrive. The funds, however, are not forthcoming and he leaves America and returns to London in 1732.

Berkeley and his wife have four children who survive infancy: Henry, George, William and Julia, and at least two other children who die in infancy. William’s death in 1751 is a great cause of grief to his father.

Berkeley is nominated to be the Bishop of Cloyne in the Church of Ireland on January 18, 1734. He is consecrated as such on May 19, 1734. He is the Bishop of Cloyne until his death on January 14, 1753, although he dies at Oxford.

While living in London’s Saville Street, Berkeley takes part in efforts to create a home for the city’s abandoned children. The Foundling Hospital is founded by royal charter in 1739, and Berkeley is listed as one of its original governors.

Berkeley’s last two publications are Siris: A Chain of Philosophical Reflexions and Inquiries Concerning the Virtues of Tarwater, And divers other Subjects connected together and arising one from another (1744) and Further Thoughts on Tar-water (1752). Pine tar is an effective antiseptic and disinfectant when applied to cuts on the skin, but he argues for the use of pine tar as a broad panacea for diseases. His 1744 work on tar-water sells more copies than any of his other books during Berkeley’s lifetime.

Berkeley remains at Cloyne until 1752, when he retires. With his wife and daughter Julia, he goes to Oxford to live with his son George and supervise his education. He dies soon afterwards and is buried in Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford. His affectionate disposition and genial manners make him much loved and held in warm regard by many of his contemporaries. Anne outlives her husband by many years, dying in 1786.

(Pictured: “Bishop George Berkeley,” oil on canvas portrait by John Smibert, c. 1727)


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Death of Daniel Murray, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin

Daniel Murray, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, dies in Dublin on February 26, 1852.

Murray is born on April 18, 1768, at Sheepwalk, near Arklow, County Wicklow, the son of Thomas and Judith Murray, who are farmers. At the age of eight he goes to Thomas Betagh‘s school at Saul’s Court, near Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin. At sixteen, Archbishop John Carpenter sends him to the Irish College at Salamanca, completing his studies at the University of Salamanca. He is ordained priest in 1792 at the age of twenty-four.

After some years as curate at St. Paul’s Church, Dublin, Murray is transferred to Arklow, and is there in 1798 when the rebellion breaks out. The yeomanry shoot the parish priest in bed and Murray, to escape a similar fate, flees to the city where for two years he serves as curate at St. Andrew’s Chapel on Hawkins Street. As a preacher, he is said to be particularly effective, especially in appeals for charitable causes, such as the schools. He is then assigned to the Chapel of St. Mary in Upper Liffey Street where Archbishop John Troy is the parish priest.

In 1809, at the request of Archbishop Troy, Murray is appointed coadjutor bishop, and consecrated on November 30, 1809. In 1811 he is made Administrator of St. Andrew’s. That same year he helps Mary Aikenhead establish the Religious Sisters of Charity. While coadjutor he fills for one year the position of president of St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth.

Murray is an uncompromising opponent of a proposal granting the British government a “veto” over Catholic ecclesiastical appointments in Ireland, and in 1814 and 1815, makes two separate trips to Rome concerning the controversy.

Murray becomes Archbishop of Dublin in 1825 and on November 14, 1825 celebrates the completion of St. Mary’s Pro-Cathedral. He enjoys the confidence of successive popes and is held in high respect by the British government. His life is mainly devoted to ecclesiastical affairs, the establishment and organisation of religious associations for the education and relief of the poor. With the outbreak of cholera in the 1830s, in 1834 he and Mother Aikenhead found St. Vincent’s Hospital. He persuades Edmund Rice to send members of the Christian Brothers to Dublin to start a school for boys. The first is opened in a lumber yard on the City-quay. He assists Catherine McAuley in founding the Sisters of Mercy, and in 1831 professes the first three members.

Edward Bouverie Pusey has an interview with Murray in 1841, and bears testimony to his moderation, and John Henry Newman has some correspondence with him prior to Newman’s conversion from the Anglican Church to the Roman Catholic Church in 1845. A seat in the privy council at Dublin, officially offered to him in 1846, is not accepted. He takes part in the synod of the Roman Catholic clergy at Thurles in 1850.

Towards the end of his life, Murray’s eyesight is impaired, and he reads and writes with difficulty. Among his last priestly functions is a funeral service for Richard Lalor Sheil who had died in Italy, and whose body had been brought back to Ireland for burial. Murray dies in Dublin on February 26, 1852, at the age of eighty-four. He is interred in the St. Mary’s Pro-Cathedral, Dublin, where a marble statue of him has been erected in connection with a monument to his memory, executed by James Farrell, president of the Royal Hibernian Academy of Fine Arts.

(Pictured: Portrait of Daniel Murray, Archbishop of Dublin, by unknown 19th century Irish portrait painter)


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Death of Dermot Ryan, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin

Dermot Joseph Ryan, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin from 1972 until 1984, dies in Rome, Italy, on February 21, 1985.

Ryan is born on June 26, 1924, to Andrew Ryan, a medical doctor, and Therese (née McKenna), in Clondalkin, Dublin. In 1932 he goes to Belvedere College, Dublin. In 1942 he enters Holy Cross College, Drumcondra, and graduates with a first in Hebrew and Aramaic at University College Dublin in 1945. He spends a year at St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth before attending the Pontifical Irish College in Rome gaining his BD in 1948 at the Pontifical Lateran University, Rome. He returns to Clonliffe to complete his formation, and where he is ordained a priest on May 28, 1950. He returns to Rome to study at the Pontifical Gregorian University, gaining a Licentiate in Sacred Theology in 1952. In 1954 he is awarded an MA in Semitic Languages from the National University of Ireland (NUI), followed by a licentiate in sacred scripture at the Pontifical Biblical Institute.

Ryan is Professor of Oriental Languages at University College Dublin before his appointment by Pope Paul VI as Archbishop of Dublin and Primate of Ireland on December 29, 1971. Maintaining his connection and interest in oriental studies, he serves as chairman of the trustees of the Chester Beatty Library from 1978 to 1984.

Ryan is ordained a bishop by Pope Paul VI in Rome, assisted by Cardinals Bernardus Johannes Alfrink and William Conway (Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland), on February 13, 1972. At the time of his appointment, he is seen as a liberal and a reformer in the Church.

During his term, Ryan consolidates much of the expansion of the Archdiocese which had taken place during the term of his predecessor. He also oversees the fuller implementation of the reforms of Vatican II. He is particularly interested in liturgical reform.

Seen as a Liberal, following the episcopacy of John Charles McQuaid, in November 1972, Ryan becomes the first Roman Catholic archbishop to attend a Church of Ireland service in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, and holds an interdenominational service in St. Mary’s Pro-Cathedral. He also supports “Ballymascanlon talks,” an inter-church initiative to try to bring communities together and bring peace to Northern Ireland.

Ryan also takes a traditional stand on social issues, including poverty, family life and opposition to abortion. He strongly promotes the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland in 1983, granting the equal right to life to mother and unborn.

As Archbishop, Ryan gives the people of Dublin a public park on a site earmarked by his predecessors for a proposed cathedral. It is named “Archbishop Ryan Park” in his honour. The land, at Merrion Square, is a gift from the archbishop to the city of Dublin.

Ryan also serves as Pro-Prefect of Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples from April 8, 1984, until his death in Rome on February 21, 1985, following a heart attack at the age of sixty.

Ryan is named in the Murphy Report, released in 2009, on sexual abuse of children in Dublin. His actions in respect of complaints against priest Fr. McNamee are described in the report as “an example of how, throughout the 1970s, the church authorities were more concerned with the scandal that would be created by revealing Fr. McNamee’s abuse rather than any concern for the abused.” He also does not act on complaints against other priests who are also subsequently confirmed to be abusers.

In January 2010, after Ryan has been criticised in the Murphy Report the previous year, Dublin City Council seeks public views on renaming “Archbishop Ryan Park.” Later that same year it is renamed “Merrion Square Park” by the City Council.


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Birth of Political Economist John Elliott Cairnes

John Elliott Cairnes, Irish-born political economist, is born on December 26, 1823, at Castlebellingham, County Louth. He has been described as the “last of the classical economists.”

Cairnes is the son of William Elliott Cairnes (1787–1863) of Stameen, near Drogheda, and Marianne Woolsey, whose mother is the sister of Sir William Bellingham, 1st Baronet of Castlebellingham. William decides upon a business career, against the wishes of his mother, Catherine Moore of Moore Hall, Killinchy, and becomes a partner in the Woolsey Brewery at Castlebellingham. In 1825, he starts on his own account in Drogheda, making the Drogheda Brewery an unqualified success. He is remembered for his great business capacity and for the deep interest he takes in charity.

After leaving school, Cairnes spends some years in the counting house of his father at Drogheda. His tastes, however, lay altogether in the direction of study, and he is permitted to enter Trinity College Dublin, where he takes the degree of BA in 1848, and six years later that of MA. After passing through the curriculum of Arts, he engages in the study of Law, and is called to the Irish bar. But he lacks a desire to pursue the legal profession, and over some ensuing years, he devotes himself to writing in various publications about social and economic questions and treatises that relate to Ireland. He focuses mostly on political economy, which he studies thoroughly.

While residing in Dublin, Cairnes makes the acquaintance of the Archbishop of Dublin Richard Whately, who conceives a very high respect for Cairnes’ character and abilities. In 1856, a vacancy occurs in the chair of political economy at Dublin, founded by Whately, and Cairnes receives the appointment. In accordance with the regulations of the foundation, the lectures of his first year’s course are published. The book appears in 1857 with the title Character and Logical Method of Political Economy. It follows up on and expands John Stuart Mill‘s treatment in the Essays on some Unsettled Questions in Political Economy, and forms an admirable introduction to the study of economics as a science. In it the author’s peculiar powers of thought and expression are displayed to the best advantage. Logical exactness, precision of language, and firm grasp of the true nature of economic facts, are the qualities characteristic of this as of all his other works. If the book had done nothing more, it would still have conferred inestimable benefit on political economists by its clear exposition of the true nature and meaning of the ambiguous term law. To the view of the province and method of political economy expounded in this early work the author always remains true, and several of his later essays, such as those on Political Economy and Land, Political Economy and Laissez-Faire, are but reiterations of the same doctrine. His next contribution to economical science is a series of articles on the gold question, published partly in Fraser’s Magazine, in which the probable consequences of the increased supply of gold attendant on the Australian and Californian gold discoveries are analysed with great skill and ability. And a critical article on Michel Chevalier‘s work, On the Probable Fall in the Value of Gold, appears in the Edinburgh Review for July 1860.

In 1861, Cairnes is appointed to the professorship of jurisprudence and political economy in Queens College Galway, and in the following year he publishes his admirable work The Slave Power, one of the finest specimens of applied economical philosophy. The inherent disadvantages of the employment of slave labour are exposed with great fullness and ability, and the conclusions arrived at have taken their place among the recognised doctrines of political economy. The opinions expressed by Cairnes as to the probable issue of American Civil War are largely verified by the actual course of events, and the appearance of the book has a marked influence on the attitude taken by serious political thinkers in England towards the Confederate States of America.

During the remainder of his residence at Galway, Cairnes publishes nothing beyond some fragments and pamphlets, mainly upon Irish questions. The most valuable of these papers are the series devoted to the consideration of university education. His health, at no time very good, is still further weakened in 1865 by a fall from his horse. He is ever afterwards incapacitated from active exertion and is constantly liable to have his work interfered with by attacks of illness.

In 1866 Cairnes is appointed professor of political economy in University College, London. He is compelled to spend the session 1868–1869 in Italy, but on his return continues to lecture until 1872. During his last session he conducts a mixed class, ladies being admitted to his lectures. His health soon renders it impossible for him to discharge his public duties. He resigns his post in 1872, and retires with the honorary title of professor emeritus of political economy. In 1873 his own university confers on him the degree of LL.D.

Cairnes dies at the age of 51 at Blackheath, London, England, on July 8, 1875.


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Birth of Alice Curtayne, Writer & Lecturer

Alice Curtayne, Irish writer and lecturer, is born on November 6, 1898, in Upper Castle Street, Tralee, County Kerry.

Curtayne is the youngest child of John Curtayne, founder and proprietor of the Tralee Carriage Works, and his wife Bridget Curtayne (née O’Dwyer). She receives her initial education at local convents before attending La Sainte Union College in Southampton, England. Having taken a typing course, she is engaged as a secretary in Milan, where she remains for four and a half years. This proves to be a formative period in her life. She comes to regard Italy as a second home and is greatly influenced by the work of the Italian Catholic philosopher, Giovanni Papini.

On leaving Italy Curtayne works for a time in Liverpool. She joins the Liverpool Catholic Evidence Guild, from where she receives her diploma as a diocesan catechist. While in England she also develops an interest in public speaking. Her first book, Catherine of Siena (1929), is followed by numerous publications on religious and historical subjects, including Lough Derg (1933), Patrick Sarsfield (1934), The Trial of Oliver Plunkett (1953), Twenty Tales of Irish Saints for children (1955), and The Irish Story (1962).

Curtayne’s enthusiasm for Italy is reflected in her many publications of Italian interest, including a scholarly work on Dante, and a novel House of Cards (1940), which centres on the experiences of a young Irish woman living in Italy. In 1972 she produces Francis Ledwidge: A Life of the Poet, her well regarded biography of the poet Francis Ledwidge, and in 1974 it is followed by an edition of his complete poems, The Complete Works of Francis Ledwidge. Throughout her journalistic career she is a contributor to various magazines and papers, among them The Irish Times, Irish Independent, The Irish Press, Books on Trial, The Spectator, and The Standard.

During the 1950s and early 1960s Curtayne makes five lecture tours in the United States, speaking on Irish life, history, and literature. In 1959 she receives an honorary doctorate in Humane Letters from Anna Maria College in Paxton, Massachusetts, where she briefly teaches. She is presented with the Key to Worcester City by Mayor James D. O’Brien. She also gives a course of lectures on Dante at Craiglockhart College, Edinburgh, in 1956, and in 1965 she again speaks on Dante in a Radio Éireann Thomas Davis lecture.

In December 1954 The Irish Press sends Curtayne to Rome to write daily reports on the close of the Marian year. She goes to Rome again for the final session of the Second Vatican Council. She is commissioned to send weekly reports to local newspapers, The Nationalist (Carlow) and The Kerryman. She also sends a series of profiles of outstanding personages of this Vatican Council to The Universe and an article for Hibernia journal.

In 1935, Curtayne marries the English-born writer and broadcaster Stephen Rynne, with whom she has two sons and two daughters. They run a farm at Prosperous, County Kildare, and are well known advocates of the values of rural living. One son, Andrew Rynne, becomes a medical practitioner and well known for his liberal views on birth control. Daughter Brigid Rynne later illustrates some of her mother’s books.

Curtayne dies on August 9, 1981, in the Hazel Hall Nursing Home in Clane, County Kildare, and is buried at Killybegs Cemetery.


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Birth of Maeve Kyle, Olympic Athlete & Hockey Player

Maeve Esther Enid Kyle, OBE, Irish Olympic athlete and hockey player, is born Maeve Esther Enid Shankey in County Kilkenny on October 6, 1928.

Kyle briefly attends Kilkenny College where her father C.G. Shankey is headmaster, before attending Alexandra College and finally, Trinity College, Dublin. She is the granddaughter of William Thrift.

Kyle competes in the 100m and 200m in the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, Australia, and subsequently in the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome, Italy, and the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, where she reaches the semi-finals of both the 400m and 800m. She takes the bronze medal in the 400m at the 1966 European Athletics Indoor Championships in Dortmund, Germany. She wins four gold medals in W45 Category at the 1977 World Masters Athletics Championships in Gothenburg, Sweden, in the 100m, 400m, high jump and long jump. She holds World Masters records at W40 for the 100m (12:00 secs) and 400m (55.30 secs) and W45 100m (12.50 secs) and W50 long jump at 5.04m.

In field hockey, Kyle gains 58 Irish caps as well as representing three of the four Irish provinces (Leinster, Munster and Ulster) at different stages of her career. She is named in the World All Star team in 1953 and 1959. She is also a competitor in tennis, swimming, sailing and cricket and works as a coach. She is chair of Coaching NI. In 2006, she is awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of the University (DUniv) from the University of Ulster.

Kyle is awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2006 Coaching Awards in London in recognition of her work with athletes at the Ballymena and Antrim Athletics Club. Earlier in 2006 she is one of 10 players who are initially installed into Irish hockey’s Hall of Fame. She is appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2008 New Year Honours.