May 31


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1744 Richard Lovell Edgeworth was born in Bath on this day in 1744. He moved to Ireland to his family owned Edgeworth Manor in County Longford, and worked as a scientist. Edgeworth was interested in farming and how to make it more efficient.

 Richard Lovell Edgeworth

He developed a device that could accurately measure an area of land. He also foresaw the ‘caterpillar tracks’ on agricultural vehicles, describing them as ‘a cart that carries its own road’, although he never developed them himself. He also invented an optical telegraph system;

Edgeworths_optical_telegraph iMAGE iRELAND cALLING

In his later life, he worked with his daughter Maria, in campaigning for Catholic Emancipation, and improving the lives of the irish workers in their local community.

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1798 Beauchamp Bagenal Harvey was rescued from prison and made Commander of the Wexford United Irishmen rebels on this day in 1798. He was arrested and imprisoned after a fellow rebel was tortured by the British authorities until he revealed Harvey’s plan to take Wexford.

However, the rebels stormed the gaol and broke Harvey out. They made him their commander, a role he didn’t really want but had no choice after he had been liberated. He took his troops to County Kilkenny to try and recruit more members.

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1968 Happy birthday to John Connolly, born in Dublin on this day in 1968. He is a short story writer who has been honoured with several awards in his career. Every Dead Thing won the Bram Stoker Award, and was the first in a series following the life of Charlie Parker, a former police officer seeking vengeance for the murder of his wife and daughter.

Connolly collaborated with fellow Irish writer Declan Bourke, to produce Books To Die For in 2012. It was a series of articles from the world’s best mystery writers, on their favourite mystery books. The book was nominated for numerous awards and won the Agatha Award for nonfiction.

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Colin Farrell. Photo Copyright David Shankbone CC21976 Colin Farrell was born on this day in Dublin. He grew up from a mischievous teenager into Hollywood heart-throb and is now one of the most sought after actors in the world. Several brilliant performances in the early 21st century made Farrell a household name, as well as his antics off camera.

Farrell was a party loving rebel, and the media took great interest in his late night antics which often involved supping champagne with beautiful women. However, Farrell has been alcohol free for several years now, and his sole focus in life are his children.

Click here to read more about Colin Farrell 
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1992 Happy birthday to Gary Thompson, born in Dublin on this day in 1992. He is a racing car driver who has competed in the FIA European Formula 3 Championship.

Thompson learnt his skill as teenager racing Go Karts, and is now a promising young driver with hopes of one day reaching the top of the sport and racing for a Formula One team.

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Danny La Rue2009 Danny La Rue died in London on this day in 2009. He was born in Cork but moved to England as a child. His family moved from London to Devon during the Second World War after their home was destroyed in the blitz. In Devon, La Rue developed his skill as a female impersonator, as he often played female parts in drama productions.

He served in the British Navy before turning his full attention to his showbiz career. La Rue was a hugely popular performer on British television in the 1960s, appearing on several prime time entertainment shows. He was one of the best paid television personalities.

He continued to perform in later life, often appearing in pantomimes in Britain and also making occasional guest appearances on television. He was also made an OBE in 2002, for his contribution to British entertainment.

La Rue died in his London home on 31st May 2009, with his friend by his side. He was buried next to his partner in St Mary’s Cemetery, London.

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Old Time Music Hall Variety with The Good Old Days With Danny La Rue from the BBC.


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More on Irish history

Did you know?

  An Irish schoolteacher has created a brilliant YouTube video explaining the history of Ireland in just six minutes. It’s brilliantly done and makes learning both fun and engaging for children and also adults. Find out more.

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