On this day: the Bray Head railway accident

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On the 9th of August, 1867 sudden subsidence at Brandy Hole Viaduct caused a train to derail.

The location of the disaster was Bray Head, County Wicklow, Ireland. Four people died and twenty-five were injured.

The report into the disaster was published a few weeks later, and can be found in full HERE.

“The train to which this accident happened was the up train leaving Enniscorthy for Dublin, at 6.30 a.m. It consisted of an engine and tender, six carriages, of which the first was fitted with a break, and a guard’s break van. A porter acting as guard rode in this van at the rear of the train. It left Delgany about its proper time, 9.5 a.m., and was travelling slowly round Bray Head in obedience to orders which had been given to all drivers, and had nearly reached this wooden viaduct (called Brabazon corner in the details supplied by the engineer (the late Mr. Brunel), previous to the opening of the line in October 1855), when the acting guard says he got a knock in his van, looked out of the window, and saw the carriages hopping on the rails, and then he put on his break.”

On this day: the destruction of Duckett’s Grove

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Rare image of the house pre-fire. X

Duckett’s Grove, a great house in County Carlow, Ireland, was destroyed by fire on the 20th of April, 1933.

Built around 1830 for the Duckett family, they lived at the house until 1916, when a family dispute between the only remaining family members – none of them male (males would usually inherit) – led to the house’s management being taken over by locals.

By 1930 the house was being used by the Irish Republican Army, and when they left the property it was still in good condition.

In 1933, a week after local farmers – who had been managing the estate – reported a minor fire at the house, Duckett’s Grove burnt in earnest over the course of a night.

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Today, the frame of the house still stands.

On this day: the Irish government stands up to the Catholic Church

On the 12th of March, 1985, the government of the Republic of Ireland finally stood up to the powerful Catholic Church and legalised contraception.

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Women leave Dublin on their protest journey to Belfast.

The 1970s saw feminists travelling to Belfast in Northern Ireland and returning home with contraceptives, risking arrest for importing illegal products. They were met by protestors upon their arrival home.

Illegal in the Republic in all circumstances until 1980, a new law allowed some contraception to be dispensed by a pharmacist to people with a doctor’s prescription.

This highly restrictive law was finally changed five years later, despite conservative opposition.

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Some Americans were so outraged that “Holy Ireland” now allowed contraception, they wrote to the Prime Minister to complain.

Even so, advertising of contraceptives was still banned, and Ireland continued to have one of the highest birth rates in the developed world.