First Irish Plane Flight. RTE Television Goes on Air

Dec 31: TODAY IN IRISH HISTORY (published by For the Love of Being Irish)

1864: Irish born navy Coxswain Patrick Colbert receives the Medal of Honor for gallantry. His Citation reads:

“Served on board the U.S.S. Commodore Hull at the capture of Plymouth, 31 October 1864. Painfully wounded by a shell which killed the man at his side, Colbert, as captain of the forward pivot gun, remained at his post until the end of the action, braving the heavy enemy fire and appearing as cool as if at mere target practice.”

1909: County Down born engineer and inventor Harry Ferguson makes the first flight in Ireland. At, his first flight is reported as follows: “Harry had designed a monoplane which was fitted with a V8 35hp JAP engine, construction of which was completed later that month. The day of the first flight attempt arrived and, with wings detached and the tail resting in the back of a car, the aircraft was towed through the streets of Belfast to Hillsborough Great Park. This first attempt failed, due in part to propeller trouble then, after it was replaced, because of unsuitable weather conditions. Over succeeding weeks, he tried again, his first successful flight of 130 yards in length being made on December 31st, 1909. ”

Harry Ferguson monoplane

Harry Ferguson monoplane

The Belfast Telegraph reported on Ferguson’s flight: “The roar of the eight cylinders was like the sound of a Gatling gun in action. The machine was set against the wind, and all force being developed the splendid pull of the new propeller swept the big aeroplane along as Mr Ferguson advanced the lever. Presently, at the movement of the pedal, the aeroplane rose into the air at a height from nine to twelve feet, amidst the heavy cheers of the onlookers. The poise of the machine was perfect and Mr. Ferguson made a splendid flight of 130 yards.”

1927: 2RN (later Radio Eireann) broadcasts the first sponsored programme featuring Euthymol toothpaste.

1961: RTE, the Irish national broadcaster goes on air. The first person to address the nation was an elderly Eamonn De Valera who had some difficulty comprehending this “new” media: “I must admit that sometimes when I think of television and radio and their immense power, I feel somewhat afraid. Like atomic energy it can be used for incalculable good but it can also do irreparable harm. Never before was there in the hands of men an instrument so powerful to influence the thoughts and actions of the multitude.”

The highlight of an opening night transmitted in black and white was a program from the Gresham Hotel Dublin Hosted by Eamonn Andrews. Here is a clip from RTE Archives hosted by consummate Irish broadcaster Eamonn Andrews.

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This history is written by Irish author, business keynote speaker and award winning humoristIrishmanSpeaks – Conor Cunneen. If you spot any inaccuracies or wish to make a comment, please don’t hesitate to contact us via the comment button.

Visit Conor’s YouTube channel IrishmanSpeaksto Laugh and Learn. Tags: Best Irish Gift, Creative Irish Gift, Unique Irish Gifts, Irish Books, Irish Authors, Today in Irish History

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