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Showing posts from February, 2016

Happy Birthday Handel!

Today, 23 February, in 1685 George Frideric Handel was born in Halle, Germany. Handel was a composer who became known for his operas, oratorios, anthems and organ concertos. He is linked to Dublin because it was in the Musick Hall on Fishamble Street that Handel first performed his oratorio Messiah   on 23 December 1741 .   George Frideric Handel (1685-1759) by Balthasar Denner Handel arrived in Dublin in November 1741 and, luckily for him, it was only a month or so later that the Musick Hall opened. In John Thomas Gilbert's A History of the City of Dublin he recalls that Handel advertised his up and coming oratorio as follows ' At the new Musick Hall in Fishamble-street, on Wednesday next, being the 23rd day of Dec., (1741). Mr. Handel’s Musical Entertainments will be opened, in which will be performed L’Allegro il Penseroso, il Moderato, with two Concertos for several instruments, and a Concerto on the Organ.  To begin at 7 o’Clock.  Tickets for that night will b

John the Hunter!

Fully aware that the moment he died [John] Hunter would come for his body, [Charles] Byrne had concocted a plan designed to thwart him. As his friends leaned forward to hear his dying words, Byrne made them vow to seal his body in a lead coffin, ship it to the middle of the English Channel and plunge it to the bottom of the sea, far from the reach of even the most resourceful anatomist.  - The Knife Man ; Wendy Moore pg.313 Or so Charles Byrne thought!! Byrne was an Irish giant who had arrived in London in April 1782 to earn a living from showcasing his remarkable height of seven foot eight inches. But in doing so he caught the eye of the most renowned surgeon and anatomist of the time, John Hunter .  John Hunter (1728- 1793) painted by Sir Joshua Reynold in 1786. Note the long shin and foot bones in the top right corner! John Hunter was born in Lanarkshire, Scotland in and around 13 February 1728, his exact birth date isn't known. Hunter did not enter the world

Microscopists Unite!

In 1849 this call could be heard through the streets of Dublin and, believe it or not, there were twelve men who answered. These gentlemen with a love for all things microscopic gathered together and formed the Dublin Microscopical Club. Members of the Dublin Microscopical Club dated 1865 Some of it's members can be seen in the photo above. Among this group are the following prominent Irish naturalists Edward Percival Wright  (Club's Honorary Secretary) second from right David Moore (first Curator of Dublin's Botanic Gardens) second from left, slightly blurred William Archer  (one of the Club's 12 founding members) third from right George James Allman  second from left, seated James Townsend Mackay  a Scottish botanist who lived in Ireland William Thompson Ross type microscops Powell & Lealand type microscope There are a variety of microscopes on the table, two of which have been named as the Ross and Powell &