On the ground, at the outset, this summer’s day didn’t appear to have anything particularly unforgettable about it, at least in the USA, as reporters and the stock markets sought to digest President Calvin Coolidge announcement the previous day of his decision not to run for President in 1928. All right, so Gordon Scott, the celebrated Tarzan, was born, while Massachusetts Governor Alvan T. Fuller controversially denied a request for clemency for Nicola Sacco and Bertolomeo Vanzetti after receiving arguments concerning the fairness of their murder trial. However, the release of The Beauty Parlor, a film starring Danny O’ Shea, according to the grapevine really wasn’t anything to write home about.
Up in the air and away from terra ferma, though, things were decidedly more attention-grabbing. A 1,000 watt radio station established contact with an aircraft 150 miles from the station, while Charles Lindbergh, who, two months earlier had made the first non-stop solo flight from New York to Paris, started a three-month tour of the country in his custom-built airplane the Spirit of St. Louis. Not to be outdone, across the big pond in the Fatherland German Junker pilots Risztics and Edzard flew a Junker W33 airplane for a distance of 4,660 kilometres, to set a new distance world record. They needed 52 hours and 22 minutes for that flight.
How unremarkable was the day developing into on that small speck of an island propping up the “Irish Free State” [Ireland only declared itself a republic on 21st December 1948]? Although habitually accused of emanating hot air, the legislative assembly, Dáil Éireann, with its feet firmly on the ground, was heatedly debating the Public Safety Order Bill (third stage), which, with a view to cracking down on the “insurgents” who days earlier had assassinated Kevin O Higgins, the Vice President, would grant authority to ‘the powers that be’ to declare a state of emergency, and set up military courts. One would have supposed a very jittery state of affairs for an island recovering from the ruins of civil war.
Assume not. The unmistakable whiff of a ‘business as usual’ atmosphere was also filtering through as members of the Dáil on this day raised questions on subjects as diverse as the administration of the Lunacy Department and the provision of State funds for the construction of a landing place at Barley Cove, down in Cork [a request, which, should you are interested to know (I’m certainly not) was turned down for the reasons that “…. the number of locally-owned yawls [or two-masted sailing vessels] is very small, and the fishing for herrings in the Cove is at present being carried on by an adequate number of motor yawls and boats from outlying districts which land their catches at Baltimore”]. A jittery situation indeed. What is more, even the Joint Dáil Restaurant Committee held a meeting [I didn’t come across any records mentioning a sitting of the Joint Bar Committee, even if I suspect most committee meetings at the time were held in the bar!].
What makes all this odds and ends law-making of interest to me is the mere fact that Dáil Éireann was even sitting in August [in this day and age Ireland’s highly-paid legislators ˗local constituency messenger boys and girls as we like to call them˗ are partial to giving themselves a lengthy summer break of at least two months]. And yet, if the following exchange is anything to go by, a hint of the slothfulness that is all too apparent nowadays was already palpable on 3rd August 1927,
The President of the Executive Council: “I move:
“That the Dáil sit later than 9 p.m., and that the Order for the Adjournment be taken not later than 8 a.m. to-morrow.”
Mr. Morrissey (esteemed member of the legislature)
“I oppose the idea of sitting all night. I think it is an outrageous suggestion.”
To be sure.
Unremarkable a day so far? Well, not quite. Up at the Goffs Bloodstock Sales in Ballsbridge a horsy friend approached bloodstock auctioneer James Byrne Senior to congratulate him. James, acknowledging the good wishes with his usual aplomb, thought the man was referring to his recent sale of a fine looking filly (female horse). “No James I am not talking about a horse. Your wife has just given birth to a baby daughter” Fifty miles away in Kilcullen, Co. Kildare, Mary “Min” Byrne, James’ wife, was resting upstairs in Byrne’s Hotel (See picture below Byrne’s Hotel -circ. 1925- now The Hideout*) having just given birth to my mother, Kathleen (Kathryn) Nora Mary. What appears to have been a rather run of the mill day was indeed very special. Happy 85th Mum!!. As your father used to tell you, you have a fine pair of fetlocks!
(Kathleen “Kathryn” Nora Mary Byrne, 3rd August [Leo] 1927 [Year of the Rabbit] – 1st August 2012 [Year of the Dragon])