By Paula Redmond

October 31st marks the Feast of St. Wolfgang in the Catholic Church. St. Wolfgang of Regensburg was a tenth century German monk. He is the patron saint of carpenters, woodcarvers and the City of Regensburg.
When potato crops were dug in Ireland in October 1845 it was discovered that alarming amounts had been destroyed by potato blight.

Then Prime Minister of the UK, Robert Peel, called an emergency cabinet meeting for October 31st in response to the crop failure. Peel’s proposed solution was the repeal of the Corn Laws, which were tariffs and trade restrictions on imported food and grain in existence in the UK until 1846.

Starvation continued in Ireland until 1849 with approximately one million deaths and emigration of two million.
James J. Hogan was born in Tipperary on October 31st, 1872. His parents moved to Connecticut in the US when he was a child. James later attended Yale University. He played right tackle on the university football team and was captain of their championship team in 1904. He was elected to the US College Football Hall of Fame in 1954. After finishing his education he practised law but died in 1910 as a result of Bright’s Disease.
October 31st, 1922 was the day that Benito Mussolini was sworn in as prime minister of Italy. This followed a march on Rome by Mussolini and his Fascist Party members (known as Blackshirts) to demand the appointment of a fascist government. He remained in office until 1943.

Magician and escapologist Harry Houdini (pictured, right) died on Hallowe’en 1926 of gangrene and peritonitis after his appendix ruptured.

The 31st of October 1940 marks the official end to the Battle of Britian. The Battle was a military campaign of the Second World War. Its purpose was to defend the UK against German Airforce (Luftwaffe) attacks. It involved the Royal Air Force (RAF) and the Fleet Air Arm (FAA) of the Royal Navy.

This day marked the last daylight raid by the Germans on the UK for the next few years. However, night-time raids continued throughout the winter of 1940-1941, with attacks only ending when the Luftwaffe moved east in preparation for attack on the Soviet Union.

Continue reading in this week’s Ireland’s Own