‘Beware the Ides of March’ but January can be a tricky one too

Country Living with Francis Farragher

MOST of us are familiar with the quote – “Beware the Ides of March” – which was a piece of advice given to Julius Caesar back in 44BC when dissident senators helped to organise his assassination.

A soothsayer – someone who can reputedly predict the future – gave him that warning on the Ides (the 15th day of March) but the Roman Emperor chose to ignore it . . . and as they say, the rest is history.

There could though be a few things to watch out for in the month of January too as I discovered a couple of weeks back when I embarked on a little historical trawl through some of the big events which occurred during our first month.

The one that hits you between the two eyes was the Act of Union on January 1, in 1801 when Ireland was added to the UK (by the British of course), in the process creating the Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and there hasn’t been a dull moment sense.

At least 172 years later, Ireland and Britain were on the one side with Denmark thrown in for good measure as well when that trio of countries joined the EU on January 1, 1973.

Back in those days the European Union was known as the Common Market or the EEC (European Economic Community), which also a January birthdate (again the first day of the month) in 1958 when Belgium, France, West Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and Holland all ‘tied the knot’.

There were though darker events happening on the fifth day of January, 1919, when a political grouping called the German Workers’ Party was formed. Member no. 7 was none other than one Adolf Hitler and 23-years later in the first month of 1942, Nazi leaders planned to exterminate the entire Jewish population of 11 million people.

Of course, not all bad things happened in January, and for those of use who eke out some kind of living by banging at a keyboard for most of our working lives, we owe something to British inventor, Henry Mill, who got a patent issued for one of the first typewriters to hit the market, back in January, 1714.

There was a big day too for the world of pop and rock back on January 8, 1935, when one Elvis Presley was born in Tupelo, Mississippi. Elvis would have just celebrated his 89th birthday if had lived to the present day . . . alas, a tragic if talented life, ended all too soon in the summer of 1977.

Pictured: On January’s 27th day in 1756, probably the world’s greatest ever musical genius arrived into this world in Salzburg, Austria . . . Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.    

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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