September 14

Published in On this Day listing

  • 1982

    Above: Grace Kelly in Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window (1954).

    Princess Grace of Monaco (52) died, a day after suffering a stroke and crashing her car. Princess Grace, of course, was the former actress Grace Kelly, daughter of John B. Kelly Jr of Philadelphia, the affluent owner of a brickwork contracting company, and granddaughter of John Peter Kelly from Drimurla, just outside Newport, Co. Mayo, who left his cottage in 1887 and emigrated to Philadelphia, where he founded a lucrative brick-making firm. And a fine actress she was, too, best remembered, perhaps, for her role opposite Gary Cooper in the classic High Noon (1952) and as ‘an icy blonde’, as Hitchcock described her, in three of his classic thrillers: Dial M for Murder (1954), Rear Window (1954) and To Catch a Thief (1955). And though she then gave up acting and married a handsome prince, she never forgot her Irish roots and made three visits here. The first was in the summer of 1961—a three-day state visit, followed by a four-day private holiday—the highlight of which was her visit to ‘Kelly Country’. After meeting with some 70 relatives, including nine second cousins, in Westport, she was taken to the whitewashed cottage in Drimurla—spruced up and re-thatched—at the end of a twisting lane where her grandfather was born. There she was greeted by the owner, a 68-year-old widow, Ellen Mulchrone, wearing a black dress and her best apron. After treating the princess to cake, soda bread and biscuits and regaling her with a poem she had composed especially for the occasion, the widow gave her a tour of the cottage. ‘She’s a lovely girl’, she told journalists afterwards. ‘We had a great chat.’

  • 1989 The University of Limerick was inaugurated, the first university opened since the foundation of the state.
  • 1769 Alexander von Humboldt, naturalist and explorer, in his day the most famous man in the world after Napoleon, born in Berlin.
  • 1982 Princess Grace of Monaco (52), formerly the American film actress Grace Kelly, died after a car crash the previous day.
  • 1971 The Democratic Unionist Party was founded by Revd Ian Paisley. ‘A double-decker bus for fundamental loyalism and fundamental Christianity. Its fuel was the Troubles’, wrote one observer.
  • 1968 St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, admitted its first lay students to degree courses.
  • 1967 Rupert Guinness, 2nd earl of Iveagh (93), brewer and philanthropist who presented his Dublin residence, Iveagh House (80 St Stephen’s Green, now the Department of Foreign Affairs), to the government in 1939, died.
  • 1911 Canon James McDyer, priest and community leader associated with Glencolmcille, Co. Donegal, born in Kilraine, Glenties, Co. Donegal.
  • 1814 The US national anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner, was written by Francis Scott Key after witnessing the bombardment of Fort McHenry during the war of 1812–15.

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