New York Born Eamonn De Valera – The Man who gave us Boycott – Thomas Davis at Today in Irish History

October 14: TODAY in Irish History:

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De Valera captured 1916

Snippets of Irish History by Conor Cunneen IrishmanSpeaks 

Conor is a Chicago based Motivational Humorous Business Speaker, Author and History buff.



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1791: Society of United Irishmen

Society of United Irishmenfounded at a meeting attended by Wolfe Tone, Henry Joy McCracken and Thomas Russell. One of the resolutions passed read: That no reform is just which does not include Irishmen of every religious persuasion.





1814: Thomas Davis – Young Irelander

Thomas Davis, writer, poet and architect the Young Ireland movement is born in Mallow. In his short thirty one years, Davis made a major contribution to Irish history.  He was one of the leading lights of the Young Ireland movement, editor of The Nation newspaper and composed one of Ireland’s most famous nationalist songs A Nation Once Again. He also wrote wrote the Lament for Owen Roe O’Neill.


Thomas Davis Irish poet and nationalist
Thomas Davis 1814-1845




1880: Captain Charles Boycott – The Man Behind the Word

Charles Boycott 1832-1897
Charles Boycott 1832-1897

Captain Charles Boycott, who would be responsible for giving the English language the word “boycott” writes to the Times of London about his situation in Ireland.


Sir, The following detail may be interesting to your readers as exemplifying the power of the Land League. On the 22nd September a process-server, escorted by a police force of seventeen men, retreated to my house for protection, followed by a howling mob of people, who yelled and hooted at the members of my family. On the ensuing day, September 23rd, the people collected in crowds upon my farm, and some hundred or so came up to my house and ordered off, under threats of ulterior consequences, all my farm labourers, workmen, and stablemen, commanding them never to work for me again.

My herd has been frightened by them into giving up his employment, though he has refused to give up the house he held from me as part of his emolument. Another herd on an off farm has also been compelled to resign his situation. My blacksmith has received a letter threatening him with murder if he does any more work for me, and my laundress has also been ordered to give up my washing. A little boy, twelve years of age, who carried my post-bag to and from the neighbouring town of Ballinrobe, was struck and threatened on 27th September, and ordered to desist from his work; since which time I have sent my little nephew for my letters and even he, on 2nd October, was stopped on the road and threatened if he continued to act as my messenger.

The shopkeepers have been warned to stop all supplies to my house, and I have just received a message from the post mistress to say that the telegraph messenger was stopped and threatened on the road when bringing out a message to me and that she does not think it safe to send any telegrams which may come for me in the future for fear they should be abstracted and the messenger injured. My farm is public property; the people wander over it with impunity. My crops are trampled upon, carried away in quantities, and destroyed wholesale. The locks on my gates are smashed, the gates thrown open, the walls thrown down, and the stock driven out on the roads. I can get no workmen to do anything, and my ruin is openly avowed as the object of the Land League unless I throw up everything and leave the country. I say nothing about the danger to my own life, which is apparent to anybody who knows the country.


Lough Mask House, County Mayo, 14 October



READ: Relief of Captain Boycott






1882: Eamonn De Valera born in New York City

“Dev” is born in New York city to parents Catherine Coll from County Limerick and Juan de Valera, a Cuban immigrant. He would become one of the leading lights of Irish nationalism, independence, the civil war and twentieth century Irish politics.

De Valera fought in the 1916 Rising and only avoided execution either because he was an American Citizen or because British authorities called a halt to any further execution of the leaders of the Rising.


De Valera captured 1916
Captured de Valera 1916 Rising


He spent much of the Irish War of Independence in the United States, generating support and funding for an independent Ireland.

Dev’s reluctance to get directly involved in the Anglo Irish Treaty negotiations has intrigued historians for years. His subsequent refusal to accept the Treaty and a democratic vote in the Dail Eireann, (Irish Parliament) led to the Irish Civil War.


de valera anti-treaty
de Valera with Anti-Treaty TDs 1922


Conspiracy theorists blame de Valera for the death of Michael Collins, but there is little evidence that he directly ordered the death of The Big Fella.

An immensely skilled politician, he reneged on much of his rhetoric when he agreed in 1927 to enter Dail Eireann reciting the Oath of Allegiance which he described as “an empty formula.”

Once he gained power in 1932, he removed the Oath of Allegiance actively encouraged Irish self-sufficiency encouraging economic protectionism which was not to the country’s benefit and was not afraid to bring the full rigor of the law on many of his former IRA colleagues who continued a campaign for independence.

Securing control of the Irish ports from Britain in 1938 played a major role in keeping Ireland “neutral” during World War II.

De Valera’s decision to visit and offer condolences to the German Ambassador on the death of Adolf Hitler amazed and infuriated world opinion.

In 1959, he relinquished parliamentary politics and became President of  Ireland for two seven year terms.

Founding of Fianna Fáil

Disillusioned with the abolitionist policies of Sinn Fein, de Valera founded the Fianna Fáil party in 1926. Although the party would dominate much of Irish politics for the rest of the century, the party’s manifesto was an optimistic, utopian document that is some way from being achieved.

1.To secure the unity and independence of Ireland as a Republic.

2.To restore the Irish language as the spoken language of the people, and to develop a distinctive national life in accordance with Irish traditions and ideals.

3.To make the resources and wealth of Ireland subservient to the needs and welfare of all the people of Ireland.

4.To make Ireland, as far as possible, economically self-contained and self-sufficing.

5.To establish as many families as practicable on the land.

6.By suitable distribution of power to promote the ruralisation of industries essential to the lives of the people as opposed to their concentration in cities.

7.To carry out the Democratic Programme of the First Dáil.




WATCH: A Short History of Ireland

Want to learn more about Ireland? See these images and more in the acclaimed For the Love of Being Irish

Irish gift ideas. Best selling Irish booksRonnie Drew and Luke Kelly - Musical Irish Gifts to the worldJoyce Image in For the Love of Being IrishMichael Collins: Image from For the Love of Being Irish


This history is written by Irish author, business keynote speaker and award winning humorist IrishmanSpeaks – Conor Cunneen. If you spot any inaccuracies or wish to make a comment, please don’t hesitate to contact us via the comment button.

Visit Conor’s YouTube channel IrishmanSpeaks to Laugh and Learn.

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