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  • Writer's pictureOran

Chief Dev.

I know, this looks like an odd image to share on an Irish page, but this image is of Éamon De Valera...

In 1919, Éamon De Valera, a leading member of Dáil Éireann, the parliament of the illegal Irish Government, stowed away on passenger ship bound for New York. Once on US soil he began using the title of the President of Ireland and spent the next 18 months touring America. The purpose of this trip was to both, raise funds for the Irish Republic and to promote the legitimacy of Dáil Éireann as the official government of Ireland. A divisive figure, De Valera soon attracted both allies and enemies of prominent Irish-American politicians and leaders of business. This would have major repercussions for Ireland when the Civil War broke out two years later.

De Valera managed to successfully raise $5.5 million from American supporters, which was far more than any of the fledgling government members had ever hoped for. This funding was used during the War of Independence, where Irish men and women fought a guerrilla campaign against British forces. Unfortunately, relative freedom from the United Kingdom didn’t bring peace and former allies in the War of Independence now turned their guns against one another over the terms of the agreed treaty with Britain. De Valera went on to become the most prominent politician in Irish history and his legacy, both good and bad lasted far beyond his death in 1975. Throughout his career however, the connections he made during his American tours of 1919-1920 remained vitally important to the new independent Ireland.

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