Eamon DeValera - An Irish leader

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Robert Emmet's short, dramatic life left a mythic mark.


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The main spearhead of the revival was The Gaelic League which he joined in 1908. He was greatly influenced by the League and learned the Irish language whilst immersing himself in the Gaelic culture. The Gaelic League was an obvious recruiting ground for the various revolutionary organisations of the time and it was not long before DeValera became a member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood. DeValera was second in command to Thomas MacDonagh of the Dublin Brigade during the Easter Rising of 1916.

The Rising failed and the seven leaders, MacDonagh and Pearse among them, were executed, along with 9 other rebels. DeValera was also sentenced to death as an organiser of the revolt but was to escape the firing squad because of the confusion surrounding his ancestry (the English authorities did not want to risk the execution of an American citizen).

DeValera was elected as the leader of Sinn Fein upon his release and set about the formation of an Irish parliament (the Dáil). He was arrested in 1918 for subversion and imprisoned in England in Lincoln prison. With the help of Michael Collins he escaped to America to raise both funds for and consciousness about, the Irish plight. In his absence the War of Independence was being waged by Collins. The English Prime Minister of the time was Lloyd George who wanted to see an end to the violence.

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Irish Nationalist Eamon DeValera
Irish Nationalist Eamon DeValera