A Loyal & Courageous Comrade
O’Ceallaigh, Sean T. A very good TLS on notepaper of Saorstat Eireann, Office of Vice President, to Edmund Downey of Waterford, dated 15.2.1933, one page, referring to Fianna Fail’s election success. ‘We won a great victory all over the country. It has put new heart and new enthusiasm into everybody. I did particularly well, I can truthfully say, in my own constituency of North Dublin’. ‘I hope now we shall be able to do something substantial to show our gratitude to the people for the splendid renewal of confidence they have given us’
With a second TLS on the same notepaper, 1.8.1934, acknowledging Downey’s sympathy on the death of Sean T.’s (first) wife. ‘Her loss is a great blow to me as she was ever such a wise counsellor and loyal and courageous comrade in all my activities’ ‘But God’s Will be done. He wished to take her to Himself so I must not complain but accept His cross with proper resignation’.
With a third note concerning a statement sent to the ‘News’, 18.1.1927; and also a TLS from O’Kelly’s secretary as Minister for Local Government, 12.8.1935, annotated by Downey on rear. (4)More details ›
‘No Life or Living for Them in Ireland’
Macardle (Dorothy) Three A.L.S. to the Editor of ‘Green & Gold’, March-April (no year), somewhat soiled, concerning stories which she is offering for publication, her terms, etc. with a note dated July 7 to ‘Dear Mr. Downey’ (Edmund Downey of Waterford), saying her speech was no loss, enquiring after his son, etc.; ‘The Chief is still suffering with his throat and is threatened with serious injury to the vocal chords. Meanwhile, of course, he is expected to speak everywhere’. With a good signature.
Also with a seven page manuscript report in Macardle’s hand of ‘Miss Macardle’s speech’ at Old Parish (Co. Waterford). [on behalf of Fianna Fail], probably 1927. ‘Lord French said that what was wrong with Ireland was that there were in it, 200,000 young men who ‘normally’ would have emigrated. Well, the Black-and-Tans did not succeed in driving those young men away, and it was the great hope of the Republicans after the Civil War that in spite of defeat, the young manhood and womanhood of Ireland would rally and save Ireland by political means. The boys and girls who have gone to America are breaking their hearts to come home. It is because there is no life or living for them in Ireland that they had to go, and that their brothers and sisters growing up will have to go after them, unless we make a glorious change ”
With corrections, inscribed on rear of final page. Presumably the editor of Green and Gold was Edmund Downey.
‘The Chief’ is of course De Valera, of whom Dorothy Macardle was a close associate and supporter.
As a collection, w.a.f. (1)More details ›
Signed by Dev
Photograph: Keogh Bros. (Dorset St., Dublin) An attractive head and shoulders Photo of Eamon de Valera, wearing a three piece suit and glasses, signed and dated in the lower right “Eamon de Valera, 1925,” in black ink, mounted on card, approx. 11 1/2″ x 9 1/2″, some wear. Scarce. (1)More details ›
De Valera (Eamon). The Hundred Best Sayings of Eamon De Valera, From his release from Lewes Prison 1917, to his release from Arbour Hill, 1924. 20mo D. (Talbot Press) 1924, 40pp., limp purple cloth cover. Scarce, good. (1)More details ›
De Valera (Eamon), President of Sinn Fein. A short T.L.S. on Sinn Fein headed paper dated 1 Dec. 1924, to Edmund Downey (Editor), The Waterford News, thanking him for ‘your note of welcome’ with a good signature.
Wtih a second typed leter daed July 22nd, 1924, signed by De Valera’s secretary Caitlin ni Chonaill, also to Downey, thanking him for his letter, presumably on the occasion of De Valera’s release from jail, 16 July 1924. (2)More details ›
The Proper Line of Action
De Valera (Eamon) An interesting autograph signed note to Edmund Downey dated March 19 c,1920?, on plain paper, saying ‘Your note of the 12th was very welcome. It is heartening just now to find that the friends who are most in touch with public opinion agree that the line of action I indicated is the proper one under the circumstances’. Entirely in De Valera’s hand, with a good signature.
Probably refers to De Valera’s decision of early March, 1926, to withdraw from Sinn Fein after a party Ardfheis rejected a motion which would have allowed flexibility on a decision to enter Leinster House.
With a T.L.S. from De Valera to Downey on Fianna Fail notepaper dated 3 June 1926, mentioning difficulties which ‘have to be faced’. ‘The only thing for us to do is to ‘go full steam ahead’ with our own programme’, etc. With a good signature.
An interesting pair of letters, before and after the formation of Fianna Fail. Edmund Downey was an influential newspaper editor and a long-time supporter of De Valera. (2)More details ›
“His Grace” in Waterford
De Valera (Eamon) An autograph signed Note from E(amon) de Valera to ‘A chara’ (Edmund Downey) dated 3.8.25, concerning arrangments for a visit to W(ater)ford Corporation by ‘His Grace’ on Aug. 12, after his visit to Mount Melleray in the aternoon. ‘It should be arranged that a car call for him there.. I hope all arrangemetns will be carefully made.’
On a sheet of squared paper, evidently extracted from a notebook.
It is likely that ‘His Grace’ was the Archbishop of Melbourne, Dr. Mannix, who was in Ireland around this time. Edmund Downey was editor / owner of the ‘Waterford News,’ a leading member of the Corporation and a friend of De Valera. (1)More details ›
Dev Enlisting Support
De Valera (Eamon) An autograph signed Letter on Fianna Fail headed paper, 12.12.27, to E. Downey (Editor), Waterford News. ‘I am asking Mr. (P.J.) Little to go to Waterford and arrange a convas for subscriptions for the projected Daily Paper.
I have suggested to him to consult with you and enlist your aid. We ought to be able to get several £100 shareholders at least in your city.’ With a good signature. Fold marks, a little smudged as a manuscript. (1)More details ›
“News from the Country”
De Valera (Eamon) A good TLS on headed Fianna Fail paper, April 28th, 1926 (a fe wweeks after the foundation of the party), to E. Downey, Waterford News, reerrin to an enquiry. ‘Yes, there is no doubt the representative makes a special dificulty in that case. News from the country is reassurin.’ With a good signature.
With a second letter from De Valera’s secretary Kathleen O’Connell, 20 November 1926, referring to dificulties over a civic reception in Waterford involving De Valera; and a third letter, a T.L.S. from De Valera to Downey onnotepaper of Roinn an Uachtarain (dept. of the President, Saorstat Eireann), acknowledging a recommendation of Denis Hannigan for appointment to the staff of the ‘Evenin Press,’ etc. (Curious that De valera should write such a letter on State notepaper), as a manuscript, w.a.f. (3)More details ›
Problems in Waterford?
De Valera (Eamon) An inteesting T.L.S. to E(dmund) Downey of Waterford, on Dail Eireann (Government of the Republic of Irealnd) notepaper, dated 2 Feb. 1925, referring in veiled terms to a matter raised with him by letter by Downey. ‘The army mater involved is being brought to the attention of Army H.Q., which will deal with that side of the case. I reret that I cannot personally interfere at the moment.’ With a good signature.
With a secondletter on Sinn Fein notepaper dated 20 Sept. 1924, from De Valera’s secretary Caitlin ni Chonaill, referrring to what Downey says in a letter about conditions in Waterford.
Edmund Downey was owner / editor of the Waterford News, and was besides a riend and supporter of De Valera. (2)More details ›
Irish Press Limited: A four page copy of the Prospectus for Shares in the irish Press, indicating break down, dividends, etc., Directors including Eamon de Valera, Bankers, Solictors and Auditors, opening to reveal an unprocessed Form of Application for Shares, with m/ss notes for “Edmund Downey, 50 O’Connell Street, Waterford,” dated 5th September 1928, lg. 8vo, D. (Corrigan & Wilson) 1928. Unusual & Scarce. (1)More details ›
Dail Loan Fund: A collection of four Ephermal Items relating to the Fund & Subscription to include a leaflet entitled Why you should Subscribealso another leaflet entitled Issue of £250,000, 5% Registrered Certificates,; a printed letter on Dail Eireann Headed Paper – Dept. of Finance, signed off A. Griffith and Michael Collins, addressed to the People of Ireland,
A$10 ten dollar Bond Certificate issued by Sean Ua Nunain (Registrar) and Eamon de Baileara (de Valera) to Margaret Mc Carthy, No. 193569, slight folds, otherwise fine. As a collection. (1)More details ›
Nic Suibhne (Maire) Three T.L.S. on headed Sinn Fein paper, July – Sept. 1924, to the Editor, Waterford News, about various matters to do with ‘Sinn Fein’ publicity, reports of public meetins, etc.
Maire Nic Suibhne was a sister of the deceased Lord Mayor of Cork, Terence Mac Swiney, as a collection, w.a.f. (3)More details ›
Group of 15 Autograph Signed Letters
Caitlin Brugha [widow of Cathal Brugha] A very good collection of 15 autograph signed letters and one T.L.S. to Edmund Downey, Editor of the Waterford News, 1922-1927, discussing politics, the state of the country, internal Sinn Fein matters, De Valera and Fianna Fail, her own business affairs and much else, two of the letters on the headed paper of Kingstons, her Dublin stationery and drapery shop.
Caitlin Brugha, nee Kingston, married Cathal Brugha in 1912. She was left to raise her six children alone when Cathal – Minister for Defence in the First Dail – was shot by Free State soldiers outside the Hammam Hotel in central Dublin in July 1922, after refusing to surrender. The first letter, on mourning paper, 8.8.22, is in reply to Downey’s message of sympathy.
‘Cathal’s death is the deepest sorrow God could have given me & it is my consolation to know that he died for Ireland. May God send us that Freedom for which he died & may his example keep our people from selling our beloved country in to slavery.’
As the correspondence continues, it becomes less formal. On 17.12.23 she writes that ‘The prospects are now looking very good for [the release of] the prisoners, it is only a matter of time before Dev is back again. The general opinion is that the Free State is only also a matter of time & that Cosgrave & the rest are making hay while they can. They are all buying fine houses – I heard that one of them owns practically half Greystones .. Sinn Fein is at present working on a policy which will be practical & workable for the country, with the addition of Sean T & the others we expect to make some headway now that the awful hunger strike is over & the prisoners coming out.’
An interesting TLS (undated, probably 1925) discusses the work of a voluntary Gaeltacht Relief Committee which has given small grants to encourage employment in places including Lettermore, Co. Galway, where about 40 families have been employed through the winter in collecting periwinkles. ‘The balance sheet shows a profit and with a further
subsidy the committee proposes now to proceed with the lobster fishing and the marketing of carrigeen .. We have only been able to help in very few of the areas where distress exists .. and I may add as a matter of course, irrespective of the political opinions of those who benefit.’
On 26.4.25 she refers to the sale of the Freeman’s Journal. ‘The Freeman would have been bought [by Republicans?] had it been possible but it was arranged that the Independent Co. should bid up to the highest offer sent in, so I understand, & also I heard that the last & highest offer was held up for 4 hours to give sufficient time to the ‘Independent’ people.
Our people are holding the money in the expectation of being able to do something when the opportunity offers.’
On 8.9.25, ‘This afternoon I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Mannix [Archbishop of Melbourne] at Mrs. Farnan’s, just a very private lunch. He seems very pleased with this town & is very eager to know the real truth about everything.’
On 23.9.25, ‘I am of course very interested in the paper project, have you decided yet if you will take it. My very great regret would be if it occasioned your departure from Waterford’ – suggesting that Downey (then a Sinn Fein supporter, and Editor of the Waterford News) may have been approached in connection with the project for a Republican daily paper.
On April 27 [probably 1927, after De Valera’s break with Sinn Fein], ‘I went to Waterford with a very strong desire not to allow my name to go forward again. Sinn Fein decided to nominate me but I made it clear that my consent will depend on whatever chance there is to bring about an agreement between the two organisations, that I would not be associated with any kind of public squabbling. Sceilg is now very anxious that an agreement should be arranged without any violation of what we look upon as principle. I trust De Valera will consider this very seriously. So far you know he has refused to give us any guarantee, & however honest he may be & I have no doubt is, it is generally considered very doubtful if some of those who are with him are [equally so]. It is therefore essential to the future of this unfortunate little country that representatives of honesty & integrity only should be put forward. I always thought that the difficulty of finding candidates of this kind in the ranks of Fianna Fail would be Dev’s great difficulty.’
In her last letter, 17.5.27, her tone is cooler (by then Downey had joined Fianna Fail). ‘In order to have the position clear I got a copy of the guarantees required by Sinn Fein. Read in cold print it amounts to the S.F. programme without any deviation. I understood that De Valera had declared that if Fianna Fail were to get a majority he would set up a Republican government. Now I understand that he has declared that majority or minority he was prepared to take over the Government, which in plain language is the Treaty. You will understand that it is not possible for S. Fein to cooperate with Fianna Fail, if De Valera speaks for all its members.’
From Birr, Co. Offaly, Caitlin Brugha came from a business background.
She was evidently a person of considerable ability, and she raised her family on the proceeds of her Dublin shop. She was Treasurer of Sinn Fein after 1922, and was TD for Waterford 1923-27 (a seat previously held by her husband). She was a close supporter of Eamon de Valera, but did not support his move to enter the Dail, and did not defend her seat in the second election of 1927. Her son Ruairi was later a Fianna Fail TD.
* This is a wide-ranging correspondence, giving a flavour of political and business life in the 1920s, and showing the difficulties caused for a principled Sinn Fein member when De Valera decided to drop the policy of abstention. Letters from Caitlin Brugha are uncommon. One letter is torn, without significant loss; otherwise the correspondence is in very good condition. Her handwriting is easily legible throughout, as a collection, w.a.f. (1)More details ›
Lemass (Sean F.) & O Beolain (Gearoid), Runaigh the Onorocha, Fianna Fail. An interesting T.L., signed with stamp, on Fianna Fail headed paper, 28.4.1927, to E. Downey, Waterford News, concerning the electoral situation in Waterford. ‘We have been testing the possibility of an arrangement with Sinn Fein for some time past, but have not been able to make any progress, and are not very hopeful of success. If all those in the Sinn Fein Movement took the same attitude as Mrs. Brugha, there would be no difficulty.’
With a second letter dated 20.5.1927, similarly signed, conveying a decision to put forward two Fianna Fail candidates, P.J. Little and Micheal O’Riain. ‘With three Republicans in the field .. it is not likely that the three will be elected, but we feel that the choice in the matter should rest with the Voters and not with us If the people want Mrs. Brugha they can elect her and if they want Fianna Fail they can vote for the Fianna Fail candidates’.
See also the correspondence between Edmund Downey and Caitlin Bean Brugha, elsewhere in this sale. In the event, Mrs. Brugha did not stand again. (2)More details ›
De Roiste, (Liam) A folder of various letters and documents including an authograph letter signed ‘Domhnall’ (possibly O Corcora), 1.12.17; various enquiries about Colaiste na Mumhan; a manuscript note from the honorary secretary of the Women’s National Committee (Sinn Fein?), 6 Harcourt Street, postmarked 1911; a matriculation certificate for William Edward Roche, 1911; a copy of his birth certificate and death certificate; a curious manuscript document headed ‘Turlough MacSuibhne Ardmhaoir, the Famous Brixton Martyr A.D. 1920’, signed ‘P.J.L.’ (P.J. Little?) Cork; March 1921; a framed election leaflet for J.J. Walsh and Liam de Roiste, Cork, probably 1918; and a few other items, as a collection, w.a.f.
Liam de Roiste, of Cork, was a close friend of Terence MacSwiney and later a Cumann na Gael, T.D. (1)More details ›
A JACK YEATS DISCOVERY
Yeats (Jack B., RHA). A unique set of nine hand-coloured block-prints after his designs for the poem ‘Kittie’s Toys’ by Dora Sigerson Shorter, prepared for publication by Colm O Lochlainn’s newly-founded Candle Press in 1918, but prohibited by the censor. With a printed copy of the poem previously issued by the Gaelic Press , bearing the censor’s pencilled verdict, also an ALS from Colm O Lochlainn on his headed paper to Yeats dated 8 July 1918 about pricing and terms, Jack Yeats’ autograph signed reply, a signed receipt from Yeats for £5 on account, two sheets with Colm’s manuscript cost estimates for an edition of 2250 copies, and a sample setting in large type of one verse of the poem. Some traces of mounting rear but in excellent fresh condition.
A fascinating discovery, which clears up a long-standing mystery. Jack Yeats’ uncoloured original designs were returned to him, as requested in his letter to Colm O Lochlainn, and were later in the Waddington collections; they are reproduced in Hilary Pyle’s The Different Worlds of Jack Yeats, his Cartoons and Illustrations (1994), nos. 1404-1412 (p. 194-196). Pyle states that the new edition of Sigerson’s poem planned by the Candle Press with the Yeats illustrations was never published, ‘perhaps because it was considered unwise to do so in the climate of the time’. We can see now that the planned publication was directly prohibited by the censor, who said there was no objection to the drawings, but the poem ‘must not be published’ (even though Joseph Stanley’s Gaelic Press had already published it, probably without going through censorship).
Sigerson’s poem is a clever allegory in the style of a child’s song, about young Kittie [Cathleen Ni Houlihan], who envies her friend Marie’s toy soldiers, Gretchen’s flag, and Johnny’s fleet – all things that were stolen from Kittie by her rough neighbour Johnny [Bull]. Evidently the censor got the point. The drawings on their own would of course have been meaningless. O Lochlainn had similar problems previously with Dermot O’Byrne’s ‘A Dublin Ballad’, which was circulated in spite of a censorship ban; presumably the financial risk would have been too great to do the same with a full-colour publication. It is a pity, as it would have been a delightful book.
The hand colouring of these block-prints is very delicate, and is certainly by Jack Yeats himself; evidently they were intended for reproduction in colour. They enable us to see for the first time how Yeats intended his drawings to appear. There are nine prints – a cover design, a title-page and seven page designs to appear with the seven verses. We can find no record of any other set of these prints, whether coloured or not.
A unique, charming and important discovery. (1)More details ›
Manuscript Diary, Ireland, 1917 – A most interesting manuscript diary, evidently compiled by a journalist, giving his detailed impressions of political affairs and personalities in Ireland, mostly October-December 1917, over 100 pages, neatly written in ink, dated entries in a lined morocco-bound pocket-book (headed ‘Notes in Ireland / Book V. inside front cover).
Includes detailed accounts of his conversations with various people, mostly named; including T.A. Grehan, advertising manager with Independent Newspapers, who says the ‘Ashe incident’ has given Sinn Fein tremendous impetus; Grehan arranged an interview for him with Sean O’Kelly, ‘very suspicious of me as D.M. correspondent’, who showed him his mobilisation order signed by Pearse for the Easter Rising. ‘Confesses that both he and De Valera were not keen to be shot, and hoped they would be able to stand ordeal. Which leads me to conclude that these same gentlemen will be cautious just now . Dine at Kildare St. Club with Captain Shaw, Ulster Sec. of Convention Marvels at change of sentiment towards rebels within a week after rebellion. Whole country against rebs in beginning The Ashe affair a gift of heaven which saved waning strength of De Valera at important time for him..’, etc. etc.
A most interesting contemporary document. No doubt the writer could be identified by a trawl through the files of the Daily Mail and/or Mirror. (1)More details ›
Plunkett (Grace), widow of Joseph Mary Plunkett. A ‘Vote for Barton’ election Poster or Handbill, the original pen-and-ink design, signed, circa 11 ½” x 8″ (29cms x 20cms), showing Myles Byrne and Michael Dwyer under a banner reading ‘We claimed Liberty for Ireland / NOT Foreign Mastery’, over the message ‘Vote for Barton / The man who makes the same claim.’/ The man who denies the right of the / stranger to govern Ireland./ The man who stands for the interests of the farmer’ (interestingly, the final line apparently crossed out in pencil.).
Signed on back, ‘R.C. Barton’. Robert Barton, a Wicklow landowner, joined the British Army and fought in France, but resigned his commission after the executions in 1916, joined Sinn Fein and the Irish Volunteers, was elected to the First Dail and became a Minister. He was a Treaty negotiator in 1921, agreed at the last minute to sign, but later changed his mind.
Grace Plunkett, nee Gifford, was from a South Dublin Unionist family. She married Joseph Mary Plunkett the afternoon before his execution. (1)More details ›
Micheal Collins & Robert Barton
An important Collection of Autoraph and typed Letters signed from Collins, to Dulcibella Barton, sister of Robert (Bob) Barton of Annamoe House, Glendalough (cousin of Erskine Childers a former British soldier who resigned in protest at the 1916 executions, joined Sinn Fein and the Volunteers, was elected to the First Dail and became a Dail Miniser.
Dulcibella – afer whom Erskie Childers’ yacht was named – shared her broter’s views; among those who sheltered at her home was Eoin O’Malley after his escape from Free State custody.
robert Barton was jaile din ebruary 1919 for making seditious speeches. A month later he escaped from Mountjoy, leaving a note for the governor sayin he could stay no longer as the service was not satisfactory. In January 1920 he was rearrested, and sentenced to tree years penal servitude. Collins tried to ‘spring’ him while he was being driving to prison, but the attempt failed; see letters below.
Later Barton was a member o the Treaty deleation; his decision to sign was crucial to the outcome, though he later changed his mind.
A few of the letters are accompanied by envelopes addresed in Collins’ hand.
Collins (Michael) A very good A.L.S. to ‘A Chara dhom’ (Dulcibella Barton), one page, on plain paper dated 1 Dec. 1920, thanking her for sending a message to Bob (Barton). ‘Mrs. Childers had asked me for a note, but the sad events of last weekend kept me over employed or rather over distracted. Some people never foreget anything – I say your wreath for the two dead officers. There were no two men who had a reater appreciation of Bob.’
With a full signature, ‘Do bhuan cara / Micheal O Coileain’. The two ded oficers were Dick Mc Kee and Peadar Clancy, officers in the Irish Volunteers’ Dublin Brigade, shot dead by members of the Auxiliaries while in custoy on the night of Saturday November 20 – the evenin of ‘Bloody Sunday,’ after Collins’ famous raid on the homes of British secret service officers in Dublin. A fine letter. (1)More details ›