“He is a man of lofty character and of high ideals, and evokes in men of the most diverse opinion a common admiration of his chivalry and honour”
Irish Literature-Volume 7 (1904), taken from the entry on John O’ Leary
Recently, we posted a series of images and audio recordings from the launch of a plaque to the memory of the Connolly siblings of the Irish Citizen Army. That plaque was put in place by the excellent North Inner City Folklore Project.
Yesterday, another most welcome plaque was unveiled north of the Liffey, this time in Palmerston Place. The plaque marks the home of Tipperary born Fenian leader John O’ Leary, and acknowledges his role as editor of The Irish People newspaper.
“…O Donovan Rossa, O’ Leary, Luby and others long associated with separatism and republicanism were regularly to be found in or around the Irish People office. And the paper always made the most of the fact that the Fenian Brotherhood in the United States was not a secret organisation…”
- Taken from The Green Flag by Robert Kee
O’ Leary spent a number of years in exile following a prison term in England, and on later returning to Ireland fell in with the literary movement and social circle. It was in this circle that the likes of William Butler Yeats moved, explaining the later reference made by Yeats to O’ Leary in his poem September 1913.
The plaque was unveiled by the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Emer Costello, as part of the annual street party at Palmerston Place. She spoke about the importance of community events like this one, and her speech is uploaded below.
There is much to be learned from this example of a community taken the initiative to mark history properly, and I couldn’t help but be reminded of a comment made by our own jaycarax in a post on this website relating to the various homes of Edinburgh born socialist James Connolly in Dublin.
“The houses in Charlemont Street, Queen Street, Pimlico, Weaver Square and South Lotts Road where Connolly and his family lived should have small plaques to mark their importance.
Indeed they should. In fact, many important houses and buildings lack plaques as they are not positioned in the centre of the city, I would presume. This new plaque shows what can be done. Congratulations are due to the residents of the street on organising a great day.
Speech of the Lord Mayor, Emer Costello.