DeValera reaches New York

De Valera reaches New York

From Bureau of Military History Witness Statement 913, Rev. T.J Shanley

De Valera in New York - June 1919

When the "Lapland" arrived at New York, Joe McGarity, and Harry Boland who had come out about six months ahead, met the Chief at 21st or 22nd Street.

The Chief came off the ship in the same old clothes with Downs, who had seen Joe and Harry beforehand. They went direct to 338 East 29th Street. Father Flanagan was out when they arrived but came in later. This was the first time Father Flanagan had seen the chief for twenty years - since they were both at Blackrock College together.

Archbishop Alex. MacDonald of Vancouver was staying at 338 at that time. He was inclined to be pro-British in his views and remarked that De Valera was doing a lot of harm to the Irish cause and the cause of civilization in general. De Valera began to talk with him, and they became fast friends and corresponded for years. De Valera stayed at 338 for a few days. Then he went to Philadelphia with McCarthy who had bought clothes, traveling bags, etc., for him.

The first meeting x at which De Valera appeared in public was at the Waldorf. Present were John Dooley, Father Shanley, Judge Cohalan, Spillane of Connecticut, and others. Early in 1919 there was about $919,000 collected in the Victory Fund. When Father Shanley was going home that summer, Harry Boland was on the same ship and he told Father Shanley about his first interview with Cohalan in regard to the money in the Fund. He said he went to see Cohalan who asked him what he wanted. Boland said that they intended to put. up a fight in Ireland and needed funds and ammunition, that the people in Ireland were not able to put up the amount of money needed, and that for every British soldier in Ireland they were prepared to put an Irish one side by side with him, provided he had a gun to protect himself with.

Cohalan said that the money in the Victory Fund would be needed in this country for educational purposes and propaganda. Boland said: "If we get the guns and ammunition we need, we will write Ireland's name on the front pages of the papers in blood". And Cohalan replied: "The Irish Republic doesn't exist. Ireland will never get anything, but the day is coming very soon when England and America will go to war. Then in the treaty between England and America, America will annex Canada, and then Ireland will get her freedom". Boland said: "I don't understand what you mean ..". Cohalan repeated his statement and Boland said: "Well, Judge, before your dream comes true, thousands of men will have died on the hillsides of Ireland without a gun to protect themselves with", and he left. There was a meeting at which Cohalan left in protest. The question came up of appropriating a certain amount of money in the Victory Fund (75% to arm the men of Ireland, x (Note: Check with Joe McGarity as to who were present at the meeting.) and 25% to remain here for educational purposes and propaganda).

The question came up again, this time of appropriating 25% of the money for Ireland. The 25% could probably be accounted for in the money which was loaned to De Valera here to inaugurate the bond issue and for a lease on 411 Fifth Avenue. A meeting was held with some members of banks, etc., who wanted to get control of the Fund. De Valera insisted that he was here in the name of the people of Ireland and he wanted them to benefit by the funds which had been collected for them. Meeting x at the Murray Hill Hotel. Seán Noonan came here as secretary to De Valera in June, 1919, about ten days after the arrival of De Valera.

From Bureau of Military History Witness Statement 1,744, Sean Nunan

In June, 1919, the Government decided to have President de Valera go to America to endeavour to secure recognition of the Republic from the United States Government, and to raise a Loan to enable the Dáil to carry on its activities, and he asked me would I go with him. I, of course, agreed, and he told me to see Michael Collins about transport arrangements. I saw him, and he told me to go to Liverpool and contact Neil Kerr (I.R.B. Centre there) who would up'.

Michael Collins gave me £5 for expenses (Dublin to New York!), with which I paid my fare to Liverpool and purchased a seaman's outfit. I arrived in Liverpool on Whit Monday, and stayed that night with Neil Kerr.

The following morning, we went to the docks, and found that the "Aquitania", of the Cunard Line, was signing on a crew that day. After some very hurried arrangements, I was registered at the Board of Trade as a fireman, and made a member of the Seamen's and Firemen's Union, under the name of James Smith (the Secretary of the Union was also an I.R.B. man), and signed ship's articles as a fireman. The "Aquitania" was sailing from Southhampton on the following Friday, and the crew were taken there by special train. The only man in the whole crew whom I knew, was a Dublin man, named Dowd, who was a regular fireman with the Cunard Company, and had been told to join the "Aquitania" to be with me.

He Was, I think, also an I.R.B. man. As it turned out, he wasn't in a position to help me much, as I was allotted to the eight-to-four watch, while he was in a different watch and in another I fireroom. I had never fired a ship before - in fact, I had never been in a fireroom - and found the work pretty rugged, but managed not to miss a watch. The "Aquitania" arrived in New York on Sunday, June 22nd, after calling at Halifax, to disembark Canadian troops. After the ship had docked and the passengers had gone ashore, I suggested to Dowd that we also should go ashore. It was thought doubtful whether we would be permitted to go, as we had not passed immigration officials, but we went.

A quartermaster, stationed at the gangway, merely warned us to put out our cigarettes, as smoking was not permitted on the dock - he evidently thought we were passengers, as we had cleaned ourselves up! Customs officers were examining passengers' baggage on the upper deck of the dock, so we went down to the lower (freight) deck, and, although there were several officials at the dock gate, none of them questioned us, and we walked out into West Street.

I now had to find President de Valera, or Harry Boland, who had preceded the President to America. Dowd took me to the house of a friend of his - a member of the Clan na Gael- (I forget his name), as he thought he would be able to get me in touch with the President, but his friend was out at work (he was a type-setter in the "New York Times"), and, while waiting for him to return, I read in the morning paper that the President was to make his first public appearance in America at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, the next day.

So we went to the Waldorf, and enquired for him at the reception desk. The reception clerk told us that the President was not there, but suggested we try the office of the Friends of Irish Freedom at 280, Broadway. We went there, and, after I had established my bona fides, I was told to telephone a certain number and ask for a Miss Martin, who would be able to tell me where Mr. Boland could be contacted. I did so, and was referred to the Carmelite Priory on East 28th Street. I went there, and the Prior, Father McGuinness, told me that the President was expected there the following morning, and suggested that I should stay at the Priory that night. The following morning (June 23rd), the President, accompanied by Harry Boland and Joe McGarrity of Philadelphia, arrived.

The President was surprised to see me, as he had sent word to Michael Collins that I should not undertake the journey because, after hearing from Harry Boland about the rigours of firing a ship (Harry was also a fireman) - plus his own rough experience as a stowaway - he felt I would not be able to stand it, but I had sailed before the President's message reached Dublin. The whole party then proceeded to the Waldorf Astoria. Hotel, where the American-Irish leaders (John Devoy, Judge Cohalan, Diarmuid Lynch, etc.), as well as hundreds of the rank and file of the Friends of Irish Freedom, Clan na Gael and other Irish organisations were waiting to greet the President. A press conference was held, at which the President explained Ireland's case and the reasons for his visit to America.

The welcome he got, and the publicity he obtained, were tremendous. Telegrams and letters poured in from all over the country, requesting him to appear and speak - including requests from many Governors of States and Mayors of Cities.

From Irish Independent, 11 June 1919

Mr. Wilson and Ireland





President "Wilson will receive the Irish-American Delegates in Paris to-day. The announcement comes from our special representative in Paris and is confirmed by Reuter's Agency, which states that they will urge him personally to present the case of Ireland to the Peace Conference.

In an interview with our representative, Mr. Walsh, of the Delegation, predicts "a great awakening" for those who think that Ireland's case is not before the world, and even goes so far as to say that during, or immediately following, the Peace Conference, Ireland will be freee.

On the U. S. Senate's resolution claiming a hearing at the Conference for the Irish representatives, Mr. "Walsh points out that it was passed by a larger majority than that which declared war on Germany and that party lines were obliterated.

From Nenagh Guardian, 14th June 1919


Mary : " Were you at the hurling on Holy Thursday last, Michael ?"

Michael : " Yes, I was Mary, and very good hurling it was."

Mary : " I am glad, Michael, that Scariff won the match, because they were very down in the mouth after being beaten by O'Callaghan's Mills that time "

Michael : " That's true, Mary, but always wish that the best team win. You know we're all Irish and it does not do for us to entertain the least malice when our hurling team should be fairly and squarely beaten."

Mary : " I don't mean that, Michael, but sure I'd rather our own team to win."

Michael : " They are all our own, God bless them, and our own they'll remain, but I don't like hearing complaints when a match is overland lost."

Mary: " Sure I'm not complaining, but you know I'd rather to see Miss Mac's brother winning like." Michael : "That's true; young Mac is a fine hurler and a good Irishman."

Mary : " Do you attend the Irish classes row at all, Michael.?"

Michael : " We have had no Irish classes for some time past."

Mary : " What's the cause, Michael ; I see the Irish teacher in town every week."

Michael : " Yes, that's true, Mary, but I find the boys more interested in idle gossiping at Market Square than in the Irish language."

Mary : '' Then they musn't be the real thing, Michael."

Michael : 'I'm afraid not. At any rate they are not as national or Irish as I expected."

Mary : " Faix then I heard they were all at the circus the other night."

Michael : '' Yes, there was a large crowd there."

Mary : " Did you enjoy the circus, Michael ; I heard it was very vulgar ?"

Michael : No, I didn't. Yes, it was very vulgar, but I left before it was over, as I could not stick the songs or the sensual appearance of the actors.

Mary : " Faith than I heard some Sinn Feiners praising the circus."

Michael : " 'Tis fashionable now to be a Sinn Feiner, but 'tis idle to think a person can be one without learning the Irish language and doing a lot of other things besides."

Mary : '"Tis hard to learn Irish, Michael. Don't be too hard on the boys."

Michael : " The harder the more glorious the task. The Irish boy or girl living in lreland who is ignorant of Irish is only a mongrel—neither Irish or Saxon—a poor imitation of John Bull

Mary : Did you hear the result of the District Council election, Michael ?"

Michael : " Yes, I did. I was there."

Mary ; " Who got in, Michael?"

Michael : " There was no contest—both Jackson and Jameson were returned unopposed."

Mary : " Faix than it was rumoured all the morning that Featherston and Burgo, the jobber, were about to run."

Michael : " Featherpon is always running for something, but he appears to get nothing."

Mary : " Won't Jackson be a magistrate again, Michael ?"

Michael : " There is the trouble, Mary. He may and he may not. If he is a good Irishman he won't, but Mary : " What will he have to do if he'll be a magistrate ?"

Michael: '' He'll have to swear the oath of allegiance to England. He'd be undermining the Irish Republican principles."

Mary : " Suff on the same magistrates. How can a man take the oath of allegiance to that England that's depriving us of our country, hunting down our fellow-countrymen, and casting our Irish patriots into prison ?"

Michael: " I believe you, Mary."

By Peg.



An armed force of police on Monday searched the residence at Turtulla of Mr Mat. Butler and arrested his son, Matthew.

No charge was made against him, but it is suggested that he had literature in his possession.

When a prisoner was about to be conveyed to Cork on Saturday—Mr M. O'Connell, Main-street, in whose house a revolver and ammunition were alleged to have been found, was arrested on that day—Mr Hunt, D.I, R.I.C., ordered a train compartment to be cleared. The passengers, with the exception of a soldier and W.A.A.C., refused to leave their places.

When the train was about to start, prisoner and the escort of about 35, had to dash precipitately into a compartment.


A committee meeting of the Transport Workers' Union was being held in the Parochial Hal], Golden, when the local sergeant of police, accompanied by a large body of military, ordered it to disperse. When it was seen that the military were about to be employed to enforce the order the members left the hall.

Bryan Shanahan, farmer's son. Grantstown, was sent to jail for four months in default of bail. He was charged with having been found on May Sat Aleen under circumstances denoting " an intention to commit an illegal act in connection with an association of persons banded together to overthrow the existing Government of Ireland." Evidence was given by the police that when searching the house of Michael Lacy, Aleen, at 11 p.m, accused came along the road, and when challenged, gave his name in Irish. In his possession they found a key with which they opened the door of an unoccupied house of Thomas Dwyer, The Boghole, Aleen, where they found 2 bicycles, 4 military shirts, a military bolt, a Sinn Fein Volunteer uniform, and a belt with a revolver holster attached.

After being detained some days in Tipperary R.I.C. Barracks ho was discharged, and on Friday when he called to claim one of the bicycles found he was re-arrested. The police described defendant a prominent member of the Sinn Fein Volunteers, who had been frequently seen drilling with them. Defendant declared he was a soldier of the Irish Republic, and as such refused t0 recognise the court, which was constituted by Might and not by Right.

Great Military Raid in Co. Tipperary

Not in the history of our great county, not since the advent of Cromwell into Ireland, was there seen such a military display carried out. T

he object of the raid is a mystery ; whether it be for arms and ammunition, escaped prisoners or raiders, save the finding of a few old rifles of the muzzle type, the military raid proved a failure.

The part of the county raided centred twenty miles around Peg Bourke's Cross (Milestone). The hour of 2 p.m. on Tuesday week heralded the sound of the despatch, rider connecting the military contingents from Nenagh and Limerick with those of Tipperary, Thurles, and Templemore.

There at Peg's Cross at the hour of 6 p.m. could be seen in that lonely quiet glen the forces of the Crown to the numbers of 6,000 men, fully _equipped with all the armaments of Flanders. Oh! what a conquest without a victim. Peg's Cross taken without a single shot, the unite returned to their base, leaving the army of occupation to remain until Wednesday morning when it disappeared without a quarry. As I write the military raid is in progress.