Monday 24 October 2016

Book reveals turbulent life of nationalist

Published 17/05/2015 | 02:30

A NEW book explores the turbulent life of Domhnall ua Buachalla, a Maynooth shopkeeper who led men from the town into the maelstrom of the Easter Rising and later became Governor-General of the Republic.

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Fittingly launched at 58 Merrion Square, once the home of Daniel O'Connell, the book reveals new details of the life of Domhnall ua Buachalla whose influence on Irish politics was more profound than many people realised.

Historian Tim Pat Coogan launched Domhnall ua Buachalla, Rebellious Nationalist, Reluctant Governor, written by the former Sports Editor of the Sunday Independent, Adhamhnan O Suilleabhain.

Ua Buachalla's father, Cornelius, was from Annakissa, near Mallow in County Cork, and well acquainted with Fenian men. His father-in-law, Joshua Jacob, was a headstrong autocrat who founded the White Quakers.

Padraig Pearse once referred to ua Buachalla as "the most determined man".

Eamon de Valera asked him to be Governor-General in 1932 because he wanted a man he could trust implicitly to work at abolishing the position he had been asked to fill, to end the country's allegiance to the British Crown and pave the way for the Irish Government to nominate its first President.

A member of the Gaelic League from its foundation, ua Buachalla was instrumental in organising the Volunteers in Maynooth, before marching with them to the GPO in 1916.

Subsequently jailed in Frongoch in Wales, he returned to be elected to the First Dail in 1918, fought in the War of Independence and opposed the Treaty.

Jailed again at the outset of the Civil War, he escaped when Frank Aiken dynamited the Dundalk Prison and went on the run.

Later Ua Buachalla lost his Dail seat, but in 1927 he was returned to power with Fianna Fail and five years later de Valera came calling to appoint him Governor-General.

Later appointed to the Council of State, he died in 1963 at the age of 97.

Sunday Independent

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