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Thursday 19 October 2017

Legacy of 'forgotten patriot' Thomas Davis honoured

Junior Minister Sean Sherlock laid a wreath last month to honour Thomas Davis at Mount Jerome Cemetery in Dublin where he is buried. Picture: Mark Condren
Junior Minister Sean Sherlock laid a wreath last month to honour Thomas Davis at Mount Jerome Cemetery in Dublin where he is buried. Picture: Mark Condren
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

HE has been described as Ireland's "forgotten patriot". But the legacy of Thomas Davis (30) is now being marked by a bicentennial programme led by President Michael D Higgins.

The lawyer, poet, balladeer and patriot was honoured yesterday with a special memorial stone being unveiled in his memory at Glasnevin Cemetery.

The stone was carved from a lump of limestone taken from an old viaduct in Mallow, Co Cork, where Davis was born in 1814.

He was just 30 years old when he died in Dublin of scarlet fever in 1845.

But the Young Ireland leader – the son of a Welsh doctor and an Irish mother – left a legacy of multicultural respect which foreshadowed the Good Friday Agreement, some of the most famous Irish ballads ever penned and a history of fearless campaigning journalism.

Few realise today that it was Davis who penned such legendary Irish songs as 'A Nation Once Again', 'The West's Awake' and 'Owen Roe O'Neill's Lament'.

Together with Charles Gavan Duffy and John Blake Dillon he also launched 'The Nation' newspaper, which transformed Irish journalism and had an enormous influence on the next generation of Irish nationalist leaders including Patrick Pearse, James Connolly and Michael Collins.

Last month, a special tribute was paid to Davis at Mount Jerome Cemetery in Harold's Cross, Dublin, where he is buried.

A special stamp issue is being planned by An Post and, to mark the bicentennial of his birth next October, President Higgins will unveil a special statue of Davis in Mallow.

It is a replica of the statue by John Hogan of Davis that stands in the Rotunda of Dublin's City Hall.

Irish Independent

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