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'A chuisle': Dev's Armistice Day letter to wife from jail

 

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Tender: The letter from De Valera to his wife on Armistice Day. PHOTO: UCD ARCHIVES PRIVATE CORRESPONDENCE OF ÉAMON AND SINEÁD DE VALERA © USED BY PERMISSION

Tender: The letter from De Valera to his wife on Armistice Day. PHOTO: UCD ARCHIVES PRIVATE CORRESPONDENCE OF ÉAMON AND SINEÁD DE VALERA © USED BY PERMISSION

Tender: The letter from De Valera to his wife on Armistice Day. PHOTO: UCD ARCHIVES PRIVATE CORRESPONDENCE OF ÉAMON AND SINEÁD DE VALERA © USED BY PERMISSION

When WWI ended 100 years ago, Éamon de Valera was in an English prison cell.

There he wrote a letter to his wife Sinéad - which goes on view to the public for the first time today.

The November 11, 1918 letter opens with the endearment, "A chuisle", and, after enquiring about their children, he continued: "I have just heard the sirens and bells which announce that the armistice with Germany has been signed."

Over the four pages, he also discusses his upcoming candidature in the first Dáil elections.

Even beyond its date mark, the letter has an interesting history, having been among a batch that was stolen from the De Valera family home in Blackrock, Dublin, in the 1970s and subsequently returned anonymously.

The Lincoln Prison letter, and another he wrote to his mother later that month, are included in an online exhibition curated by UCD Archives to mark the centenary of Armistice Day.

It is going live at www.ucd.ie/library/exhibitions/wwi today, as part of the university's Decade of Commemorations programme.

 

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