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"Eamon De Valera: A Limerick Legacy of Courage and Leadership" |

“Eamon De Valera: A Limerick Legacy of Courage and Leadership”

Eamon De Valera, known for his command during the Easter Rising, emerged as one of the most compelling figures of the rebellion, celebrated for both his bravery and courtesy. Born in New York 35 years ago, De Valera’s diverse heritage and exceptional abilities set him apart as a prominent leader in Irish history.

De Valera was born to Vivian De Valera, a Spaniard, and Kate Coll, from near Bruree, Co. Limerick. At the age of two, he moved to Ireland, spending his formative years among his mother’s people. His early education at the National School in Bruree and later at the Christian Brothers in Charleville showcased his academic potential. He excelled, winning an exhibition in Junior Grade and subsequently continued his education at Blackrock College. There, De Valera distinguished himself as a stellar student and a talented athlete, earning accolades in both Middle and Senior Grades, and later excelling in the Royal University examinations.

Upon receiving his B.A. degree, De Valera pursued a career in education, becoming a Professor of Mathematics. His teaching tenure spanned various esteemed institutions including Rockwell College, University College Dublin, Maynooth, Belvedere, Clonliffe, Dominican College on Eccles Street, Loreto College, and Carysfort Training College for teachers. Alongside his academic pursuits, De Valera mastered the Irish language and contributed significantly to the Irish Summer School at Tawin, founded by Roger Casement.

De Valera’s military prowess during the Easter Rising was remarkable. As Commandant of the Ringsend to Mount Street Bridge area, he led his men with exceptional strategic skill, continuing the fight even after the General Post Office fell. His defiance was evident when he initially dismissed Pearse’s surrender order as a ploy. Upon his eventual surrender, De Valera’s selflessness shone through; he famously declared, “Shoot me, if you will, but look after my men.”

Sentenced to death for his role in the rebellion, De Valera’s sentence was ultimately commuted to life imprisonment, sparing his life but not diminishing his resolve. His actions and leadership during the Easter Rising left an indelible mark on Irish history, cementing his status as a national hero.

De Valera’s legacy is deeply intertwined with his roots in Limerick, where his early education and family connections shaped the man who would become a pivotal figure in Ireland’s struggle for independence. His story of courage, intellectual prowess, and unwavering dedication continues to inspire generations, reflecting the spirit and resilience of the Irish people.

Evening Herald (Dublin) – Friday 15 June 1917

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