Harry Boland (1887–1922), son of a Fenian, was brought up by his mother Catherine (née Woods) in the family tradition of dedication to the cause of Irish freedom. After some secondary schooling, he trained as a tailor and joined the IRB and GAA. Described (Fitzpatrick, 2003) as the most influential revolutionary between 1917 and 1922, along with Éamon de Valera and Michael Collins, and the most effective propagandist, Boland was ever concerned to mediate between opponents within the movement. President of the IRB from May 1919 to September 1920, he was the key organiser of the propaganda campaign by de Valera and Mary MacSwiney in the United States, following the death of her brother Terence MacSwiney. In September 1921 de Valera nominated Boland as part of the secretariat to the negotiations but opted to send him to the USA to prepare the American people for something that would be short of a republic. Boland initially supported the Treaty but changed his mind when he heard of de Valera’s opposition and became a strong advocate of the anti-Treaty position. During an arrest attempt by officers of the National Army on 31 July 1922, Boland was shot and mortally wounded in his hotel room in Skerries, dying the following day. He knew who had shot him but refused to name him, saying ‘I forgive them all’. He asked to be buried alongside Cathal Brugha.
Authors: Eda Sagarra/Cathal Brugha
Sources: DIB: David Fitzpatrick; Fitzpatrick (2003).
Back from U.S.A. Mr. Harry Boland, T.D. & Miss MacSwiney, T.D. Ireland.
From left to right: Michael O'Mahony, grandnephew of Michael Collins, Síle Boland, grandniece of Harry Boland, daughter of Kevin Boland, Éamon Ó Cuív, grandson of Éamon De Valera, Cáitlín Boland, grandniece of Harry Boland, daughter of Kevin Boland, and Professor Cathal Brugha, grandson of Terence and Muriel MacSwiney and Cathal and Catriona Brugha.
Cathal MacSwiney Brugha speech
Recorded by Dr. Ronan Fawsitt
President receives members of the Harry Boland Centenary Commemoration Committee on a courtesy call at Áras an Uachtaráin
Tue 22nd Nov, 2022 | 11:30