Tributes paid to Irish revolutionary and former Taoiseach Éamon de Valera on 138th anniversary of his birth
Life & Style

Tributes paid to Irish revolutionary and former Taoiseach Éamon de Valera on 138th anniversary of his birth

ONE OF Ireland's most important political figures in its history was born on this day in 1882.

Former freedom fighter, revolutionary, President and Taoiseach of the Republic of Ireland, Mr Éamon de Valera was born on 14 October, 1882 in New York City.

Born to an Irish mother and a Spanish father, de Valera was christened George de Valero but changed his name Edward, and later to the Irish Éamon when he moved to Ireland.

He was one of the leaders of the ill-fated Easter Rising of 1916, and while he escaped the death sentence put to many other freedom fighters involved, he remained a thorn in the side of the British for many years.

His legacy is a complicated one, but the second-ever Taoiseach of the Republic of Ireland and two-term president remains a hero to many.

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Today, on the 138th anniversary of his birth, historians, politicians and the public have paid tribute to the man who changed the course of Irish history forever.

Dedicated Irish history Twitter account 'The Irish at War' let their 22,000 followers know of the milestone anniversary by sharing an old black-and-white photograph of De Valera, a re-coloured version of which was shared by one follower, Gerard Horgan.

American musician Van Dyke Parks celebrated what would have been de Valera's 138th birthday by sharing one of the revolutionary's best-known quotes:"That Ireland which we dreamed of would be the home of a people who valued material wealth only as a basis of right living, of a people who were satisfied with frugal comfort and devoted their leisure to the things of the spirit..."

A page dedicated to de Valera's former friend-turned political rival Michael Collins shared baby photographs of the Taoiseach and President, along with a plaque commemorating his birth place near Lexington Avenue in New York City.

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One person who visited de Valera's final resting place in Glasnevin cemetery paid tribute to the man by calling him "the dominating figure of 20th century Ireland".

A 'dominating figure' is an apt way to describe the man who helped secure the Republic's freedom from the British, served as the newly-freed country's Taoiseach and became the oldest head of state in the world, retiring from the presidency at the age of 90.

 

Éamon De Valera died at the age of 92, on 29 August 1975, and was buried next to his wife Sinéad and his son Brian, who died at the age of just 21.

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The family were all laid to rest in Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin.