Harry Boland (1887-1922)
Harry was born on
Jim Boland was very active in Dublin GAA circles and he was also politically active. After the death of Parnell, Jim opposed Tim Healey for control of the Irish Party. In a dispute over control of the United Ireland newspaper office, Jim received a blow to the head. While thought to be a minor injury, it later developed into a cyst that exerted pressure on his brain. As time went on he experienced severe headaches and loss of memory. After an unsuccessful brain surgery, Jim's health deteriorated rapidly. Catherine fetched a priest from nearby Phibsborough church to give her husband last rites. The priest refused to administer the last sacrament because Jim was an adamant Fenian. *"Catherine sent for Fr. Headley, a sympathetic Dominican priest who gave Jim the last anointing….Harry was eight years old when he lost a father he loved and admired very much."
Harry was educated at the Synge St. Christian Brothers' School but after a personality clash with one of the brothers, Harry refused to return to school. Nellie was sick with TB and Harry went to live with Tom Tynan and his wife and for 3 years he attended de la Salle College, Co. Laois as a novitiate. He excelled at sports in the college, hurling was his dominant game. The atmosphere of the Peafield House was very nationalistic and Harry did the same work as the three Tynan brothers, with Thomas Jr. being the same age as Harry, so they spent a good deal of time together. Harry's older sister, Nellie died from the effects of TB
Both Harry and his brother Gerry joined the Irish Republican Brotherhood on
the same day in 1904. He was a prominent member of the Gaelic League and a
He joined Irish Volunteers along with brothers Gerry and Ned at the
inaugural meeting at the Rotunda. Harry, Ned and Gerry all participated in the
Easter Rising of 1916. He was imprisoned for his role in the Easter Rising of
1916. After being identified by a prisoner he had taken and then released
during the evacuation of the GPO, he was separated from the main body of Irish
prisoners and told that he was to be court-martialled.
*Harry was sentenced to ten years penal servitude (with five years
remission). After a brief stop at Mountjoy, Harry
along with others was shipped to
Through the help of funds raised by a hurling match, Harry opened a tailor
On January 21, 1919 while the first Dáil Éireann was assembling - Harry Boland and Michael Collins were on a boat to England to perform a special undercover job - namely, breaking deValera from jail - others answered the roll call for them and they were officially marked present.
After being freed from
jail, deValera decided to go to
Harry took the place of Séan McGarry on the Supreme Council of the IRB and shortly after he became president. The IRB did not disband after the formation of the Dáil Éireann, although Cathal Brugha, the Minister of Defence, thought that its existence was no longer needed. Collins and Boland believed the IRB had important work still to do.
He was later named Honorable Secretary of Sinn Féin, working closely with Michael Collins, 1917; Roscommon TD, 1918; ambassador to US, 1919, organising de Valera’s fund-raising trip; supported him in rift with Devoy; opposed Treaty; re-elected for Roscommon, June 1922; assassinated in Skerries Grand Hotel during Civil War, May 1922; there is a painting of the ‘Funeral of Harry Boland’ by Jack B. Yeats in the Sligo Public Library Collection.
Jim Maher, Harry Boland (Cork: Mercier Press 1999), 284pp.; David Fitzpatrick, Harry Boland’s Irish Revolution, 1887-1922 (Cork UP 2003), 420pp.
Source: http://www.pgil-eirdata.org/html/pgil_datasets/authors/b/Boland,Harry/life.htm and *Jim Maher, Harry Boland