Irish Republican Publicity in America: The Irish World and Its Support for Éamon de Valera, 1924–32

Saturday, January 8, 2011
Ballroom C (Hynes Convention Center)
Gavin Wilk , University of Limerick
When Irish republican political leader, Éamon de Valera was released from an Irish Free State prison in July 1924 after being incarcerated for nearly a year due to being a perceived threat to the government, the Irish-American newspaper, The Irish World and American Industrial Liberator proclaimed ‘De Valera Scores Another Big Victory’. A front-page caption depicting the republican leader walking confidently out of prison referred to him as the ‘dominant spirit’ freed from a ‘British jail in Free State’.

For the next eight years, as de Valera slowly advanced back into the Irish political arena, the Irish World continued to promote him and his Irish republican idealism throughout the United States. Through appealing headlines and depictions including de Valera shaking hands with Uncle Sam to publicity surrounding his numerous American visits and political fundraising, the newspaper provided a strong American based publicity and marketing tool for the Irish politician and his fledgling political party, Fianna Fáil.

In displaying a variety of headlines that appeared in the Irish World from de Valera’s 1924 prison release to his rise as Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) in 1932, the poster will provide a clear indication to the audience of the Irish republican leader’s positive public image that was conveyed through one particular influential Irish-American newspaper. Irish republican activism in the United States during the inter-war period has not been fully revealed and this poster will shed new light on the American newspaper coverage of Ireland’s most dominant political figure during the early twentieth century.

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