1920 – Eamon De Valera returns from America.

De Valera had presented himself as “President of Ireland” during his trip although he was not recognised in this capacity by the US government. De Valera evoked generous financial, emotional and political good will for Ireland during his eighteen month trip. He spoke at Madison Square Garden and Fenway Park drawing audiences in some cases of more than twenty thousand people. Always a divisive figure, even among Irish Americans, he created many enemies and many friends. In his book De Valera in America, author Dave Hannigan repeats Yeats’ oft quoted comment about the New York born De Valera “I was rather disappointed—A living argument rather than a living man, all propaganda, no human life, but not bitter hysterical or unjust.”

Photo: Huge crowds for De Valera at Fenway Park (Boston, MA) 29 June 1919.

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