Eighteen years after refusing to take the Oath of Supremacy, Daniel O’Connell – The Great Emancipator – dies in Genoa at age 71. O’Connell was the prime mover in attaining Catholic Emancipation – allowing Catholics to sit in Parliament.
Daniel O’Connell was born in Cahirciveen, Co Kerry. O’Connell would go on to be one of the most important figures in Irish political and Catholic civil rights history.
O’Connell was a prominent politician and fine orator who drew huge crowds. His actions, and the concerns of Prime Minister Duke of Wellington (born Dublin 1769) that the continued refusal to provide the vote to Catholics would generate further unrest ensured the passing of the Catholic Emancipation Act. O’Connell was so popular that King George IV complained ‘O’Connell! God damn the scoundrel.’ Oh, the Duke of Wellington is King of England, O’Connell is King of Ireland and I suppose I am only considered as Dean of Windsor’.
Daniel O’Connell originally won a by-election in County Clare in 1828 defeating William Vesey Fitzgerald, but was not allowed to take his seat refusing to swear an Oath of Supremacy that was incompatible with his Catholic faith.
According to O’Connell’s dying wish, his heart was buried in Rome (at Sant’Agata dei Goti, then the chapel of the Irish College), and the remainder of his body in Glasnevin Cemetery.
Photo: Photo: The crypt of Daniel O’Connell, Glasnevin Cemetery, photography by Andy Sheridan.