The Oxford Companion to Irish History

By S. J. Connolly | Go to book overview

V

Valence, de, family. Following the death in 1245 of the last son of William *Marshal the elder, the great lordship of Leinster was partitioned between his five daughters. The second of these, Joan, wife of Warin de Munchensy, was already deceased, and thus her share went to her daughter, also Joan, who was married to William de Valence, the half-brother of Henry III. On 12 August 1347 King Henry instructed that Joan and William be given possession of their share of the estate, which consisted of the towns of Wexford, Ferns, Rosslare, Bannow, and Ferrycarrig, all in Co. Wexford, and Odagh, Co. Kilkenny. William, who was created earl of Pembroke in 1264, died in 1296, while Joan died in 1307, to be succeeded by their son Aymer de Valence. At Joan's death the Irish estate was valued at £324, but by 1324 it was worth only £214, and much of it had been repossessed by the Irish. The de Valences were almost always absentees from Ireland, and when Aymer, earl of Pembroke and lord of Wexford, died without issue on 23 June 1324, the de Valence interest in Ireland came to an end, the estate being divided between his nephew and two nieces. SD

Valera, Eamon de ( 1882-1975), pre-eminent leader in post-independence Ireland. Born in New York but brought up in Limerick, de Valera studied mathematics at the Royal University. In 1908 he joined the * Gaelic League and remained dedicated to the Irish language. He joined the *Irish Volunteers in 1913 and during the rebellion of 1916 commanded the 3rd Battalion at Boland's Mill. Sentenced to death, de Valera was reprieved partly because of his American birth.

On his release from prison in 1917, de Valera was elected MP for East Clare and became president of both *Sinn Féin and the Irish Volunteers, In 1918 he and other Sinn Féin leaders were arrested for complicity in an alleged German plot. He escaped from Lincoln jail in February 1919 and was elected president of the first *Dáil. In June 1919 he went to America and raised over 5 million for the republican cause but failed to obtain American recognition for the republic. His visit also led to a bitter power struggle with the leaders of the Irish-American movement, John * Devoy and Judge Cohalan.

After his return from America in December 1920, de Valera's relationship with Michael *Collins, who had effectively masterminded the *IRA campaign in his absence, came under strain as differences emerged over the conduct of the * Angto- Irish War. These were accentuated when de Valera decided not to lead the Irish delegation that negotiated the *Anglo-Irish treaty. There have been two opposing interpretations of this decision. The more hostile view is that he allowed Collins to take the responsibility for what he knew would be a partial surrender. His own explanation was that by staying in Dublin he could better preserve national unity and ensure general acceptance of any agreement reached.

De Valera rejected the Anglo-Irish treaty and resigned as president following its acceptance by the Dáil. In the run-up to the *Civil War, he found himself sidelined by more hardline opponents of the treaty, who distrusted his alternative of *external association, while attracting fierce criticism from pro-treaty supporters for his inflammatory speeches. After civil war broke out in June 1922, his attempts to maintain a republican political organization were rebuffed by the republican military leaders, particularly Liam * Lynch. Lynch's death enabled de Valera to reassert some control and in May 1923 the war ended. In August 1923 he was arrested and spent a year in jail.

After his release, de Valera became increasingly dissatisfied with Sinn Féin's political abstention and in 1926 he formed a new party, * Fianna Fáil. in 1927 he reluctantly took the *oath of allegiance and entered the Free State Dáil. He spent much of the next five years building up the party organization to a formidable machine and establishing a newspaper, the * Irish Press.

Fianna Fáil!'s election victory in 1932 marked the beginning of sixteen years in power during which de Valera was both prime minister and

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The Oxford Companion to Irish History
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Editorial Advisers ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • List of Maps vii
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgements xi
  • Contributors xiii
  • Note to the Reader xvii
  • A 1
  • B 33
  • C 66
  • D 133
  • E 167
  • F 183
  • G 212
  • H 233
  • I 254
  • K 282
  • L 292
  • M 333
  • N 377
  • O 397
  • P 424
  • Q 469
  • R 471
  • S 495
  • T 532
  • U 557
  • V 577
  • W 582
  • Y 601
  • Z 603
  • Maps 605
  • Subject Index 613
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