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FALVEY MEMORIAL LIBRARY
FALVEY MEMORIAL LIBRARY
Joseph McGarrity Collection
Joseph McGarrity Papers
Joseph McGarrity Papers Continuation
Photostat, Article, "Joseph McGarrity, Fighter for Irish Freedom," by Marie V. Tarpey, in Studia Hib...
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Photostat, Article, "Joseph McGarrity, Fighter for Irish Freedom," by Marie V. Tarpey, in Studia Hibernica, 1971.
Tarpey, Marie V.
11 January 2014
Studia Hibernica. St. Patrick's College, Drumcondra, a College of Dublin City University.
McGarrity, Joseph, 1874-1940
(K cl it‘ If ff‘); f"-’.<‘. 1, No. U. I (lrv Joseph McGarrity, ifiighter for Irish Freedom E V. TARPEY, S.C. (Wilmington College, New Castle, Delaware) On 7 August 1940, the Irish Press, Dublin, carried a front page announcement: ‘Fighter for Irish Freedom Dead’. The ‘lighter’ was Joseph McGarrity, a voluntary Ulster exile of whom Eamon de Valera was to write: Was I asked to say of all the Americans I met . . . who was the most devoted to Ireland, I would answer without hesitation, Joseph McGarrity. He put his means, his time, all his heart and his energies into the etfort to advance the Irish cause. His devotion to Ireland and to the cause of the Irish Republic was beyond question. He loved Ireland with a deep and compassionate love and we who knew him and his work would be very ungrateful it‘ we ever forgot him.‘ Joseph McGarrity has not been forgotten, neither by Eamon de Valera who became a strong personal friend, not by the Clan- na-Gael which experienced his leadership for twenty years. The Irish Republican Army keeps his name alive as well: all statements issued by the Irish Republican Publicity Bureau in Dublin are signed J. J. McGarrity. Who was be? He was a man obsessed with the same dream, fired with the same passion that motivated Wolfe Tone, Robert Emmet, the Young lrelanders and the Fenians. When Padraic Pearse pro- claimed the birth of the Irish Republic as he stood on the steps of the General Post Otiice in Dublin, 19l6, Joseph McGarrity rejoiced. But he realized it was one thing for his friend to liing this challenge into the winds of O’Connell Street. It would be quite another to make this proclamation less ephemeral than the wind itself. Yet for McGarrity this dream was very real indeed, so real that it became his raison d’etre. He would devote his life to see Ireland a republic, a thirty-two county republic. Born in Carrickmore, county Tyrone, on 28 March 1874, McGarrity was reared in the traditions of Irish republicanism. The county itself boasted a long tradition of opposition to English rule. For, although the iiight of the Earls in I607 had put county Tyrone ‘Eamon de Valera, Souvenir Programme for Dedication Ceremonies for Villanova University Library, 22 April 1949. JOSEPH MGGAIUUTY 165 into the hands of the King and opened it to English colonization, the people did not acquiesce gracefully. The insurrection of 1641 listed first with the seizure of Charlemont and Dungannon. Then, too, it was likewise in the county Tyrone town of Dungannon that the 250 delegates to the Volunteer convention resolved in 1782: ‘That a claim of any body of men other than the Kings, Lords, and Commons of Ireland, to make laws for this Kingdom is uncon- stitutional, illegal, and a grievance’? Three years before young McGarrity left Ireland, the Tyrone Constitution described the area as a ‘stronghold of Nationalists’? It was in such an atmosphere that the future Clan-na-Gael leader was to spend his formative, adolescent years. Those years were spent upon the McGarrity farm in Creggan- deveskey, Carrickmore, a farm as Joseph himself recalled it of some thirty-odd acres, though the notice for sale described it as containing about twenty-two acres, one mod, and ten perches. I-Iere eight children were born to John and Catherine Bigley McGarrity with Joseph as the second youngest. At his birth, the father was recorded as a farmer,‘ while John McGarrity’s death certificate identified him as a tailor.‘ That he was, at least, a part- time tailor is evident from his son’s testimony that John McGarrity ‘. . . ohen tailored suits of cloth for young men in the neighborhood, who in return helped the McGarrity family to crop the land and reap the harvest.“ ‘It was a poor but happy home. Entertainment was simple: singing, story telling, dancing to the tune of the fiddle. The ragman, Harry McFetredge, arrived bi-weekly with his donkey and cart, bringing with him the latest newspapers. Lively discussion on world events then ensued between the visitor and the father while the children listened in wide-eyed silence." In his pre-school days, Joseph became a favourite of Reverend Michael Loughran who took the child with him on many of his visits to the village, the church, and the school. I-Iere the little boy ohen created pandemonium by running the full length of the school on the desk tops.‘ ' Dorothy Macardle, The Irish Republic (New York 1965) 37. ' Tyrone Constitution, 20 September 1889, p. 3. ‘ Certified y of Birth Certilicate for Joseph McGarrity, 28 March l874,'in Ciemndeveskey, with debility as cause of death. Customs House, Dublin. ' McGarrity, -Memoirs‘, p. 5.