Journal Volume 7 2013

The de Valeras in Greystones

 

Eamon and Sinead de Valera and their children came to live at Edenmore, Kinlen Road, Greystones following de Valera’s release from prison and his election as Sinn Fein president in October 1917. This would be their home for several years, although de Valera himself was absent for much of the time. In May 1918 he was re-arrested in Greystones - the circumstances are described below by his 1916 comrade and predecessor as President of Ireland, Sean T O’Kelly. Following his escape from Lincoln Gaol in February 1919, he travelled to the United States, where he remained for the following eighteen months. During this time Michael Collins visited Greystones regularly to check on the family’s welfare. De Valera returned secretly to Ireland in late 1920, prompting widespread speculation as to his whereabouts. Newspaper reporters calling at his home were received by a smiling, but uncommunicative, Bean de Valera.

 

Dev After Marriage

Eamon and Sinead de Valera, 1910

 

Exeter and Plymouth Gazette, 20 May 1918

Action by the government to supress German plot

Sinn Fein leaders taken and deported

… The arrest of de Valera, the Sinn Fein leader, took place while he was on his way home. He left Dublin at 10.45 on Friday night, and while changing at Bray, County Wicklow, into the train for Greystones, was accompanied by some police, who arrested him on arrival at Greystones and conveyed him to Kingstown in a motor …

 

Sean T O’Kelly, President of Ireland 1945-59, W.S. 1,765, Bureau of Military History, 1913-21, Re National Activities, 1898-1921

 

‘It may be of interest to record something that I was told happened in connection with the arrest of De Valera that night [17/18 May 1918] on his way home to Greystones where he then lived. De Valera travelled by train from Harcourt St. to Greystones. What I was told was that when the train stopped at Bray the driver of the engine or his assistant came to the carriage in which De Valera had taken a seat and told him that two detectives had got into the train at Dublin and that they were in a compartment a few carriages or so behind him and that they felt sure that their intention was to arrest De Valera that night in Greystones. They said that they would slow down the train coming into Greystones before they arrived at Greystones station at a certain point which they indicated to De Valera and they advised him to jump out of the carriage on the off-side and that he could easily get away, and afterwards they would put on speed. De Valera thanked them for their information but did not take any action on the advice offered. It appears that when De Valera stepped out of the carriage at Greystones the two detectives approached him and put him under arrest.’

 

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