A biography of legendary politician Harry Boland – elected for South Roscommon in 1918 – has just been published. ‘Harry Boland: A Biography’ is a detailed and dramatic account of the part he played in Ireland’s struggle towards independence.
Author Jim Maher covers Boland’s role in the 1916 Rising, his involvement with Sinn Féin, his work in the 1918 general election, up to his time in America during the War of Independence when he came to national prominence campaigning for American support for Irish freedom.
A revered and tragic figure, it also details Boland’s subsequent return to a broken homeland on the cusp of the Civil War, and his ill-fated attempts to stop the worst from happening. Irish freedom meant everything to Harry Boland, and he was to give everything to try and make it a reality.
Born in Dublin in 1884 he was a loyal confidant to Éamon de Valera. He was a close friend and later a love rival to Michael Collins for the heart of Kitty Kiernan. In 1918 Boland was elected as a Member of Parliament for the South Roscommon seat. In line with all the Sinn Féin MPs elected at that election, he did not represent his constituents at Westminster but withdrew to sit in the declared independent Dáil Éireann.
Éamon de Valera named Boland as special envoy to the United States of America where he worked along with de Valera as part of a campaign to raise awareness and support for their cause in America. During the Irish War of Independence, Boland operated alongside Michael Collins. In 1922, Boland was re-elected to the Dáil.
Boland died on the 1st of August 1922 in St. Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin after was shot by soldiers of the Irish Free State Army when they attempted to arrest him at the Skerries Grand Hotel.