ON THIS DAY: Feb 7th 1918: DeValera Arrives in Letterkenny
Commandant Eamonn DeValera arrived in Letterkenny on February 7th 1918 on his tour of the North West. DeValera and his entourage were met by a torch light procession of over 400 people at the Port Bridge and escorted to McCarry’s Hotel, at the top of the Main Street. That night, he attended the Jim Connolly Cumann of Sinn Féin at their premises in Willy Boyle’s backyard on the Main Street (behind present day Voodoo).
A public meeting was held in the Market Square the next afternoon (Letterkenny Fair Day) when a large body of supporters, including a contingent from Raphoe, were led by the Derry Pipers’ Band, and marched through the town to the hotel where they escorted DeValera to the square for the large meeting.
Dr. J.P. McGinley, President of the local Sinn Féin club said at the meeting: “I am delighted to see you here to pay a small tribute of respect to the man who was so much admired wherever an Irish heart beats. Commandant DeValera has shown that in this degraded age there were other things to live and fight for than gold, that such things as Nationality, freedom and liberty were worth fighting, and if necessary, worth dying for.”
Following the meeting in Letterkenny, his tour moved onto Raphoe.