- Sources yet to be consulted:
- O'MARA, JAMES
- [BMH witness statements].
Mrs. James O'Mara.
- James O'Mara papers,
[NLI] Ms 17522, 21544-51
(Ms 21545 has The O'Rahilly refs)
De Valera in America, Dave Hannigan, 2008.
- Mark O'Brien
- Stephen Kelly
- "James O'Mara: Entrepreneur and Patriot: The American Bond-Drive 1919-1921",
UCD-TCD Postgraduate History Conference, 25-26 April 2008.
- "The Sinn Féin millionaire: James O'Mara and the first American bond-certificate drive, 1919-1921",
New Hibernia Review, Vol. 15, No. 4 (winter, 2011), 9-28.
James O'Mara and Agnes Cashel.
Detail of 1905 photo
Home Rule MP, Sinn Fein TD, Member of First Dail, Free State TD.
born 6th Aug 1873, Limerick,
educ Christian Brothers, Limerick,
CBS, Spanish Point, Co.Clare,
school register says he was there 1888-92,
He became friends with The O'Rahilly there.
Writing from Clongowes: "We go to bed every night at 8.30 and get up,
it seems to me, about 3, but the fellows call it half-past 6".
knew Dr. David Humphrys
since early 1890s, when both were single in Limerick.
(His daughter would much later marry Dr. David's son.)
After school, he went to work in the family business, O'Mara's bacon factory.
educ Royal University of Ireland,
studied for university at home after work.
1st Arts, RUI, summer 1893.
1st Eng, RUI, summer 1893, 1st class hons, 1st place in Ireland.
2nd Eng, RUI, 1st place in Ireland.
Move to London, 1893:
He worked as a
in the thriving family business.
sent to London as O'Mara's
after his uncle Jim died 1893.
couldn't find time to continue studies after went to London.
Had to postpone RUI studies for business.
Listed as "Agent", living 35 Norfolk St,
London, at time of marriage.
Norfolk Street, Holborn,
which is now gone,
but was between Arundel Street and Surrey Street
mar 1895 to Agnes Cashel [born 21st Dec 1870,
poss. descendant of Edward III].
They lived "St.Chad's", Epsom, Surrey, after marriage 1895.
As at Jan 1898 the O'Mara business had an address at 3 Bow High St, London SE
with a telephone
James and Agnes
moved to Sydenham, SC London, in 1898.
He finally got BA, Royal University of Ireland, summer 1898.
Home Rule MP, 1900-07:
James was elected
Home Rule MP for
Irish Parliamentary Party
(largest party in Ireland, 3rd largest party in UK)
He was returned unopposed for
6 Oct 1900, in
UK general election,
He was age 27.
continued living London.
See brief biography
in biographies of new MPs,
The Times, 16 Oct 1900, p.9.
[born 1874, first elected 1900]
"and Dad were the two youngest Members of Parliament. At some championship in the House,
chess or billiards (but I think chess), the two of them reached the finals. They were both young enough
to be elated at outplaying their elders"
is letter of 6 Dec 1900 from him
He is at 10 Bow High St, London (would be O'Mara's business address).
[UK census, 31st Mar 1901]
James and Agnes were living
30 Maida Hill West, Maida Vale, London.
he used obstructionist
spoke for hours one night in June 1901 on bream or otter trawling off the coasts of Ireland,
"a subject about which he knew next to nothing".
Does this refer to this brief question by him on
20 June 1901?
Oct 1902 to sound out prospects for trade in bacon.
Bacon from the factory at
(now called Drobeta-Turnu Severin,
on River Danube, SW Romania)
first sold on London market 1903.
His Private Member's Bill
a national holiday in Ireland 1903.
Bank Holidays (Ireland) Bill
was introduced by O'Mara and others in the Commons on
24 Feb 1903.
See his contributions in 1903.
bill was passed by Commons
11 Mar 1903,
passed by Lords
23 Mar 1903.
made many representations on behalf of his constituents,
particularly concerning evictions and
the land issue.
Agnes was a pioneer supporter of the
when she lived in England
(Women's Social and Political Union
James - though he supported them politically - was strongly opposed to his wife
actually getting involved in demonstrations.
Joseph to America.
They arrived 14th May 1904
James returned c.20th June.
See [Lavelle, 1961].
He introduced The O'Rahilly
to the Irish Home Rulers in London
A letter 4th July 1904 on his return from US to London says:
"I find O'Rahilly has moved to Brighton since I left".
He introduced a
further Private Member's Bill to
close the pubs on St. Patrick's Day.
Introduced in Commons by him and others
22 Mar 1905.
Supported by Sir Thomas Esmonde, 11th Bt.
But think this was not successful,
since there was another such bill 1906
He was returned again unopposed for
Kilkenny South, 20 Jan 1906, in
UK general election,
30 Maida Hill West, Maida Vale
as at Apr 1906.
his 7 year old dau Pat
(think from her grandfather).
"Will you tell your Dad I wish him every success with the St.Pat's Bill.
I was sorry to see the opposition it met with."
The second bill to close the pubs on St. Patrick's Day was successful 1906.
He corresponded with The O'Rahilly, now in the US and,
like James, growing strongly pro-Sinn Fein.
resigned from the Home Rule party June 1907 to join
One of the first to do so.
The start of the swing towards Arthur Griffith's party.
resigned as MP
(by-election to replace him held 29 July 1907).
Sinn Fein was more an idea than a party at this point.
said he had to leave Parliament:
"the British were so charming, I would have been won over to them!"
See his many contributions to parliament 1901-07.
James and Agnes moved autumn 1907 to
College Rd, Dulwich, London,
lived there until 1914.
Children born and grew up London,
came over to Ireland to stay with their grandparents in Limerick,
and holiday in Kilkee, Co.Clare.
It was NOT him who
resigned as a trustee of the Home Rule party 1908
(that was his father).
He subscribed to The O'Rahilly's efforts to revive the daily
Sinn Fein newspaper
Return to Ireland, 1914:
James came back to Ireland with his family in
1914 (after more than 20 years)
to run Donnelly's bacon factory, Dublin.
They moved to 15 Ely Place, Dublin.
Listed there in
The previous occupant was
Oliver St.John Gogarty.
Agnes met the Dublin Suffragettes, including
James accompanied his son Steen
when Steen was
accepted at Georgetown University, DC.
They arrived at
Ellis Island, NY,
on 22nd Nov 1915.
acquired a summer house, "Barfield",
just outside Galway, there as at 1917-19.
He funded the re-launch in early 1917 of
Assistant Financial Director of Sinn Fein in autumn 1917.
He moved to 43 Fitzwilliam Place,
lived there c.1918 to c.1925.
Sinn Fein TD, Director of Elections, Trustee of Dail funds:
Director of Finance
for Sinn Fein 1918.
He was the
4th and last Sinn Fein Director of Elections for their stunning victory in the
Dec 1918 general election
all 3 of his predecessors having been successively jailed.
massive election victory made independence inevitable.
"It was perhaps of all his work
for the national cause that of which he was most proud."
He was himself elected
Sinn Fein TD for
Dec 1918 election,
with over 80 percent of the vote.
W.T. Cosgrave won in
He was a
member of the First Dail,
but was not at its very first meeting in Jan 1919.
at the Dail's first meeting on 21 Jan 1919,
"Séamus Ó Meaghra"
He moved his
summer house in 1919 to
Cashel House, Co.Galway,
on Cashel Bay.
Trustee of Dail Eireann funds 1919-21:
He was one of the 3 trustees of the funds of
the underground government, Dail Eireann, June 1919 on,
the others being
Eamon de Valera
Dr. Michael Fogarty, Bishop of Killaloe.
Went to US, 1919-21:
went to US Oct 1919
to join de Valera (there since June 1919)
to campaign for recognition of the new Irish republic, and raise funds.
He went as a stowaway, because denied an exit visa by Britain.
hid among lifeboats, helped by two of the crew.
He and de Valera
spent subsequent period mobilising support of Irish in America.
Huge fund raising drive (the Irish Republican Loan)
for the new self-declared Republic,
and campaign for its recognition,
while War of Independence raged at home.
Republican Loan film, 1919
made by his brother-in-law
"James O'Mara, Treasurer of the Government of which de Valera is President,
has arrived from Ireland to take part in the Loan campaign ..
Apparently he came by the same mysterious methods as did Mr.de Valera,
both having been denied passports by the British Government"
[a New York evening paper, 2nd Dec 1919].
"The Irish-American leaders in New York understood him to be a millionaire,
which gave him a status with them that none of the rest of us enjoyed"
Agnes was also denied a passport, but managed to join him in America for a time.
She sailed to US to see him, with her dau Pat, in Apr 1920.
He was founder member of American Association for the Recognition of the Irish Republic (AARIR) 1920.
De Valera returned to Ireland Dec 1920.
Jim persuaded to stay on in US.
Convention of the AARIR,
Chicago, Apr 1921.
He had disagreements with de Valera.
He resigned his position in the US,
his trusteeship of the Dail funds and his Dail seat, May 1921.
returned to Ireland
July 1921 (as the truce was being signed).
They had raised $10 m
(about $500 m in
funding the War of Independence
and the Dail.
They had not got official US recognition for the Irish Republic,
but America had brought strong pressure on Britain to call a truce and negotiate.
supported the Treaty Dec 1921,
but took no side in civil war
(any of his family that did take a side were, however, Republican).
tried to speak to de Valera:
"Now you will want your friends around you",
and de Valera waved him away and said:
"Not you any way".
"It was nearly 20 years before they spoke to each other again"
appointed the first Irish Ambassador to the USA
by the provisional Free State government, Feb 1922.
Only served for a few months.
selected but declined to contest
June 1922 general election.
He was appalled by the Civil War.
"The disillusion of that time was soul-searing.
Disillusion came quicker to Dad than to most of his fellows,
because he now stood alone - an outsider -
looking on at the debacle of all he had helped to build"
He was close friends with
(killed July 1922)
(killed Aug 1922).
He tried desperately to stop the execution without trial of his friend
Liam Mellows, Dec 1922, which
"left the longest and most bitter memory of all the bitter memories of the civil war"
His dau Eithne said that after this he came home and tore up all his things.
in [Thom's Irish Who's Who, 1923]
lists him as "R.C.S."
Think this means member of
Royal Colonial Society.
Free State TD for Dublin South 1924-27,
Philip Cosgrave died Oct 1923,
there was a
by-election for Dublin South, Mar 1924.
James stood and narrowly held the seat for the pro-Treaty
Cumann na nGaedheal.
The opponent he narrowly beat was
the future Taoiseach Sean Lemass.
refused a ministerial position in
Many years later, his grandson married W.T.'s niece.
He was a
TD until 1927.
He moved to
The Grove, Killiney,
Had Stephen O'Mara accepted the baronetcy,
he would have been the 2nd Baronet (succeeding 1926).
one of the richest men in Ireland.
Muffie de Courcy said that at one stage,
Ireland had its first 4 millionaires,
and they said James was one of them.
(Note £1m in 1935 is
about £100m in
did not contest June 1927 general election,
retired from politics.
Unlike many of his comrades he was never in jail in his life.
He was angered by the fact that
a lot of the money he raised in America, which was meant to be for the Irish Republic,
controversially used by de Valera
to set up the Fianna Fail / de Valera family newspaper, the
In retirement in 1930s he went on cruises
with the two unmarried daughters
Maureen and Sheila,
who both found husbands on board ship.
He travelled in North and South America, North Africa, Middle East.
He sold Donnelly's
to his brother Phons
at Cashel House says:
"Jim O'Mara and his wife celebrated their Golden Jubilee"
[50 yrs married] "in April 1945
in the gardens of Cashel House".
He had black hair, red moustache.
He died 30 Eccles St, Dublin
(think part of Mater Hospital),
Sun 21st Nov 1948 [NOT 22nd], age 75 yrs
November 22, 1948.
closed for two days, Mon 22nd and Tue 23rd,
as a mark of respect.
Funeral 23 Nov,
bur Glasnevin Cemetery.
Fr.Paddy celebrated the mass.
Those present included
the former and future Taoiseach, de Valera;
Seán T. Ó Ceallaigh;
See funeral report,
November 24, 1948.
in Limerick Leader, c.12th Dec 1948.
See other obituary.
"There was no tricolour over his coffin, no bugles sounded over his grave.
No guns were fired in salute but we paid silent tribute to him for all he had done and suffered
that Ireland might be free."
The family sold Cashel House 1952.
Agnes died Mon 2nd June 1958,
The Grove, Killiney,
age 87 yrs [GROI].
Evening Press, Tue 3rd June.
See death notice,
June 4, 1958.
Funeral 4 June,
bur Glasnevin Cemetery.
See Photos of children.
James and Agnes
- Stephen O'Mara,
"Steen", Stephen C.,
born 10th Sept 1896, Epsom, Surrey,
educ Clongowes (like his father),
he is listed
with other boarders at Clongowes in
[Census, April 1911],
his family in England,
it incorrectly states he was born Co.Limerick,
educ Georgetown University,
Ellis Island, NY,
with his father on 22nd Nov 1915
on the St.Paul from Liverpool,
see [Lavelle, 1961],
fought on Republican side in civil war,
captured June 1922, not closely guarded,
escaped and came home,
had Stephen O'Mara accepted the baronetcy,
he would have been the 3rd Baronet (succeeding 1948),
at mother's death 1958,
died 9th Aug 1972, St. John of God's Hospital, Stillorgan, Co. Dublin,
age 75 yrs, bur Glasnevin.
- Patricia O'Mara [Pat],
researched family tree,
author of [Lavelle, 1961],
Patricia Mary Kathleen,
wedding invite has "Patricia Kathleen Mary",
born 23rd July 1898, Sydenham, London,
in [Lavelle, 1961]
she remembers holidays in Kilkee, Co.Clare,
the West Clare Railway,
and the song
"Are Ye Right There Michael" (1902),
(audio from here
educ Loreto Abbey, Rathfarnham,
joined Cumann na mBan
she remembers in [Lavelle, 1961]
how nervous she was going to tell her father,
educ TCD, did not get degree,
educ National University
(Science), think this refers to the fact that she was
educ UCG (Science), did not get degree,
sailed to US (with her mother) to see her father Apr 1920, age 21,
on board ship she wrote:
"We have a dance every night; all kind of nationalities here
.. I have danced with a Swede, a Norwegian, a Greek, a Bulgarian, an American - isn't that funny?",
spent lot of time summer 1920 in New York,
in winter of 1920-1, with their parents still in the US, Pat and Steen put up IRA men on the run
from the British in Fitzwilliam Place,
and allowed Sinn Fein committees to hold their (illegal) meetings there,
their father didn't hear of all this for months afterwards, and was not happy when he did,
she met Dick when both at UCG, her studying Science, him studying Medicine,
poss. first met at Barfield c.1918,
engaged think late 1920,
didn't get married until he got his first job 1924,
mar 2nd Jan 1924, St.Andrew's church, Westland Row, Dublin,
to Dick Lavelle and had issue.
- Maureen O'Mara [Maureen Agnes],
born 13th Dec 1901,
member of Cumann na mBan
in War of Independence,
nurse at Mater Hospital,
nurse at Cork St Hospital, The Coombe, temp 1925-6,
Holles St maternity hospital,
mar 29th Sept 1937
[her age 35, him age 43, they met on a cruise, he was ship's doctor]
to Dr. George Duggan [born 22 July 1894]
and had issue.
- Eileen O'Mara,
born 7th Aug 1903,
listed as "Eiblin A. M. O'Mara" in
educ Loreto Abbey, Rathfarnham, Co.Dublin,
wit her aunt Helen Cashel's
architect, B.Arch. UCD 1929,
the first woman architect to qualify at UCD (or possibly in Ireland),
mar 30th July 1929 to Dr. Alec Spain
[poss. descendant of Edward III]
and had issue.
- Dr. Una O'Mara, born 19th Jan 1905,
listed as "Una M. M. O'Mara" in
educ Loreto Abbey, Rathfarnham, Co.Dublin,
doctor, educ NUI,
MB, B.Ch., B.A.O., 1930 [NOT 1929],
mar 1932 to Dr. John Shanley
[born 17th Sep 1895].
- Sheila O'Mara,
Sheila Mary, born 23rd May 1906,
educ school in Cambridge,
must be St.Mary's,
BA (Economics) Oct 1929,
mar 16 Feb 1944 [her age 37, him age 47],
Ballybrack RC church
to Capt. George Rice
[George Henry, born 1897,
son of Richard Rice, who was said to be a naval officer,
see his family
at Castletownshend in
father listed as "divisional carpenter"
(a maritime job,
responsible for repairs to boats),
living at Ardglass, Co.Down,
father listed as a "publican",
in 1923 he joined
Pacific Steam Navigation Company
as Junior 4th officer,
he was officer on luxury liner voyages to South America,
he met her when she was on a cruise,
he was First Mate
at the time,
at mar he is listed as "master mariner", living 69b Ravenhill Rd, Belfast
they were mar
by her uncle Fr. Paddy O'Mara,
they lived Templeville, on Killiney Hill Rd
(just down road from The Grove),
listed there in
Templeville is one of oldest houses in Killiney,
he became Captain
of the "Samothrace"
she died think Templeville, 21st Aug 1951,
age 45 yrs, bur Glasnevin,
in 1956 he was appointed
of Pacific Steam Navigation Company's fleet,
taking the "Reina Del Mar"
to South America,
he became Commandant,
he died think Templeville, 13th Aug 1963, age 66 yrs
[mass card], bur Glasnevin.
In The Grove today (no longer in the family),
there is a painting of The Grove
just inside the door, signed "Rice".
Is this him?
Their house still called "Templeville" as at 1992.
born Eithne Maire, 14th Oct 1908, family home,
"Eithne Mary" on passport,
passport is wrong to say born Co.Dublin.
James O'Mara, 1870s.
and full size
James O'Mara, must be late 1880s.
(Left) See full size.
(Right) See full size.
James O'Mara as a youth, 1890.
From this picture.
James O'Mara, 1898.
From this picture.
and full size.
James O'Mara, 1924. From this picture.
James O'Mara, Cashel House, 1948.
(Left) Capt. George Rice.
From article on him becoming a Commodore, 1956.
See full size.
(Right) Sheila O'Mara.
From mass card, 1951.
James O'Mara grave,
: vD 12/13.
Go in gate, straight ahead, veer right, round RHS edge of round tower,
past Republican Plot, grave is on LHS.
It is just in front of
Eamon de Valera's grave
Other O'Mara family members nearby.
See street view
Location of James O'Mara grave, Glasnevin.
From street view
Click through to rotate.
James O'Mara grave, Glasnevin. Photo 2006.
See full size
and alternative shot.
grave of Eamon de Valera
Photos courtesy of Richard Humphreys.
- 15 Ely Place is now the address of the
Royal Hibernian Academy,
in a new building (built 1970).
- May and Jim King,
appear in family photos,
May, born est c.1890,
is poss. a relation,
either on O'Mara or Cashel side.