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James Daly (1836 - 1911)

James Daly, politician, newspaper editor and farmer, was born in Boghadoon, in Addergoole parish, Co. Mayo sometime in the late 1830's.  Following is the death notice which appeared in the Mayo News, March 25th, following his death in 1911.


It is with sincere and poignant regret we this week announce the death of Mr. James Daly, County Councillor, which sad event took place at his residence, Spencer Street, Castlebar on Wednesday after a comparatively brief illness.  The deceased who was in his 75th year was about town so late as Saturday last.  He was one of the best known men in Connacht during the stormy period of the Land League and Plan of Campaign.  It was he who presided at the ever memorable meeting in Irishtown in 1879, where the Land League was formally launched.  Subsequently he assisted in organising the entire province when he was accompanied by some of the leading lights of this historic period, including the late Matt Harris, P. W. Nally and other such patriotic Irishmen. 

At this time Mr. Daly was editor and proprietor of the “Connaught Telegraph” and through this medium he denounced the causes that were responsible for the unhappy condition of the peasantry of Ireland, and as a result the Government of that day kept a close eye on him and he was subjected  to very harsh treatment at their hands, being the object at times of the meanest form of espionage.  Historians of the period freely admit that were it not for the great personality of the deceased, his splendid energy, and the tremendous assistance he gave Davitt both by voice and pen, the movement would not have spread so rapidly in the Western counties.  In ’79 deceased was arrested with the late Michael Davitt and J. Brice Killen, B.L., for speeches delivered at Gurteen and they were put on their trial at Sligo for conspiracy, and were defended by the famous Belfast Solicitor Mr. John Rea.  The trial ended in an acquittal of the accused.  In 1881 he was arrested as a suspect and lodged in Galway jail under Buckshot Forster’s Act.  In the organisation of the ’98 Centenary celebrations he took a very prominent part, and organised, in conjunction with the late Mr. T. B. Kelly, the monster celebrations at Castlebar, Ballina and Frenchill. 

The monument raised at the latter place over the graves of the French soldiers  who fall while following the English troopers who were flying from Castlebar on the never to be forgotten 27th August, 1798, was mainly due to his exertions.  Mr. Daly was also prominently identified with the United Irish League at its foundation, and rendered valuable assistance in organising the county.  The deceased was a member of all the local public bodies.  He was a valued and most respected member of the Mayo County Council.  Agricultural Committee and Technical Committee, the Castlebar Urban and Rural Councils and for a number of years he was member of the Ballina Distrcit Council, representing Letterbrick division.  At the triennial elections in January Mr. Daly secured second place on the poll out of sixteen candidates, being removed by one vote only from the top.  He was a splendid Irish speaker and at the time of his confirmation the late illustrious Archbishop of Tuam, the Most Rev. Dr. McHale, presented him with a prize for his excellent answering in Gaelic.

The news of the death of the veteran Nationalist cast a gloom over the town when the sad intelligence became known, and indeed all over the county, and for that matter the entire province.  All who knew Mr. Daly will feel that his demise has left a vacancy that it will be hard to fill.  All through life he was a devout Catholic and attended daily Mass every morning at the Convent Chapel and always attended his religious duties with marked regularity.  His last moments were consoled by the last rites of the Holy Church, and at about 8 o’clock on Wednesday, being fully resigned to the Divine will, he yielded up his spirit to his Heavenly Father

Taken from Mayo News March 25th, 1911

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