The Boland family, over four generations, were involved in all of the key events in Irish republican history. From the Great Hunger and the birth of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, through the revolutionary and civil war period of 1916-23, to the Arms Crisis of 1970 – members of the family were connected in some way.
The Boland family is my family – my mother’s family. I grew up with tales of my Republican ancestors. Jim, my great-great-grandfather was a child look-out in 1867 when Colonel Thomas Kelly was liberated from a prison van. He became a senior member of the IRB. My great-granduncle Harry and his brother Ned fought in the GPO in 1916, while their brother Gerald, my great-grandfather, fought in Jacob’s. Harry was central to the plot to liberate De Valera from Lincoln Prison in 1919. Gerald became a founding member of Fianna Fáil and the longest serving Minister for Justice in Irish history. His son, Kevin, also became a government minister until he resigned over the Arms Trial. And much much more.
This website is the result of a challenge from my brother Séadna. I’ve been researching the family for a few years now, I’ve got piles of books and papers and intend to write a book. However, there are still some things I want to find out before I write the damn thing. He complained that I’ve spoken about some of the stories, but they’re not available anywhere.
So, rather than waiting until I’ve got everything I need, I’m going to start posting bits and pieces here, as well as highlight some of the gaps in the story with the hope that someone out there might know the answer.