General Richard Mulcahy 1886-1971
in Manor Street, Waterford
at Mount Sion CBS and later at Thurles, where his father was postmaster.
joined the Post Office as an engineer in 1902 and
worked in Thurles, Bantry, and Dublin.
the Irish Volunteers soon after their formation in 1913 and he was also
a member of the I. R. B. and the Gaelic League. He was second-in-command to Thomas Ashe in
an encounter with armed constabulary at
Ashbourne, Co. Dublin, in Easter Week 1916. Arrested after the rising he
was interned at Knutsford and Frongoch until his release in November
1916. Upon his
immediately rejoined the movement and became deputy chief of staff of the
Volunteers, working closely with Michael Collins. He was chief of staff
of the I.R.A. when elected to the first Dáil in 1918 and was named
Minister of Defence.
and Michael Collins were largely responsible for directing the military
campaign against the British during the War of Independence. In 1919 he
married Josephine Ryan, sister of Dr James Ryan and of Phyllis Ryan, wife
of Seán T. O'Kelly.
supported the Treaty of 1921 and became GOC military forces of the
Provisional Government during the Civil War. On the death of Michael
Collins, he issued, as Chief of Staff, his famous
Message to the Army,
He was Minister for Defence
1923-24; TD Dublin North-West 1922-23 and Dublin City North 1923-37.
Defeated in the 1937 general election, re-elected for Dublin North-East
1938, and defeated again in the election of 1943. Senator 1943-44.
Returned to the Dáil for Tipperary in 1944. After the resignation of
W.T. Cosgrave in June 1944 he became leader of Fine Gael. Minister for
Education 1948-51 in the first coalition Government and from 1954 to
1957 in the second coalition. Resigned leadership of Fine Gael in
October 1959 and in October 1960 told his Tipperary constituents that he
did not intend to contest the next election.
spent the last five years of his life arranging and annotating his
papers and presented seventy-five boxes of documents to UCD, where the
Richard Mulcahy Trust has been established. An Irish speaker and
enthusiastic supporter of the language revival, he was chairman of the
Gaeltacht Commission 1925-26. He died in Dublin on 16 December 1971.