Thomas Davis – Dame Street
Thomas Osborne Davis (October 14, 1814 – September 16, 1845) was an Irish writer and politician who was the chief organizer and poet of the Young Ireland movement.Thomas Davis was born in the town of Mallow in the county of Cork. He studied in Trinity College, Dublin, and received an Arts degree, precursory to his being called to the Irish Bar in 1838. He established The Nation newspaper with Charles Gavan Duffy and John Blake Dillon. He dedicated his life to Irish nationalism.
He wrote some stirring nationalistic ballads, originally contributed to The Nation, and afterwards republished as Spirit of the Nation, as well as a memoir of Curran, the Irish lawyer and orator, prefixed to an edition of his speeches; and he had formed many literary plans which were brought to naught by his death, from tuberculosis, in 1845 at the age of 30.
He himself was a Protestant, but preached peace between Catholics and Protestants. To Davis, it was not blood that made you Irish, but the willingness to be part of the Irish nation. Although the Saxon and Dane were, Davis asserted, objects of unpopularity, their descendants would be Irish if they simply allowed themselves to be.
He was to the fore of Irish nationalist thinking and it has been noted by later nationalist heroes, such as Padraig Pearse, that while Wolfe Tone laid out the basic fact that Ireland as a nation must be free, Davis was the one who built this idea up promoting the Irish identity.
He is the author of the famous Irish rebel song “A Nation Once Again.”
A statue of Davis, created by Edward Delaney, was unveiled on College Green, Dublin, in 1966, attended by the Irish president, Eamon de Valera.
This article incorporates public domain text from: Cousin, John William (1910). A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature. London, J.M. Dent & sons; New York, E.P. Dutton.