Search This Blog

Monday, December 18, 2017

Maude Gonne, Ireland's Joan of Arc, Lectured in Massachusetts in December 1897

One hundred and twenty years ago this week, Maude Gonne, known in the media as "Ireland's Joan of Arc," passed through Boston on December 18, 1897 on her way to Lynn, Massachusetts, where she spoke before an overflow audience of Irish supporters at Lynn Theatre.

She arrived in Boston at Park Square Station from New York City, and was met by local Irish leaders, according to The Boston Globe, which described her as "a tall and stately beauty, and about the last person in the world one would pick out for a martyr to a cause which has produced in the past so many martyrs."

When asked by local reporters if she expected to accomplish much on the visit, Gonne replied, "Yes, indeed.  It has stimulated me.  I find that Irishmen succeed in every land except their own, and the reason they don't succeed there is that England's tyranny will not permit it."

Asked if she believed in absolute freedom for Ireland, she replied, "Absolute.  Ireland can take care of herself without any aid from England, as Irishmen do all over the world."

In addition to her passion for Irish freedom, Maude Gonne also advocated against the British during the Boer War, and was involved in the women's movement and in occultism.  She was the longtime muse of Irish poet William Butler Yeats, who also visited Boston on several occasions.