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Daily Express (Dublin)

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The Daily Express of Dublin (often referred to as the Dublin Daily Express, to distinguish it from the Daily Express of London) was an Irish newspaper published from 1851 to June 1921, and then continued for registration purposes until 1960.[1][2]

It was a unionist newspaper.[3] From 1917, its title was the Daily Express and Irish Daily Mail.[1] In its heyday, it had the highest circulation of any paper in Ireland.[4]


It was founded by the Dublin solicitor John Robinson, who remained its proprietor until about 1889, when he sold it to James Poole Maunsell.

In his Post Famine Ireland (2006), Desmond Keenan says of the newspaper:

The Dublin Daily Express, a Conservative newspaper established in 1851, had for a time the greatest circulation of any paper in Ireland. It was regarded as the organ of the gentry, Protestant clergy, and the professional and commercial classes who afterwards flocked to the Irish Times.[4]

In 1858, Karl Marx, writing in the New York Tribune, called the paper "the Government organ":

The shifts the Government is driven to may be judged from the manoeuvres of The Dublin Daily Express, the Government organ, which day by day treats its readers to false rumours of murders committed, armed men marauding, and midnight meetings taking place. To its intense disgust, the men killed return from their graves, and protest in its own columns against being so disposed of by the editor.[5]

The paper's first editor, James Godkin, although brought up as a Roman Catholic, had served as a Congregational minister in Armagh and as a general missionary for the Irish Evangelical Society. He was the author of A Guide from the Church of Rome to the Church of Christ (1836) and in 1838 had founded the Christian Patriot newspaper in Belfast. He was also the author of a prize-winning essay called The Rights of Ireland (1845).[6]

In December 1858, Lola Montez, visiting Dublin, wrote an angry but inaccurate letter to the editor of the Daily Express dealing with events which had taken place almost fifteen years earlier. She insisted that, when Dujarier[7] died, she was living in the house of a Dr and Mrs Azan, and that "the good Queen of Bavaria wept bitterly when she left Munich." The newspaper's editor responded in kind, declaring "It is now well established that Lola Montez was born in 1824, her father being the son of a baronet."[8]

In November 1881, Charles Boycott faced severe difficulties from the Irish Land League on the estate of John Crichton, 3rd Earl Erne, and men of the Orange Order mounted the Lough Mask House Relief Expedition. The Daily Express donated food and supplies.[9] At the time it was owned by Lord Ardilaun.

Standish James O'Grady (1846–1928), a figure in the Irish Literary Revival and author of a History of Ireland, worked on the Daily Express as a journalist until 1898.[3]

The radio pioneer Guglielmo Marconi reported for the newspaper on the Kingstown Regatta of July 1898, and he did so by sending wireless messages from a steam tug which were then telephoned to Dublin. This has been claimed as the first live transmission of a sporting event anywhere in the world.[10]

In 1899, the paper was the forum for the 'Atkinson controversy' about the evidence of Robert Atkinson to the Intermediate Education (Ireland) Commission, and in a letter to the paper published on 15 February 1899, Douglas Hyde, a future President of Ireland, referred to "that Stygian flood of black ignorance of everything Irish which, Lethe-like, rolls through the portals of my beloved Alma Mater."[11]

In 1902 and 1903, James Joyce wrote many reviews for the newspaper, and its pro-British reputation is mentioned in his story "The Dead".[12] One of Joyce's reviews troubled the Daily Express's editor, Ernest Longworth, so much that he broke with tradition and added Joyce's initials to it. Published on 26 March 1903, this was a hostile review of Lady Gregory's Poets and Dreamers.[2]

During the Easter Rising of 1916, rebels entered the grounds of Dublin Castle and took possession of the offices of the Dublin Daily Express, from the roof of which they could command the approaches to the Castle from Dame Street, Castle Street, and Cork Hill to the Upper Castle Yard. British troops regained possession later the same day.[13]

Archived copies of the newspaper are available on microfilm in the National Library of Ireland.[1]


  • James Godkin (from 1851)[6]
  • George Linnaeus Banks (1850s)[citation needed]
  • Dr G. V. Patton (until his death on 25 March 1898)[14]
  • John Edward Healey (to 1907, when he became editor of The Irish Times)[15]
  • Ernest Victor Longworth (lived from 1874–1935; years of editorship unknown)
  • James Young McPeake (d. 21 September 1924)[16]
  • Henry Stuart Doig (born 27 April 1874, died 3 April 1931), editor at the time of the Easter Rising[17]


  1. ^ a b c Daily Express at National Library of Ireland
  2. ^ a b Fargnoli, A. Nicholas, & Michael Patrick Gillespie, James Joyce A to Z: The Essential Reference to His Life and Writings (Oxford University Press, 1996, ISBN 978-0-19-511029-6), page 50 available online at books.google.co.uk
  3. ^ a b Sun and Wind[permanent dead link] at multilingual-matters.co.uk
  4. ^ a b Keenan, Desmond, Post Famine Ireland - Social Structure Ireland as it Really Was (Xlibris Corporation, 2006, ISBN 978-1-4257-1602-8), Chapter 10 available at deskeenan.com
  5. ^ Marx, Karl, The Excitement in Ireland, first published in New-York Daily Tribune, January 11, 1859, online at marxists.org
  6. ^ a b Smith, G. B., 'Godkin, James (1806–1879)', rev. C. A. Creffield, in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004)
  7. ^ viz., her lover, the newspaperman Alexandre Dujarier
  8. ^ Wyndham, Horace, The Magnificent Montez From Courtesan to Convert, e-text at gutenberg.org
  9. ^ How the word Boycott materialised Archived 2008-07-04 at the Wayback Machine at hoganstand.com
  10. ^ GUGLIELMO MARCONI 1874–1937 Archived 2008-12-31 at the Wayback Machine at northantrim.com
  11. ^ Kelly, John, & Ronald Schuchard, The Collected Letters of W.B. Yeats, p. 991
  12. ^ ""James Joyce timeline" 1902". Archived from the original on 5 October 2010. Retrieved 10 August 2010.
  13. ^ Castles of Ireland: Part II — Dublin Castle Archived 2012-05-27 at archive.today at irelandforvisitors.com
  14. ^ March 26 1898 News Items at cultrans.com: "DR G. V. PATTON, Editor of the "Dublin Daily Express", and for many years Irish correspondent of The Times died last night at Dublin. Deceased was called to the Irish Bar many years ago, but abandoned the profession for literature, becoming one of the best-known journalists in Ireland. He was a fellow of the Institute of Journalists."
  15. ^ Keenan, Desmond, op. cit., Chapter 10: "Healey was a graduate of Trinity College, was called to the bar, and became editor of the Dublin Daily Express. In 1907 he became editor of the Irish Times and retained the post for 27 years. His voice was one of sanity and conciliation in troubled times. He was immersed in European culture and considered Irish nationalism a reedy backwater. When the Home Rule Act was passed he fought against partition. Being opposed to republicanism his life was often in danger (DNB Healey)."
  16. ^ On This Day/September 21, 1924[permanent dead link] at irishnews.com: "Mr McPeake was one of the most successful newspaper managers of the day... He secured a job as reader on the Dublin Evening Mail and later got a chance to deputise for a sporting sub-editor. He proved such a success that he was retained in the sub-editorial department and, after a few years, became editor of the Dublin Daily Express and subsequently of the Evening Mail. In 1912 he left Dublin to take charge of Hearst Publications in England..."
  17. ^ Descendants of Thomas Doig and Margaret Smith at doig.net: "Notes for Henry Stuart Doig: Henry attended High School in Dublin, Ireland, and Dublin University. He won prizes in English literature and German. Henry was a barrister-at-law. In 1896 he lived at 11 Leopold Street, London East. He became editor of the Dublin Daily Express and Evening Mail, and he was the Ireland correspondent for the Daily Mail. He was called to the Irish Bar in 1912. He acted as a Special Correspondent in Ireland for the Daily Chronicle and London Daily Express. He was a member of the Central Recruiting Council for Ireland in 1915, and he was a member of its first deputation to the trenches in Flanders. Henry was expelled from the office of the Dublin Evening Mail by the Sinn Féin rebels, who seized it in the 1916 uprising, and held it against the military for 30 hours."