Edmund Leamy

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Edmund Leamy (1848 – 10 December 1904) was an Irish journalist, barrister, author of fairy tales, and nationalist politician. He was a Member of Parliament (MP) in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, where as member of the Irish Parliamentary Party and leading supporter of Charles Stewart Parnell he represented various Irish seats for much of the period from 1880 until his death in 1904.

Leamy was educated at the University High School, Waterford and at the Jesuits Tullabeg College, Co. Offaly. He was called to the Irish bar in 1885. In 1880 he was elected as a Parnellite Home Ruler to one of the two seats for Waterford City. When representation at Waterford was reduced to one seat at the 1885 election, he stood down but was elected unopposed at Cork North East in 1885 and again in 1886. He also stood at Mid Armagh in 1885, but was not elected. Resigning from Cork North East in 1887, he was elected unopposed to a vacancy at South Sligo in 1888.

When the Irish Parliamentary Party split in December 1890 over Parnell’s leadership, Leamy was one of the minority in the Irish National League who supported Parnell. Parnell made him editor of his newspaper United Ireland after regaining editorial control in 1891. At the subsequent general election in 1892, Leamy unsuccessfully contested East Waterford. He also unsuccessfully contested Galway City as a Parnellite in 1895 and as candidate for the reunited Irish Party in 1900.

However, in 1900 he was re-elected to the House of Commons as Nationalist member for North Kildare, serving until his death in 1904. He died at Pau in southern France where he was staying for the sake of his health. At the request of John Redmond, Pat O'Brien went out to Pau to accompany Leamy's widow and the body for their return to Waterford for the funeral on 21 December 1904.

Leamy's fairy tales, including The Golden Spears, By the Barrow River and The Fairy Minstrel of Glenmalure, have been reprinted several times in various editions in Ireland and the USA.

The book Parnell’s Faithful Few by his widow Margaret Leamy contains a good deal of biographical material and is a significant source for the history of the Parnellite split in the Irish Parliamentary Party.

Selected Writings[edit]


  • Freeman's Journal, 12 and 22 December 1904
  • Margaret Leamy, Parnell’s Faithful Few, New York, Macmillan, 1936
  • Brian M. Walker (ed.), Parliamentary Election Results in Ireland, 1801-1922, Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, 1978
  • Who Was Who, 1897-1916

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Purcell O'Gorman and
Richard Power
Member of Parliament for Waterford City
With: Richard Power
Succeeded by
Richard Power
New constituency Member of Parliament for North East Cork
Succeeded by
William O'Brien
Preceded by
Edward Joseph Kennedy
Member of Parliament for South Sligo
Succeeded by
Thomas Curran
Preceded by
Charles John Engledow
Member of Parliament for North Kildare
Succeeded by
John O'Connor