14 December 1918 – 2 August 1922
Mayo South–Roscommon South
27 April 1887|
Phibsborough, Dublin, Ireland
2 August 1922 (aged 35)|
|Political party||Sinn Féin|
Harry Boland was born at 6 Dalysmount Terrace, Phibsborough, Dublin, on 27 April 1887, the son of Irish Republican Brotherhood member James Boland and Kate Woods. He was active in GAA circles in early life, and refereed the 1914 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final. He joined the IRB at the same time as his older brother Gerry in 1904, following in the footsteps of his father, uncle and probably grandfather. He was educated at the Synge Street CBS but had a personality clash with one of the brothers so he refused to carry on his attendance at the school. He then went to De la Salle College, County Laois, as a novice.
At the 1918 general election Boland was elected to represent the South Roscommon seat. In line with all the Sinn Féin MPs elected at that election, he did not represent his constituents at Westminster but withdrew to sit in the declared independent Dáil Éireann (the First Dáil) and was named by Éamon de Valera as special envoy to the United States, a role his uncle Jack had played 25 years previously. He left Ireland for the United States of America along with de Valera as part of a campaign to raise awareness and support for their cause in America. Boland negotiated a loan of $20,000 from the Irish Republic to the Soviet Republic through the head of the Soviet Bureau, Ludwig Martens, using some Russian jewellery as collateral. These jewels were transferred to Ireland when he returned.
Boland opposed the Anglo-Irish Treaty along with de Valera, and in the ensuing Irish Civil War, he sided with the Anti-Treaty IRA. In 1922, he was re-elected to the Dáil representing Mayo South–Roscommon South. Boland was shot by soldiers of the Irish Free State Army when they attempted to arrest him at the Skerries Grand Hotel. Two Free State Army officers entered his room and Boland, unarmed, was shot and mortally wounded:
- "Reports of how and why he was shot vary and it is hard to establish an accurate historical reason, given the highly partisan views of the parties involved in the civil war conflict of brothers".
He was buried at Glasnevin Cemetery. The service took place from the Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church. The hearse was followed by Cumann na mBan, Clan na Gael and the Citizen Army women's section.
Boland's death affected Collins and may have spurred him towards peace negotiations with De Valera. Soon afterward, Collins was killed in an ambush at Béal na Bláth, County Cork. The Skerries Grand Hotel later became a secondary school for boys, managed by the De La Salle Brothers. There is a commemorative plaque on the site explaining that Boland was killed in action there.
Harry's brother Gerald Boland was a prominent member of Fianna Fáil and was later a minister of Justice. His nephew Kevin Boland served as a minister and was implicated in the Arms Crisis. Kevin Boland's resignation from Fianna Fáil and the subsequent loss of his seat marked the end of an era for the Boland political dynasty.
In popular culture
In the 1991 TV movie The Treaty, Boland was portrayed by Malcolm Douglas.
- Brasier, Andrew and John Kelly, Harry Boland: A Man Divided, (Dublin 2000)
- Fitzpatrick, David Harry Boland's Irish Revolution, (Cork 2003)
- Maher, Jim Harry Boland: A Biography, (Cork 1998)
- Ancient Order of Hibernians – Biography
- Contemporary account of Harry Boland's death – New York Times, 2 August 1922
- "Residents of a house 26.2 in Lennox St. (Fitzwilliam, Dublin)". The National Archives of Ireland 1911 Census. Retrieved 19 February 2012.
- "Mr. Harry Boland". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 5 February 2012.
- "General Registrar's Office". IrishGenealogy.ie. Retrieved 27 April 2017.
- Fitzpatrick, David (2004). Harry Boland's Irish Revolution (illustrated ed.). Cork University Press. p. 32. ISBN 978-1-85918-386-1.
- "Harry Boland (1887–1922)". Ancient Order of Hibernians, Division 61.
- "Harry Boland". ElectionsIreland.org. Retrieved 5 February 2012.
- Kevin Boland. James Boland 1857 – 1895 A Nationalist of the Advanced School. Unpublished essay.
- https://issuu.com/scolairestaire/docs/vol3iss1print page 25
- Maher, Jim (1998). Harry Boland – A Biography. Mercier,. pp. 241–242. ISBN 978-1-85635-236-9.
- The Times, Mr. Harry Boland Shot, 1 August 1922
- Brasier, Andrew; Kelly, John (2000). Harry Boland – A Man Divided. New Century. p. 135. ISBN 0-9539669-0-9.
- p272, James Mackay, Michael Collins: A Life;
- The Times, Blow To Irish Rebels, 5 August 1922
- Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill. "Harry Boland". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
- McConnell, Daniel (22 December 2013). "Former Olympic great Harry Boland dies". independent.ie. The Independent. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
- "Film failed to do justice to drama surrounding death of Harry Boland". The Irish Times. August 5, 1997. Retrieved June 7, 2017.
| President of the Irish Republican Brotherhood