Moya Llewelyn Davies

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Moya Llewelyn Davies, born Mary Elizabeth O'Connor, (25 March 1881 - 28 September 1943) was an Irish Republican activist during the Irish War of Independence and a Gaelic scholar.

Childhood[edit]

Davies was one of five children of IRB Supreme Council member and later MP James O'Connor. He was IRB treasurer in 1870 and party to the discussions on the New Departure, a collaboration between constitutional and physical force nationalists, the open and the secret movements.

In 1890, when Moya's father was a journalist, Moya's mother Mary O’Connor, and four of her sisters – Annie, Aileen, Kathleen and Norah – died after eating contaminated mussels gathered on the seashore near where they lived in what became known as the Seapoint tragedy. Moya was violently ill, but survived.[1]

Marriage and children[edit]

Davies travelled to London after a falling out with her stepmother six years later. She found work as a civil servant and a paid speaker for the Liberal Party.

In 1910, she married lawyer Crompton Llewelyn Davies, a brother of Arthur Llewelyn Davies and uncle of the boys who inspired the creation of Peter Pan. They had two children: Richard and Catherine.[2]

Irish War of Independence[edit]

Following the Easter Rising, Davies took her two children to Ireland and bought Furry Park, a crumbling mansion near Dublin. She collaborated with Michael Collins during the War of Independence and her home in Clontarf became one of Collins' many safe houses as he directed the war. Davies was arrested and imprisoned in 1920.

Rumoured affair[edit]

Davies said in later life that she and Collins had been lovers, but the controversial revisionist historian Peter Hart claimed she was a stalker.[3] It has been suggested that Michael Collins was the father of her son Richard. Historian Meda Ryan denies this saying "Letters from him and a phonecall confirmed that he was born 24 December 1912, before his mother met Collins."[4]

Historian Tim Pat Coogan in his book 'Michael Collins' says that Davies claimed on the night that Collins learned that Éamon de Valera would reject the Anglo-Irish Treaty "he was so distressed that I gave myself to him". Coogan refuses to give a source and in the footnotes he says "Confidental source".[5]

Literary work[edit]

Davies made a lasting contribution to Irish literature with a translation, with George Thomson, of the Muiris Ó Súilleabháin book Fiche Bliain faoi Bhláth as Twenty Years a-Flowering.[6] She is thought to have helped Collins write his book The Path to Freedom.[7]

She died of cancer in Wicklow on 28 September 1943.

References[edit]

  1. ^ MacThomais, Shane (2011). "'The Seapoint Tragedy'". Glasnevin Trust. Retrieved 31 July 2016.
  2. ^ Llewelyn-Davis, Melissa (2007). "'The women in Collins's life'". The Irish Times. Retrieved 31 July 2016.
  3. ^ "'Michael Collins had a stalker'". Irish Independent. 2005. Retrieved 31 July 2016.
  4. ^ "Collins didn't have affair with Lady Lavery: claim - Independent.ie".
  5. ^ Michael Collins by Tim Pat Coogan page 293
  6. ^ "'1904 – Birth of Muiris Ó Súilleabháin on the Great Blasket Island, Co Kerry.'". Stair na hÉireann – History of Ireland. 2016. Retrieved 31 July 2016.
  7. ^ Collins, Michael (12 December 2017). "The path to freedom". Dublin : Talbot Press – via Internet Archive.