Walter L. Cole

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Walter L. Cole
Griffith & Cole.jpg
Cole (right) with Arthur Griffith (left)
Teachta Dála
In office
June 1922 – August 1923
Personal details
Born(1866-05-15)15 May 1866
Liverpool, England
Died26 April 1943(1943-04-26) (aged 76)
Dublin, Ireland
Political party
  • Anna Harrison (1894–1921)
  • Mary Redden (1928–1943)
Residence(s)Mountjoy Square, Dublin
EducationSt Francis Xavier's College, Liverpool
Alma materUniversity of London

Walter Leonard Cole (15 May 1866 – 26 April 1943) was an Irish merchant and politician in the early twentieth century. Prior to the foundation of the Irish Free State, he was an alderman for a period.[1] An active republican, he was a founding director of the Sinn Féin Printing & Publishing Company. He also led the Sinn Féin grouping in Dublin Corporation in the early 1900s.[2]

Personal life[edit]

Cole was born in Liverpool on 15 May 1866 to an Irish father, George Cole, a railway accountant, and an English mother, Arabella Hughes.[3] He was educated at the St Francis Xavier's College, Liverpool and the University of London. He married Anna Harrison in 1894, who had been born in the USA. The couple moved to Dublin and had three sons. Harrison died in 1921, and Cole married Mary Redden in 1928, with whom he had two daughters.[3]


As a well-off supporter of the underground Irish republican movement in the early twentieth century, his house on Mountjoy Square seems to have been a regular meeting place for senior figures within that movement. The notes of Seamus Reader, an Irish Volunteer from Glasgow, record a meeting on 2 January 1916 at Cole's house:

Shortly after 5pm on the 2nd, January 1916, I went to Cole's house, Mountjoy Square, Dublin, where, while waiting in the kitchen for tea, I jotted my coded notes for my report to Scotland. I then went to the room where I met Tom Clarke, Sean McDermott, J Connolly, P Pearse and McDonagh.[4]

All of whom were signatories to the Proclamation of the Irish Republic and all of whom were executed the following May, as leaders of the Easter Rising.

Cole is also documented as having hosted provisional Dáil meetings at his home,[5][6] the assembly having been driven underground in September 1919. He was arrested by the military at his home at No. 3 Mountjoy Square in 1920.[1]

After the Anglo-Irish Treaty and the foundation of the Irish Free State, he was elected a pro-Treaty Sinn Féin Teachta Dála (TD) to the 3rd Dáil Éireann for Cavan constituency at the 1922 general election.[7] The "Pro-Treaty" prefix relates to his position in the Irish Civil War. He and Seán Milroy stood alongside Arthur Griffith with one other opponent,[8] Patrick Baxter of the Farmers' Party and three seats available.[9] Cole stood again in Cavan as a Cumann na nGaedheal candidate at the following 1923 general election but was not elected.[10]

Cole unsuccessfully ran for election to Seanad Éireann in 1925.[11] He was later a commissioner for Mountjoy Square.[12]


  1. ^ a b "Civilians arrested By Military in Dublin" (Fee required). The Irish Times. 18 September 1920. Retrieved 6 September 2008.
  2. ^ Kelly, M. J. (2006). The Fenian Ideal and Irish Nationalism, 1882-1916. Boydell & Brewer Ltd. p. 149. ISBN 9781843832041.
  3. ^ a b Dempsey, Pauric J. (October 2009). "Cole, Walter Leonard". Dictionary of Irish Biography. Retrieved 8 December 2021.
  4. ^ "WS 1767 (Seamus Reader)" (PDF). Bureau of Military History. p. 3. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  5. ^ Heagney, John (2006). "3". The Georgian Squares of Dublin. Four Courts Press.
  6. ^ McCracken, J. L. (1958). Representative Government in Ireland: A Study of Dáil Éireann 1919-48. Oxford University Press. ASIN B0006D7GSU. Dáil Éireann Mountjoy Square.
  7. ^ "Walter Cole". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 27 April 2009.
  8. ^ Laffan, Michael (1999). "3". The Resurrection of Ireland: The Sinn Féin Party, 1916-1923. Cambridge University Press. p. 401. ISBN 9780521650731.
  9. ^ "3rd Dail - Cavan First Preference Votes". Retrieved 6 January 2009.
  10. ^ "Walter L. Cole". Retrieved 27 April 2009.
  11. ^ "Mr. Walter Leonard Cole, 3 Mountjoy Square" (Fee required). The Irish Times. 12 September 1925. Retrieved 6 September 2008.
  12. ^ "Mountjoy Square for the Public" (Fee required). The Irish Times. 8 March 1938. Retrieved 6 September 2008.

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