Stamp of approval for Davis bicentenary

An Post has issued a stamp honouring the life of revolutionary writer and Young Ireland leader Thomas Davis to mark the bicentenary of his birth. 

Stamp of approval for Davis bicentenary

It was one of several events which took place in Dublin yesterday to mark the link between Davis’ birthplace in Mallow, Co Cork, and his later education and life in Dublin.

The unveiling of the stamp, just a few days before the actual 200th anniversary of Davis’ birth, was described by the bicentenary organisers, Mallow Development Partnership, as one the highlights in their year-long calendar of commemorative events.

Partnership chairman, John McDonnell, said the stamp is another fitting tribute to Davis.

“Davis and his teachings are as relevant today as they were 200 years ago,” he said.

“For example, some of his greatest quotes: ‘Educate that you may be free’ and ‘What matters if at a different shrine we pray, once it is the one God’, are still relevant today.

“He was also a great promoter of the Irish language, and his quote, ‘Tír gan teanga, tír gan ainm’, is still widely used.”

The formal unveiling, attended by representatives of Mallow schools, was performed at Bank of Ireland on College Green by Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs, Sean Sherlock.

The 68c stamp, designed by Irish design agency, Conor & David, features an engraving of Davis taken from the book Memoirs of an Irish Patriot by Charles Gavan Duffy, courtesy of the National Library of Ireland.

An Post’s director of communications and public affairs, Barney Whelan, said: “We hope this stamp will serve as a reminder to those who already know of Davis but also re-introduce him to a new generation.”

Earlier, wreaths were laid at the Davis statute on Dame St on behalf of the Government by Mr Sherlock, and on behalf of Mallow Development Partnership by Aideen Carroll, the granddaughter of Sean Moylan, the War of Independence leader and former government minister who played a key role in the Davis centenary celebrations of 1945.

The bicentenary celebrations continue next month when President Michael D Higgins will unveil a new statue of Davis in Mallow.

Davis was born in Mallow on October 14, 1814, shortly after the death of his father. In 1842 Davis, along with Charles Gavan Duffy and John Blake Dillon, co-founded The Nation newspaper where his writings provided a new focus for ideas of Irish nationhood.

He was the chief organiser for the Young Ireland movement and wrote stirring ballads such as ‘A Nation Once Again’.

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