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24 Sept 2022

Tipperary TD Joe MacDonagh to be remembered with Cloughjordan biography book launch

Tipperary TD Joe MacDonagh to be remembered with Cloughjordan biography book launch

Joe MacDonagh at a hurling match in the Showgrounds, Nenagh, in 1919. A biography of the TD will be published this Friday

A first biography of Alderman and Dáil TD Joseph MacDonagh, will be launched this Friday evening to start the next history weekend in the Thomas MacDonagh Museum in Cloughjordan.

The biography and the Joseph MacDonagh weekend come just before the centenary of his tragic death on December 22, 1922.
Like his well-known older brother Thomas, who was executed after the 1916 Rising, Joe MacDonagh, left a widow and three young children when he died of medical complications following surgery on Christmas Day 1922.

The only Anti-Treaty TD elected in the Tipperary constituency in the June 1922 election, he developed a number of medical conditions after he was detained in Mountjoy prison in September 1922.

He was no stranger to prison, having been imprisoned by the Dublin Castle authorities on four separate occasions during the previous five years of conflict.

Elected as Sinn Féin TD for North Tipperary in December 1918, he led high profile prison protests and participated personally in three hungers strikes - the first of which resulted in the death of Thomas Ashe in 1917.

A political figure rather than an IRA man, the contribution of Joe MacDonagh to Ireland’s struggle for independence, and, indeed, his short life story - he was 38 when he died - are largely forgotten.

This book traces his trajectory from being a comfortable, newly-married civil servant based in Thurles pre-1916 to one where he was a leader of the revolutionary Sinn Féin movement in both Tipperary as well as being a central figure on the national stage until his tragic and untimely death.

This first biography of Joe MacDonagh has been researched and written by Gerard Shannon, an historian from Skerries in north county Dublin, who has an MA in History from the DCU School of History and Geography.

In 2017, he organised the centenary weekend to mark the tragic death of Muriel MacDonagh in Skerries 100 years previously.
Muriel was widow of executed Easter Rising leader Thomas MacDonagh, and sister-in law of Joe. Hence his interest in and connection with the MacDonagh family, originally from Cloughjordan in Tipperary.

Gerard Shannon has delivered many lectures on aspects of the MacDonagh’s place in Irish history.

The book is another publication under the Tipperary in the Decade of Revolution banner and centenary booklet and biography series editor Seán Hogan.

All are welcome to the event in the Thomas MacDonagh museum, Cloughjordan on Friday evening, September 23 at 8pm.

The Joseph MacDonagh Weekend runs from September 23 to 25.

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