SIGNED BY THE TWO ARCH RIVALS FOR KITTY KIERNAN’S HAND
Michael Collins & Harry Boland A very good small Republican autograph book including some 27 signatures, many of them signed in South Armagh in January 1918 during the Irish by-election for the Westminster Parliament; Ed Fleming, South Armagh Election, Jan 31st 1918 with verse that ends “of learning how to use a Rifle”; Matthew O’Farrell, Donnybrook, Dublin signs in Irish and English; P.C. O’Mahony, with caption ‘Sinn Fein organise on the eve of the battle 31.1.18’; J. Flood, with note ‘we rely on Sth Armagh to provide us with anace on top’; Arthur O’Connor, North Kildare, South Armagh election;
Joseph Murphy with note ‘Vote for Pat McCartan & Freedom for Ireland’, St. Brigid’s Day 1/2/18; Batt O’Connor, Donnybrook. S. Armagh Election, St Brigid’s Day, Up McCartan, good old Frongoch’; John O’Mahony South Armagh Election 31/1/18. “To God & Ireland true”; Joe McGuinness, South Longford, South Armagh Election, Up McCartan 31/1/18; Stan Ó Deagha, Co. an Chláir. MacCártaháin Abú! Poblacht na hÉireann Abú!! South Armagh 31/1/18; Paul Dawson-Cusack, Granard, Co. Longford, Sth Armagh 1/12/18; Seán Mac an tSaoi G221; Kevin O’Shiel, signed in Irish and English, South Armagh I.II.18. “Sinn Fein maybe temporarily impeded but nothing can stop its march to final victory.”; Dómnal MacCarthaigh; Aoibhistín de Staic. Q224. Traighlí. 5.2.1918; P Mac Mathghamna Q1101; Seán Ó Murthuile, 5/9/21; Frank Aiken, 18/8/21; Thomás Eoin Ua Brannagáin, An lá fheile Brighde, South Armagh Election, 1918. Michael Collins (4/9/2) and Harry Boland, the two arch rivals for Kitty Kiernan’s hand. Bound in full black leatherette, title ‘Autographs’ in gilt on upper cover. 185 x 115mm. Dark stain in gutter throughout, barely affecting the writing. In very good condition. A unique memento.
Crossmaglen, 28 January 1918 – Irish by-election for the Westminster parliament. It was held to fill the seat for South Armagh, vacated by the death of the Irish Parliamentary Party MP, Charles O’Neill. It was a constituency with an electorate of just over 6,000 that it was divided into six polling districts: Clady Milltown (921), Crossmaglen (1,028), Ballybet (1,900), Forkhill (1,261), Newtownhamilton (883) and Poyntspass (466).
The Irish Party unanimously selected Patrick Donnelly as its candidate. Donnelly was a Newry-based solicitor, who was hoping to put a stop to the recent electoral gallop of the Sinn Féin party. He told reporters that South Armagh has never ‘gone wrong’ before. He added that if he was returned it would deliver a crushing blow to Sinn Féin that would be heard the length and breadth of Ireland in six months. Donnelly’s chief opponent was Dr Patrick McCartan, who was described by one follower at a campaign meeting in Cloughbogue as the ‘the man known all over the world, the first Ambassador of Ireland to America, and who has faced every sort of danger in order to bring the condition of Ireland before the nations of the world’.
Dr Patrick McCartan was the Sinn Féin candidate for the South Armagh by-election in 1918. A third candidate, the Unionist Thomas W. Richardson was also set to contest the by-election, but, in a constituency like South Armagh, it was essentially a competition between the nationalist (IPP) and republican (SF) candidates. The ferocity of the competition between the two was reflected in the intensity of the electioneering from both sides. Mr Donnelly and his supporters have been using cars to cover the constituency and campaign in all its polling districts. In the event, the Irish Party vote held up, and Donnelly won by over a thousand votes. It was a setback for Sinn Féin, but only a short one.