This letter is from Sinéad deValera (1878-1975) to her mother Margaret Flanagan (née Byrne). The letter was written while Éamon deValera (1882-1975) was in prison in Dartmoor in England. Sinéad writes to tell her mother that 'Ed' (Éamon) has been imprisoned in Dartmoor and not to be troubled by events. She outlines the prison's correspondence and visitation regime, adding that , even though letters are censored, Ed prefers them, as visits are closely supervised and unsatisfactory. She encloses a letter from him to her mother and assures her again of his good health. Sinéad expresses the opinion that it was American influence (Éamon de Valera had been born in America) that lead to her husband's sentence being commuted from death to penal servitude for life.

Sinéad de Valera (née O'Flanagan), author and teacher, was the wife of Éamon de Valera. After the Rising, Sinéad was pregnant and without an income while her husband was in prison, and was forced to return to the family home in Phibsboro to care for her invalid sister and mother. Throughout much of the ensuing political upheaval she saw little of her husband, who was either imprisoned or on the run.


  • Easter Rising Ireland 1916


Institution: University College Dublin, Archives
Collection: De Valera Papers, P150/172/1

Citation & Contributors

Sinéad de Valera. "Letter from Sinéad de Valera to Margaret Flanagan, 24 July 1916". Letters of 1916. Schreibman, Susan, Ed. Maynooth University: 2016. Website.

The following people contributed to this letter:

  • Philcostel
  • Comber
  • Willow
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From: Sinéad de Valera
To: Margaret Flanagan
Date Sent: 24 July 1916

Subject: Letter from Sinéad de Valera to Margaret Flanagan, 24 July 1916
3 Munster St Phibsboro
My dear Mother

I had a letter from Lizzie on Sat morning saying you asked them to tell me to write to you. I hope you have got the two letters I wrote lately. I fear you are worried about us here. Now please do not be in the least uneasy. This day week I wrote to you I hope my letter has reached you alright. When Ed was first sent away I did not like to bother you with bad news and I told Tom I was keeping it from you. But you seem to have heard it from some other source. Now don't be troubled about us. God is taking great care of us all. Ed was sent to Dartmoor prison in England on the 18th May. He was allowed to write to me on the following day and then I got a communication from the governor of the prison saying he would not have permission to write again till 10th September. You can imagine what a pleasant surprise it was for me then to receive a letter from him this morning. They are entitled to have a visitor every four months as well as a letter and if they cannot have the visitor then they are allowed to write every two months. Ed prefers the letter to a visit. The visits are very unsatisfactory. Viv, Mairin and I saw him for a short time in the prison here before he went away but there was a warden present all the time. Ed told me to give the enclosed letter to you. Of course his letters and all he receives are read by the prison authorities. I can only write to him once in two months. It is a long time to be without a word from him, but he is in good health from all I can gather and I am very hopeful that when God has so mercifully spared his life he will do much more for us. I know he will keep strong and well by looking forward to meeting us all again. Have no anxiety about me or the children, we have everything we want and I shall be able to get along even if Ed is a long time away. But he won't be with God's help. I form my intention for the masses as you told me. What a noble soul dear Tom is! He wrote some lovely letters to me. I am sure with all your prayers and help everything will soon be well. Of course it was the American influence here that got Ed's sentence commuted. Now please don't fret. Uncle Charlie, I am sure, will take the same hopeful view of things that I do. Perhaps you might be let write to Ed as you may have some important news to tell him. They get letters containing any special information. Or perhaps Tom or Ed's Uncle Ed might to allowed to communicate with him. Now my dear Mother be of good cheer. I am asking the Holy Family for a Christmas Gift and wait till you see won't I get it.

If you can furnish
Ed with the particulars
he asks
will you send
the same to me
I hope you will
be able to read his
little note Ferdinand
and Isabella
are the words I
I nearly cut away
the letter was
very closely written.
Please do not be uneasy - all will be well.