Domhnall O’ Buachalla (Donal Buckley)

Domhnall O Buachalla was one of the most interesting people I have heard of to have come from Maynooth. Born in 1866, his legacy can still be seen on main street Maynooth: ‘Buckley’s House‘, now in ruins, is the house he grew up in and is now a protected building; he ran a shop on the Main Street which only closed down a few years ago and of course ‘Buckley’s Lane’ is no doubt named after him. There are three fascinating stories about him which I’ll briefly mention.

1. He was a fluent Irish speaker, a member of the Gaelic League, and interested in the Irish language, teaching it in Maynooth. In 1905 he was prosecuted for having his name in Irish on his cart, which was illegal at the time. Patrick Pearse defended him in his case, but he was fined. He refused to pay the fine, so goods were seized from his shop instead and sold at a public auction. They were bought and the buyer handed them back to O’ Buachalla !

2. He was a member of the IRB and active in the Irish Volunteers. When he heard about the Easter Rising, he got together a small group of volunteers, went to a local priest for a blessing and marched all the way to Dublin to volunteer on Easter Monday. He is reported to have killed a couple of soldiers as well as a sniper. He was imprisoned afterwards but soon released. He also fought on the anti-treaty side during the Civil War and was imprisoned afterwards again from 1922-23.

3. My friend told me that Eamon De Valera appointed O’ Buachalla Governor General (the Kings representative in Ireland) in 1932, so as to downplay the role and make it redundant. O’ Buachalla did not disappoint: he never lived in the stately home given to him, never attended functions, never took transport in the official car, never hosted people. He made the position redundant and the office was abolished by 1936, helping De Valera in his view of breaking down another connection between Ireland and England. O’ Buachalla retired to Dublin and died in 1963. He was 97 years old, was buried and given a state funeral in Laraghbyran Cemetary. If you wish to know a bit more, I found the link below very interesting.


References: Dictionary of Irish Biography, O Buachalla, Domhnall by Marie Coleman


One comment on “Domhnall O’ Buachalla (Donal Buckley)

  1. daithi82 says:

    There are some very interesting characters in Irish history. I didn’t know much about O Buachalla other than being the last Governor General. Very interesting. I’m going to have to write about some of the fascinating characters I’ve uncovered in Christchurch someday.

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