American reporting of Irish independence

Ireland’s War of Independence (1919-1921) made regular headlines in U.S. daily newspapers and the Irish-American press, including key people and events in the United States. This centennial series explores aspects of that news and opinion coverage, including Éamon de Valera’s 18-month U.S. tour to raise money and political support for Ireland. To date I have produced special projects about American journalists Ruth Russell and Harry Guest, who reported from revolutionary Ireland in 1919 and 1920, respectively.

Guest contributions, suggestions and comments are welcome. Reach me via the website or @markaholan. MH All content © 2020. 


Ruth Russell

Chicago journalist Ruth Russell reported from revolutionary Ireland in 1919, followed by a year of activism for its independence. This five-part monograph explores her life before, during, and after the period. I presented this research at the 2019 annual conferences of the American Journalism Historians Association, Dallas; the Newspaper and Periodical History Forum of Ireland, Belfast; and the Irish Railroad Workers Museum, Baltimore.

Delivering my research at the Newspaper and Periodical History Forum of Ireland conference at Queens University Belfast in November 2019.



Harry F. Guest

Harry F. Guest of the New York Globe spent January and February 1920 reporting from revolutionary Ireland. Upon his return to America, he wrote two dozen stories based on his interviews and observations, which were syndicated to U.S. and Canadian newspapers from March through May 1920. This series was researched entirely from online sources in April 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic quarantine. I hope to followup with additional library and archive research after the crisis. 


These stand alone posts, including work published outside this blog, are listed from newest to oldest, and grouped by centenary year from 1918:


MacSwiney’s martyrdom in the Irish-American press (Coming soon)

U.S. reporter scooped last Terence MacSwiney interview

Feakle ambush & reprisals: Multiple views of an event

U.S. & Irish news coverage of the ‘Templemore miracles’

Guest post: Irish-American isolationism and Irish internationalism

Select press coverage from summer 1920 Belfast riots 

Votes for women, support for Ireland

Police behavior matters: America, 2020 & Ireland, 1920

August 1920 protests for James Larkin in U.S. prison

Reading the Irish-American press from July 1920

Ireland & the 1920 U.S. presidential election: Part 2 (Democratic National Convention, San Francisco, July 1920)

Ireland & the 1920 U.S. presidential election: Part 1 (Republican National Convention in Chicago, June 1920)

Mary Galvin’s year of protest for Ireland, 1920

‘Likely to cause disaffection to His Majesty’, the Seizure of Irish newspapers, The Irish Story

Remembering Oliver Plunkett’s May 1920 beatification

When bigots tried to ban Dev from Birmingham, Alabama

Protestant preacher helped promote Irish independence

St. Patrick’s Day in America, 1920: Politics and poetry

W.B. Yeats arrives in New York, January 1920

1920 Irish loan drive, U.S. state chairmen list 

Ruth Russell in Revolutionary Ireland, The Irish Story

Historian Catherine M. Burns on 1920 women’s pickets


November 19, 1919: De Valera’s bad headline day in L.A.

More opinions on the Irish question, October 1919

Three Irish writers on the Irish question, October 1919

Éamon de Valera’s October 1919 Visit to Pittsburgh

How Dev’s tour shifted U.S. press coverage of Ireland

The Twelfth, 1919: Carson tells America to butt out

U.S. Independence Day in Ireland: Bans to boycotts

When an Irish Rebel Had His Portrait Drawn in Louisville, Filson Historical Society Blog

Select newspaper editorials on de Valera’s U.S. arrival

Describing Éamon de Valera before social media

‘The Irish Press’ withheld news of de Valera’s U.S. arrival

The other Irish aboard the ‘Lapland’ with de Valera

June 1919: U.S. editorials on Senate support for Ireland

May 1919: Irish-American commission visits Ireland

The Irish question, April 1919

U.S. press coverage of April 1919 ‘Limerick soviet’

Easter 1919: Rising remembered & rally for Republic 

Irish Americans reach Paris, demand Wilson’s answer

March 1919: First interviews with escapee Éamon de Valera

Covering the countess’s return to Dublin, 1919

St. Patrick’s Day in America, 1919

March madness 1919: So close, yet so far

‘Intrigue of Deception’ at Catholic University of America, 1919

First words on the 1919 Irish Race Convention

Promoting the February 1919 Irish Race Convention

Names & numbers: 1919 Irish Race Convention, Philadelphia

The Tyrone-born publisher of Philadelphia’s Irish Press

America’s Irish press reports first Dáil…and more

American press coverage of first Dáil Éireann

‘Irish American’ publisher’s Irish-American story

Two Irish-American newspapers, one epic story

Irish-American press on Sinn Féin election


U.S. press on Sinn Féin win

Pittsburgh rally for Irish freedom

House hearing on ‘The Irish Question’

The bishop & the president

Original research by Mark Holan. © 2020


The series taps coverage in the mainstream American press and several Irish-American publications:

  • The Irish Standard, published from 1886 until mid-1920 in Minneapolis, Minn.

Via Library of Congress, Chronicling America.

  • The Kentucky Irish American, published from 1898 to 1968 in Louisville.

Via Library of Congress, Chronicling America, and Univ. of Kentucky, Kentucky Digital Library.

  • The Irish Press, a short-lived (1918-1922) Philadelphia weekly with direct political and financial ties to revolutionary Ireland.

Via VIllanova University, Joseph McGarrity Collection.

  • The Gaelic American, “a journal devoted to the cause of Irish independence, Irish literature, and the interests of the Irish race,” published in New York City from 1903 to 1951.
  • News Letter of the Friends of Irish Freedom, a Washington, D.C. newsletter published from mid-1991 to 1922.

Via University of Wisconsin-Madison & Hathi Digital Trust Library

This is an evolving list of articles and books. Individual posts may cite sources that are not listed below.

Callihan, Susan Bennett McGinnis, “From Ireland to Louisville: The Story of Limerick, 1850-1913.” Dissertation, University of Louisville, 1996.

Carroll, Francis M., “The American Commission on Irish Independence and the Paris Peace Conference of 1919,” in Irish Studies in International Affairs, Vol. 2, No. 1, 1985, pp. 103-118.

  • Carroll, Francis M., ” ‘All Standards of Human Conduct’ : The American Commission on Conditions in Ireland, 1920-1921.”  in Eire-Ireland, Vol. XVI, No. 4 (Winter, 1981), pp 59-74.

Clark, Dennis, The Irish in Philadelphia: Ten Generations of Urban Experience. Temple University Press, Philadelphia, 1973.

Crews, Clyde F., ed., Mike Barry and the Kentucky Irish American: An Anthology. University Press of Kentucky, 1995.

Davis, Troy D., “Eamon de Valera’s Political Education: The American Tour of 1919-20,” in New Hibernia Review, Vol. 10, No. 1, Spring 2006, pp. 65-78.

Doorley, Michael, Irish-American Diaspora Nationalism: The Friends of Irish Freedom, 1916-1935. Four Courts Press, 2005.

Golway, Terry, Irish Rebel: John Devoy and America’s Fight for Ireland’s Freedom. St. Martin Press, New York, 1998.

Hannigan, Dave, De Valera in America: The Rebel President and the Making of Irish Independence. Palgrave Macmillan, New York, 2010.

Kenneally, Ian, The Paper Wall: Newspapers and Propoganda in Ireland 1919-1921. The Collins Press, 2008.

McCartan, Patrick, With De Valera In America. Brentano, New York, 1932.

McCullagh, David, De Valera, Rise 1882-1932, Gill Books, New York, 2017.

O’Doherty, Katherine, Assignment America: De Valera’s Mission to the United States. De Tanko Publishers, New York, 1957. Via HathiTrust Digital Library.

Ousley Jr., Stanley, “The Irish in Louisville.” Dissertation, University of Louisville, 1974.

Tansill, Charles Callen, America and the fight for Irish freedom, 1866-1922, an old story based on new dataThe Devin-Adair Co., New York, 1957.

Walsh, Maurice, The News From Ireland: Foreign Correspondents and the Irish Revolution. Palgrave Macmillan, New York, 2008.

Whelan, Bernadette, United States Foreign Policy and Ireland: From Empire to Independence, 1913-29. Four Courts Press, Dublin, 2006.