New light has been shed on the life story of Land League founder Michael Davitt by extensive new research which was presented in book form to several dozen of his descendants at a ceremony in Straide at the weekend.

The presentations took place in the Davitt Museum, the very room in the former penal church where the champion of the rural oppressed was baptised in 1846 and close to where he was buried in the grounds of the ancient abbey.

More than thirty people from Ireland and further afield who can claim kinship with Davitt attended the function on Friday afternoon last. These included some of Michael Davitt’s grandchildren, great grandchildren and great great grandchildren.

The oldest descendant attending was a granddaughter, 91 years old Edina Davitt Jones. Edina spoke to Midwest News ...


Yvonne Corcoran Loftus is the Curator of the Davitt Museum and she explained that the latest research has “illuminated elements of the Davitt story that were largely outside the public domain”.

It now appears that the eviction of the Davitt family, which led to their emigration to Lancashire ,took place earlier than 1850 as heretofore suggested.

It has also emerged that Davitt’s mother was a native of the parish of Straide and not Turlough as was previously thought.

The research work was funded by the Creative Ireland Programme, co-ordinated by Austin Vaughan, which comes under the auspices of Mayo County Council.

The Chief Executive of Mayo County Council Kevin Kelly....

It was many decades ago when the community in Straide began working on establishing the Michael Davitt Museum, Nancy Smyth was one of the founders of the development and she spoke to Midwest News about the early efforts…


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