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Michael Davitt Museum, Straide, County Mayo, Ireland

posted May 1, 2019, 1:05 PM by Bernard O'Hara
Bernard O’Hara will give a lecture on ‘The Life of Michael Davitt’ to the Mayo Association, Dublin, in the Iveagh Hotel, Dublin, on Tuesday May 28, 2019. It is open to the public.
The Michael Davitt Museum at Straide, off the N58 from the N5 motorway at Bellavary, in County Mayo, is an attraction well worth a visit in the West of Ireland ( The museum was opened in October 2000 to honour and remember its native son, ‘the father of the Land League’ and one of Ireland’s greatest patriots. It is now located in the specially-restored seventeenth-century church where he was christened in 1846. The restoration work was carried out by the Michael Davitt Association, an organisation founded by the local Irish Countrywomen’s Association (ICA) in November 1972 under the leadership of Nancy Smyth to remember his achievements. The original museum collection, housed in a room in the local community centre, was opened on 23 May 1984 by Nobel and Lenin Peace Prize winner, Seán McBride.
Michael Davitt (1846-1906) was the founder, chief organiser and inspiring genius of the Land League, the biggest mass movement in modern Irish history. It created the conditions that led to land ownership transferring from the powerful landlord ascendancy class to occupying tenant-farmers by constitutional means, bringing about huge social changes in Ireland. Davitt’s sympathy and concern ranged from Irish tenant-farmers to agricultural labourers, the plight of the British and Irish working-classes, prison reform, social reform, the Boers in South Africa, to the Jews in Russia. A radical Liberal, he was a champion of the marginalised, oppressed and exploited world-wide. He sought an independent, democratic, egalitarian Irish Republic, but accepted that Home Rule was the only realistic political possibility from the middle of the 1880s. He was also a founding patron in 1884 of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA), a nationalist Member of Parliament, a supporter of the labour movement who played a role in the establishment of the Irish Trade Union Congress in 1894 and in the formation of the British Labour Party in 1906. During an extraordinary life, Michael Davitt was a respected campaigning journalist and the author of six books and numerous articles to various publications in Ireland and other countries. Davitt supported land nationalisation as the solution to the Irish land agitation, but that had no public support. Davitt became a public intellectual with many interests, especially the development of education for the empowerment of individuals, families, society and the economy, with equal opportunities for both genders in an inter-denominational system. After his death on 30 May 1906 from septicaemia following a minor dental operation, he was buried ‘without any funeral demonstration’ (as he had requested in his will) in the cemetery beside the friary in his native Straide, County Mayo.
The museum has a short audio-visual presentation on Davitt’s life and contains an extensive collection of letters to and from him, portraits, documents, prison records, photographs, post cards, and personal items relating to him, many of which were kindly donated by his family. There are also copies of the books written by him and about him, land acts, as well as many banners, posters, decorated membership cards, mementoes from places he visited, a big collection of press cuttings including obituaries, and other memorabilia dealing with him and the Land League. It contains the fireplace from Land League Cottage, Ballybrack, County Dublin, where Davitt and his wife, Mary Jane, lived following their marriage in December 1886 to 1895. The Michael Davitt Museum is a must visit place for anyone interested in Irish history.
Exploring Mayo by Bernard O’Hara is now available Worldwide as an eBook for the amazon Kindle application.
The print version of Bernard O’Hara’s book Exploring Mayo can be obtained by contacting also sell the print versions of Killasser - Heritage of a Mayo Parish , Anseo and Davitt.
Bernard O'Hara's book entitled Killasser: Heritage of a Mayo Parish is now on sale in the USA and UK as a paperback book at, or Barnes and Noble
It is also available as an eBook from the Apple iBookstore (for reading on iPad and iPhone), from and (Kindle & Kindle Fire) and from (Nook tablet and eReader).
An earlier publication, a concise biography of Michael Davitt, entitled Davitt by Bernard O’Hara published in 2006 by Mayo County Council , is now available as Davitt: Irish Patriot and Father of the Land League by Bernard O’Hara, which was published in the USA by Tudor Gate Press ( and is available from and It can be obtained as an eBook from the Apple iBookstore (for reading on iPad and iPhone), from and (Kindle & Kindle Fire) and from (Nook tablet and eReader).