The name Darrell Figgis rings no bells for this Mary! I never heard of him before and have no idea what part he played in Irish Political life? Up to now the only Figgis I knew of was the bookshop, a heaven on Dawson Street where many happy hours were passed and purchases made. It is fitting however that this Figgis has a book tucked comfortably up under his oxter.
What we learned about Darrell Figgis (1882–1925)
today explained perhaps why some of us had not heard much about him. As an early member of the Irish Volunteers, a party to the Howth gun-running, an internee following the Rising and Anti-Conscription crackdown, a TD in the 3rd and 4th Dáil, and chair of the Constitution Committee, one might imagine Figgis was as notable as other early members of Sinn Féin. (Like Griffith, Collins, DeV, Brugha - about whom we know much more). However, as was perhaps not uncommon at that fractious time, Figgis fell-out with others in the new political landscape, and was subject to attack. Both physically and politically. A dapper figure in the early 1920s, in one attack, his detractors forcibly cut his trademark beard. Which perhaps helps date this image. A more tragic figure by the mid-1920s, following the deaths of the women in his life, Figgis took his own. A collection of his manuscripts was published after his death, and titled "Recollections of the Irish War"
Collection: Irish Political Figures Photographic Collection
Date: Catalogue range c.1917-1925. Likely after mid-1923 (beard attack). And before late-1925 (death).
NLI Ref: NPA POLF75
You can also view this image, and many thousands of others, on the NLI’s catalogue at catalogue.nli.ie
Owner: National Library of Ireland on The Commons
Source: Flickr Commons
Taken in 2091 - how did they manage that? Was Mr Figgis a Time Lord?
Darrell Edmund Figgis (Irish: Darghal Figes; 17 September 1882 – 27 October 1925) was an Irish writer, Sinn Féin activist and independent parliamentarian in the Irish Free State. The little that has been written about him has attempted to highlight how thoroughly his memory and works have been excised from Irish popular culture. From - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darrell_Figgis With a Homburg hat placed at a jaunty angle and sporting a perfectly trimmed ginger beard, in which he took inordinate pride, the impeccably dressed Darrell Figgis was a familiar sight in war-torn Dublin. From - www.independent.ie/lifestyle/the-short-and-tragic-life-of...
Possibly a Georgian doorway? Red brick to the left, a pillar, and a very worn step, not a new building at the time. But only a small step up from the street...
His beard was unusually red in this portrait by Estella Frances Solomons - www.artnet.com/artists/estella-frances-solomons/darrell-f...
His dapperosity (technical term) was a gift to all artists and cartoonists... Grace Gifford Shemus Even dapper in a prison cell according to Tom Lalor
https://www.flickr.com/photos/beachcomberaustralia Tom Lalor captured that too, so presumably it was red.
In the 1901 census, there are two gents named Figgis who are tea merchants, but neither of them is an A W Figgis.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] Yes, the beard was a part of his sad story, see the Independent link above - On June 13, 1922, on the orders of Harry Boland, four men -- including Bob Briscoe, who later became the first Jewish Lord Mayor of Dublin -- burst into the Figgis house in Fitzwilliam Street in Dublin. Fearing they had come to shoot her troublesome husband, his wife Millie attempted to block their way and was roughly treated by the gang, who then smashed down the door to the study, held down Figgis and cut off one half of his lush red beard. "Poor Darrell Figgis lost his nice red beard," mocked Kitty Kiernan in a letter to Michael Collins the day the story appeared in the Evening Herald. "When I read about it I could imagine you laughing and enjoying it very much. But it was a mean thing for Harry's cronies to do . . . he was lucky it was only his beard."...
https://www.flickr.com/photos/beachcomberaustralia Crikey! Well, I'm obviously off to the newspapers now then... And I'm back with a "small world" story. The Irish Examiner illustrated their (tiny) article with a fine portrait of Darrel Figgis by Poole, Waterford,
Here he is with a fuller beard in 1920 - catalogue.nli.ie/Record/vtls000235769 catalogue.nli.ie/Record/vtls000236439 I wonder if this photo is after the June 1923 beard trim, and a more modest re-growth? He does have a haunted look about him (see the sad biography).
How about 17 Fitzwilliam Street Upper, mentioned in the Independent article, his house ? The photographer would have to be four steps lower; hence the slightly distorted perspective. email@example.com,-6.2501771,3a,15y,273.... Edit x 2 - No, that doesn't work; the front door would not open inwards over that step ... unless it has been rebuilt and levelled. No. 16 next door looks a better match.
Here are Reta North and her family in Thomas St. in 1911, then aged 7.
I believe this must be Millie Figgis in 1901, then Emily Tate
https://www.flickr.com/photos/beachcomberaustralia I agree that this must be after the IRA attack, so Jun 1923 - Oct 1925.
Millie is buried at Mount Jerome
A sad figure indeed.....
Here he is in 1915, three to the left of the celtic cross, looking dapper - https://www.flickr.com/photos/nlireland/26203288753/
National Library of Ireland on The Commons
https://www.flickr.com/photos/beachcomberaustralia Oh well done sir! He does look very handsome in that shot and could rightly be proud of his beautiful red beard! All the Marys would be swooning over him today!!!!
Not the first Irishman or Irishwoman to be airbrushed out of Irish history, when they didn’t fit the narrative that was constructed after independence.
Our history was very sanitised - like that 'forgotten' story of the IRA men being hired by a priest to kill a doctor in 1923.
I'm drawn to the size of his hands. He must have been quite tall, enhanced by the perspective of the photograph.
National Library of Ireland on The Commons
Thanks all - sad to read how much an effect the attack (on his image, home and wife) had on his life. From such a dapper, striking and influential figure in the early days of the state - to a tragic (and somewhat forgotten) figure within a few years. A sad reflection of such a fractious time... I have updated the description, tags and dating notes to reflect the valuable inputs today. Much appreciated as usual!
The Library of Congress seems to have lots on this fellow. There's a picture of him at the polls here, second row, first picture on the left. : chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045462/1922-07-04/ed-.... His beard was the pride of Ireland. chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86058226/1922-07-07/ed-... He even made it into a German language paper over here, so he was pretty well known. chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045534/1918-05-23/ed-.... Column listed as "Sinn Feiners". top left.
My great, great ...something on my father's side of the family. I have inherited a copy of his book The Paintings of William Blake, published in 1925, no 15 of 1150, signed by the author and dedicated to Millie. The bookshop mentioned in a comment above was founded by the same family and there is also a connection with Bewleys (which might explain the tea merchant connection or might just be through my father's family).