Éamon de Valera

With a political career spanning over 50 years, Éamon de Valera held the position of Taoiseach for three terms and was also President of Ireland from 1959 to 1973.

Presented here are some of the key moments from his life as captured on radio and television. From the 1930s to the 1950s Éamon de Valera regularly used radio to address his audience in Ireland and abroad. These broadcasts were used to explain his government's policies, provide updates on the political and economic development of the country to the population at home and to those who had emigrated. De Valera also used the the radio broadcasts to reiterate Ireland's sovereignty as an independent nation. 

Two of his most famous broadcasts can be heard here, the often misquoted "The Ireland which we dreamed of" speech in 1943 and his reply to Winston Churchill's attack on Irish neutrality in 1945. In later years radio was the place where Éamon de Valera recalled his long life. He gave a number of interviews to Donncha Ó’ Dúlaing which formed the basis of the series 'A Boy from Bruree' broadcast in 1966.   

As the first person to appear on Ireland's television service, Telefís Éireann, Éamon de Valera seems less sure of this new means of communication when he delivered a Presidential address on 31 December 1961. 

As president  Éamon de Valera was there to greet US president John F Kennedy on his visit to Ireland in 1963 and addressed the Congress in Washington the following year. In 1966 he was central to the 50th anniversary commemoration of the Easter Rising and among the many events Éamon de Valera returned to Kilmainham Jail where had been held. 

When Éamon de Valera's long life came to a close television announced the death of the statesman and both RTÉ services provided comprehensive coverage of the state funeral.