Thomas D’Arcy McGee (1825-1867)
From afar, a beacon provides light, guidance and hope in challenging times. The D’Arcy McGee Beacon Fellowship facilitates such critical connection over distance. This programme enables leading Irish and Canadian academics, researchers and thinkers to connect online, in a programme of activity designed to nurture and develop strong and fruitful collaborations which will enrich connections between our two counties.
These Fellowships will have a three-step approach;
About Thomas D’Arcy McGee
Born in Carlingford, Ireland in 1825, Thomas D’Arcy McGee was a journalist, poet, historian and a politician. As a young man he was influenced by Daniel O’Connell and Father Theobald Mathew’s temperance movement, but became more radicalised in his political outlook during the Famine when, in his early 20s, he became a Young Irelander, and helped to launch the Irish Rising of 1848.
D’Arcy McGee evaded arrest following the failed rising and, wanted for treason, fled to the United States. In 1857 he moved to Montreal, where his political and personal journey saw him move away from republicanism towards a model of self-government within the British Empire. His vision for a country founded on tolerance and diversity was an inspiring force in driving the Confederation of Canada, and he is remembered today as an advocate of minority rights. However for the Fenian Brotherhood, his shift to parliamentary politics was a step too far. He was assassinated on Sparks Street Ottawa in 1868, the year after the confederation of Canada, a week before his 43rd birthday.
His story personifies the rich, historic and multi-layered links that join Canada and Ireland. For contemporary Canadians and Irish alike, his inclusive vision provides a prism though which contemporary life can be examined, and hopes for the future can be explored.
During his childhood, his father worked as a coastguard, meaning he lived with his family at various locations along the Irish coast. Beacons would have been in integral part of the young D’Arcy McGee’s life, and this programme provides a meaningful resonance with D’Arcy McGee’s life and times.