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Eamon de Valera was born in America in 1882 and after the death of his father Vivion de Valera in 1885, he returned to the home of his mother Catherine Coll in Bruree. Young Eamon went to primary school in the building where the De Valera Museum is now housed. At the age of fourteen, de Valera went to the Christian Brothers school in Charleville where he won a scholarship to Blackrock College in Dublin. He received a BA degree from the Royal University of Ireland and also studied at Trinity College for a short period of time.

Exhibit in De Valera Museum
© Exhibit in De Valera Museum

De Valera was one of the leaders of the 1916 Rising, after which he was imprisoned. He was elected as a Member of Parliament for Clare in 1917. The following year he was elected the President of the Irish Republic. In 1926 he formed the Fianna Fail party. During his long life in politics, De Valera was both President and Taoiseach of the country. In 1937 he wrote a new constitution for the country. De Valera was also twice the President of the Council of the League of Nations.

Eamon de Valera made numerous visits back to the place where he grew up and on October 8th 1972, President de Valera opened the Museum named after him. This Museum now also incorporates the Bruree Heritage Centre and President Mary Robinson officially opened the Museum in 1997.

De Valera's Cottage
© De Valera's cottage

De Valera died on August 29 1975 at the age of 92. Eamon de Valera's cottage has now been taken over by the State as a national monument and attracts a large number of visitors.

During de Valera's youth, he was an altar server for Fr Eugene Sheehy. Fr Sheehy was known as the "Land League Priest" and spent some time in prison due to his stance on the issue. He was also involved in the foundation of the GAA.

Bruree House was the home of John Gubbins who won the Epsom Derby with two horses. In 1897 Galteemore won the race along with the 2,000 Guineas and St. Leger in the same year. Ardpatrick won the 1902 running of the Derby to repeat the feat of Galteemore for his owner.

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