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Friday, 20 April 2018

Thomas Meagher

150th Anniversary of the death of Thomas Meagher


On June 29, 2017 An Post issued a stamp to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the death of Thomas Meagher.

Thomas Francis Meagher was born in Waterford in 1823 and was educated by the Jesuits at Clongowes, Co. Kildare and at Stonyhurst College in England. The family lived in what is now the Granville Hotel but later moved to a large house opposite the site on which Waterford Treasures Museum is now located, and where a significant collection of memorabilia has been on display since 2012.

1848 was a big year for the Meagher’s: Thomas brought the Irish republican tricolour from Paris to Waterford, flying it in Ireland for the first time from the Wolf Tone Confederate Club at 33 The Mall, Waterford. Later that year he led the Young Irelanders in the general nationalist uprising.

After being convicted of sedition for his role in the uprising, Meagher was sentenced to death, but this was commuted to transportation for life to Van Diemen's Land (now Tasmania) in Australia. In 1852 he escaped to the United States and settled in New York City where he was given a hero’s welcome and he settled down to study law and work as a journalist.

Thomas Francis Meagher was appointed acting governor of the Montana Territory but drowned in the Missouri River in 1867 after falling from a steamboat at Fort Benton. In 1886, Meagher’s widow, Elizabeth, presented a number of Thomas Francis Meagher’s personal possessions to the City of Waterford – including a magnificent portrait of him in the uniform of General in the Union Army which was painted in New York in 1865.

This stamp, designed by Dublin design studio WorkGroup, is based on a portrait by Charles Cullen of Thomas Francis Meagher with the colours of the Irish flag in the background.