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Lifestyle, Ireland’s Greatest Past and Present


Every so often names pop up in Irish history we hold to our hearts. And if one person deserves to be up there, it’s Dubliner, Alfie Byrne.

Alfie Byrne, was the second eldest of seven children, he lived in number 36 Seville Place, of the North Strand area here in Dublin. He lived there with his parents and his siblings. At the age of (13 ) he dropped out of school and took up various jobs such as a grocer’s assistant and a bicycle mechanic. He managed to buy a public house on Dublin’s Talbot street, from the wages he actually saved from his jobs.

Alfie became an Alderman of Dublin Corporation, in 1914. He was a member of Dublin Port and docklands. He was elected ( MP ) Member Of Parliament for Dublin harbor constituency, by election on 1st October 1915, as an Irish parliamentary party and later to “Dail Eireann, as an Independent, in favor of the Anglo Irish Treaty. Without a party, Alfie played his part very well and he knew by attending to his constituency needs, he would gain much needed public support.

After the Easter 1916 rising this was followed by a rapid decline in anything British and Alfie lost his seat to ( SF ) Sinn Fein’s rise, and candidate Philip Shanahan, in the 1918 general election. Alfie was re-elected to the Dail as an independent TD for Dublin mid constituency, in the 1922 general election. From 1923 to 1928, Alfie served as a TD, for Dublin north. He was also elected a member of the Seanad Eireann for a six year term.

He vacated his seat in the Dail on the 4th December 1928. He also left the Seanad Eireann on 10th December 1931. Alfie then returned to the Dail in 1932 and stayed there right up to his death in 1956.
He represented Dublin north from 1932 to 1937 and also represented Dublin’s North East from 1932 to 1937.

Alfie Byrne was first elected Lord Mayor Of Dublin in 1930. He served as a post for 10 consecutive years.
When Alfie was out cycling or walking around the streets of Dublin, he used to hand out lollipops to the local children. The children could be seen chasing him up and down the streets of Dublin.

One morning in 1931, a journalist went out with Alfie on a walk around the city, attending to the people of Dublin City. It was during this walk that Alfie was invited to attend 17 public dinners, 1 invite to a public engagement and invited to 8 public functions. Later that morning the journalist saw Alfie, see to 43 letters sent off to men and women of Dublin, who were asking Alfie to sort them out with jobs. Alfie often had letters of the folk of Dublin requesting Alfie to become a reference for a job or to get them housed.

Alfie hit out at the system after it became known that young kids where being sentenced to five years in the now infamous Industrial Schools, for very minor crimes such as stealing apples from orchards.

One judge was later to have requested that Alfie stay quiet by quoting “urging the mansion house to end the ridiculous mummery”, but Alfie Stood firm.

In 1938, Alfie was favored by the press to run for presidency, a role created by the new constitution. This request was then out butted by the political establishment.

Alfie was the first lord mayor to travel to America in 1935 in almost 40 years, he was given the freedom of Toronto. The New York Times hailed him as the great showman. Alfie was known also to offer his friendship to the British.

In August 1936, Alfie addressed the inaugural meeting of the anti-communist Irish Christian Front. Some of their members were later quoted as having expressed anti-Semitic views.

In 1938, Alfie acting as the lord mayor presented a gift replica of the Ardagh Chyalice to the Italian naval army, who came to Dublin on two warships. This visit was welcomed by the Irish government but did not go down to well with the ordinary Dubliners.

In 1954, Alfie was elected lord mayor of Dublin for the tenth time. This time he did not reside at the mansion house but lived with his wife and his children in Rathmines. In his first term as lord mayor of Dublin, Alfie answered a staggering 15,000 letters to people addressed either in Dublin or Co Dublin.

He regarded the Dublin people his second family. At any time each working day up to 50 people could be waiting for him outside the Mansion House, none of these ever had any appointments and Alfie saw each and everyone of them. One time when Alfie was ill in bed, he got himself up after the news came on, hearing that up to 20,000 houses were at of been flooded in Clontarf and areas of North Strand. He helped set up a relief fund for all those who were affected by the floods.

Alfie’s final term as Dublin’s lord mayor ended in 1955. Shortly after he finished his last term, Trinity College awarded him an honorary doctorate of law.
Shortly after his last term Trinity College described him as a champion of the poor and a friend to all men.

Alfie Byrne passed away on 13th, March 1956. Alfie’s funeral was so big that traffic on O’Connell Street was held back for twenty minutes. His funeral fleet was joined by an extra 150 motor cars, a rare sight back then. All along the streets of Dublin, people stood on the corners to pay their final respect to this wonderful man. The biggest crowd was noted at the five Lamp’s on Portland Row, where Alfie used to stand and give out speeches during his earlier years. Alfie Byrne, is buried out in Glasnevin Cemetery Dublin City. The by election caused by his death saw his son Patrick Byrne being elected to fill his seat. Another two sons Alfred P Byrne and Thomas Byrne became TD’s and were seated in and around various consistencies.

Famous sayings relating To Alfie Byrne.
Alfie Byrne was not only the lord Mayor of Dublin But To All Ireland.
Alfred The Great
The Shaking Hand Of Dublin.

There is a road in “Clontarf Dublin City called after him, it’s known as the Alfie Byrne Road.
There is a museum in Dublin called The Little Museum Of Dublin and it was in 2012 that they had an exhibition on Alfie.






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