The Gardai (Irish police) have seized 18 letters written by Eamonn de Valera to his wife, Sinead, between 1912 and 1920. Some of the letters were written while he was imprisoned for his part in the 1916 Rising and others were written while he was in the U.S. promoting the idea of an independent Ireland. In one letter he tells his wife, “You are my first thought in the morning and last at night…you are the heroine of every book I read.” Another letter goes a long way toward debunking the Dev’s austere reputation: “Darling, do you think about me at all – can you sleep without those long limbs around you? Those same limbs are longing to be wrapped around you again…two weeks, 14 days, how can I endure it?”
The letters were originally to be sold at auction. However, the gardai have determined that the letters were stolen from Dev’s home in Blackrock, County Dublin 25 years ago, and they have reopened the case around the burglary.
The gardai believe that the letters have changed hands several times and that the most recent owners of the letters were unaware of the theft. The anonymous owners had put them up for auction and hoped to obtain as much as £20,000 for them.
De Valera’s grandchildren, Arts Minister Sile de Valera and Minister of State Eamon O’Cuiv, were unaware of the letters’ existence until now. The letters are being kept in Blackrock Garda Station. Some show signs of water damage and the gardai are seeking advice on how to preserve them. The de Valera family are being kept up to date on developments. ♦