O’Donovan Rossa’s second wife

Published in Issue 5 (September/October 2015), Letters, Volume 23

Sir,—The articles relating to O’Donovan Rossa (HI 23.4, July/Aug. 2015) barely mentioned his second marriage to Ellen Buckley. She was the eighteen-year-old daughter of Cornelius Buckley, a Skibbereen businessman. Ellen met O’Donovan Rossa and they became friendly. However, her father disapproved of a man he saw as a ‘Fenian, revolutionary, and widower with four dependent children’. But in spite of her father’s disapproval she and Jeremiah continued to meet and planned their elopement on the occasion of a wake in nearby Kilcoe. The couple left hurriedly in the early hours, accompanied by a friend as far as ‘a safe house’ in Skibbereen. Sadly the marriage was short; Ellen died two years later in 1863, leaving a son, Florence Stephen, who was reared by his Buckley grandparents. He died in 1887, aged 25, and is buried with his mother in the old graveyard in Castlehaven.—Yours etc.,

M. MACKEY

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