Erskine Hamilton Childers
1905-1974; son of Erskine Childers (1879-1922); ed. Gresham School, and Trinity
College, Cambridge; m. Ruth Dow (d.1950), 1925, a Bostonian with whom 2 sons and 3
dgs.; elected Fianna Fail TD for Athlone, Co. Longford in 1938; Minister
for Posts and Telegraphs, 1951, Minister for Lands, 1957; Minister for
Transport & Power, 1959-69, and Tanaiste and Minister for Health,
1969-73; m. Margaret (Rita) Dubley, 1952, with whom a dg.
Ruth and a son Rory; elected 4th President of Ireland, May 1973; died
in office; his funeral at St Patricks Cathedral, Dublin, and the
inability of the Catholic cabinet to enter the Protestant Cathedral, awaiting
outside until it was concluded, is the subject of a bitterly satirical
poem by Austin Clarke; there is a memorial in St Patricks with a
head by Cecil King; Robert B. Childers of the United Nations was a son. DIB FDA
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Contrib. forward to Dominic Daly, The Young Douglas Hyde: The Dawn of the Irish Revolution and Renaissance, 1874-1893 (Dublin: Irish University Press 1974), xix, 232pp.
John N. Young, Erskine Childers, President of Ireland (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1985), 224pp.
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Gaelic League: [T]he movement which inspired and gave strength
to the effort through which Irish nationality survived, Irish industries
were founded and Irish independence and statehood grew. (Introduction
to Dominic Daly, The Young Douglas Hyde, 1974, p.vii).
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Brian Inglis, Downstarts (London: Chatto
& Windus 1990), prints a letter from Childers in response to a request
from Raymond Chandler for permission to write on the death of his father
in 1922: Dear Brian[,] I have had an astonishing letter from Raymond
Chandler, who I presume is the author of the lowest type of detective
fiction, in which he wishes to write for the Spectator a detailed
account of my fathers execution [..] (p.204-05.) Inglis further asks: Has he ever indulged
in decent respectable literature, as the Spectator does not seem
to me to be his line at all? (p.160.)
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W. B. Yeats, calling to make his condolences to Mrs. Childers,
was shocked to hear her son say, The Republic fights on [...].
(Cited in Peter Costello, The Heart Grown Brutal: the Irish Revolution
in Literature from Parnell to the Death of Yeats, 1977, p.279.)
Kith & Kin:
Robert (Bobby) Childers was a br., settled in Scotland;
also a sister Karen who has conducted a 10-year affair with John Kevany; his
dg. Ruth had an affair with Brian Inglis [see infra];
while a medical student his son Rory diagnosed Brendan Behan as diabetic
from his breath in Davy Byrnes (ibid., p.184); a gd-dg. Nesta is
married to the philosopher Ross Skelton (TCD).
Dedication, S. W. Jackman, Nicholas Cardinal Wiseman: a Victorian prelate and his writings (Dublin: Five Lamps Press [Dolmen] ), ded. to E. H. Childers.