Daniel O’Connell has been honoured with an English Heritage Blue Plaque at the site of his former London home.
The 19th century political leader was a regular visitor to London, and lived at 14 Albemarle Street in the city’s affluent Mayfair area from February to July 1833.
The blue plaque unveiling was attended on Friday by the Irish Minister for the Diaspora Jimmy Deenihan and Ambassador of Ireland to Great Britain Dan Mulhall and members of the O’Connell family.
“I have been a lifelong admirer of my fellow Kerryman, Daniel O’Connell, and particularly his towering achievement in advancing through peaceful means the rights of the Irish people at a very difficult time in our history,” said Minister Deenihan.
“O’Connell was not just an Irish figure, but a man of international stature, renowned for his progressive views, his belief in the universality of human rights and his unshakeable commitment to liberal, reforming principles.”
The period in which O’Connell lived on Albemarle Street was a significant one for him, as he played a prominent role in the Act to abolish slavery which was given royal assent in August 1833. He had four years earlier won the right for Catholics to sit in British Parliament.
O’Connell’s great-great-grandson Geoffrey said: “We are delighted that Daniel O’Connell has been recognised with the award of an English Heritage blue plaque in this great city which did much to shape his beliefs and ideals.”
The terraced house is four storeys high and its size and fashionable location reflect O’Connell’s political prominence at the time. “I am anxious to make a good appearance in London for the sake of our girls,” he said to his wife, Mary.
O’Connell joins a long list of Irish blue plaque recipients which include Ernest Shackleton, Bram Stoker, Oscar Wilde and W.B. Yeats.
“Daniel O’Connell was arguably the Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi of his age. His campaign for Catholic emancipation and his principled opposition to slavery was – and still is – admired around the world,” said the deputy chair of the English Heritage Blue Plaques panel Prof. Martin Daunton.