Dictionary of Irish Latin American Biography

Eamon Bulfin (1892-1968)
(The Southern Cross, 12 May 1916)

Bulfin, Eamon [Eduardo, Ned] (1892-1968), Irish republican and diplomatist, was born in Argentina, the first of five children of William Bulfin (1864-1910) of Birr, Co. Offaly, and Ann née O'Rourke of Ballymore, Co. Westmeath. An Irish nationalist and enthusiastic supporter of Irish language and sports, William Bulfin was a well-known journalist, editor of the Southern Cross weekly paper of Buenos Aires, and author of short stories and travel books. Ann O'Rourke's sister Elsa was married to the republican Padraig MacManus (1864-1929), editor of the anti-British Fianna journal also of Buenos Aires. In a family environment of Irish nationalism, the eldest son Eamon received a decisive influence in his formative years.

At sixteen, the Bulfin family returned to Ireland and Eamon was sent to study with Patrick Pearse at St. Enda's school. In 1910 he entered University College Dublin, and enrolled as lieutenant in the Irish Volunteers (Pearse's Own battalion). In 1915 Eamon Bulfin led the UCD team to win the hurling College championship (Fitzgibbon Cup). He also was appointed captain of the Irish Volunteer company at UCD.

During the preparation and planning of Easter Rising in 1916 Eamon Bulfin worked Pearse's aide and helped with the stock of arms and ammunition in St. Enda's school. When the General Post Office (GPO) was seized together with other strategic buildings in Dublin, James Connolly, head of the Irish Citizen Army asked Sean O'Kelly to fetch two flags from Liberty Hall. When the flags arrived, Connolly asked Bulfin to hoist them up on the flag poles on either end of the roof. The tricolour was hoisted at the right corner of Henry Street while a green flag with the inscription 'Irish Republic' was hoisted at the left corner at Princess Street.

After the defeat, Eamon Bulfin was courtmartialled by the British judges, but saved his life thanks to the Argentine passport (the Argentine ambassador interceded). Under the provisions of the Aliens Restriction Act of 1914, Bulfin was deported from the United Kingdom on 21 March 1917.

He arrived in Buenos Aires and was convicted by the Argentine authorities for deserting from the military service. Once freed in 1919, Bulfin was appointed by Eamon de Valera as the first representative of the Ireland Republic to Argentina. Among the aims of his mission were 'to inaugurate direct trade between Ireland and the Argentine Republic, [...] to co-ordinate Irish opinion in the Argentine, and to bring it into line with the Irish demand for a republic' [De Valera to Bulfin 6 May 1919]. From this position, and working together with Laurenc Ginnell (1852-1923), Bulfin established a contact network with government officials and Irish-Argentine leaders, launched the Irish Fund and negotiated shipments of ammunitions for the IRA.

Eamon Bulfin was a tall, good-looking young man, famous for his charm and athletic prowess. He was extremely popular among the fellow students at St. Enda's school and at the university, and represented a natural leader in republican activistm. A member of the Gaelic League, Bulfin spoke Irish fluently.

In 1922 he went back to Ireland and settled at Derrinlough House, Birr, Co. Offaly. Eamon Bulfin was appointed chairman of the Co. Offaly republican council (elected in absence, when he was in Argentina). He died in Ireland. Among his four sisters - María, Ana, Elena and Catalina - Catalina Bulfin (1901-1976) was secretary to the Irish revolutionary Austin Stack and married Amnesty International founder member and Nobel prize winner Seán MacBride.

Edmundo Murray
Revised (January 2007, March 2007)


- Berresford Ellis, Peter. 'An Irish Argentine in the Easter Rising' in Irish Abroad. Available online (, accessed 30 November 2006. [website]

- Coghlan, Eduardo A., Los Irlandeses en la Argentina: Su Actuación y Descendencia (Buenos Aires, 1987), p. 86.

- Electronic Irish Records Database, Princess Grace Irish Library (Monaco) <>, accessed 14 January 2004.

- Kennedy, Michael, '"Mr Blythe, I Think, Hears from him Occasionally": The Experiences of Irish Diplomats in Latin America, 1919-23' in Kennedy, Michael and J. M. Skelly, Irish Foreign Policy 1919-1966: From Independence to Internationalism (Dublin: Four Courts, 2000), pp. 44-60.

- Order for the Deportation of Edward Bulfin (316197/9 dated 21 March 1917). Michael Bulfin collection, Dublin 2003.

- The Southern Cross. Eamon Bulfin: el argentino que izó la bandera de Irlanda durante el Levantamiento de Pascuas, 'The Southern Cross: Número del Centenario (Buenos Aires, 1975).

Copyright © Society for Irish Latin American Studies

Online published: 1 December 2003
Edited: 07 May 2009

Murray, Edmundo, 'Bulfin, Eamon
(1892-1968)' in "Irish Migration Studies in Latin America" November-December 2005 ( Revised (November 2006).


The Society for Irish Latin American Studies, 2005

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