(The Southern Cross, 12 May 1916)
(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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Revised (January 2007, March 2007)
Ellis, Peter. 'An Irish Argentine in the Easter Rising' in
Irish Abroad. Available online (http://www.irishabroad.com/news/irishpost/featurearticles/anirisheasterrising.asp),
accessed 30 November 2006. [website]
Eduardo A., Los Irlandeses en la Argentina: Su Actuación y
Descendencia (Buenos Aires, 1987), p. 86.
Irish Records Database, Princess Grace Irish Library (Monaco)
<http://www.pgil-eirdata.org/>, accessed 14
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.
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).