Joseph Stynes  (1903-1991)

Joe Stynes was born in Newbridge, Co. Kildare, Ireland on January 15, 1903. Patriot, athlete, father and friend are words synonymous with Joe Stynes, the renowned Clan na Gael leader of the latter half of the 20th century.

Joe along with Mike Flannery and George Harrison were founding members of Cumann Na Saoirse Naisiunta. Joe carved his legend as a most active and prominent volunteer of the famous IRA Dublin Brigade in the War of Independence. He also fought on the Republican side in the counter-revolution and was a leader of Clan Na Gael in the US and remained faithful to his oath to the Irish Republic and supported that cause for his entire life.

In 1920 in the basement of a theatre in Gloucester Road in Dublin, Sean Lemass administered the Oath of Allegiance to Joe Stynes and he became a member of the 2nd Battalion, Dublin Brigade of the Irish Republican Army.  Despite many obstacles and life altering events including the War of Independence, the Civil War, internment in the Curragh, emigration and raising a family, Joe remained faithful to the oath he took in 1920 by his lifelong dedication and work for the cause of the Irish Republic that so many of his compatriots fought and died for.

In 1921 Joe was selected to play for Dublin in the All-Ireland football final. Three days before the final he was arrested by the Free State Special Branch and spent the day of the final in the Curragh internment camp. Internment also kept him out of the 1922 final. He was released in time to play for Dublin in the 1923 all-Ireland final which Dublin won. 

He missed the 1924 final (played 26 April 1925) after being suspended by the GAA for breaching its ban on playing "foreign" games by playing soccer, a game he had learnt while in the Curragh.

While suspended from the GAA, he played League of Ireland soccer for Shelbourne and Bohemians where he scored 13 times in 28 appearances during 1925-26. In the Leinster Senior Cup final of 1926, he played well, but retired injured, as Bohs beat Shelbourne 2-1.

Joe emigrated to the United States in 1926. Upon arrival in New York he joined Clan na Gael and remained faithful for life to the precepts of the Clan's Fenian legacy. In 1938, he signed an Irish-American petition on behalf of the American GAA for the release of Frank Ryan, the IRA leader imprisoned by Franco's Nationalists for fighting in the International Brigades during the Spanish Civil War

He regularly returned to visit Ireland, and represented America in football internationals against Ireland at the Tailteann Games in Dublin in both 1928 and 1932. During his 1928 trip, he turned out once more for Dublin in their Leinster Final defeat to Kildare He also represented New York in challenge tour matches against Mayo in 1932 and Kerry in 1933. In December 1932, he won a Dublin junior club title with Sean McDermotts. He won New York state championships with Kildare in 1938[ and with Kilkenny as late as 1947.

After 1948 he was the leader of the few branches that had remained loyal to the rump of the IRA.  After its decline and the outbreak of the Northern Rebellion, he supported NORAID.  In 1986 he sided with Republican Sinn Féin after it split from Provisional Sinn Féin which  had violated Sinn Fein's constitution by erroneously to recognize the legitimacy of Leinster House government.

As a participant in the making of Irish history in the early part of the the 20th century Joe was an invaluable source of knowledge regarding many of the participants. He found Cosgrove, Healey and Kevin O'Higgins wanting as were Mac Eoin, Collins and Lemass. The arch fiend de Valera was skewered each and every week, as was Sean McBride, who deserted the Movement in the dark days before World War II and de Valera's anti-progressive and anti-republican programs of the 1940s that lasted past the death of Sean MacCaughey in 1946.

He spoke with pride, tempered with regret, of the heroes of the long struggle including Cathal Brugha, Maire McSweeney, Sean Tracey, Dan Breen, John Joe Sheehy, John Joe Rice, Sean Russell, Liam Lynch, Liam Mellows, Harry Boland, Peadar O'Donnell, Frank Ryan, Joe McGarrity, George Plant, Harry White, Joe MacCrystal, the three Mac's, Charlie Kerins and Richard Goss also South, O Hanlon and the Edentubber martyrs. 

Joseph died 29-Jan-1991 at New York, New York (NY);

cemetery AND grave location

Name:        Woodlawn Cemetery                                           PHONE NO.      (718) 920-0500

ADDRESS:     Webster Avenue & E. 233rd Street • Bronx, NY 10470.

GRAVE LOCATION:     Lot 104  Rosehill Section



Back to Biographies                                                                                                                                                          Posted 01/07/08