On the evening of June 30, 1919, President Eamonn de Valera came to Lawrence and addressed a vast crowd of Irish Lawrencians in front of the Lawrence Irish Victory Fund Headquarters.
Although word was received but one-half hour before his arrival, the news of his impending visit spread like wildfire throughout the city. When he arrived a tremendous gathering was on hand eager to see, meet and shake hands with the man who was doing so much in the fight to make Ireland free.
The President was given a wonderful reception by the gathering and cheer after cheer, Greeting President de Valera at the front of the Lawrence Irish Victory Fund Headquarters were the Officers of Divisions 1, 8, 13, 15 AOH and the Officers of the Ladies Auxilliary. The Hibernians of Lawrence were instrumental in the outstanding success of the Irish Victory Fund drive and many committee meetings were held in the Hibernian Home at the corner of White and Oak Streets.
Lawrence Mayor John J. Hurley tendered the visiting President the Key to the City and gave him an official address of welcome.
President de Valera gave a short address in which he stated that:
"Lawrence, Massachusetts was the first city in the United States
to take official action and recognize the New Republic of Ireland"
( The Lawrence Evening Tribune - Tuesday, July 1, 1919 )
He expressed the hope that,
"Soon other cities throughout the United States would follow
Lawrence's lead and take similiar action until the United States
government itself would recognize the Republic"
He said that,
"When this happened Ireland as a nation would be a reality"
For it would mean much in the eyes of the world to be recognized by the great Republic of the United States. The actions of the Irish of Lawrence over the years have given proof of a fact which perhaps required no demonstration, which is that Lawrence is and always has been thoroughly interested and active in the cause of Ireland and her long struggle for freedom. It is evident that the visit of de Valera to lawrence and other American cities did much toward crystallizing the sentiment of the United States i favor of the long dream of Independence for the Emerals Isle. For as President de valera said...
"Ireland's cause is a simple one. Ireland deserves her freedom and demands it."
Following his address he left for Manchester, NH where he was scheduled to speak, Accompanying him to Manchester were the Governor of New Hampshire, the Mayor of Manchester and a large delegation from Lawrence.