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James Larkin – Irish Social Activist and Labourer

James Larkin, also known as Jim Larkin, dedicated his life to the Irish trade union as its leader, and he was also a social activist. James Larkin was born at the start of 1876 in Liverpool, England and died in 1947 in Dublin, Ireland, where he was buried in Glasnevin Cemetery.

Born in Liverpool, the Larkin family moved to Burren, County Down and started living in a small cottage,

received very little formal education, and instead, he has to start working from an early age, when he was a child. In 1905, after having worked on the docks for several years, James Larkin became, a member of the trade union in the town working full-time as an organizer. While he was at the position, James Larkin became highly dedicated to the job as well as to the union.

Two years later in 1907, James Larkin founded a series of unions after moving to Belfast. James Larkin first created the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union, and then the Irish Labour Party, and the Workers’ Union of Ireland. His efforts as a social activist led James Larkin to be the instigator and leader of the Dublin Lockout which took place in 1913. James Larkin is known in Dublin as ”Big Jim”.

James Larkin led an eventful life which was also just as hard as most people had it at the time who were poor. At the time, it was a common arrangement that children go to school in the morning, and during the afternoon they work to add to the family income.

When James Larkin was at the age of 14, however, his father passed away. The boy became an apprentice of the firm his father used to work for, and after two years he was fired. James Larkin started working odd jobs at the docks. In 1903 James Larkin was a dock foreman, and he got married to a woman named Elizabeth Brown.

James Larkin developed a strong interest in socialism in 1983 when he became a part of the Independent Labour party. In 1905 he was even one of the foremen who took part in a strike that took place on the docks of Liverpool as he was chosen to participate by the strike committee.

Even though James Larkin lost his job at the docks as a result of that, his performance was noticed by the National Union of Dock laborers, or NUDL for short, and he became an organizer for the organization. The position became permanent a year later.

His new job led James Larkin to Scotland where his duty was to organize workers in the cities of Glasgow and Preston. His success allowed him to work on more projects and so James Larkin continued to work for NUDL.

From 1907 to 1914, James Larkin organized protests such as the Dublin Lockout. James Larkin was arrested several times, and he was even sent to jail in the U. S. After he was released, James Larkin lived the last years of his life in Dublin where he passed away and was buried.

Read more:

James Larkin | Biography
James Larkin | Biography

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